Our appetite for the instantaneous knows no bounds. Immediate access and automated task completion will make strides toward truly immediate gratification, and they’ll fundamentally change how we spend our time and what we expect from experiences. From printing in 3D to streaming in VR, we’ll have on-demand access to all our desires. We’ll tell our grandchildren: Once upon a time we had to wait.
Where is the world headed?
Everything from entertainment to groceries will be available in an instant.
We will self-diagnose online instead of waiting for a doctor. Drones will deliver our purchase desires within the hour. The revolution will not be televised — it will be streamed and binge-watched on an iPhone. Frontier consumers will be able to 3D print everything from headphones to dresses using open-source code and, more commonly, businesses will 3D print to keep up with consumer demands for immediacy and personalization. As a result, our expectations for immediacy will increase even more. In an era of adaptive devices, prediction will be expected, and right now may already be late.
Repetitive tasks will be taken care of.
Today, for example, we can outsource work to TaskRabbit Taskers and Handy housekeepers. Tomorrow we may have in-home robots to streamline our lives even more. Grocery shopping, schedule management, writing, communication and much more may be taken care of by smart assistants that increasingly connect in traditionally human ways. Like an employee climbing up the corporate hierarchy, humanity is getting a promotion, rising above the level that produces the work and toward the level that manages it.
The number of self-driving cars expected to be on the road by 2020.
The number of hours it took the Chinese company WinSun to 3D print 10 houses in 2014.
The percentage of jobs in the U.S. that are “at risk” of being automated in the next 20 years.
How will Dawn respond?
She’ll gain efficiency:
getting things faster, wanting more, managing more
Dawn has less to do and more to oversee. Automated assistants and affordable outsourcing free her from menial responsibilities like grocery shopping, scheduling and writing thank-you notes. She could automate cleaning her apartment, but she finds the simple manual work cathartic, so she holds onto it.
All this automation could free up time, but she finds ways to fill it with her career and the responsibilities of overseeing all the automated agents working on her behalf.
When it comes to mundane tasks, Dawn chooses delegation over doing.
The on-demand economy includes online marketplaces (ebay and Etsy), transportation (Uber and Lyft), food and grocery delivery (Instacart) and home services (TaskRabbit). How much do U.S. consumers spend annually, in billions, in the on-demand economy?
If she likes something, she watches it all. The most important thing to Dawn is right now. She attends concerts virtually, on her own schedule. She’d rather 3D print a good cabinet shelf than go shopping for the perfect one. She trades accuracy for immediacy, self-diagnosing online instead of waiting for the doctor.
She lives an on-demand life.
Dawn can 3D print what she wants, when she wants it.
The 3D printing market was valued at $7B in 2016. What is the valuation expected to reach by 2020?
… but she’ll also gain instability:
so much is happening automatically
Dawn gets everything faster, speeding up her hedonic treadmill, making her want more. Sometimes she’s nervous that things are happening too quickly or too invisibly. And there are three things she finds intolerable: Waiting, Boredom and Unnecessary Effort. 1) Waiting. She can’t stand buffering, so she’s certainly going to cut ties with any company or any experience that makes her wait. 2) Boredom. With the entirety of the universe’s entertainment collection available in an instant, her expectations for stimulation are astronomical. 3) Unnecessary Effort. She’s a hard worker, so she’s fine with effort — but it’s the unnecessary kind (like repeating information or going back and forth) that she absolutely cannot stand. Her thresholds for these nonstarters are getting lower by the minute.
In a study of 6.7 million internet users around the world, how many seconds were users willing to wait for a video to load before leaving the site?
It’s already happening
(a future-oriented scenario built exclusively from companies operating today)
Dawn takes care of her chores before she leaves the house. A few taps on her phone and she’s scheduled a TaskRabbit to write 27 personalized thank-you notes for the birthday presents she received last week; she’s asked Amy (her AI personal assistant from x.ai) to schedule a new business meeting with a prospective client; she’s sent her grocery list for Amazon Dash to deliver by end of day; she’s tweaked her preferences for Acorns to invest her savings more aggressively; and she’s sent an order into MakerBot to 3D print a toy for her niece’s upcoming birthday. So much to manage! But on the whole it saves her a lot of time — so now she just has higher expectations for how much she should get done.