Just 20 years ago, the world was a completely different place. And in 20 years, it’s going to be completely different than it is today. Everything’s gonna change. Lifestyles, standards of living. It’s already in progress. We just don’t always see it that way.
Think about it: can you imagine a time before YouTube? That’s just ONE service that’s changed the way we learn, share, entertain and, in some cases, make a living.
And there are several things which just haven’t had the time to change yet. Nowadays, a lot of these are things which most people see as “just the norm”. They’re absolutely ridiculous, but we’ve just come to accept them, frustrations and all. But advances in modern technology make many of these not only unnecessary, but antiquated and downright obsolete. Within 5 years, 10 at most, I think we’ll see all or most of these completely disrupted:
1. Services that require login/account creation
Nobody wants to sign up for your damn service. They just want the service. “Free” is an illusion, which people are catching on to. It’s so that you can have “users”, and have emails to spam so that you can promote some paid product. Plus, the smart people who sign up for your service will use a fake email address so they won’t get spammed. The less-resourceful will just get pissed off that you start spamming them (legal or not). It’s a no-win situation.
However, some people would gladly pay a few cents to use your service ONE TIME. Since most of these online services are digital, a single one-time use really doesn’t justify more than a few cents anyway. Put in some data, run it through a proprietary algorithm, spit out some different data. Charge a nominal fee each time.
With the traditional payment systems, paying a few cents would be a nightmare. You’d have to sign up, and hand over your credit card information for ONLY A FEW CENTS?! That’s nuts. Plus, credit card payments are a hassle online, since you have to fill out your personal information every time, and 1/2 the time they fail authorisation if you’re traveling or just because.
But now, with modern cryptography and micro-payments possible (e.g. using Bitcoin and Dash), this is entirely possible. Within a few years, this will be the norm for online payments.
2. Email/password to login
This is way overdue.
We’ll see at least one cryptographic global identity system (maybe a few) come to light. People shouldn’t have to manage a different identity with every service they use. They also want control over their own data, which a global ID system will allow. Of course, if it’s not completely decentralised and distributed, it’s not gonna work. It will also have to be lightly collateralised (to prevent spam/sybil attacks and discourage bad actors) and incentivised (ensure plenty of nodes for constant uptime).
Microsoft is trying to partner with companies on this, but I have a feeling that this effort will end up like all of Microsoft’s others. They’ll somehow manage to screw it up and it’ll fall flat on its face.
I look forward to the completely open-source alternative which is in no way affiliated with Microsoft.
3. Tons of BS paperwork
Hospital visits. Apartment applications. Work applications. DMV registration.
It’s all the same info anyway. Your name, birthdate, sex, physical address, phone number… most of that doesn’t change, and it can be updated on an ID blockchain if it ever does. And encrypted so that you can give that out to only entities that need to know (like the above).
Anyway, most of the time, the info on these papers are entered into a computer and the completed forms are then shredded. What a waste.
Goodbye, useless paperwork.
4. Movies which require you to watch 20 minutes of ads and trailers, as well as threats to throw you in jail.
How long did they actually think people would stand for that? By the way, here’s the pro-piracy argument summed up in one graphic:
Now, I’m not advocating piracy. I AM advocating that media companies begin to:
a. Charge much less for media
b. Distribute on some global decentralised filesystem, like IPFS or MaidSafe, but:
c. Make it somehow incentivised so that each purchase will send the media company the nominal fee (say, $2-3 for a movie), then get a link to the volume on the IPFS.
Yeah, $2 – $3 sounds about right. Ditto for an MP3 album. It’s that or nothing (b/c most people will just want to pirate it instead), so get ready to adjust.
See above. There’s literally no good reason to own physical media anymore*, as DVDs and CDs scratch and break. But a digital version can be kept without worry about destruction, and taken anywhere and watched/played at any time. Most people just digitise their CDs anyway, and DVDs if they’re savvy enough.
The reason that most of these are on-track to becoming reality isn’t so much that there’s now a better way, but that… people are tired of the crap in general. It’s a trend. They’re tired of being lied to by politicians, government and media, and they’re tired of being screwed over by large corporations.
