The future of ...

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

Category: Behavioral evolution

Everything changes, except people. They stay genetically the same. The environment in which we grow up and live however does change. And that seems to go quicker and quicker. Older people adapt slowly: they generally find it harder to change. Young people adapt almost instantly. They let their own human motives lead their actions.

More Teens Listen to Spotify and Pandora Than FM Radio…

Music Websites

It’s official: according to data just released by Edison Research, more American teenagers listen to Spotify, Pandora, and other streaming music services than traditional, FM broadcast radio. The finding comes from Edison’s ‘Share of Ear’ report, which measures all forms of music listening, including downloads, streaming services, online radio, and traditional AM/FM broadcast channels.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

This is again another step. A future unfolds where central distributed media such as TV and radio are hardly used anymore. Only live events where everyone is tuned in interactively (a massive game actually) will have a future. All music and visual entertainment will be purely personal. And we’ll be prepared to pay for these services.

Brand Agents, the Future Branded Artificial Employees

Brand agents, the perfect brand representatives. Emotional, intelligent, empathic, helpful and available 24/7. However, innovation can stop due to the 130 confusing synonyms a brand agent comes across with.

Brand Agent in ConversationBrand Agents are artificial employees that represent brands in an intelligent and bi-directional engaging conversation. They typically appear in customer service related areas on websites, where they replace the frequently asked questions. However, they now tend to move to home pages of large business 2 consumer brands. Their responsibility is growing. A Brand Agent used to be responsible for about 30% of the questions concerning customer service about recently purchased products, but now some of them are able to answer 95% of the questions. Furthermore, they are no longer only about earlier purchases, but they also provide information about products the consumer has not yet bought. Brand Agents are shifting in their area of expertise!


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Consumer economises on paid media

Over 50% of the Dutch populations says they cut back on magazines and papers. This goes for both subscriptions as loose sales. Respectively 49% and 44% says they spend less on gaming and cinemas in a recession. This has been determined by a survey of Z'Insights, the researchunit of ZenithOptimedia Nederland, held under 413 Dutch people. People will hardly cut back on classic media television and radio. This won't be true for subscriptions to 'paid tv stations': 36% says they cut back on getting or renewing a subscription.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

We’re slowly breaking the economy down to a world in which we pay nothing for media. The recession is the final nail in this process. Then we’ll build up a new world in which the consumer is helped personally to be kept involved with the society, to move across the world freely and safely, or to be entertained. We’ll pay (a lot of money) for these personal services. Apparently we first have to break down the existing models for this, then realise that quality, objectivity and availability are important and then start paying for it again.

People want to pay for comparisons

The Dutch consumers' organisation (the Consumentenbond) has seen a rise in its amount of members in 2008. With 1,000 new members, the total is now on 540,000. Most new members sign up for the Consumentenbond's website. They're only interested in the results of product comparisons which the Consumentenbond conducts.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Independently comparing products has value for people. Currently only, but later people will consult this research in the store too. Or on vacation. This independence is the basis for coaching brands which will develop in the coming years. Brands with which we get an enormous connection and which we’ll also pay. And that people are slowly getting used to this idea can been seen in this change in behaviour.

Nationale Apotheek sends medicine

The Dutch Nationale apotheek (National apothecary) sends products of repeating prescriptions with the mail. This saves the consumer time and health insurance companies money. Since its founding last year 50,000 customers are using the apothecary's services.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

It may seem a little far-fetched, but in fact we’re just dealing with another form of homeshopping. We let more and more products be delivered at home so that we can spend the saved time on more enjoyable things. The Nationale apotheek sends repeating prescriptions in the post. This saves the consumer time and health insurance companies money. This trend will continue merrily in the coming decennia. We leave more and more repeating jobs to others. Whether it’s administration, looking up things, ironing or refilling one’s supply (of medicine): we let it all be done for us.

Director places laptop thief on YouTube

Director Marcel Nillesen of the marketing company CustomMedia in Emmeloord has placed security footage on YouTube with the text 'Do you recognize this man?' In the video a man walks into the office and comes back out sometime later, carrying a laptop. Whoever gives CustomMedia the golden tip can look forward to a nice reward.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

The amount of cameras around us is growing fast and the registration of our behavior in the physical world can be shared easily. Currently there isn’t a lot of legal ground to protect people against this. Soon hobbyists will film passing cars, read license plates automatically and connect databases. Just for fun. Then we can type a license plate number on a site and see where it’s been. Fun. Furthermore we’ll be able to start automatically recognizing faces in every photo or video on the internet. Also fun. We’ll also automatically translate every spoken text. Useful. That means we won’t be able to do anything without being seen.

Developments like this mean we’ll get world-wide pillories. Any human being, anywhere in the world can, in time, broadcast on their own easily, and preach shame. Shame when we don’t stick to global norms and values. That have to be created first, by the by. Such developments will disrupt nations, create denationalization and in a very long time (think 20-50 years) the emergence of global values with fitting legislating, government and control. This trend can’t be stopped anymore.

Demented people play with robot Paro

Eldery demented people in Japan with a robot seal called Paro. Since Paro showed up in the elderly home Mori-noie two demented ladies found each other in caring for the robot animal. Wherever it appears it creates a better disposition, better social behavior and even improved health. This is proven by long-term research by Paro's inventor Takanori Shibata of the biorobotics department of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. Shibata calls his invention an 'Artificial Emotional Creature'.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Our human brains aren’t designed to have feelings for other creatures with our ratio. Feelings are created on a much lower level. We’ll get an emotional bond with this kind of creature that demented elderly people are already displaying. As these creatures get more intelligent, the bond will become stronger.

