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Global AI-powered autonomous robotic transportation network that doesn't belong to any nation

Image credit: Vertiflite, Boeing Vertol

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Apr 26, 2022
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AI-operated, independent, international transportation network comprised of fully autonomous, self-loading ships, trucks, drones, etc. The AI handles all the world's cargo so that people don't have to. The network doesn't belong to any nation and is governed by the UN.
  • Eliminate single points of failure in global supply chains.
  • No shortage of goods anywhere on earth.
  • Make the entire planet livable. Deliver supplies even to settlements in the harshest environments.
  • Perfect the technology that will be needed on Mars and in space.
How it works
A global network of autonomous transportation units such as ships, drones, helicopters, trucks, offroad trucks, trains, planes, speedboats, robots, robotic cranes, and any other useful piece of transport equipment that can be made autonomous. For the last mile delivery: self-driving vans with robotic arms, humanoid (tesla) robots, self-driving carts, etc.
Like ants
The entire network is fully autonomous, operated by multiple AI systems that handle logistics. Every unit is AI-operated (think tesla cars). The units communicate with each other and with their superior logistics AI.
Handling of shipments
The units need to be excellent at loading/unloading, grouping, and separating the cargo packages. In case something goes wrong, they need to be great at recovering the packages and fixing the mess.
Each unit has to come equipped with robotic "arms" and the necessary dexterity to handle all kinds of unpredictable situations. The units should even be able to work in pairs/groups to mitigate unexpected situations.
Bottlenecks and accidents
If there is trouble and some routes are cut off, the network adapts and re-routes via the most feasible options. Reserve units are called in to establish additional routes (helicopters, smaller speed boats, off-road trucks, nearby small airports are activated, etc). It all happens automatically and instantly. People get to learn what's going on while the problem is already being mitigated.
Send and forget
People initially prepare the cargo, mark the final destination and the rest is history. The AI takes care of everything. It doesn't matter where/how the cargo will travel as long as it gets delivered on time.
The units meet at appropriate locations, self-load/unload the cargo, and proceed to deliver it where ever it needs to go. The shipments can be grouped together for parts of the route, then separated, then re-grouped a number of times.
The total cost and upkeep of the global infrastructure are divided by the number of people on earth. Every country has to contribute yearly as much money/resources as they have people.
Those without the necessary funds can pool their collective creativity and figure out what they as a nation can do to make it worthwhile for a philanthropist to cover their costs.
Similar to the international space station (but even more so) the entire transport network should be outside of any country's jurisdiction. It should be governed by a global, consensus-based, neutral entity. Something like a truly neutral version of the UN. Nobody should be able to cut any country from the network, for any reason, ever. Even countries at war should not touch the units of the global transport network. If necessary, the local network can temporarily be paused by the local government.
Energy and environment
The ultimate goal would be to have the entire network powered from renewable energy sources. Rather than using big long-haul transportation units that need oil, multiple small, electric-powered units are used to carry the load for short distances and pass it on to the next electric powered unit. Then recharge and while other charged units take their turns.
The place for people in this autonomous network is to:
  • send and receive the cargo
  • service the autonomous units
  • solve problems that the AI can't (yet) handle
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General comments

Goran Radanovic
Goran Radanovic2 years ago
Somebody has to control it. No such thing as a computer program controlling something. Even Bitcoin is controlled and so are the rest of the financial markets.
What you're suggesting is open borders. How do you control import taxes, nefarious activities and other issues that humans would conduct with such an operation?
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 years ago
Goran Radanovic you inspect all shipments before being sent, get a permission to send it from the receiving country, then inspect it again upon arrival to the destination country. But no messing with the shipments during transit. In transit you employ security measures that make it impossible for someone to tamper with the process without the attempt being noticed by the system.
Somebody controls the international space station too. That kind of model of control is good enough. The rest is taken care of by the software
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Subash Chapagain
Subash Chapagain2 years ago
Ideally, this would indeed solve the problem of over-dependency in few concentrated modes of logistics that are prone to failure. However, the realization of such a system would have to deal with some fundamental issues. For instance, in such a large scale, wouldn't the system be susceptible to ill-intended manipulation (or hacking)? How would the system operate in case of global conflicts (like the current Russia-Ukraine situation)? Is it feasible to operate such a system without any biases? What kind of goods are transported by the system? For example, if such a system is used to transport military equipments and devices critical for national security, wouldn't that make a system a playground for conflict itself? Until such questions have definitive answer, an AI controlled 'specialized' delivery system would make more pragmatic sense. We need to identify some key areas where such a logistic system can be implemented.
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