Silent commerce: automatic consumption via calm tech
The dematerialisation, demonetisation and democratisation of shopping has only just begun. The end of consumption as we know it is approaching. Silent commerce is one plausible future plot.
This is an excerpt from the GDI study "The End of Consumption As We Know It".
A growing level of everyday consumption (transaction consumption) is seamlessly processed from machine to machine. We currently experience this with payment transactions, which are becoming faster and more natural, and almost entirely without human contact or communication. Amazon Go allows customers to walk out of the shop without any human contact, with transactions automatically debited.
Calm Tech is a technology which deliberately stays in the background and catches our attention as rarely as possible. The aim is to disintermediate what is boring and troublesome by resolving these issues virtually so we can focus on things that are actually important without stress and distraction.
In everyday life, our personal assistant, programmed with our personal priorities and likes and dislikes, is in continuous communications with potential providers. You would like a cup of hot chocolate, but only made from fair-trade cocoa beans? But of course! Your assistant communicates with the assistants of all surrounding coffee shops and restaurants offering such chocolate and then checks if all your other requirements are also met (e.g., no child labour, equal pay for women and men, payment in preferred currency or payback points). If several coffee shops in the area meet all necessary requirements, the hot chocolate order will be put out for bid and the best offer is accepted. All these negotiations take place completely invisibly to the person involved. The buyer gets his or her hot chocolate, the retailer gets their revenue and the machines deal with the transaction independently.