Browse the science fiction aisles and you can find all sorts of dystopian future visions — environmental catastrophes, robot overlords, zombie swarms, triffids. Oddly enough, one of the spookiest scenarios ever conjured comes from a kids' movie.
The 2008 Pixar film WALL-E imagines a future in which end-stage consumerism has run amok, leaving the planet utterly trashed and turning humans into helpless, sedentary slugs. By creating a future in which everything is prepared, packaged and delivered by machines, we effectively create a consumer apocalypse, ruining the Earth and dooming the species. For those of us prone to low-simmering paranoia, recent developments suggest the future of WALL-E is closing in fast.
To wit: The Moby Mart is a mobile supermarket that eliminates the pesky tradition of getting up and going to the store altogether. Instead, the store comes to you. Like a 7-Eleven crossed with a driverless tractor-trailer, the Moby Mart is an autonomous and unstaffed mobile retail space that you can call up with your phone like an Uber.
Like the Amazon Go prototype store, the Moby Mart doesn't have cashiers or checkout lanes. Instead, subscribers scan their purchases off the shelf, pay with a phone app and head out the door. The difference is that the door — and the store — can drive itself to wherever it's summoned.
Check out the decidedly bananas demo video, and you'll see that the Moby Mart team definitely has a futuristic vision in mind. Plans call for holographic store clerks who offer personalized assistance as you shop. Moby Marts will be electric and solar-powered, with plenty of battery backup, and will even include built-in air scrubbers so that the store purifies the air anywhere it goes.