17．If there are a million of something in the world, it is ordinary and boring
When the devices we are in contact with change, of course our consumption habits change too. A major reason why TV-based media was so popular in the first place was because the Industrial Revolution spawned factories, providing the infrastructure for large volumes of items to be made. As a result, companies promoted their products heavily on TV to get as many products into stores as possible and avoid holding large amounts of inventory. In the days when everyone watched TV, everyone wanted the same things. But now that everyone has their own smartphone, people are starting to say "Why should I buy the cars that are advertised on TV?" They wouldn't be seen dead in a commodified car with a universal design. As technology evolves, it may one day become commonplace for people to drive 3D-printed cars that they have custom-designed.
This change was brought about by crowd-funding sites such as Kickstarter, and Makuake in Japan. People seek supporters with posts saying "I'm going to make a great watch that will be exclusive to 10,000 wearers, is anybody interested?" These products are not mass-produced ? in fact, their small production volume is what makes them popular, as this format leads to extremely unique designs. More and more people are now only buying from crowdfunders. This may ultimately lead to consumers using 3D printing to make their own unique items, just the way they want them. When this day comes, the mass media may find itself on shaky ground. For that matter, the reason why companies have spent such huge amounts of money on advertising is because they were aiming to sell products in large volumes. They sought to acquaint themselves with TV media because they knew it was so powerful. But now this may be shifting to "If there are a million of something in the world, it is ordinary and boring. There is nothing else like this product." This is the exact opposite of the message that used to be called for, and if it becomes the new standard, our current blueprints will become fundamentally unusable. If we view the world with an awareness of this, we can appeal to people with a new style of marketing. What kind of innovations will we be able to create in an age where items mass-produced in factories are replaced with unique items created by 3D printing?
18．If a virtual currency takes off, the concept of "haves" and "have nots" will become blurred.
If the devices we are in contact with and our consumption habits change, the value of currency will change too. Have you ever used Airbnb? It's a community where people provide accommodation at around 1/3 of the price of a standard hotel. For example, someone who has a holiday home in Shimoda, a popular destination for Tokyoites, might say "I have an extra room that I'm not using. You can stay there for 3000 yen." It began in San Francisco, so if you visit the West Coast of the USA you can sometimes find some extremely good rooms for unbelievably low prices. A similar service is Uber. This is equivalent to the unlicensed taxis of previous eras. People with cars allow others to use their cars when they themselves are not using it, again through a smartphone network. In Japan, these services have faced opposition from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and still only have a small presence as a result, but we are still seeing the beginning of a new currency market where money flows laterally through services like Airbnb and Uber. No money goes to a central entity, as the payments are untaxed. The government is trying to combat this, however, by creating a system in which corporate tax applies.
I'm sure you all carry the minimum amount of cash that you need, but you've probably also noticed a clear increase in credit-based transactions such as credit cards. Virtual currencies such as Bitcoin also appear in the newspapers from time to time. If such currencies take off, the concept of "haves" and "have nots" will quickly become blurred. If money that cannot be controlled by the government becomes popular, what will happen? First, borders between nations will become less prominent in people's minds. As common values are developed and borderless connections are formed between people around the world, the framework of governments will rapidly shrink. This is the kind of shared economy we can expect to be ushered in by the smartphone generation's new currency value.