Recent advances in technology have re-shaped all industries, introducing alternatives that are more global, consumer-friendly and affordable. Regulation, as usual, is slow to catch up to rapid technological advances, much to the fury of established businesses.
I read an article about a technology conference at the Singularity University which made me think deeply about just how much technology will impact our lives in the next 20 years. The author, Udo Gollub, gathered a few talking points at the conference and how technology will likely disrupt the following sectors.
If you’re looking to make money with stock photography, I strongly urge you to use these fascinating predictions to create images closely related to the these themes. Such images will be in demand for years to come and by starting now you’ll have a head start on the competition. After all, one of the keys to being successful in stock photography (and business generally) is to anticipate upcoming trends, for previous articles see here and here.
- Soon, most vehicles on the streets in Western countries will be electric & autonomous, with most people not even owning a vehicle, simply use an app to call for one which will deliver you to your destination. Even Uber isn’t immune to drastic changes ahead.
- Insurance companies will essentially be wiped out, due to absurdly low premiums as there will be so few accidents.
- More efficient transport will have a huge impact on how our cities look with potentially considerably more public spaces for parks and less pollution.
- A medical scanner integrated with a futuristic smartphone to scan for warning signs by blood or a breath test.
3D Printing and scanning
- According to the article, by 2027, 10% of everything that’s being produced will be 3D printed locally, which means that certain goods will be cheaper and quicker to deliver to the consumer (by drone) due to eliminating the logistics costs. This means that some transportation companies will go out of business.
- Imagine being able to 3D scan your body a shop being able to print the perfectly tailored piece of clothing – this will all be possible soon.
Pressure on the Human workforce
- 70-80% of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years due to automation, including the legal profession (IBM Watson). See the following chart for the most susceptible jobs.
- Policy-makers are already discussing the impact automation will have on jobs and the need to implement an Universal Basic Income essentially to prevent civil war when 30-40% of people of working age may be unemployed / unemployable. It’s clear that government policy will have to step in and may protect some industries from complete collapse, perhaps with a form of taxation. Some of these industries may even be ‘too big to fail’.
What’s all this have to do with stock photography?
Remember that Microstock IS the disruptor, an image marketplace offering inexpensive images to image-hungry and cost-conscious clients. Some Midstock and Macrostock photo editors lose sleep at the thought of their established clients shopping instead at Microstock agencies.
In addition, Microstock contributors also part of the growing ‘gig economy’, a phenomenon brought about by advances in technology. The 9-5 / 40-hour a week mentality is (almost) over, even for public sector workers.
Over-saturation of stock images
At the same time that technology has made it easier for new contributors to capture and submit high-quality images to multiple Microstock agencies, many veteran contributors are suffering with diminished returns due to over saturation of images.
That’s why I urge time and time again to use Microstock predominately as a photographic learning tool, including hopefully as a way to pay for some photography trips + upgrade equipment, while continuously looking for more profitable opportunities elsewhere! I write about finding opportunities elsewhere here and here.
Until next time!