If for no other reason than that, things will change, because it’s now possible and we’re all tired of the status quo.
6. Credit Ratings Agencies
I’m talking about Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Also known as the “big three” consumer credit bureaus.
Credit scores themselves will always exist, as long as credit does (although FICO may not). People need a way to evaluate risk of lending to someone / an organisation.
By the way, this is one of the biggest shams in existence today.
In the current system, your credit can be totally destroyed by someone you’ve never met or seen, and there’s almost nothing you can do about it.
If you want to refute an entry on “your” credit report, you have to nicely petition the agency (one of the big three listed above) and hope that they don’t flatly push the “reject” button as they scan through the list. But they probably will. Then you have to get a lawyer and prove in court that it was a false (mistaken or fraudulent) entry. THEN, only under a court order, will the consumer credit agency actually remove the item from your report.
The one big power that the big three have over the entire (at least in the US) population is that they control the data, and the algorithms. People have no control over their own data!
Of course there are some people that claim to be able to fix credit via certain “hacks” and knowledge of the system… but we shouldn’t have to deal with any of that in the first place.
So… how to fix it? Blockchain tech. Use a credit system with a nominal fee for entry/id creation, or the previously mentioned “ID blockchain”.
Then the consumer authorises a company to add entries on a set basis (e.g. monthly, weekly, daily, unlimited) and only for a fixed amount of time. (E.g. if an apartment lease is for 12 months, then I will authorise my apartment landlord only 12 credit entries, one per month, for a year.
If I renew the lease to stay for another year, I can also renew the landlord’s authorisation to write to my credit report. (That can even be put into the terms of the lease.)
Credit entries are stored on the blockchain in an encrypted format so that only lenders that are authorised (by the consumer) can see them. But, consumer can’t pick & choose which entries they get to see. That defeats the point. Consumer can either allow ALL or NONE.
Credit scores are calculated through the entries and credit information much as they are today. With one exception: the algorithms are open & available to all. Release the algorithms!
This enables lenders to choose which algorithm to use and what to optimise for.
Want to skew toward paying on time? Go for it. There’s an algo for that.
Don’t care about mortgage payments? Ignore them! Sky’s the limit.
By the way, the “big three” consumer credit bureaus that I mentioned above are scared to death of this.
If the system that I’ve just described actually sees the light of day and develops some traction, it’s game over for them. They just lost billions of dollars in bullshit fees and the ability to ruin others’ lives. BTW, it’s this current system which enables identity theft and fraud in the first place.
What I’ve described is a system which enables people (and companies) to take control of their own credit reports and data, and enables lenders to establish their own criteria instead of just accepting FICO and/or whatever random algorithm the big three decided to dream up.
And why shouldn’t businesses be able to use this system too? As long as the requisite identity fee is paid (prevent spam/sybil attacks), this could be used by any entity at all. The algorithms can be chosen differently based on if it’s a business or a consumer.
This is all accomplished not through declared “rules” of how the system “should” work, but through cryptography, and in particular, a cryptographic key/identity system.
Laws of man can be changed arbitrarily. The only laws that really matter are the ones that this universe is based on: The laws of physics, and of mathematics.
7. Unequal pay based on location, etc.
Since the advent of Bitcoin, payments to anyone, anywhere in the world are easier than… well, a lot of things. And since intellect workers (like computer programmers and designers) don’t need to be physically present to work, a lot of them live wherever they want these days. So why is a person’s salary still based on location in many instances?
We’re tired of having our email addresses and passwords stolen in data breaches. Tired of have our emails spammed and badgered by corporate marketing departments.
Tired of being forced to choose between paying exorbitant fees or not buying anything at all. Tired of fat cat media moguls getting rich off our DVD/MP3 purchases while the artists themselves receive very little. There’s too much imbalance, and technology is on-track to correct all that.
A decentralised and distributed global technological revolution can’t be stopped. It’s a natural progression which has all led up to this very point.
It’s about time.