In order to determine what direction a future with Artificial Intelligence is going, it is important to first look at the things we see happening in society as a whole. We spotted trends through keeping track of products and services with future potential and connected them to shared values. These trends are focussed on the near future since their first signs are already visible in the world we know today. Nonetheless they might become bigger over time as the drivers behind them evolve. For now, let’s see what is ahead of us starting with; A human form of tech! 

What is A human form of tech?
As our lives are becoming more and more digital, it is no surprise that as a counter movement we are more appreciative towards human aspects. This is reflected in technological innovations that cross our reality and therefore create an intermediate phase in the process of adapting to a new reality. However, this trend is not limited to technology, it also brings renewed attention for the qualities that make us human such as emotions and creativity.

As our lives are becoming more digital, we are more appreciative towards human aspects.


Where does this trend come from?
Technology is accelerating
Three decades ago no one owned a computer and now most of us carry a small computer, a smartphone, with us and are even (slightly) dependant on it. It feels like technology is progressing faster than ever because it actually is. The reason for this is that each generation of technology improves and benefits over the last one. For example, the first ever computer was designed on paper and assembled by hand while nowadays new computers are designed and produced by other computers. For some this progress is too fast to adapt to. 

We are being forgotten in technology
Mikkel B. Rasmussen, a human science consultant who also co-founded ReD Associates, fears that we are slowly losing the human experience in technology. Companies are so eager to innovate that they are in danger of tech blindness. They feel like every new mobile or digital product is a step forward. While it might make processes more efficient, it does not naturally make the human experience more meaningful. Mikkel believes that that last part is actually the biggest challenge of technology; how can we use it to create meaningful innovations for humans? 

A human form of tech in products and services
Moleskine Smart Planner
Stationary company Moleskine feels like it found the middle ground between efficiency and the old-school charm of writing on paper: the Moleskine Smart Planner. This product launched in September 2017 and included a notebook with smart sensors and a smart pen which are both connected to an online environment in the form of a calendar. This is a good example of ‘A human form of tech’ because it is a familiar way for us to note things, but it does make use of technological opportunities.

Tasko.AI is a soon to be launched crowdsource platform that delivers and collects data from everything a phone of an individual can capture. The idea behind this platform is based on that nowadays a lot of companies are in need of structured data. An easy way to get this data is to ask individuals to do small fun tasks on their phone, such as marking objects in a picture, when they have the time. This platform could be seen as a perfect fit with ‘A human form of tech’ because it offers you a way to contribute to technological development while still feeling in control as a person.

Emotions in health care
If a doctor shows emotions it is often seen as a sign of weakness. It is not seen as a professional attitude. At the same time, it is perfectly reasonable that when you are interacting at a personal level with people who are dealing with health issues, some of these people and their stories stick to you and even move you. Dutch news medium Volkskrant made a series of ten-minute videos targeting this topic by letting doctors and professors talk about ‘that one patient’ that made a lasting imprint. This series shows that, especially in a sector as health care where technology is implemented more and more, human aspects will continue to be just as important. 

How will this trend influence Artificial Intelligence?
The trend ‘A human form of tech’ could very well be seen as a silent call for help. While technological innovations such as Artificial Intelligence are moving so fast, people find themselves feeling overwhelmed. We may not feel resistance towards the technology, but we do need the time to slowly get used to it. This is something that all organizations working with Artificial Intelligence should take into consideration when designing new smart products and services. It is perfectly fine to benefit from the opportunities that AI offers, but in order to gain trust from your costumers it is best to keep it in line with their perceptions of reality. Don’t push things to far and keep asking yourself if your ideas are actually improving Quality of Life rather than just being ‘cool’.

We may not feel resistance towards the technology, but we do need time to slowly get used to it.


How will this trend influence the sharing economy?
One of the elements prevailing in the sharing economy is social interaction, and that is exactly one of the human actions that this trend stresses. While many platforms and social initiatives operate in an online environment, they are often connected to an offline environment. The technology is used to match demand and supply and make the activity of sharing more efficient, but it is just a tool to reach the end goal. Eventually people get connected because they share their personal belongings and skills and they may even meet. ‘A human form of tech’ shows great potential for the platform economy if it succeeds to enable sharing on a large scale while keeping it small and personal to their individual customers.

This blog is the thirth one in our series 'A future with AI' by shareNL. We are a global agency specialized in the sharing and platform economy acting at the interface of technology and society. This means that the topics we discuss are not limited to the sharing and platform economy, but also include new technologies such as Blockchain, IoT, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. Together with our ecosystem we create impact through insights (publications), inspiration (consulting and presentations), intelligence (strategy development and concept development) and interaction (pilot projects and experiences). 

Are you interested in learning more about Artificial Intelligence? Stay on the look out for next week's blog post which will be focussed on another societal trend that might influence technology in the near future. If you would like to discover the opportunities of working together on the topic of Artificial Intelligence, don't hesitate to get in touch with us!