⏩ Future Normal: Fast Forward #7

Amazon's deepfake anti-union Twitter bots; geopolitics and fast fashion; free digital art; tripping via an app and more...

Another week, another half dozen quick glimpses of The Future Normal for you. Can you take one of these signals to spark a discussion, or inspire new thinking?

The future is ours to build, together.


Amazon vs unions, as parodied by deepfake Twitter bots

🔮 #FutureNormal // Possibly the most bizarre, Black Mirror-esque news story of 2021 (so far). Parody bot accounts, complete with deep fake avatars, publicly advocate for Amazon’s employment practices. Trust in online content takes another beating.

💡#TrendTruth // Even the Black Mirror writers would struggle to write this script.

Geopolitics, meet fast fashion.

🔮 #FutureNormal // H&M stores disappear from Apple Maps and ridehailing applications in China, after a year-old statement on Xinjiang cotton incurs local online anger. Welcome to the bizarre new social media-fuelled clash of civilisations.

💡#TrendTruth // We’re long past the idea that online connectivity will bring about world peace. Deep-rooted human behaviors –– and that includes tribalism, fear and wrath –– will be just as present online as they are offline.

Resale fashion platform ThredUp raises $168 million via an IPO.

🔮 #FutureNormal // Two things lie beneath ThredUp’s success: people have realised that instead of being shameful, buying second-hand is savvy and sustainable; on the logistics side, ThredUp’s warehouses apply AI and robotics to automate the sorting, processing and distribution of received items.

💡#TrendTruth // Consumer behavior change. New technology. Combine the two and you have a recipe for unlocking and scaling new business models in ways that were previously impossible.

The Louvre digitizes 480,000 artworks

🔮 #FutureNormal // Is the Louvre trolling the web? When everyone is losing their sh*t over NFTs, you can now pull out your smartphone and browse one of the world’s great art collections from anywhere, for free.

💡#TrendTruth // Information wants to be free. Information also wants to be expensive. Access, or ownership? Both trends are advancing simultaneously.

The new psychedelic frontier: your smartphone?

🔮 #FutureNormal // An intrepid Vice journalist (above) is using Lumenate, an app that claims to help you explore your subconscious. As people become more and more curious about wellness, mindfulness and psychedelics, expect to see more of these kinds of products emerge.

💡#TrendTruth // Is there anything smartphones can’t do? Sometimes you have to step back and marvel at the seemingly infinite utility of the little glass and silicon rectangles.

Thanks for reading. Time for my next mobile-powered trip in front of the Mona Lisa ;)