People want No-No stickers

The amount of Dutch households that's pasted an anti-advertisement sticker on their postbox is rapidly increasing. An anti-advertisement sticker means that you don't want to receive unwanted, printed advertisements in your physical mailbox and postmen are supposed to honour this sticker. In 2006 10% of the Dutch population had such a sticker on their mailbox. In 2007 it turned out to have risen to 15% and in 2008 the counter is already on 18%. What's more is that 10% of the population would like such a sticker, but hasn't yet arranged to receive one.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

In a world in which all information regarding new products and offers is more and more easy to find, advertisement is seen ever less as added value and more and more as irritating. Eventually this will lead to a ban on door-to-door advertisements: simply throwing something in people’s mailboxes, randomly throwing something into a stranger’s house, will be simply forbidden in a few decennia. And then we’ll find the time when this was normal even a little weird.

People are looking at testimonials more and more often

Research shows that consumers are looking increasingly often at testimonials of others before they buy something. The consumer is even willing to pay a quarter more for a product that has a positive rating. Of course that means the product needs to have been judged by a large group of visitors and have a substantially higher grade.


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Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Consumers are allowing themselves to be more and more influenced by companies that tell stories through advertisement. Instead of this they start to listen to other people, just like in the era before the mass-communication. For now they’re just general testimonials, but soon they’ll be chiefly from what trusted relations (friends (of friends), family, or colleagues) thought of the products. That’s not so far away now.

Consumer surfs directly to store

More and more often, the Dutch consumer goes to a store's website directly instead of through search engines, 38 percent versus 34 percent. This is the result of a survey by the Raad Nederlandse Detailhandel (RND: Council Dutch Detail stores) This makes the Dutch consumer an exception in the rest of Europe.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

With this brand-thinking is grounding a little more in the virtual world. For a shopping brand not only the marketing-P ‘place’ of importance, but also an increasingly stronger P: BrainPosition. What determines after all whether a consumer enters the shop name? The maintenance of dialogue will become an important focal point in this.

People looking for jobs choose online career convention

37% of the (Dutch) people looking for a job prefer an online career convention to a traditional venue, reports a survey from totaljobs.nl. According to the survey outcome, the primary reasons to visit an online convention are: the ability to look at job openings and apply immediately (74%), the ease of visiting the convention at one's own speed from behind a computer (56%) and the fact that the convention is available for a prolonged period of 24 hours (53%). The most important reason why people still choose to visit a traditional convention is the personal contact with employers (93%). This gives people an image of what kind of people are employed at a specific organization.


Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

More and more often people choose to act from within their own home. So online. The threshold is much lower and in addition the interaction is granted more and more added value. In a later stage the company will be projected around you so you can get an even better impression. You’ll almost feel like you’re working there already. On top of that a career convention will be assembled right then and there for you specifically. It’ll be your convention. Every day.

Increase in working from home

In the Netherlands 2007 has seen a 4% increase in working from home (via am). Working at home, working elsewhere, you make a contribution to the world for which you are paid, that is the essence. We used to work on the land, so close to our homes. Then came the factories, then the offices. That’s what we call work now. Soon work will once again be an activity that you do during the week, in the places which happen to be convenient at the time. Naturally we will still need to meet the people with whom we are working, but we will plan those meetings in a more flexible way and at all sorts of different locations. Everything will become a lot more flexible. Most important is leaving behind the idea that work is something that you do in the physical presence of the boss.

Video games cause aggression

Studies have shown an increase in the levels of aggressive behaviour in people who play violent video games. Less well educated young men who enjoy playing games with violent central characters and also like to be the ‘hero’ in real life behave significantly more aggressively after playing video games than other young men (via tg, Dutch). We are making the virtual world more and more real. What we see today is child’s play compared to what we’ll see in the future. Our human brains are not built to be able to differentiate between the two worlds, they mix it all up together. This will eventually lead to the banning of violence in video games as well as in passive media, so called films. It will take a couple of decades, but we’re slowly moving toward pamper planet.

More porn, less rapes

Northwestern University School of Law‘s Lawyer Anthony D’Amato (US) shows a correlation between a huge decrease in rapes and an increase in watching porn. In countries (or states) with a high internet connectivity the rape rate is lower. So the more porn, the fewer rapes (pt). You could simply conclude that it is all about satisfying needs. Once a need has been satisfied, the ‘tension’ is gone, and the need seems to have decreased for a certain time. The insight that the virtual world (in which porn can be seen) can satisfy all kinds of needs might very well reduce the amount of violent crimes in the future. After all, the physical human being will have plenty of opportunities to work out his angers in a virtual environment. I wonder what the experts think of this.

Boy puts World of Warcraft player on fire

In China a 17 year old boy put a class mate on fire because he thought he was a fire magician from World of Warcraft (cb, Dutch). We imitate the physical world so well, that the virtual world looks more and more real. In 10-15 years our virtual experiences will become so real, that we can hardly understand in what world we have what experiences. In the decades after that the virtual world will keep developing, and the experiences will become more real, but we will get an international ban on violence against other people, against animals or against nature. To make it clear: violence in movies then will also be banned, as those are part of the virtual world as well, and movies too will become more and more real. Earlier or later a total ban on violence on a worldwide scale is unstoppable.

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