If you're a social media addict like me, multiple times a day you will run across into some article proclaiming all of the incredible changes that will be ushered in by Data Science. Self-driving cars, sensors that predict impending health issues, and intelligent personal assistants are only a few of the very real technologies in their nascent stages. The future really is now.
With so much upheaval (or disruption, as we in tech like to call it) - what can we bank on to stay the same? Here's my take:
If there's anything human beings love to do, it's interact with each other. Although we are moving towards farming out mundane tasks to machines and bots, we will always crave interaction with other humans, even if it is over digital media.
It's the nature of communication that will change - increasingly, we are able to interact via visual communication, not just text. The most popular forms of communication lately are all image-based: Snapchat to replace or supplement text social media, Emojis to enhance discussion over email and text, and d3 visualizations in the news. Video conferencing has replaced the traditional conference call, and "calling your mom" can now be replaced with "FaceTiming (or Skyping) your mom."
With great power comes great responsibility. It's a basic human instinct to protect what we own. This translates from our physical property to our virtual assets. Increasingly data-savvy consumers know it's as important to have a secure password as it is to have a good alarm system in your home. This demand for security has to be reflected in how data is handled and stored by companies. Anonymized User ID's, encrypted account numbers, and secure contact information will be de rigeur for any data-driven organization.
The combination of the sharing economy, service economy, and ability to work remotely essentially creates a world where a single individual is not tied to any place, any city, or any object (like an apartment or a car). Yet, one thing humans will always want is a sense of community and belonging. Our identities may become more fluid, but the ones who reach the full potential of this fluidity will see geography as an artificial limitation of community. We'll have greater intersectionality across who we are and how we define ourselves.
Pragmatically, companies would be wise to capitalize on this, as it has the most growth potential. How can we take a fresh perspective on community and realign our services with this fluidity in mind?
With constant lifestyle disruption, it seems difficult for businesses to make long-term goals and decisions. However, there are a few things remain an integral part of society. We will always want to communicate with each other, feel safe and secure, and feel a sense of belonging.