Amazon's vision of the future involves never running out of toilet paper. (Getty Images)
Amazon's vision of the future involves never running out of toilet paper. (Getty Images)
By Matthew Reitman / July 22, 2017 5:00 am

In the future, shopping may involve communicating with animals and homes that order what you need before you know you need it.

Amazon commissioned futurists to make predictions about how people will live and shop in the coming years. Compiled in its “Shop the Future” report, its vision of tomorrow includes pet translators and virtual shelves.

Advances in natural-language processing and integrated sensors would allow pet owners to understand their animal companions. The same technology would also give homes a better idea of what their owners need and want. Body implants replace credit and cash, in this futuristic vision.

According to Alphr, Amazon expects—or maybe, wants—stores to be operated by artificial intelligence programs that sync up with self-managing homes that automatically re-stock essentials (similar to Prime subscriptions and Dash buttons). With all the time gained by eliminating errands and runs to the store, people will have more time to indulge in “guilt-free hedonism” in virtual reality or pursue more creative hobbies with the help of 3D-printing.

The futurists’ vision of the home includes “modular walls” that utilize space-saving technology to fold into chairs, tables, or other furniture items depending on what’s needed at the moment. Instead of bookshelves, projections create “virtual shelves” to display a digital collection of books, films, or shows.