from the world's big
Why buy things you only use once? Enter the subscription economy
Can you imagine owning nothing and having everything? Kevin Kelly has a either a startling window into the future or an idea that will make your head spin.
Kevin Kelly is the founding executive editor of Wired magazine, and a former editor/publisher of the Whole Earth Review. He has also been a writer, photographer, conservationist, and student of Asian and digital culture.
His most recent book is The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future.
KEVIN KELLY: More and more of the things that we find valuable weigh less and less. More and more of their value is in the things that don’t have any weight or mass. These intangibles are really what becomes the driver of our economy and if we can deliver these intangibles anytime, anywhere to anybody that instant aspect of them means that we, in fact, don’t have to own them anymore. So I really don’t own any movies. I subscribe to Netflix. I don’t really own much music. I have Spotify or Pandora, Apple Music. And increasingly that’s going to be true for games and books.
And if it’s true for all those things that we can make intangible very easily, it also is true that the benefits of subscribing to something rather than owning them are moving to the physical world as well. And we can see something like Uber as an example of that where if you can summon a car anytime, anywhere you want to, why would you own it? It’s going to be as good and maybe even better than owning because ownership has a lot of liabilities – storing, cleaning, maintaining, upgrading that we actually don’t really want to have. If we can subscribe and not own a car but have all the benefits of using a car what about other things? How far can that go? And we can kind of imagine pushing this to some far logical extreme where maybe some individual in the future doesn’t really own very much of anything. They can access or subscribe to everything in their lives. Maybe we can put all these together in kind of an extreme form and imagine a day in the life of somebody who is going about without owning any of the things that we normally associate with owning. Maybe even like clothes. So the way that would go is if you could have instant delivery to your box somewhere within a few hours of anything that you need anywhere you were in the world maybe you subscribe to clothes and clothes come to you. You wear them once, they’re taken away, they’re recycled and cleaned and they’re given to someone else who may only wear them once. And with clothes this is already happening in the high end of tuxedos and things that we know we only wear occasionally but can even go into daily wear as well if again it was something that was being recycled and cleaned and sent on to someone else whose body was scanned and digitized, and we knew from experience that these clothes were going to fit their body particularly.
And you could have digital avatars where you could try clothes on. If we could imagine clothes, why not furniture? Why not toys? Toys are used for a short time by kids as they grow up and maybe they could be subscribed to instead of being purchased. What about tools or kitchen stuff that you only use occasionally? The turkey roaster that you could summon on Thanksgiving, have delivered to your house within an hour. You use it, give it back, they clean it, they store it and they’ll be ready to deliver it to you whenever you need it again. Camping equipment: Everybody wants the latest and the greatest high tech this year’s most sophisticated camping technology. Why would you buy camping equipment when you only use it occasionally and you could subscribe to the best instead. So we can kind of multiply this again and again to this vision where we’re moving from ownership to access. If you can get access to things, instant delivery, maybe even 3D printing. Things given and manufactured and put in front of you on demand then that in many ways for most people becomes better than owning it.
Could you imagine owning nothing? Depending on your stance on the concept of ownership, Kevin Kelly has a either a startling window into the future or an idea that will make your head spin. Take the so-called "sharing economy" and apply it to all the objects in your house. Would you join a Netflix for kitchen appliances, or would you rather spend $200 a pop on something you'll use once a year? Would you subscribe to a camping equipment provider paying maybe $35 a month or would you rather spend a grand on a tent you'll use two to three nights in the summer? Kelly's sharing idea isn't new (Uber, the aforementioned Netflix, AirBnB, the list goes on) but applied to the very objects that are probably surrounding you right now, it sure makes a ton of sense. "Imagine owning next to nothing," Kelly says in our interview. For the collectors and materially motivated amongst us... that might be difficult concept to swallow. Kevin Kelly's most recent book is The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future.
Educators and administrators must build new supports for faculty and student success in a world where the classroom might become virtual in the blink of an eye.
- If you or someone you know is attending school remotely, you are more than likely learning through emergency remote instruction, which is not the same as online learning, write Rich DeMillo and Steve Harmon.
- Education institutions must properly define and understand the difference between a course that is designed from inception to be taught in an online format and a course that has been rapidly converted to be offered to remote students.
- In a future involving more online instruction than any of us ever imagined, it will be crucial to meticulously design factors like learner navigation, interactive recordings, feedback loops, exams and office hours in order to maximize learning potential within the virtual environment.
Placing science and religion at opposite ends of the belief spectrum is to ignore their unique purposes.
- Science and religion (fact versus faith) are often seen as two incongruous groups. When you consider the purpose of each and the questions that they seek to answer, the comparison becomes less black and white.
- This video features religious scholars, a primatologist, a neuroendocrinologist, a comedian, and other brilliant minds considering, among other things, the evolutionary function that religion serves, the power of symbols, and the human need to learn, explore, and know the world around us so that it becomes a less scary place.
- "I think most people are actually kind of comfortable with the idea that science is a reliable way to learn about nature, but it's not the whole story and there's a place also for religion, for faith, for theology, for philosophy," says Francis Collins, American geneticist and director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). "But that harmony perspective doesn't get as much attention. Nobody is as interested in harmony as they are in conflict."
Studying voice recordings of infected but asymptomatic people reveals potential indicators of Covid-19.
A leading British space scientist thinks there is life under the ice sheets of Europa.
- A British scientist named Professor Monica Grady recently came out in support of extraterrestrial life on Europa.
- Europa, the sixth largest moon in the solar system, may have favorable conditions for life under its miles of ice.
- The moon is one of Jupiter's 79.
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A study finds people are more influenced by what the other party says than their own. What gives?
- A new study has found evidence suggesting that conservative climate skepticism is driven by reactions to liberal support for science.
- This was determined both by comparing polling data to records of cues given by leaders, and through a survey.
- The findings could lead to new methods of influencing public opinion.