10 Hot Consumer Trends 2030- Connected Intelligent Machines
Apps Unveiled|February 2021
What roles can we expect machines to take on in everyday consumer life by 2030?

I was surprised to see that consumer expectations on smarter connectivity are higher than for any other connected intelligent machine type. The ‘Connectivity Gofers’ trend includes predictions that devices will intelligently adapt to any signal, with use of cellular, Wi-Fi and fixed connectivity being seamless, as well as smart signal locators that guide users to spots with optimal coverage even in crowded areas. This points to opportunities for 5G service providers to gradually extend intelligent networks to cover a whole range of new services for their customers, and each of the machine roles we present in this report could be seen as a whole new service area.

The ‘Community Bots’ trend, for example, highlights the role machine intelligence could take in providing much-needed community services. The ‘Explainers’ puts forward the idea that all connected devices need to be able to explain themselves to users, and ‘Sustainability Bots’ focuses on the increased need for localized intelligent climate advice going forward. What all of these potential services have in common is that they rely on intelligently communicating across devices and thus puts the networking aspect even more in the front seat than today. — Dr. Michael Björn, Head of Research Agenda, Ericsson Consumer & IndustryLab, and Author of this Report

What roles can we expert machines to take on in everyday consumer life by 2030?

Imagine waking up in the morning and feeling that every day is exhilaratingly different. And what if some of that feeling of anticipation is generated by devices in your household? Rather than normalizing your routine and turning your preferences into a grey blur of sameness, they instead add intelligence, even creativity, to the choices they make for you.

Today, the shower temperature is a bit colder because you didn’t sleep too well, and need a bit of extra waking up. So, the coffee is stronger, and — surprise, surprise — the croissants have been replaced by whole grain bread because, well, you need to shape up a bit in order to sleep better.

Your workday starts with an overview from your automated work assistant, while your office chair readjusts its position to make sure the body ache you experienced last week won’t come back. After the workday, you pass by a distant neighbor you didn’t even know before your intelligent agents mutually agreed that the sofa she was selling was exactly what you wanted — which you then bought from her at a machine-negotiated price. Back home again, your automated financial adviser helps with your vacation plans and suggests bookings that are optimal for your family’s interests while meeting your budget ceiling. Later in the evening, you settle down with an intelligently curated selection of TV shows that gently challenges your political views. Seeing things from different perspectives can be fun!

Will your day look like this in the future? “At Ericsson Research, our vision is that advances in AI and cellular communications technology will enable connected intelligent machines to securely communicate across the networks of tomorrow. In the process, they could make the world more responsive to your implicit needs than ever before.”

Saying that machines are about to become intelligent doesn’t necessarily mean that they will look like humans, with arms, legs, and a friendly smiling face. They could just as well be faceless silicon abstractions that do things more quickly and logically than a human ever could.

In either case, they might not just be mindless automatons or servants that unthinkingly follow your every whim without considered reasoning.

In this study, respondents were presented with 8 connected intelligent machine concepts, ranging from human-centered to a more rational perspective, in 14 different categories, making a total of 112 concept ideas. The result is an overview of the different roles that connected intelligent machines are most likely to take in everyday consumer life during the coming decade, according to respondents. Do you agree with them? What do you think the connected intelligent future will hold?

Trend 1:

BODY BOTS

Connected machines are expected to augment consumers physically - and mentally.

The word exoskeleton may sound very high-tech, but it is one of the oldest things you could imagine. Living organisms have used exoskeletons to support and protect their bodies as far back as in the Precambrian era, and humans have been using them since the late 19th century to assist body motion. But it may be only now, with the advent of low-cost AI chips, new and lighter battery technologies, and low latency 5G networks, that exoskeletons become part of everyday life.

Although 6 in 10 think that exoskeleton suits that guide them in-home repairs and provide the strength to carry almost anything will be available by 2030, it is another type of strength that early adopter urbanites globally are predicting to be of even higher importance. As many as 76 percent say there will be intelligent posture-supporting suits helping people to maintain the correct position when going about their daily activities. Half of them would even like to use such a suit themselves.

This modern focus on wellness rather than brute strength is also reflected in the 71 percent believing lightweight and foldable exercise machines that send personalized food recipes to your cooking appliances will be available in the future.

Intriguingly, modern urbanites seem to think that power primarily lies in the ability to control technology around them. Hence, 71 percent predict that by 2030, we will have AI assistants that translate everything they say to code, giving humans the power to program any device. Maybe your mind could enable the ultimate body enhancement.

Of those who would want to use a body bot, 4 in 10 believe it is high status to have devices that don’t share data with third parties. In contrast, among those who think body bots will not be used by 2030, only 17 percent think it is high status to have devices that don’t share data with third parties.

Trend 2:

GUARDIAN ANGELS

A spiraling increase in use of guardian tech is on the horizon

Given that life remains full of unforeseen hazards, using technology to help guard oneself seems to be an option for many. In fact, 30 percent believe that all 8 guardian angel concepts—that researchers at Ericsson asked about will be available by 2030.

More specifically, as many as 75 percent say that networked item trackers, which can find things that were stolen or borrowed without being returned will be available by then; it is also the kind of connected intelligent guardian that most would like to use themselves. Imagine all your belongings having functionality like “find my phone,” and it may give you an idea of what such a future could be like.

But data is also important to us – and that importance is set to grow over the decade. Three-quarters believe privacy guardians that organize personal devices to reduce digital footprints, fool surveillance cameras, and block electronic snooping will be in use 10 years from now. Simultaneously, just as people can keep track of things, things can also keep track of people. For that reason, it makes sense that 70 percent predict devices with the ability to shield them from anything and everything using connectivity to track them, will also be available.

But what if you are the one being guarded against? A third would like to use an artificial private investigator that collects online monitoring data to spy on family members, neighbors or other people they suspect of wrongdoing. Interestingly, around a third also say that such guardian technology could affect them negatively. In that light, the networked item tracker seems more trustworthy, with 53 percent wanting to use one themselves and only 17 percent thinking there could be a negative effect in doing so.

However, the negative side effects were higher with all other guardian angel bots. For example, around a quarter think that nanobots that live in the bloodstream to combat cancers and viruses by exchanging data with other people’s nanobots could be bad for them. Despite this, almost half still wanted to use such technology.

Interestingly, among those who wanted to use guardian angels, as many as two-thirds saw that such technology could also adversely affect them.

Trend 3:

COMMUNITY BOTS

Where technology collaborate, neighborhoods could blossom

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