Patterns of People: Layered Realities
By Adriane Borden
Life as we know it has transitioned from a singular existence to a layered reality. A deeper understanding within the science of neurology, the spread of transhumanism, and the development of seamless technology is driving a new formula for dimensionalized existence. Time and proximity no longer dictate the layers of the world in front of you. As the lines blur within digital culture between what physically exists IRL (in real life) vs. what mentally exists OLO (online only), it becomes apparent that reality is merely an illusion.
How is this trend is coming to life today?
BFF: BEST FICTIONAL FRIENDS
Entertainment is no longer a separate activity in life. It is being fused into everything we do, especially our social media personas. The made-up characters that once entertained us from afar are now our friends, social scene and intimate partners. Reality TV has taken characters off of the untouchable stage and into our everyday personal lives. Social media nurtures these relationships through enabling personal interactions between celebrities and fans, stimulating the brain the same way as in real-life interactions. The more physically isolated we become because of technology and fingertip communication, the more we depend on our intimate connections with fictional characters. Games like PokemonGo allow the real world and imaginary worlds to blend in a gaming format, while the Plot Guru app syncs up with the episode you’re watching real-time on Netflix and sends relevant trivia to engage the viewer on multiple levels.
So what? Younger consumers no longer see a difference between online and offline life. They don’t care about the platform they purchase from, but they do desire fluidity, social connections and full disclosure to knowledge. How will this change consumers’ social scenes?
As we increasingly have more intimate relationships with our machines, our ‘things’ will automate and evolve our human experience. As our understanding deepens around neuroscience, we’re developing our ability to program computers to think beyond functional intelligence into more emotional complexity. It’s predicted that by 2030, computer intelligence levels will achieve the complexity of a human brain. Google has positioned itself to corner this market with the acquisition of a deep learning research company, DeepMind Technologies, a new form of AI that will embed computers with biological thinking. Google now uses it for speech recognition and automatically sorting your photo collection, but aims to start solving larger global issues in healthcare, security, and even agriculture. Intelligent X Beer has used learning technology to created four beers based on a consumer feedback algorithm—becoming the first AI brewed beer. “The AI is about putting all the customers in the same room as the brewer.”
So what? As computers gain more human intelligence and reasoning, they will become the expert concierge that recommends us the perfect products and services. Where will the consumer’s trust lie?
Technological devices are not only entertaining and connecting the world mentally and physically, but are also changing how consumers communicate with each other and with brands. Blurring the lines between man and machine, the devices we cohabitate with have become our health allies. We can now fool our mind into healing its social anxiety or PTSD through virtually exposing it to what we fear the most through ‘Exposure Therapy.’ Virtual reality is a neurological trick that activates brain pathways in the same way as an actual experience, allowing the phobia to feel as if they have experienced their fear in a real way. Food brands like Whole Foods, Pizza Hut and Fooji encourage us to order and use their services via emojis, pairing real time location and current emotions together seamlessly. Alternative insurance company Oscar Health integrates with the wearable tracker Fitbit, encouraging their consumers to submit their Fitbit data; if they reach the daily fitness goals, they get $1 every day.
So what? Allow consumers to seamlessly trade information with the world around them, creating an empathetic reality that is attuned to their current emotions and next desire.
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