The Logistics Internet Explained, with Jeremy Rifkin


The communication Internet is something that’s
ubiquitous. We’re using it 24 hours a day. All of us have our cell phones and our desktop
computers and we’re generating information in the form of audio, video and text and we’re
sharing it with friends, we’re sharing it with the world in a communication network
that’s designed to be distributive, collaborative and that favors peer-to-peer production. Now that communication Internet is converging
with this very nascent energy Internet where we’re now able to generate our own green electricity
distributed, collaborative, peer-to-peer and share it with the help of the communication
Internet. We create an energy Internet, a transmission line has become an Internet.
And now the third component, we are just beginning to see the first glimpse of an automated transport
and logistics Internet and then the whole package is complete. Right now logistics is
a pretty inefficient business. If you take a look across the United States like other
countries and you look at a truck on the road, sometimes those trucks are empty; they’re
deadheading back. They’ve taken their cargo and then there’s nothing on the trip back
or they only have 20 or 30 percent of that truck filled. Right now our logistics system is not coordinated
into a network. There are thousands of warehouses and distribution centers. But every company
usually has only five or ten of these warehouses somewhere in the country. So they have to
take their trains or their trucks all the way to where their handful of centers are.
But what would happen if all the thousands of warehouses and distribution centers, privately
owned, came together in a cooperative network? So if you’re General Electric or Walmart or
whoever or a small prosumer, a small to medium-size company, you would have access to any one
of those warehouses when they have surplus space and you could move your transport only
where you needed it in real time instead of going to a few centralized warehouses across
3000 miles. But to do that you’d have to have common protocols where everything is standardized
so you could get your packages through in the same containers with radio recognition
technology like Federal Express has so you know where your freight is and your package
at any given moment on a supply chain. And then we’re now starting to move towards
driverless vehicles. They’ll be in mass production within five to ten years everywhere according
to the six major auto companies. And so we’ll be able to have a transport system where we
power vehicles from energy from our energy Internet and we’ll power our electric vehicles
and fuel-cell cars, trucks and buses powered by hydrogen, all of that from our energy Internet
at near zero marginal cost to transport it. That’s already here in parts of Europe. We
now have electric vehicles, fuel-cell vehicles powered with energy that’s near zero marginal
costs. In a few years they’ll be driverless reducing the cost even further. And so this
transport and logistics Internet is connecting with the energy Internet and the communication
Internet, which provides the data, one system. It is a game changer. It is one of the great
technology revolutions in history. It’s going to change our entire way of life every single
person. What it’s mainly means is it’s the democratization
of everything. This means millions of people and soon billions of people they’re not going
to have to rely on the goodwill of a handful of globally integrated large vertically integrated
companies for the main stuff of life. We’ve now freed ourselves with information to near
zero marginal cost. Millions of us are producing and sharing with each other and we now have
the first early adopters that are now producing their own green electricity at near zero marginal
cost, millions of them already and we’re just starting to see a transport and logistics
Internet that could get us to near zero marginal cost. This is the democratization of everything
and it’s going to change the economic model.

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