Imagine yourself in front of the Self-Organizing Cabinet. Open up the front door. Inside is a ten by ten array of what seem to be handleless drawers, and a computer terminal. You type into the computer: "rubberband." There are three results:
EXACT MATCH: Item #A3: rubberband, elastic (tagged
by you, you're an all-business tagger)
CLOSE MATCH: Item #G9: elastic, rubber, blue, wide, snappy (tagged by your spouse, who's an enthusiastic tagger but always forgets that you tend to search for "rubberband" instead of "elastic"-- it doesn't matter, the computer has learned or been told that "rubberband" and "elastic" are similar)
POSSIBLE MATCH: Item #B10: rbbrbanx\d (tagged by a drunk person, but the spell checker figured it out)
Click whichever one you want, and the associated drawer automatically opens. Of course, when you want to put something in a drawer to keep for later, you have a little bit of work to do: Go up to the machine, tell it you want to fill a drawer, and think of a tag or two for the item you're putting in.
Next step: Create an enclosed closet of drawers, accessed by a robot arm which brings each container as you request it.
Go for some synergy: Tell the system that a drawer is dirty, and it'll transport it autonomously to an automated washing station.
How about some real profit: There are no results for "rubberband," but there are packages of rubberbands (measured and guaranteed by the system to fit in a particular box that's empty) available at a nearby distribution point for two dollars, shipped. Click OK. Come back in a few hours.