The Sharing Economy
The new economy is on the horizon. The third industrial revolution, fuelled by the internet and artificial intelligence (AI), brings forth a new internet, The Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT simply put is the connection of objects to the internet. This is useful because it allows for better monitoring and more useful database creation and management.
The sharing economy can be described as the collaborative use of under-utilized resources (which is done at a cost). Peers come together and provide each other with their unused items for a fee.
What are the practical, day-to-day uses of IoT you may ask? Well, have you ever bought an item you've used once or twice and never used again? For example, a hammer or screwdriver. There is no need for an item like that to be purchased if it won't be utilized as it should be. The item is being wasted. Now imagine if that item had a sensor and that sensor notices the item hasn't been used in a decent amount of time. That sensor can then ping to the internet and from there some sort of data managing company sends an email to you asking if you'd like to put your object to work. There are two ways this can go: (1) The item can be sold again (for an adjusted price) to someone who intends to utilize the item often. (2) The item can be rented out.
This all ties into the sharing economy and boosts its overall efficiency.
Let's go one step further. Items that you use daily, but not all day (eg. A car). Car owners whose line of work doesn't involve driving, has their vehicle in a parking lot practically all day. Soon enough, sending your vehicle out to make money while you work will be a reality.
Two popular companies that utilize the Sharing Economy include Airbnb and Uber. Uber allows individuals to enjoy the benefits of having a car without actually owning one. The car can be requested anywhere you are at any time without the responsibility of ownership (washing, maintaining, etc…). Airbnb allows persons to rent out unused rooms in their houses easily and allows people to rent rooms and more affordable rates.
Renting rooms and taxi services aren't new things. But the sharing economy and the money put towards it has made the process more efficient and accessible.
The negative effects that “Uberization” has had cannot be denied. Uber itself has been displacing taxi drivers for whom their main source of income is from providing taxi services. In terms of pricing, a regular cab driver who has to cover all their living expenses cannot compete with an Uber driver who uses the service mainly for additional income. This effect cannot be ignored.
However, the technology developed to facilitate Uber will define how taxi services of the future operate. Provisions must be made for these displaced drivers with the profits gained from Uber, Lyft, etc...
I say all of this to make the point that the economy as we know it is changing. The impracticality of individualism is being realized and the sharing economy is forming. This brings us one step closer to shifting away from capitalism as resources are pooled towards developing technology that will be able to facilitate efficient collective/collaborative living.