Source | LinkedIn | Scott Belsky – Influencer, Investor & Entrepreneur
Every now and then, it’s a fun and healthy challenge to think distantly. Sure, we already expect self-driving cars, wearable hardware, a connected home, and augmented reality. But where does the foreseeable future take us next? I’m talking more Black Mirror than investor thesis. What new problems will we be struggling with? What will kill us? What will connect us? While solutions change, some questions will always remain. If only to stimulate discussion among friends, here are a few ideas on my mind these days:
- Social media will become passive.
- Our (augmented) reality will be a land grab, and always be under attack from brands.
- Interfaces will compete with the technology underneath.
- Autonomous vehicles in cities will become a public utility.
- We will transcend “tragedy of the commons” with technology that aligns self-interests with community benefits.
Allow me to explain, as well as share some implications for each:
- The concept of actively “posting” or “sharing” will be frowned upon and entirely replaced by a passive stream of your life’s experiences, whereabouts, and media consumption. Imagine a 24 hour channel of you that is authentic, aways live (or automatically programmed), and always accessible to your friends (or if you’re born in the age of transparency (post year 2000), accessible to anyone). Any effort to actively post something will be seen as “manual editing” and will be perceived negatively unless it is an artistic statement. Quality will be community and algorithmically-determined, surfacing the highlights of your experience in a way that is automatic and thus deemed more authentic. Implications?
(1) Social media will become passive.
- So many social products and new forms of advertising will emerge to accommodate the era of passive social. Viral growth of new products and media will happen more naturally based on how many people are tuning into you. Simply, whatever you’re doing or consuming is what other people will discover.
- Typical forms of paid user acquisition will become obsolete, replaced by product placement and “experience placement.” The prices you pay for products and services in your life will be offset by the exposure you bring. The bigger your network (and the better your “CFV” (Conversion From Viewers, a measure of how actionable your content is for those that follow you), the less your life will cost!
- I am struck by the idea of trusting automation over what someone does manually. It’s the evolution of how we are drawn to inferior photos on Snapchat in a more primal way than carefully posed and edited photos on Instagram. The objectivity of algorithms over the subjectivity of human tendencies may cause us to “trust” algorithms more. We value an unedited photo and “collective intelligence” for the same reasons — they make us less paranoid that we’re being lied to (and thus help us believe and relate). With the loss of “manual editing,” social media will become a more effective form of empathy and truth.
- Given the passivity of social networks, their relevance will rely on context. Social networks will pop into and out of our life depending on where we are, what we’re doing, and what we want. Visiting Spain for Christmas? Expect to have “contextual ephemeral social networks” (sorry) that enable you to navigate, connect and plan activities with other friends in Spain during the week you are there. When the trip ends, the network will dissapear.
(2) Our (augmented) reality will be a land grab, and always be under attack from brands.
- Personally, I’m more bullish about augmented reality than virtual reality. The augmented layer opens up a ton of exciting (and horrifying) ways for brands, friends, governments, and artists to get in your line of sight based on where you are and when you’re there. Quite quickly, I see it getting out of hand. While the physical world has practical limitations that keep billboards at bay, the augmented world won’t. To get a feel for how bad this could be, check out this video. Implications?
- Perhaps “ad blockers” will be the most important apps in the era of augmented (and virtual) reality? Whatever platform and device you use to augment your reality, advertising is the most likely business model. If the increasing number of paid search results in a typical Google search today is any indication, your augmented reality will constantly be under siege. To fight it, you’ll install intelligent or crowd-sourced filtering software that will override unwelcome parts of your augmented reality experience.
- Perhaps the major platforms for augmented reality will designate certain zones as commercial or non-commercial? Zoning has worked well enough for governments. I can see your home — and all other private property — being designated as “non-commerical,” and thus off-limits to advertising. If Snapchat’s filter submission and approval system is any indication, augmented reality will be an unprecedented land grab akin to the domain-name craze in the nineties.