THE RITUAL OF THE FUTURE
︎︎︎ JULIA MORSELT & LYNDEN WAARDENBURG / TECHNOLOGY
THE RITUAL OF CONNECTING
In a world full of technological possibilities, humans still long to connect either virtually or in real life. One does this through many platforms. The possibilities are endless. In 2020, we thought that we were on the highpoint of technology. Ten years later, our life pretty much happens online.
We managed to control algorithms, which was a tough battle. Now, we have kind-hearted algorithms who want to connect, instead of divide. Politics have been banned from algorithms, so humans will not be manipulated while voting. Polarization has been avoided and people now have to talk about their political preferences in real-life, instead of voicing them online.
After the infamous Trump administration, fake news was taken under the loop.. It will never be possible to have complete accurate news because of different opinions and the way people perceive. We have learnt from the chaos caused by fake news and conspiracy thinkers. There still is freedom of speech, but we are now filtering the way it influences people.
EDUCATION ON INFORMATION
After years of educating the classic way, we decided that it was time for change. We realized that apart from our life on this planet, our children lead an entire other life; online. Our pupils had to be educated on how they use social media and in the way, they perceive online information. We had to protect and educate them. This international program in online education reduced cyberbullying by 70%.
The food industry has gone through a massive change as well. The more our planet started to warm up, the more we realized we had to change the way we produce our food. Instead of taking up big parts of the planet for agriculture, we started to build agricultural flats. We can stack vegetables, greens and fruits and harvest vertically. This caused many lands to be agricultural free again. Slowly but surely, wildlife is returning to this once damaged land.
In 2020, we were still researching new techniques such as 3d printing and DNA manipulation for food. Ten years later, we are buying more and more genetically manipulated meat and fish. It has turned out to be a cheaper alternative for meat and no animals need to be harmed. The ones really wanting to eat real meat, can visit their local butcher for a quality product.
CONQUERING COLLECTIVE LONELINESS
Because of the 2020 pandemic, the world almost collapsed, yet we got creative. Distances around earth are getting smaller by techniques, invented to conquer loneliness. It started with talking robots for the elderly. The robots would entertain the elderly, ask them how their day was and play games with them. We never traded real nurses and caretakers for the robots. Even though our world is getting more and more automated, we all know that a world without real nurses, caretakers, mentors and psychologists would be a world without meaning. We started to see algorithms as something to add value to our life, instead of using it to fill up a void.
Even when talking about intimacy, we invented many great things. Suits with sensors and AR experiences to make you see and feel intimacy. Couples suits were invited to connect through touch, from afar. And not a long time ago, one of our biggest tech giants announced a new program with holograms. It will never be the same as being with someone in real life, but technology helps us to bridge social distance, step by step.
CREATING OUR OWN RITUALS
Our life is revolving less around religion or cultural rituals, because the 2030-generation is creating their own. One of the biggest improvements is that we all make time to take care of ourselves, and sharing your ‘me-time’ ritual has become one of the biggest trends. Send a package with your personally selected product to a friend. Make them experience your ritual. Book a holographic spa treatment in your own bathroom or invite a friend through holographics.. Or you can compose your perfect ritual by booking a VR appointment with a skin specialist. They can zoom into your skin so closely through VR, that they will be able to tell you exactly what you need. You can enjoy each other’s rituals whilst not having to leave your house. It no longer matters where you or your beloved ones are, you can always feel close to them by sharing your ritual. Through technology they will feel almost as close as in real life.
Rituals has played into this massive trend. They provide everything one needs to make new rituals, create ‘me-time’, and share all of this. Rituals is one of the biggest stakeholders in the self-care industry and have focussed completely on digitalizing this precious and personal moment.
Our lives now revolve around being together, either in real life or virtually. Once seen as our biggest enemy, algorithms no longer cause division and polarization. They enhance connection and battle collective loneliness. They give new dimensions to our life, our rituals and our connections.
