In this year’s Trending report, we did something different. Among our competitors, it’s common for annual trend reports to uncover multiple new trends that will define the year ahead. However, in our view, trends do not come out of nowhere, and they don’t begin and end neatly within a single calendar year. So in our Trending 2024 report, we highlighted new angles and evolutions of our existing trends that have spawned brand new opportunities and imperatives for action.
In our Trending 2023 report, we predicted that a mood of rebellion would drive consumer decision-making in the years ahead. In this year’s report, we revealed how the tension and unrest felt in 2023 will endure into 2024, creating the need for a reckoning across multiple key areas of life: what it means to be human, what it means to be healthy, what it means to be sustainable, and what it means to belong. Below, we explore one of the four areas that will define the year ahead, and how brands should activate it.
Unlock more insights for 2024 by downloading our free Trending 2024 Report Preview.
In 2024, we will see consumers reckoning with what it means to be human.
Now that we know what AI is and what it can do, how should we think about who we are? And as we gear up for contentious election cycles, groundbreaking new tech innovations and imminent climate catastrophe, is humanity facing a literal existential crisis?
As consumers and brands reckon with those questions, they are rethinking the things that differentiate us as humans and give us purpose. The answer, for some, is that human exceptionalism is a false narrative. We are just one species in the wider animal kingdom, part of an ecosystem with innate links to nature, and we’re better off disconnecting from modernity and listening to our intuition instead. Others feel that we are destined to become one with artificial intelligence. Science and technology are the ultimate solution, allowing us to supercharge our brains and bodies indefinitely and solve the world’s most pressing problems. Entering 2024, consumers will be looking to brands to recognize these two conflicting realities and guide them on a safe path to the future.
What will happen next?
We considered a range of weak signals and critical uncertainties to map out 3 potential future scenarios for the reckoning with humanity:
Collision subscribers have access to more detailed scenario descriptions, as well as sector-specific imperatives for action.
How to act:
Embrace ethical and responsible AI development. Consumers are increasingly aware of the risks inherent in AI, from biases to privacy breaches and potential job displacement. Brands need to explicitly demonstrate their commitment to benefiting society and enhancing human lives, not compromising them. Do this by establishing clear guidelines for AI development within your organization, and by proactively participating in wider discussions about AI governance. Reassure your customers – and your employees – that even as you embrace new technologies, human wellbeing will always be a core principle of your brand.
Reckoning with what it means to be human is one of four reckoning landscapes we explore in our Trending 2024 report. Download a preview version now for a more detailed breakdown of the trends and tensions set to define the year ahead.