Some examples of competing narratives that require our thoughtful consideration: A firm we've all heard about, 23andMe.com, has captured imaginations by offering data (mail ordered) about our personal human genome and yet the National Human Genome Research Institute as part of the NIH leads the world in breakthrough genomic research. One is a stop-gap to fear about carrying bad genes, the latter a world-scale health research center for good. Another, gas powered cars are 100 years in perfecting but Google envisions driverless cars using proprietary technology and gizmos no mechanic has seen before. Lumosity.com is banking on the neuro-craze just by playing digital games and yet, a few U.S. states don’t object to citizens smoking weed and depleting their brain functionality. Many leading tech firms want us to put sensors on our bodies to share live bio-streams with busy friends; privacy groups warn us of security issues to mitigate over-exposure. In the vividness effect model of assessing information we can choose the narrative that appeals to us and this will likely become framed in memory. Or, we could dig deeper into the autonomous automobile, for example, and learn much about merging GPS, radar, AI, sensors, etc. that prove how experimental autonomous cars really are. Then we can ask, is this the future?
The vividness effect is occurring as an ideological battle over who will cast the “future”. Have you noticed nearly all leading technology firms are proclaiming, as if prophetically, how we will live in the future? They are brand-structuring narratives as if their product is at war over which technology will rule the future. Complexity added, their strategies include disruption; the latest goal championing company culture. In my own assessment of future life and things I've concluded that this epic battle for controlling the future is inherently marketing.
Branded future order competes with what is most vividly memorable about the future; that is, Hollywood created epic wars perpetually occurring in the universe. Movies, not brands, have beaten the path to all future worlds and that time is about cosmic wars. Even with vivid images from current wars, none of which are resolved, the brand-created internet-of-things future by tech marketers is competing against Hollywood. Movies have resolution and more essentially, don't embrace a prophetic role by telling us, "this is your future". No, we can imagine for ourselves and choose what to believe about the future. We should be able to do the same concerning technologies like asking, do I really wish to have a neural connection with all humanity and share my private thoughts?
The Great Recession left most of us with few positive memories and even today stories in the WSJ and NY Times can be found about people and businesses facing aftershocks. Is it any wonder we're trying to get past the most vivid memories of recent times? We walk out of the theatre dazzled with Hollywood special effects and face the humanity-of-things so vividly before our eyes.