THE RITUAL OF STEPPING BACK
Who would have thought that our world would go through such change, and mostly just because of one pandemic. Back in 2000, everything was focussed on technological inventions and digitalization. We thought by now, algorithms would determine everything in our lives, from the food we produce to the friendships we make and maintain. But then 2020 came and this future collapsed. We had to deal with one of the biggest changes in the past 30 years: Covid-19 completely reorganized our lives.
While in lockdown, we noticed we crave human contact. Meeting people via digital space did not fulfil this need. We want to go out with friends and family, be able to hug them and look them in their real-life eyes. We want our lives to happen offline instead of online.
TOUCH, TRY AND SMELL SHOPPING
The biggest change was for retailers: ever since people became more familiar with online shopping, brick and mortar seemed doomed. But nowadays the opposite is our everyday life: we mainly shop in stores. We love to feel the touch of the fabric on our skin, the smell of the body perfume or try on our new sunglasses. Retailers are now bringing innovations for a personal, offline experience at home. Instead of focussing on creating big, undifferentiated communities, a personal approach is now key.
SOCIAL, NOT MEDIA
As a counter-development to mass-communication, social media is focussing on building personalized connections, real relationships and bridges from one human to another. To support the offline connections, we voted for two hours a day without internet or phone access. We can now connect with people in real-life and even if we meet them through social media, we are now forced to keep in touch with them offline. Social media isn’t focussing on media anymore, but on social.
MONEY NEVER SMELLED SO GOOD
With the fourth industrial revolution in the back of our minds, we created virtual money in 2009: the Bitcoin. With this valuta, we were able to pay for certain items, in stores and to others. In the digital world, you could be a millionaire, but when people, stores or banks did not support payment via Bitcoin, you had nothing. So when the economy shifted from buying and existing online to offline, Bitcoin crashed. A lot of banks invested in re-launching cash money, since we want to see what we own and appreciate the value of it. We keep a close look on our spendings and a 5 euro note never smelled so good.
PRODUCING REAL FOOD
When we found out a lot of people got sick from manipulated foods, we started to produce local again. Not only did we reintroduce jobs which needed expertise, we also made sure people take care of each other through their jobs, since we are producing without harming nature or our bodies. Our food now contains smart labels, which colours the food when it cannot be eaten anymore. This reduces food waste and prevents illness due to bacteria.
Touch is the essence of this century. Before we did not even feel the need to be intimate anymore. We had robots, suits and dolls to replace human touch. This brought intimacy to a whole new level, but at the same time, touch was what we longed for. So when we had to re-invent our offline lives, we also had to re-invent intimacy. We had to experience again, which eventually only brought us closer together.
When we found out the government was able to see our movements and follow us via camera’s on the street, tap our phones and decide what we could and could not see on the internet due to algorithms and digitalization, we created a 5G blocker. Due to this blocker, we are now able to speak freely and within a range of 500 meters, nobody is able to tap us. This way our personal space became an ultimate relaxing space.
STEPPING BACK INTO A RICHER LIFE
In 2031, our lives have been reversed. What we once saw as the past is now our future. We do not have affinity with many digital inventions anymore, since they only divide us. We want to share, experience and live. Show others what life is worth living for! Rituals will continue to exist, but as an offline experience. The shopping experience around Rituals will make sure it will distinguish from other brands, they focus on body, mind and soul, whilst other brands solely focus on product. Besides the experience, Rituals will stand out because of pricing: since we now keep better track of what we spend, we value what we get. We no longer want to spend money on a product because of the name, but because of the experience you get for it. Rituals will help people to reinvent their own rituals in life and experience what we have been missing out on for so long. How were we able to let digitalization intervene with our daily lifestyle? How did we live without the ones we love and how were we able to give up so much of the real-life? The way we live now might seem a step back, but it is such a rich life, full of human connection, touch and valuable rituals.