Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Stupid Future

In the Dilbert Future, Scott Adams mused about whether or not stupidity would increase endemically in the 21st century, and wondered how smart people might be able to profit from it.

In Dogbert-esque fashion, the book simply suggests that the savvy business people of tomorrow will find ways by not only exploiting, but facilitating and actually encouraging the stupidity of others.

It isn't at all outside the realm of imagination that we already see this in the modern economy.

Consider, for example, the advent of KFC's Double Down, a product that fortunately will not be available in Canada -- at least for the time being.

With the prevalence of obesity-induced heart disease in American society, one would imagine that a food item that is essentially two pieces of deep-fried chicken with cheese and bacon sandwiched in between it.

One would have had to imagine that the Baconator was bad enough. But the Double Down presents an entire new level of culinary stupidity that one has to simply shake their head in amusement.

It seems like the Double Down might be worth trying once. But no wise businessperson would dare introduce a mass-consumption product that the customer only tries once. Rather, they're banking on repeat customers for this item, and a lot of them.

So the question lingers: in a country where one of the leading causes of death is heart disease, how many people will give into stupidity enough to make the Double Down a regulat feature of their dining experience?

In Dogbert-esque fashion, the executives at KFC have clearly banked on that stupidity. It may well be dominant business model of the future -- it's already become so prevalent today.

As with all things stupidity-related, the answer may will disappoint humanity.

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