Why it is no longer accurate to define people as consumers
If I asked who you are you might tell me your name and some details about you. That’s you as an individual.
But you’re also often part of a collective in certain contexts. At some points you might be a commuter, a student, a shopper.
But the overarching one, that trumps all others, is that you’re viewed as a consumer
Which means everything is structured around that definition
Is that right?
Well, what is a consumer.
Cast your mind back to the 20th century
This is a supply chain , it’s defined by mass-production and global distribution of products
Plenty of complexity in how that happens
But you are the end-consumer as you are always at the end of business sequences
Where you consume the products and services businesses have created
That’s it. You no involvement at any other stage of business processes – such as planning, design or supply
Because you just exist at the end
Products and services are designed and marketed at a generic , rather than individual, level
The value of choice then allows you, as a consumer, to dictate which products and services are best for you
Now consider how digital technology works
Namely, by tracking everything that happens
Think how much these networks know about you
Collective terms will always be relevant, but this means you can be understood as an individual
Comprehensively. And at all times. Which means you cease to be the end-consumer
How can you be when you become, by virtue of your connectedness to everything, involved in the planning, design and supply of products and services
Not just at the end, but throughout – before, during and after
Consumers are defined by choice but choice is daft when so much is available everywhere
AI is about taking control of that process, basing decisions on huge amounts of information, far quicker and more accurately than we are able to do ourselves
The individual in this relationship is no longer defined by choice but by their participation and involvement in all business processes
They are no longer only positioned at the end but throughout
You are now integrated in all that happens, whether you like it or not.