The future of ...

Erwin van Lun predict the long term future and blogs about developments today gradually shaping that future. Also in Dutch

Mediacompletion and Robots end of an era?

I realised this morning that the mega trends media completion and roboworld are both the height of very long-lasting trends.

Media completion ends the chapter of long distance communication. Since the invention of writing, printing, telephone, radio and television, we've been trying to generate experiences that came from elsewhere (whether that exists or not). This trend was kicked into high gear by radio and television and is now living its greatest days, and it'll accelerate even more. In a year or fifteen, however, the additional consequences for society will fast decrease.

Then the next trend is given attention again: roboworld. But that too is actually the end of an era. An era that may have been started even earlier, namely in prehistoric times. There we used tools to make our lives easier. The industrialization made a great contribution. All sorts of equipment for in the house. But if robots take over all our jobs equally, we won't need to do anything by ourselves anymore.

And so we return, logically really, back to nature. To living in balance with nature. Where everything is about energy. Not that the rest is gone, in the contrary, but the real change of society has a spiritual dimension then. The world of Pamper Planet, the next mega trend. Sounds pretty logical, right?

Trends 2009 and beyond

The Trend section has been completely renewed. I've finally described a few trends that have been around a long time, but weren't on the site yet: the network economy and product activation.

Furthermore, I've described three mega trends: media completion, roboworld, and (finally) pamper planet, that combined will determine the future until 2050. Other trends remain, because long term trends don't change just like that. So the future of 2009 is recorded in this too.

The connections between observations in the section 'day to day' and 'trends' have also been marked clearly now. Hope this adds value. At your service grin

Family site MyHeritage links DNA research

MyHeritage, the world's most popular genealogy site, now enables people to let their DNA be researched to find acquaintances who share the same ancestor. This is possible through a partnership with FamilyTreeDNA, a database with almost 220,000 DNA profiles and with it the most extensive genealogic DNA information in the world.

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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

The world is getting ever more transparent. The coming decades we’ll chart all human DNA (just from a health point of view) and brands like MyHeritage will make it easier to determine a family tree. We’ll start to discover that family trees and genetic heritage are two completely different things. Although we still want to believe that the man from a marriage really is the father, tests have often shown that this isn’t the case. The further back in time you go, the less certain you can determine whether it really concerns your genealogical ancestors. We’ll have to face this first and then we’ll even have to come up with new words (a different word for the description ‘biological father’) and use it to indicate this phenomena.

Elf Your Self X-Mas card download for $4.99

At ElfYourSelf you can create an animated e-Christmas card in which you process photos of yourself and friends and then send it along to another friend. That person can then enjoy your creative production, make one themselves, but above all download the card as a memory and burn it onto a DVD. This costs $4,99.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

It’s small, short experiences that bring the experience economy to life. This economy has been hyped in the physical world, but will really come to life in the virtual world that’s emerging. And the nostalgic human wants to relive it. And for small experiences, we’ll pay small fees. These are the models of the future.

President of HP on stage as hologram

The president of the Dutch division of Hewlett Packard, Hans Daniels, explains to the world will look in 2018 to his colleagues at the HP DutchWorld 2008 congress. As a hologram, that is.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Currently as recorded video, later (indeed around 2018) as live projection. Currently at large scale IT events, but later in the living room at home as well. Currently as projection of real people, but later brand agents, artificial people, can enter our lives this way (at our request, mind) and enter the dialogue with us. That’s the development that’s coming from all directions.

3D metal printing

Anyone who makes their own design can now let it be produced three-dimensionally in metal by a 3D metal printing technique developed by the company ShapeWays. Actually it's not really 3D printing in which the model is built up sphere by sphere, but it's burned out by a laser. So you start with a massive piece of metal and burn exactly the shape you want.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

It’ll only speed up the mass-customization trend: later on you’ll be able to choose models created by others, adapt them just a little for yourself and have them produced. Of course this is marvelous for art objects, but what to think of, for example, spare parts for old-timers? If car manufacturers publicize their (3d) drawings, you can reproduce everything. After 15 years, after 50 years. Manufacturers’ll have to focus on supporting products from the past for this, however, even if they don’t really want to think about that anymore.

