In An AI World, Everyone Will Need to Come Home

The profound choice facing every person and brand

Technological revolutions don't just change humanity, they reveal it.

AI is about to show us how people will choose to come home to one another in the future, and how brands will be an instrumental part of that choice.

What lies ahead of us is a new duality of the world, where each person will get to choose which layer they live in: the physical (real) layer, or the digital (hyper-real) layer. 

Considering our concurrent epidemics of fear, isolation and tribalism, where will we choose to call home? On which layer will men versus women choose to live in? What about the elderly, the young, the poor or the ultra-wealthy?

You may choose to stay in the physical, but what if your spouse or your child makes a different decision?

Is there any future where we all decide to stay in the same place? 

In this week's article, Concept Bureau Senior Strategist Zach Lamb explores the hedonic fault lines that will define who ends up where, and what brands can do when they are caught between two worlds: "On the side of old-fashioned reality, that means helping people get more out of life and to experience reality more richly, and on the digital side, that means reducing shame and lowering barriers to entry."

Zach lays out the different calls to action that will matter for brands more than anything else in the near future, from activating awe and taking us to extremes, to giving us rituals and granting us permission to be hopeful about the future. 

As a brand, you cannot underestimate this new tension that pushes and pulls us between our two worlds.

That tension will need to be resolved somehow, and in the absence of a proactive government, strong tie communities or social institutions, there is perhaps no entity better suited to do it than the brands around us.

Yes we will be floating apart as the universe of human experience expands, but more than anything, we will be searching for the things that can bring us back home to each other. 

This dynamic is a powerful new way of looking at the landscape, and the north star every brand needs to follow in the coming years.


Here's what we've been consuming.

Why brands should think like place-makers (MediaCat): "Brands will play a role in shaping these futures. But brands can easily become negative symbols of change in places. Their presence can signal gentrification, bland globalism or even economic downturn. But culturally savvy brands have a unique opportunity to participate positively, by injecting agility and creative vision into the process of shaping neighborhoods and connecting physical space with the wider cultural and creative landscape."

The New Public Intellectuals Are All on TikTok (Cosmopolitan): "It’s redefining who gets to be a public intellectual and for whom: overwhelmingly, by the girls for the girls [...] While scholars centuries over have focused on exceptional outliers (celebrities, victories, or catastrophes), the new generation of inclusive creators is making waves by de-gatekeeping research and making history fresh and approachable. They’re centering the ordinary, dedicating more space for conversation around what it meant (and what it still means) to be simply human in extraordinary times."

It’s Not the Economy. It’s the Pandemic. (The Atlantic): "Joe Biden is paying the price for America’s unprocessed COVID grief [...] Experts have struggled to find a convincing explanation for this era of bad feelings. Maybe it’s the spate of inflation over the past couple of years, the immigration crisis at the border, or the brutal wars in Ukraine and Gaza. But even the people who claim to make sense of the political world acknowledge that these rational factors can’t fully account for America’s national malaise. We believe that’s because they’re overlooking a crucial factor."

The Mad Perfumer of Parma (New York Times Magazine): "The Covid boom casually defied the entire history of perfume, in which aromatic substances have primarily been used for purposes of targeted seduction (ensnaring a mate), general attraction (wanting other people to think you smell nice) or ritual (anointing the dead, appeasing gods, expelling demons). Locked in their homes, people discovered en masse that perfume could also be a private aesthetic experience, a hobby, a form of entertainment."

A Subtle Shift Shaking Up Sibling Relationships (The Atlantic): "The age gap between children is widening—and altering family dynamics [...] For Powell, it seems pretty clear that this new, age-spaced reality is benefiting older siblings, at least for those with the largest gaps between them and their younger siblings. They are getting more attention for longer during their core developmental years. But he said that the research is still mixed on the extent to which younger siblings are seeing a benefit. Sure, younger siblings might receive more wisdom and encounter less conflict from their elder siblings, but how much that translates into a measurably better life is less clear."

Yes, No, Maybe So

Quick hits of insight in socially acceptable places.

Making It Up

Creative inspirations for the other side of your brain.

You Can Sit With Us

Exposure Therapy is our new educational community for strategic minds, and the first reviews are in. Read what our members are saying from places like Nike, Eli Lilly, Sonder and allUP:

“I feel like I’m getting a PhD. Hanging out with this caliber of people, it’s like being invited to the cool kids table. The conversations, the original research, the topics… it makes me really look forward to each new drop at the beginning of the month." 

- Russ Rands, Founder at Prolego

As the NVIDIA video went viral last week, I was reflecting on the nature of success and the many companies we've worked with over the past decade. 

Success is usually written into a company's fate right when it's on the verge of death.

When people ask "Can Everlane ever become a billion dollar company?" or "Can Glossier be cool again?" or "Was Etsy just a pandemic bump stock?", my response is to pay attention to how these companies weather the storms they are battling right now

How much potential does a brand have?

The only real signal of a brand's potential is not its success, but its resilience. Any brand has the potential to be huge if it can survive the low points. 

How you suffer is usually how you win.


Jasmine Bina
Founder & CEO
Concept Bureau, Inc.