Crowd-Powered Delivery System Ships Packages Via Twitter

Pick up items on the way to work or become part of a social delivery network in your area.

In the future you could have your package delivered by a passerby on the way to work, or while running in the park, or waiting on a bench for your date. The idea of a delivery service that relies on strangers and aggregated location data from Twitter proves to be remarkably effective.

Eric Horvitz of Microsoft Research In Seattle calls the concept TwedEx. It could be compared to existing crowdsourced systems that hire strangers using the internet – with one key difference – this service can tap into frequently travelled routes and destinations.

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Once sent, each person in the chain would be told who to give the parcel to, along with where and when. Each person would receive a small incentive based on how long they’re willing to wait, how far they’re willing to go and other variables. The service wouldn’t need to track people in realtime to be effective, it could just send out messages to people along the required route, giving them the choice.

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Simulations indicate it only takes 5 hours to get across the country using the current algorithm – even if they don’t originate from an airport. While some factors could slow down this time in real life, the convenience of being handed a package on the move is undeniable. There are even some who think it could be an effective way to distribute vaccines and medicine in developing countries.

Microsoft Research In Seattle

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