From Gen Z and beyond, explore emerging markets and micro shifts in youth consumer behaviour.

Need to Know
09 : 06 : 23

BirdBuddy’s smart feeder gamifies birdwatching, Pavan Bivigou’s Foresight Friday and why youth unemployment in China is rising.

BirdBuddy is gamifying birdwatching

Bird Buddy, US

US ­– Birdwatching is known as a somewhat sedate activity – but not with BirdBuddy, a tech-powered hummingbird feeder that gamifies spotting and looking after our feathered friends.

Now crowdfunding on Kickstarter, the BirdBuddy Smart Bird Feeder is a tech-elevated answer to birdwatching as we know it. Thanks to a hidden camera module, the bird feeder identifies avian visitors, sends a notification to the user’s connected app and snaps photos. The close-up pictures are used to identify the birds via AI-powered facial recognition, and all shots feed into databases both for private use and for scientific purposes.

But the most striking feature of the smart bird feeder might be its gamified and humorous messaging, typified by its goofy video campaign, rebranding the often mocked pastime of birdwatching as a fun-filled chase à la Pokémon Go, having users ‘collect’ species and snaps of rare birds. With consumers expressing interest in reconnecting with nature, we expect the Nature-Hacking Market to continue innovating with solutions like the BirdBuddy.

Strategic opportunity

Cringeworthy and goofy campaigns make younger audiences tick. Infusing conventionally serious messaging with irreverence and the grotesque is one way to capture consumers’ shortening attention spans and make a long-lasting impression

World’s first AI ballet unveiled in Germany

Fusion, Leipzig, Germany Fusion, Leipzig, Germany
Fusion, Leipzig, Germany Fusion, Leipzig, Germany

Germany – Artist, technologist and voice expert Harry Yeff (also known as Reeps100) has joined forces with the opera house and ballet company Oper Leipzig to create Fusion, the world’s first ballet partly powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Generative AI was used throughout the ballet’s creation in the concept, music and set.

AI is also part of the story as dancers explore the dynamics between humanity, artificial intelligence and nature on stage. Performed in The Neues Opernhaus (New Opera House) in Leipzig, the show will include an ethereal musical landscape imagined by Yeff, associate composer Gadi Sassoon and contemporary classical composer Teddy Riley. ‘My voice is now augmented as a result of hundreds of hours of training with AI,’ said Yeff in a statement. ‘I am able to reach speeds and depths I didn’t believe were possible. I am a living, breathing augmentation; soon there will be many more of me.'

In The Case for AI as Augmented Intelligence, we explore the technology’s ability to supercharge the human experience and take it to new horizons. AI won’t replace dancers from the Leipzig Ballet but can certainly help revolutionise the art form.

Strategic opportunity

Consider how artificial intelligence applied to voice and sound can augment your next advertising campaign, podcast or in-store soundscape – taking your audience on a new kind of journey with voices or jingles that they already know and trust

Foresight Friday: Pavan Bivigou, senior foresight analyst

Carolina Carballo for The Future Laboratory Carolina Carballo for The Future Laboratory

The Future Laboratory team offer an end-of-week wrap-up of the topics, issues, ideas and virals we’re all talking about. This week, LS:N Global’s senior foresight analyst Pavan Bivigou has failure, POVs and the sage words of dearly departed painters on her mind.

: If at first you don’t succeed, fail again, fail better: failure is in fashion. On 2 June, The Institute for Failure Studies at Utrecht University hosted Faal Festival, which aimed to dissect performance culture and embrace the vulnerability that failure brings. A ‘chief failure officer’ will be among the top speakers at Sunderland’s forthcoming TechNExt Festival taking place on 19–23 June in the UK.

: Timm Chiusano, TikTok’s favourite big brother and consummate flat-ager hit a million followers this week. He is popular for his heartfelt POV videos tracking life as a 40+ dad living in New York and working in corporate America.

: Japan’s Studio Ghibli is activating Quiet Mode. There are no trailers, no tv or print ads to promote Hayao Miyazaki’s final film, How Do You Live? due to be released in Japan on 14 July 2023. ‘Deep down’, says Toshio Suzuki, the film’s producer, ‘I think this is what moviegoers latently desire.’

Strategic opportunity

You have to admit that most women who do something with their lives have been disliked by almost everyone

Françoise Gilot

Stat: Youth unemployment reaches highest rate in China’s history

Photography by Cottonbro, Russia Photography by Cottonbro, Russia

China – New figures released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics show that the country’s unemployment rate for youth aged 16–24 hit a record high of 20.4% in April 2023, after rising from 19.6% in March 2023. Zhang Zhiwei, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management, told the South China Morning Post the rise was a worrying sign for the country’s future.

Standing at 4.2%, the country’s unemployment rate for the 25–59 age group is much lower. The contrast is due to a high number of college graduates – 11.58m are entering the local job market in 2023 – and younger Chinese citizens straight out of junior secondary school looking for employment. Lack of experience, specialist skills and qualifications are combining to make their job search difficult.

As explored in Emerging Youth: China, the high youth unemployment rate could also be due to the generation rejecting China’s brutal and competitive 996 work-life balance (9:00am–9:00pm work days, six days a week) and still dealing with anxiety and uncertainty in post-lockdown China.

Strategic opportunity

Brands eyeing China-based Gen Z consumers should consider the realities of the youth experience in the country. Consider how your messaging should be mindful of mental health and life purpose, and show an understanding of the local rebellion against burnout culture

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