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Ericsson ConsumerLab 2019 trends report

Technology is promising more advantages than ever before. People want things to be cheaper, faster, more convenient and delivered to their doors at no extra cost.

The trends report insights are based on Ericsson ConsumerLab’s global research activities spanning more than 23 years. It primarily draws on data from an online survey.

Ericcson ConsumerLab: The 2019 technology report

‘Technology is promising more advantages than ever before. People want things to be cheaper, faster, more convenient and delivered to their doors at no extra cost. 

Supermarkets without checkouts; clothes shops that take your measurements in seconds and carry out custom tailoring in minutes; schools with increasing robotization of teachers and hospitals with non-human doctors; autonomous cars; restaurants with mechanized menus; galleries showing art made by artificial intelligence (AI); and live music performances by algorithmic composers are just a few examples of future possibilities. Many of these examples may seem like science fiction – but they are nevertheless already being realized in society. 

Automation lends itself to creating an orderly society, but when conflicting yet autonomous processes happen simultaneously, could it also become more chaotic? 

The Ericsson 10 Hot Consumer Trends 2019 reveal that people are experiencing mixed emotions. Almost half of the respondents in the survey think that, for better or worse, the internet has replaced many of the simple pleasures of daily life.

As digital technology spreads throughout society, all these hopes and fears simultaneously filter through consumers’ minds. The perspectives are staggering – and consumer views on a near-future automated society are very much the theme of this report.

Your technology devices will soon know you better than you know your devices.

Your smartphone is likely to contain more sensors than anything else in your home. Yet advanced technology such as face recognition is only used for seemingly simple things, such as unlocking your phone. 

But what about when your smartphone becomes fully aware of you; not only of what you do, but of who you are? Today, AI can already understand your personality just by looking into your eyes,[1] or by hearing your voice. Half of those currently using virtual assistants (Google Now, Alexa or Siri, etc.), in phones or smart speakers, think that their smartphones will soon understand their emotions. And 42 percent think smartphones will soon understand them better than their friends do. In fact, 6 in 10 think devices that sense and react to our moods will be mainstream in 3 years. When this happens, devices will act on situations rather than commands. Imagine that you told your smart speaker a secret and wanted it to be discreet. Fifty-six percent of virtual assistant users want a smart speaker that lowers its voice in such a situation. 

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Similarly, 52 percent want a smartwatch that blocks notifications when it understands you are busy. Forty-seven percent even want an app that fact checks a social media post just by noticing a surprised look on your face. 

When devices know us this well, they will also know our secrets. But astoundingly, twice as many trust an AI device more than a human to keep their secrets. 

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