Why virtual reality is necessary on a planet of 11 billion

Virtual reality is more than a trick. It's a solution to big problems.

  • According to projections shared by the UN, Earth's population is expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050. By the year 2100, that number could increase to 11 billion. Virtual reality will be necessary to reduce the waste of such a large population in industries like transport, retail, and manufacturing.
  • As an existing technology, there is a lot that virtual reality can do: rich and immersive environments, heightened storytelling, emotionally resonant experiences, and increased productivity in retail. But it's only in its infancy.
  • As the world's population continues to grow, the technology will need to evolve to facilitate a larger network of users, and developers will have to think harder about the technological potential and the ethical, neurological, and emotional side effects.

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Conspicuous consumption is over. It’s all about intangibles now

These new status behaviours are what one expert calls 'inconspicuous consumption'.

Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Tiffany
In 1899, the economist Thorstein Veblen observed that silver spoons and corsets were markers of elite social position.
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How the last two centuries led to today’s economy

The best and worst of yesterday has created the economy of today.

  • Adam Davidson, co-founder of NPR's Planet Money, can trace a line through time from homemade clothing and baked goods to today's passion economy. Davidson argues that a combination of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are how we got to where we are.
  • We shifted from an intimate and localized economy of goods and services, to an economy of scale, and finally to what Davidson refers to as "intimacy at scale."
  • There are, of course, positive attributes to this hybrid economic system, but it also comes with some of the flaws of its predecessors.

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This 1997 Jeff Bezos interview proves he saw the future coming

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, explains his plan for success.

  • Jeff Bezos had a clear vision for Amazon.com from the start.
  • He was inspired by a statistic he learned while working at a hedge fund: In the '90s, web usage was growing at 2,300% a year.
  • Bezos explains why books, in particular, make for a perfect item to sell on the internet.
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Now That Amazon Bought Whole Foods, What's next for Shopping?

Amazon's blockbuster purchase of Whole Foods will lead to big changes in how we shop.

The Amazon Fulfilment Centre prepares for Black Friday on November 25, 2015 in Hemel Hempstead, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

When Amazon bought the upscale grocery chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, it immediately set off speculation about the changing nature of shopping. Already the behemoth of online retailers, Amazon will now dramatically expand its physical presence, courtesy the 460 Whole Foods stores worldwide.

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