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Issue #4 – Playing With Reality – The Great Acceleration Is Coming!!!

Thijs Pepping
March 26, 2021

Playing with Reality is a weekly newsletter in which SogetiLabs’s Research Institute VINT examines the future where synthetic reality becomes part or our objective reality. The newsletter is also a preview of our upcoming book Playing with Reality. Subscribe here.

This week several articles about a Post-Corona Era caught our attention. All these articles have one thing in common. It’s about the idea that, due to the worldwide pandemic, what we had planned for 2030, has already been realised in 2020. Companies had no choice, because of the remote everything mindset, companies needed to digitally transform themselves. It’s Digital Darwinism all over again: adapt or die. According to the authors of these articles we are now entering a new turbulent decade, a new roaring 2020’s, just like it happened in the last century. So buckle up, the next decade will be about disruption all over again. And this time it will touch every industry, it’s the Great Acceleration.

The Great Acceleration

Before Covid everyone talked about “The Great Decline” and economic stagnation. Bruno Maçães claims that because of Covid the sentiment has completely changed. After reading this article that he wrote for the Spectator you will fall in love with technology again. Breakthroughs are now happening at rapid speed, from transport and energy, to medicine and science, and even when it comes to currencies. Would we have seen this advancement without Covid? It seems highly doubtful in the short-term. The pandemic has not only sped us up, but has made us more open to risk and disruption. We can expect many more scientific developments with profound benefits. Bruno Maçães is the former Secretary of State for European Affairs in Portugal.

After Covid, get ready for the Great Acceleration | The Spectator

Before the pandemic struck, there was talk of a ‘Great Stagnation’ – the idea that the world economy was doomed to lacklustre growth and had hit a technological plateau with no game-changers in sight. But Covid – and lockdown – has changed all that. There was such doubt about the vaccines because it…  •  Share

History Has Begun

If you’re into more tech optimism, you might as well read Bruno Maçães’ book “History has Begun” and ad it to your to order list. In the book Bruno Maçães asks himself the question “What if America hasn’t yet peaked?‘ and ‘what if a new America has only just begun?’

The Disruption Decade

The decade ahead is ushering in a period of economic transformation unprecedented in speed, scale and scope—yet not everyone views this moment in the same way. The 2020s are set to be the most disruptive decade in human history. See the video below or read the complete article.

2021 Tech Trends Report

The 1920s began in chaos. Cataclysmic disruption resulting from the first world war and the Spanish flu shuttered businesses and provoked xenophobia. Technological marvels like the radio, refrigerator, vacuum cleaner, moving assembly line and electronic power trans- mission generated new growth, even as the wealth gap widened. More than two-thirds of Americans survived on wages too low to sustain everyday living. The pace of scientific innovation—the discovery of insulin, the first modern antibiotics, and insights into theoretical physics and the structure of atoms—forced people to reconsider their cherished beliefs. It’s difficult not to see striking parallels to our modern world. A tumultuous U.S. election, extreme weather events and Covid-19 continue to test our resolve and our resilience. Exponential technologies—artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, exascale computing, autonomous robots, and off-planet missions to space—are challenging our assumptions about human potential.  With the benefit of both hindsight and strategic foresight, we can choose a path of reinvention. The 2021 Tech Trends Report of Amy Webb’s Future Today Institute is designed to help you confront deep uncertainty, adapt and thrive.

2021 Tech Trends Report | The Future Today Institute

Technology trends that will impact our lives in 2021. Tech trends will dominate 2021. The most important tech trends of  •  Share

Digital Changed Music

Our digitized world hasn’t just changed how we listen to music. It changed the music itself. A mix of generational churn, creativity spawned by the digitization of music production and the dilution of the industry’s top-down structure — paired with the fragmentation of the media and adaptations to the streaming economy — has warped song structures. Beyond radio play, songs are five-second memes, 12-second TikTok soundtracks, 30-second ads and two-and-a-half-minute club anthems.

Opinion | Why Grammy Winners Might Never Sound the Same Again – The New York Times

How chart-topping songs changed without us even  •  Share

Digital Gucci Sneakers $11.99

What if you’re working in the fashion industry and you’re heading digital transformation? Then you start changing your physical stuff into digital stuff and start selling it in digital worlds. Gucci has been a digital frontrunner for quite some years (download their app, you’ll love their AR stuff). And now they’re selling their shoes to GenZ who can’t afford the real ones. The only thing is, you can only wear them digitally. Part of their strategy is to let you “unpack” them and show off on Roblox. The CEO of the company that created the shoes, Sergey Arkhangelskiy sys “In five or maybe 10 years a relatively big chunk of fashion brands revenue will come from digital products”.

Face Editing: Japanese Middleaged Biker Or Young Woman?

A 50-year-old man used face filters to pretend to be a young woman. “No-one will read what a normal middle-aged man, taking care of his motorcycle and taking pictures outside, posts on his account,” he said. He has gathered 19.000 followers, of which some became a little bit suspicious because of hairy arms and strange mirror reflections. According to the BBC most of his followers reacted positively to his coming out. You can follow Zonggu at Twitter.


Playing with Reality is a weekly newsletter in which SogetiLabs’s Research Institute VINT examines the future where synthetic reality becomes part or our objective reality. We investigate the impact of new technology on people, organisations and our society. If you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to contact us. You can reach us at

About the author

Trend Analyst VINT | Netherlands
Thijs Pepping is a humanistic trend analyst in the field of new technologies. He is part of the think tank within SogetiLabs and in his work he continuously wonders and analyses what the impact of New Technologies is on our lives, organizations and society.


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