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BESTIVAL_Futurist Max Thinius

Away on a long trip with your own data

Futurist Max Thinius on the positive impact of digitality on travel behaviour and on liveable cities of the future

September 6, 2022

In his lecture on ’The biggest future for all travel’, futurist Max Thinius painted a fascinating picture of how we will travel in the future. ITB Berlin had curated the lecture as Content Partner of the BESTIVAL in the German capital. Thinius explained how in future digitality would make it possible to bring technology and society together in beneficial ways.

Anyone imagining the future of travel might at first think of online travel using avatars or, in the real world, hyperloops. In actual fact the next step by society would be seismic, he said, similar to what the Industrial Revolution had once achieved. However, this time disruption would bring much greater benefit to individuals.

The industrialised world as we knew it was basically centralised. But in future we would be dealing with a polycentric environment, the futurist said. The existence of individual, highly autonomous units, smaller than now, would be essential, which if required could collaborate and network rapidly with one other. According to the ECB there were plans for a digital euro from 2026 with both a monetary and data value. This was no cause for alarm, he said, because in the mid-term the impact could be local added value and sustainability, for example.

Nowadays, tech companies such as Google and Facebook etc. played a central role in utilising data for business models. At the same time they put the issue of their creation and ownership to one side. In future, data would increasingly be owned by the individual who had created them, who could then make them public via his own sovereign cloud. Google and Deutsche Telekom were already taking first steps in this direction with companies. In future, it would be conceivable for more and more private individuals to own their own data clouds. Users would clearly benefit from this and would receive their own algorithm for their interests and values based on their own data. These personal data would then be compared with a large amount of internet data, with social media information for example, to let us enjoy a perfect experience when travelling for instance. In that context tourism was only one of many spheres that were likely to witness significant change, other examples being health, culture, food and even spirituality – a total of 17 areas of life.

Thinius also used his lecture to explain how modern cities are already geared towards residents’ needs. In that respect his home town of Copenhagen played an important role, and he also had high praise for Paris. In recent years both cities had to a large degree banned car traffic and established an increasing number of green oases. They were also clearly on the way to becoming much talked-about 15-minute cities, where residents can meet all their daily requirements within a 15-minute radius of where they live.

In fact, one did not even need to look as far as Paris. Kassel in the state of Hesse was already taking innovative steps, and had been able to turn inner-city decay to its advantage by relocating retail stores to residential areas.

Thinius painted a positive future of the tourism industry, which would no longer have to focus on tailoring the best products. Instead, every individual would be the owner of their values and interests which practically every company could respond to with the right ideas. That could be a preferred sports or fashion brand such as adidas or a beauty brand like Douglas.

Users would be able to release information of their own accord wtihout “data monsters“ making use of it for their own purposes, which would benefit the individual instead. This was by no means a distant fantasy. It was not a case of decades, but of only a few years for this vision to become a technological reality, he said.