Amazon supplements

Anyone searching on will be given suggestions after typing a few letters already.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

First this was reserved for big search engines, but for the biggest online retailers in the world, soon for banks, smaller webshops and, in the long term, in a year or ten, even for the smallest websites of the smallest entrepreneurs. This is how brands will supplement consumers more and more. Soon half a word will literally be enough. Currently typed, soon spoken. You stammer something and you’re immediately given a supplement. That’ll be the listening power of brands. puts all videos together is a new internetvideo community which brings together videos from over 35 different sources. Visitors can find, collect and spread videos on Using you can collect videos from different sites in one or more channels. For example, on you can easily combine videos from Uitzending Gemist (if you've missed something on Dutch television) with movies from YouTube and Furthermore you can place the channels you make on on external sites with shortened urls and widgets. At the start of next year, the worldwide version called will be launched.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

In the creation of entertainment coaching brands in the first decennia of this age everything will be put together. With that the option to personalize our content is slowly created. Soon everything will be grouped together, we can sit down, popcorn to the side, and be entertained. This is a step in that direction.

Ford adds cars to your cell phone

Ford has made it possible for you make the new Ka (Dutch; an English site is found here) on the streets 'visible' on your cell phone and share it with friends. The special website becomes visible when the Ford Ka is seen from a specific angle on a cell phone. This fits in the theme of the European campaign – Go Find It - ‘explore the hidden discoveries in life’.
It also uses clean graffiti and street art to draw the attention of young twenty-plussers who are increasingly hard to reach through traditional media.

If you'd like to try this yourself, you can download the application from this website. The application works on recent Nokia phones and cell phones using Windows Mobile.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

The product is returning in the dialogue that brands and people have. Currently it’s about new products, but soon was can ask questions about existing products. Or even older products. In a few years we can easily talk nostalgically about older models. That’ll only increase the bonding with brands.

Why we can’t solve the ethics of robots

Discussions that place question marks around the ethics of robots appear regularly. How can we ensure that robots won't hurt us? The answer is simple: we can't.

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Robot copies emotions

This robot copies emotions.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

We’re recreating the world as realistically as possible. In the long run robots won’t be distinguishable from real people.

Robot implants hair super fast

Restoration robotics, Mountain View, San Francisco, US has developed a robot that can implant hair super fast. Using a 1mm thick needle the robot plucks healthy follicles one by one with a speed of 1000 follicles per hour. The robot uses different cameras, 3D imaging software and is mounted on an arm normally used to place microchips on circuit boards. After the 'harvest' is finished it's time for 'planting'. The patient sits down and the robot implants the follicles in their head. The whole process lasts about 5 hours. Furthermore this process has the benefit that the hair line can be discussed with the patient beforehand.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

In a society wherein knowledge is easily available for every generation, people want to look ever younger. In a year of fifty this trend will change when an ever-increasing part of society has grown up with knowledge that’s been available on command since they were babies. Then life experience will be definitive again. This type of robot technology can become very successful in the coming years. Currently at a clinic, around 2030 this robot will stop by your house. Ding dong, I’m here to transplant some hair.

Logitech shows possible products during support

Anyone who wants to download a driver for a webcam, printer or mouse from Logitech obviously needs to know the series number. Most consumers don't know this so Logitech makes it easy for them by showing them examples of products. Then the consumer can choose from these and the next support step can be taken.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

People think visually and brands connect with this ever better. Soon we’ll point our cell phone at the webcam, printer or mouse and Logitech will automatically recognize what product it is. This is how hardware slowly disappears into the background and we’ll be given immediate assistance when we say ‘hey, it doesn’t work’.

Kijkshop lets friends chat about products, a Dutch webshop, enables visitors to chat about a product using Windows Live Messenger. Many products (not yet all of them) have a Messenger-icon. As soon as you click on this you can view an item together with your chatfriends. You can zoom in on the product, give ratings, write or read reviews, or talk about the product. To do this the webshop uses Joint Product eXperience (JPX), an interactive shopping environment for Windows Live Messenger.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

In a next step we’ll also be able to see what our friends bought and how satisfied they were with their purchase. Then too can we click and chat about something. To watch on a video how the product works in real life. And if we have very specific questions we tackle them in the same dialogue. This is how brands such as facilitate the purchasing process in a very humane manner. This is a nice example.

LibraryThing gives mobile access to your book collection

Using LibraryThing, the biggest book cataloguing site in the world, consumers can get mobile access to their book collection. LibraryThing has interfaces with Amazon, the Library of Congress and over 690 other libraries around the world. Members have catalogued over 30 million books since the site opened and can look at their collection (and others') either as a list or as a gallery.

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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Currently we have to catalogue books manually, but soon LibraryThing will have an application that lets us take a picture of the books on our shelves and recognize them immediately. All newly bought books will be added immediately and when we look at a book we’ll hear (for example) that we already have it, but haven’t read it yet. Slowly the dialogue is being formed and the product is its topic.

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