The Future Is Now - But Not Everybody Knows It

In July this year, I spoke at the 25th Privacy Laws Annual Conference.

One of the things I most love doing is causing an audience to gasp with shock. I was asked about how businesses should best go about protecting the privacy of the customers - somewhat provocatively I replied "Why should they? Customers don't care."

I then showed them the Twitter feed of @NeedADebitCard - all it does is retweet people who have taken a photo of their debit or credit card and then posted it onto Twitter. Like so...

Getting a debit/credit card is a rite of passage for many young people - just like getting a driving licence or losing one's virginity - so it seems only natural that they should share that experience with their social circle.

Cue a room full of lawyers facepalming and, no doubt, checking their children's Twitter feeds.

Tom Scott does a bang up job of explaining the consequence of the future we're creating - here's his talk "Is This You"

I saw him give him this talk to a room full of MPs which was.... interesting!

Looking at the future is fun - but what's really interesting is looking at the present. That's why, for my money, this is Tom's best talk: "I Know What You Did Five Minutes Ago"

Everything there is possible right now.

In his Notes From Left Field blog post, Jonathan MacDonald made a confession which really resonated with me:

This year I've spoken at dozens of events and I'm increasingly booked by organisations who would like to hear some "challenging thinking" and "new ideas".

Without wishing to dilute the enthusiasm for this(!), I have an admission to make. I need to 'fess up. Right here, right now.

Nothing I'm saying is futuristic, left field, or out there.

Not. One. Concept.

The reason I removed any mention of the term "futurist" linked to my name (as much as possible), is that I'm (at best) a "nowist".

I think William Gibson was wrong when he said that "The future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed" - it is evenly distributed - but people don't know about it.

Your customers are comparing your prices using barcode scanners.
Your boss is reading your Facebook profile to see if you fit the company.
Your friends do post pictures of you drunk onto sleazy websites.
Your constituents will checking your voting record in real time.
You are currently carry a super computer in your pocket.

There's no point trying to predict the future - the present is much more exciting.


4 Responses to “The Future Is Now - But Not Everybody Knows It”

  1. Suw Image of Suw

    In my experience, companies trying to predict the future haven't even got to grips with the last century yet, let alone this one.

    Reply
  2. Barbara Image of Barbara

    I tell my teens all the time about limiting their Facebook usage as bosses and colleges will see them. Customers are definitely taking advantage of bar code scanners to compare prices and get the best deals and it's a wonderful thing.

    Reply
  3. Zak McKracken Image of Zak McKracken

    "Customers don't care" is true, although it's only half the truth.
    You just don't see the customers who do care, because they're not on facebook...

    Reply

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