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Zukunftsforscher Oliver Leisse © Yvonne Scheller

Shaping the future with SMWHH

Gen-Z wants more meaning - delivery drones to slash costs, internet synonymous with freedom

The revolutionary effect of social media and the internet during the Arab Spring and in Barack Obama’s election campaign were highlighted Wednesday (February 26, 2020) during Social Media Week Hamburg (SMWHH: February 24-28, 2020) by Dr. Carsten Brosda, Senator for Culture and Media. On those occasions, trolls had threatened to sow discord especially towards young peoples’ expressions of political opinion, he noted. The worldwide Social Media Week series offers an ideal opportunity to reflect on the current state of affairs and whether progress is being made. “Digitalization gives us a great set of tools and holds huge potential for freedom. More participation and interaction are possible and should be for the common good rather than letting trolls seize these widened spheres.

Rapid development in delivery sector

Hamburgs Kultursenator Dr. Carsten Brosda

Now is the time to achieve that, according to futurologist Oliver Leisse and founder of the Hamburg-based trend research institute SEE MORE. However, Germans are still dreaming despite global transformation, political upheaval and climate change. “We have to wake up because everything is changing.” This applies especially to business models and the way money is earned in future. The delivery sector is a prime example of an industry undergoing sweeping change. “Autonomous delivery vehicles are already a reality in Houston and China. The Californian robotics company Robomart is building autonomous, cashless mobile shops and the delivery of goods by drone will slash costs by 75 to 80 per cent.”

Self-destruct mechanism for defective drones

The use of drones is still being mulled in Germany as Germans love identifying risks,” said Leisse. Although crashing drones can pose a threat in densely populated areas, that will not stop visionaries like Jeff Bezos. Now is the time to think about a self-destruction mechanism for drones that malfunction. A built-in parachute could bring the freight safely float to the ground. Amazon is also patenting ideas under which drones would simply drop airbag-cushioned freight. The United States still leads the way in terms of entrepreneurship as reflected by the number of unicorns. Early in 2019, around 156 U.S. start-ups were valued at over USD 1 billion compared to only nine German ones, as the statistics show.

Taking meaning seriously

The German economy must adapt to Generation Z, which refers to people born between 1995 and 2012 as they are driving a future focusing on meaning, said Leisse. “An increasing willingness to change consumption habits or even give up consumption entirely is emerging. And industry should take note immediately.” Generation Z is concerned about the sense of a product and whether it actually benefits anyone. This generation also takes an interest in manufacturing processes and how companies treat their employees. Their concerns should be taken seriously especially amid growing uncertainty in the digital world. “Yet, people are really enthusiastic about the future,” Leisse stressed. “People like Elon Musk are celebrated like rock stars.”

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