In a world of ever-evolving technology, at what point do we accept it as our only future?
Whether you like it or not, tech will find you and tech will help to ease the burden of everyday life – or so we are lead to believe...
If we rewind some years, according to a popular paraphrasing of Darwin’s work:
“It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.”
Fast-forward to the present day and this idea is still very relevant. Our environment is continually changing and undeniably a lot of attention is focused on how technology can improve our lifestyles and day to day efficiencies. Acronyms like ‘IoT’ are creeping into everyday life; at what point are we satisfied that the Internet of Things is no longer an idealistic vision, but a way of life that will help humanity to evolve?
With the Smart Summit hosted earlier this year in London, it was clear to see that competition is rife between the players in the connected homes space. Thermostats, virtual home locking and vacuum cleaners all sit amongst the endless list of things you can connect to your mobile device. It makes you wonder how we have survived until now without such handy gadgets, begging the question, are humans just getting lazy? As it stands, there are no marketing comms out there that cry ‘Buy this now so you can sit down for longer!’, or ‘No need to move, just press this button!’ – is ‘Buy n Large’ from WALL-E really a premonition of our future? Let’s hope not.
In the grand scheme of things, do people want to be labelled as lazy, or do they want to be seen as elite trend setters? In this instance, perhaps the latter is more favourable, and indeed there is a steady incline of Early Adopters in this market – climbing slower than initially predicted, but an incline nonetheless.
Amazon, Google and Apple are all leading the way with voice interfaces, so if you sneeze and no one’s around, there will always be an entity ready to ‘bless you’ on cue. Interestingly, there is a multitude of reasons why individuals are switching over from analogue to digital. Simply put, no one person is the same and each has different needs, hence why we are seeing the likes of IFTTT taking simple ideas and integrating them seamlessly into a person’s everyday life.
If we drill down even further, it’s likely that we will also see a host of new ideas generated by consumers themselves. Insight from the Smart Summit suggests that consumers aren’t just waiting to be surprised by the tech industry, but rather they have an expectation of how the tech industry should surprise them. With customer expectations already set high for speed, usability and security, it’s important to remember just how valuable these insights are.
Big Data is becoming ‘Even Bigger Data’ so the systems supporting the collection of consumer behaviour will ultimately hold the key to the company’s success. Crucially, the analysis of consumer data needs to be organised to ensure that response times are met and steps are put in place to adapt the technology in a timely manner.
From a consumer’s point of view, how much trust should they put into brands? What are brands actually doing with their data? And why are consumers letting brands peek through a digital window into their everyday lives? In some ways it’s a bit chicken and egg. Consumers want technology to enhance their lives, yet the ability to maintain a healthy balance between automated and manual tasks is increasingly important. The more tech they use, the more their data can be utilised to help create a perfect formula that’s individual to them. From a brand’s perspective it comes down to the survival of the fittest, and to survive they need their loyal customers to believe in the tech they produce and do the hard work in testing that it has a place in the future market.
If we take this one step further, from ‘wanting’, to ‘needing’ tech, ultimately this idea may change life as we know it. At the moment this could be more thought-provoking in the health space than any other industry. Though we have been able to react to health woes for many centuries, it may soon come to a point where we can prevent them from occurring altogether. If brands can help to harvest the right type of data in real time, from our very own bodies, who’s to say that technology is not merely an option but rather a necessity to humanity?
Already there are credible stories circulating in the media of wearable tech that has saved people’s lives, from heart defects to blood pressure problems, all because of a health app on their watch. Saving lives has always been the goal of healthcare, and if it can be streamlined to the point where we can accurately predict when a person is about to ‘go down’, tech – in the eyes of the consumer – will surely be essential to their longevity, wellbeing and future to come. Maybe we should just be mindful that if we have a greater number of healthy people in the world, are we still able to sustain a future where our planet can cope with more people in it?
And so, as the tech circle of life continues … as Darwin once suggested Intelligence is based on how efficient a species became at doing the things they need to survive, and if tech can help us to survive, perhaps we should question at what point the intelligence of machines will surpass that of mankind.