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Pretty soon, Alexa could be doing your grocery shopping and you might not like what she comes home with. We asked a few experts what they foresee for 2019 based on the year that was.
Consumer consciousness was a big topic last year, says ‘trend translator’ Bronwyn Williams of Flux Trends. Unhappy clients who are dissatisfied with a company’s ethics or moral standing began to voice their unhappiness by taking their money elsewhere.
AI had a huge impact on numerous sectors, including healthcare, where robots have begun to review data to solve all kinds of problems, says Tony Walt, chief solutions and operating officer at Internet Solutions.
People the world over became increasingly concerned about the gross inequality in societies around the world with regard to everything from income and job opportunities to education and social mobility.
Straying from tradition, young people are choosing the single life, according to the 2018 Top Ford Future Trends report, and for the first time in recorded history there were more single people in the US than married couples.
Employees will increasingly out employers’ dirty practices in the same way that consumers already are voicing their dismay with companies they disagree with, says Williams.
Big data and AI will play a bigger role in how companies manipulate our behaviour, for better or worse, says Williams. Just think of wearables and how they already impact our day-to-day activities by tracking our behaviour and rewarding (or not) our choices.
Companies like Google and Amazon own staggering amounts of data based on our daily searches and interactions with tech, such as home assistants, and will use it to remove us further and further from making conscious purchasing decisions, says Williams. For instance, a home assistant like Alexa may order your groceries online not by brand but by price, depending on which algorithm it uses. Or, if you constantly stream one band or genre of music through the internet, related ads will start popping up across your devices.
Credit data will play a bigger role in how we are rated, says Williams. Banks will be able to use information like your cell data to determine whether you’re eligible for a loan and employers will be able to use all kinds of data to check how ethical you are and for which position you would be best suited.
China already made headlines when it announced in December 2018 that it plans to rank its entire population on a so-called social credit system. ‘Those who violate the law and lost the trust will pay a heavy price,’ the government warned.
What happens when an automated car driven by a robot kills somebody on the road? Who’s responsible, the robot or the owner of the robot? These questions will come into play in future, warns Williams. In the same vein, she says, we’ll have to ask how much responsibility large companies can shift to their devices.