From tribes to teams, our drive for power has dictated behavior for centuries. Technology will give us new opportunities to wield power in line with our personal preferences. Production will be personalized to the unique wants of controlling, empowered consumers. Consumption will be a customized act of cocreation. We’ll wield deity-level authority over our lives and use that power to make and modulate everything from our homes to our jeans to our genes.
Where is the world headed?
We’ll live in environments of learned customization.
Much customization will be automatic, as our connected devices intelligently learn our tastes and preferences, enabling smart purchases and emotionally responsive environments. We’ll be able to control our smart things anywhere, anytime. Our homes will know us by our heartbeats and will adjust temperature, entertainment and art based on our stated and imputed preferences. Stores will change displays based on a simple customer scan, making in-person interactions as adaptive as the Amazon home page. We’ll increasingly expect technology to form an intelligent, adaptable ecosystem around us.
Products will automatically adapt to us.
Our jobs, homes, healthcare and devices will aggregate data across sources for better, customized recommendations and outcomes. Biometrics and sensors will measure our changing emotions and well-being, understanding how a past purchase improved us (or didn’t). Product recommendations will take into account the whole you, the future you and data from people like you. Prices will be personalized based on on-demand measures like individual willingness to pay and supply measures like local stock availability. Credit scores and generic star ratings will seem impersonal and antiquated. Personal values will drive decisions as big data enables the control knobs for decision-making to become increasingly customized. Medicine will get more personalized, and genomics will allow targeted control over health outcomes.
Modularity, mixing and customization will become the expectation.
This era of options marks the end of standardized experiences. Endless customizability implies and invites participation and self-expression. Standard will simply be the starting point as we increasingly craft our own world through control, customization and creation.
The percentage of customers interested in personalized products that are willing to pay a premium for them.
The percentage of all data that is ever analyzed and used.
The number of product ideas submitted on Starbucks’ co-creation platform since its launch in 2008.
How will Dawn respond?
She’ll gain power:
control over devices, environments and outcomes
Dawn controls more than ever — even automatically. She steps in her car and it already knows where she’s going. She opens her messages and only sees what’s important. Her meal is made and delivered in the perfect portion. She saves a lot of time at home and at work because of how personalized her environments are. It makes her feel special, too, walking around in her own connected kingdom.
Dawn’s home knows her heartbeat.
Today, biometric applications include airport scanning devices and the iPhone’s Touch ID. In 2015, the market was valued at US $19.74 billion. What size is the market expected to reach by 2022?
She has high expectations. She knows she is tracked, so she expects to be understood and even anticipated. Products should be tailored to her. She hates what’s mass-produced and only buys from big companies if what they make is adaptable or customizable. Every purchase is an opportunity for self-expression. And in a modular, mixed, made-to-measure world, Dawn only buys what’s exactly right for her. The world is hers, quite literally. The world she sees and experiences is made for her.
Dawn makes purchase decisions based on her DNA.
In 2000, it cost $100 million to sequence an entire human genome. By 2006, that cost had been reduced to $25 million. How much did it cost in 2016?
… but she’ll also gain fatigue:
uneasy lies the head that wears the crown
With great power comes great responsibility, and at times Dawn feels overburdened by choice and decision-making. Since every environment, product and purchase can be perfectly tailored to her, she feels pressure to make sure every environment, product and purchase is in fact perfect. And if she chooses wrong, she feels a lot of regret because she knows the perfect choice was possible.
With so much data about Dawn, the “perfect” decision is always within reach.
How many years did it take to create 90% of the data existing in the world today?
It’s already happening
(a future-oriented scenario built exclusively from companies operating today)
Since Dawn plans to stay in Miami for six months, she’s chosen a smart apartment that will learn and adapt to her preferences. The screen on her Samsung smart refrigerator automatically tags its contents with the expiration dates and generates recipes and grocery lists based on her frequent purchases. Her Whirlpool laundry machine saves her washing preferences and automatically orders detergent when it’s running low (scanning every detergent brand each time to ensure she receives the lowest price). Her Echo-compatible lights dim as they detect her mood, and her Nest Thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature based on her schedule. With custom-made clothing from Amazon, her clothes are always unique and perfectly fitted. Dawn expects everything to be precisely tailored to her, especially with all of the data she gives up. Even with her most recent loan, Kreditech considered 20,000 of her data points (location data, Facebook statuses, call logs, etc.), to create a loan that fits her finances, lifestyle and needs perfectly.