In the Terminator film franchise, machines finally become self-aware when the military defense network Skynet goes live and imbues every cyborg, robot and automaton with the directive to destroy all humans. How will the machine apocalypse begin in the human world, though?
With water pitchers that can order their own filter replacements.
Re/code has the story on Brita’s newest Infinity Smart Water Pitcher, which is available through Amazon. That limited availability is crucial because the Infinity pitchers come equipped with Wi-Fi-enabled water filters; when the active ingredients in the filters wear out, the Infinity pitcher can automatically order replacements though Amazon Dash, the retailer’s automatic ordering system.
“You want to make your brand more relevant and appealing to young consumers,” Ed Huber, general manager at Brita, told Re/code. “And they’re interested in devices that take steps out.”
Phrasing the customer as the driving force behind a switch from conscious to unconscious sales is a clever one. Brita and Amazon benefit equally when they sell customers products that are set up to continue making even more sales. Amazon has already rolled out Dash buttons for regularly consumed household items, like laundry and dish detergent, and Huber explained that Brita would be more than open to adding the IoT functionality to other filter models if the concept proves successful with customers.
Therein lies the rub, though, with “programmatic commerce” on the rise, the state of the consumer in the path to purchase is now thrown in flux. Will customers enjoy the ultimate convenience of autonomous shopping, or will a sense of usurped agency lead to a growing resentment against the very retailers they’re habitually buying from?
Though few likely predicted that a Brita pitcher would be the first harbinger of humanity’s defeat against the next race of robotic overlords, there is no denying the watershed moment it could very well become.