This is written following an exercise at work where we were asked to imagine the future of a randomly selected product (the pillow in this case) in 20 years.
What follows is fantasy/ fiction, and any resemblance to reality is a spooky coincidence.
It’s the year 2034.
Google and Apple are now the leading brands globally, in healthcare, apparel, furniture, banking, construction, transportation and waste management, among others.
This week marked the launch of the next generation of the AFKAP (the Artefact formerly known as the pillow) from both companies. As with most things, Apple and Google followed very different paths.
Over the past few years, the AFKAP has already morphed into a digital cushion that can change shape and firmness intelligently, play your favourite music which varies with your level of exhaustion, track your sleep patterns, work as a soothing alarm, and alert your digital ecosystem when you wake – i.e. switch on the news on the TV, send a message to your connected coffee machine and to your digital bathtub.
Apple though have followed a more oneirological path and their line of iDream products have focused on your creative subconscious. Apple’s product can now track your dreams, interpret them, and in the latest version as Apple have announced with a splash, allow Collaborative Dreaming. The product can already record and store your dreams on the companies cloud for streaming to an Apple Screen of your choice.
Google have deepened their focus on what they call the 3rd Interface. After the physical and digital world, Google sees the mind as the next interface to control and drive. Having exhausted all forms of confectionary for their version names, the company appointed JK Rowling as a brand consultant and adopted Harry Potter as their global brand ambassador as a part of the deal. In keeping with this, their new AFKAP product is called Pensieve. The principle of the Pensieve product is that although your android phone controls all aspects of your environment through the day, the Pensieve range takes over when you’re asleep, interfaces with your subconscious and continues the uninterrupted service. It measures your vital signs, monitors your health, evaluates the ideas that cross the subconscious and based on advanced algorithms, posts the good ones on Dwitter, the dream-feed most people now use.
Under test conditions, the Pensieve product can also provide embedded learning, a process through which semantic and other knowledge can be delivered into the mind. Pensieve uses Google’s IDNA (ID+DNA) tokens to manage identity and integrates with Google’s Learning System, called Hermione. As with many of Google’s products, the Pensieve can be 3D printed wherever you are, so there is no need to carry it around.
The products are not without controversy, though. Dreambook, the social-network based around the internet of dreams has been accused of emotion-invasion. Dreambook have dismissed this as “similar to the privacy concerns of 10 years ago”.
In a separate move though, investors have warned that the AFKAP category itself is in danger due to developments which will eliminate the necessity of sleep.
(Many thanks to my colleagues who participated in the brainstorming)