PHD China aired its documentary ‘Merge’ at the GDMS 2017 event in Shanghai last week, presenting some of the industry’s leading futurists views on the impacts eight emerging technologies will have on consumer behaviors. The screening was accompanied by a panel discussion led by PHD China CEO, Anna Chitty, exposing audiences to the key opportunities opening up to marketers.

In its documentary, PHD asserts that over the next 50 years, humanity will see the rise of robots and artificial intelligence. Technology and humanity will literally fuse together, seeing exponential developments in the field of hearables, wearables, virtual personal assistants, chatbots and the semantic web.

“The consumer world is constantly being disrupted, creating an enormous impact on the advertising and marketing industries,” said Chitty. “As technology continues to advance, many of the decisions consumers currently make will eventually be made by algorithms and self-taught machines instead, leaving brands struggling to influence an algorithm rather than a human.”

Foreseeing a future in which cognitive computing transcends devices, PHD looks at the eight fundamental developments that businesses can adopt to ready themselves for a new epoch.

“These developments or technologies will fundamentally increase our connectivity and extract meaning from data much more effectively,” said Sandy Tan, PHD China’s Head of Digital for Unilever. “The increasing popularity of smart objects, combined with the ubiquity of smartphones, is creating an ultra-connected era. In the coming two to three decades, we will no longer need to access the internet via screens. Our homes, clothes, cars and even are bodies will be hooked to the web, where each will generate its own stream of data.”

The eight areas and technologies identified by PHD include:

  1. Next-generation wearables
  2. Hearables
  3. Next-generation virtual personal assistants (VPA)
  4. Messenger concierges
  5. NLUI chatbots
  6. Data layers
  7. The AR web
  8. First-generation MR

Denise Ng, Mobile Strategy Director at PHD China, commented: “Machine learning will be a key driver in the development of fundamental areas that will shape our future. Some of these developments are already being seen within the field of smart wearable and hearable devices. Motiv – the new iPhone-compatible smart ring that is capable of unlocking phones, transferring information and tracking your health – is a wonderful example of where smart wearables are heading. Smart hearable devices, such as the Xperia Ear, help people check diary appointments, send messages via dictation and listen to social media updates on the move. These developments are only the initial stages of what these devices will become in the future and the possibilities they will enable for marketers as well as consumers”.

“As the next three decades will be the most technologically disruptive era in human history, we will soon find ourselves to be as dependent on connectivity and technology as we are on oxygen,” added Chitty. “When this occurs, machines will be even more embedded into our lives. And as they continue learning from us, they might eventually become even more intelligent than us.”