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Alberto Ramos

Communication, my profession. Words, news, websites... gave way to briefs, objectives and marketing. Earlier on, within portals or online media, now with brands at FLUOR Lifestyle as Content and Social Media Director

Future · 09 May 2016 · 11:12 am

Consumption decisions, decisions of change

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I have always felt fascinated by how communications technology alters massive consumption, the market, the services and, in part, ourselves. Analyzing why pornography cornered the online market years ago (formats, themes, privacy and payment methods), why we began to plan and book trips (offers, plans and destinations), why today’s music discs (physical)  are for collectors and why we listen to more music (our own or music belonging to the custom lists of others, discoveries and new releases) or why for many shopping is already an activity that takes place through our screens … and it is still not clear to me where changing rooms will fit within a few years  time.

 

Many of us are amazed at how differently we communicate (voiceless and faceless, but with words) with IRC, Messenger, GoogleTalk… and we cannot explain why we stopped doing it. Or can we? I never imagined that my mother was going to say ‘hello son’ through bits, or that I would prefer live texting from the new instant messaging platform than talking over the phone. And even less that the very same day I could be worn out by WhatsApp group discussions.

 

In short, we are people and we like to ‘personalize’ our experiences. Perhaps the next surprising steps to affect most people will be the Internet of Things. But … what things? For a while I have been reflecting on ‘smartphone’ modes and it seems to me that the only object that will be ‘transformed’ is the car. And even more so having seen what autonomous driving does now and what I can see it will be able to do in the future. We will only enjoy the road when we want to, traffic jams will be less congested and safety will be increased… In a few years our cars will be fully ‘connected’. Will they be able to efficiently tell us efficiently when to plan out holidays?

 

Now, with a car that can get us to where we want to go “on its own”, our consumption on wheels can take a drastic turn. Will we be able to save on fuel or will there be many more of us who decide to take up driving? What will happen if a parking lot under our homes is no longer needed? Will we laugh when recounting tales of when we had to drive around downtown to find a parking? Will we prefer to have our own car or we will opt for a mixed system of renting by location? Will we share cars in a massive way without the need to send hardly any messages?  What will happen to taxi and Uber drivers? Will cars become a place to do other things without the need for our hands to be on the steering wheel? Will cars spend as much time in garages without being used?  Will we need to speak to our mechanics or will the car able to take care of this itself? What percentage of us will stop driving?

 

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I just wanted to leave you with these reflections, for when things change and we need to make decisions about this change. And there is also an interesting survey of how the future of autonomous driving looks today. What we see today could perhaps soon look like the most foolish thing in the world. And if not, ask yourself: When was the first time you heard a whole album the minute you wanted to, without needing to buy it at a record store? What happened the first time you clicked ‘buy’ and purchased a trip? What was your reply to your mother’s first WhatsApp and how long did you spend thinking about what you were going to say?

 

The day that most of us start to use objects that communicate between themselves and make decisions autonomously (in a controlled and programmed, but autonomous way), we may discover how much we have invested in our daily routines, which, tomorrow, we may look at as something without much sense. Or it may be that we control so many independent tasks that life seems to us to a place with hardly any surprises. Without moments to ‘walk around’.

 


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Published in : Future

Tagged: Alberto Ramos change consumption

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