In the last few decades, we have made enormous progress for the whole humanity. In this context, please read the book “Factfullness” of Hans Rosling. More people than ever have access to good education, better health care and better hygiene. But of course it cannot be denied that all this progress – and the consumerism that results from it – has also had harmful effects. From fast food to fast fashion, loans, airline tickets, an abundance of products, services and experiences at increasingly interesting and cheaper prices, have over-stimulated consumers. Short-term thinking is coming under heavy pressure.
A new wave of consumers has had enough. They are starting to take an interest in brands, that are intervening and have a longer term perspective in mind. In 2020, intervention becomes a concept and the intervention seekers trending. A second dimension within intervention is that we accept that today’s technology is smarter than people. We want technology to intervene when people threaten to make wrong or stupid decisions. Many industries are developing products and services that will respond to this today, and certainly in 2020.
Instagram has rolled out a function that uses artificial intelligence to prevent online bullying. The function is designed to recognize spiteful language in a comment before the author publishes it. The author then receives a message that his or her message is offensive and he or she is asked if they really want to post it. This intervention has already persuaded many users to remove or rewrite offensive comments.
The Japan-based start-up Vaak launched a system last year that uses artificial intelligence to detect shoplifters before they try to steal an item. VaakEye monitors shoppers’ body language for signs such as fiddling and encourages shop assistants to be close to potential culprits to discourage them from shoplifting. Taking into account privacy laws and ethical aspects of this system, the founder of Vaak believes that shops should be required by law to announce the use of the monitoring system to their customers.A third good example is Odissée of the CHU de Liège. Odissée is a self-evaluation system that will soon be launched as a smartphone app and a site. Odissée stands for ‘Outil décisionnel et informatif des structures de soins efficientes existantes’. The web platform has been developed by emergency doctors, general practitioners and nurses and informs patients in acute situations. If they do not know how to react to certain symptoms or where to find adequate help, they can turn to Odissée. “In this way we can prevent patients from seeking unreliable advice on the internet,” says Dr. Allison Gilbert. The final-year assistant works in the emergency department of the CHU that initiated this project, which is being developed in collaboration with Dr. Edmond Brasseur.