As we unwrap our pile of presents this week, let’s consider technological advances that will revolutionise our lifestyles over the next decade. Books, CDs and DVDs will be things of the past thanks to iPads and Kindles, while video games are all downloadable. So what gadget gifts will we be giving each other in 2024?
John Straw, Michael Baxter and Julien de Salaberry co-authors of future-gazing technology book iDisrupted, predict how technology will shape our Christmas in ten years’ time.
Unique products for everyone
With customisation being so sophisticated, products such as clothes and shoes can be individualised and, together with robotics products, will be tailor-made for loved ones at a rate never seen before. This will mean everyone receives unique products for Christmas.
3D printing will mean the end of posting gifts weeks before Christmas as all we will need to do is to email the app/code to the recipient for the printer to create the gift at their home.
3D printing will also create a new economy of Christmas gift designers, who would sell you either off the shelf or fully customisable gift ideas, which include the 3D printer code for you to send to the appropriate recipient.
Let it go with virtual reality home entertainment
The anticipated Christmas blockbuster at the cinema will become a totally new experience as the Frozen of 2024 will be a virtual reality experience, in the comfort of your own home.
Waste not, want not
The sharing economy will reduce the number of products we own as we share more details online via Facebook and Twitter. For example, cars or power tools will be shared items, used when and where needed, reducing their desirability as presents.
The sharing economy will also create an opportunity to trade healthcare related personal data, which would enable those less inclined to adopt a healthier lifestyle to buy data, allowing them to reduce their lifestyle results-tested health insurance premium.
Big Data Secret Santa
In 2024 Google and Facebook will know more about what our friends, family and colleagues want than we do. We can tap into this as Facebook/Google could even generate automated present lists by algorithm, governed by a pre-set budget, and ensure people don’t get the same present twice. We needn’t be directly involved other than receiving a message on our device advising us that our nephew’s 3D printer has just completed making the new Beats headphones he has been coveting online for the past 3 months!
There will be an explosion in the number of electronic devices that we use, not just smartphones, but a number of augmented reality products such as Google Glass, hearing devices, fitness bands, etc. Apps will become ever more popular but they will typically be free, so we won’t be able to buy apps as presents.
The modern home would be a smart home that would automatically decorate itself into a Christmas theme, including a hologram tree with decorations, colours, smells etc. This would, of course, be fully customisable by the user.
As products are readily available in the free economy, sharing economy, and via 3D printing it will become more popular to buy services as presents, such as meals in restaurants, or ballooning, short breaks, subscription to apps. But vouchers will be replaced by electronic versions, meaning no fun of unwrapping a gift!
Maybe some virtual presents will come with a code in a card or on a chip that can link to your smartphone via Bluetooth. You unwrap the present, activate it, and an app is downloaded onto your smartphone.
THE presents for 2024
· A robotic companion (think R2D2) able to emotionally connect with its owner and play a comprehensive role as a friend and helper.
· A virtual-reality ticket enabling the owner to experience life as someone else of their choice, for example, Cristiano Ronaldo in at the World Cup Final or Jennifer Lawrence at a film premiere.
iDisrupted is a book about what is quite possibly the most important topic in the world today.
It is about disruptive technology and about how it will affect business, the economy, people who care about whether they will stay have a job in ten years’ time, but, above all, what it is to be human.
Its key point is that technology is changing fast. In fact, the book says the rate of technological change is accelerating at an accelerating rate. This means there is little time for businesses, policy makers and indeed the media to prepare.