By 2024, the World Health Organization (WHO) will identify online shopping as an addictive disorder, as millions abuse digital commerce and encounter financial stress – Consumer spending via digital commerce platforms will continue to grow over 10 per cent year over year through 2022.
The ease of online shopping will cause financial stress for millions of people, as online retailers increasingly use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and personalisation to effectively target consumers and prompt them to spend discretionary income that they do not have.
The resulting debt and personal bankruptcies will cause depression and other health concerns caused by stress, which is capturing the attention of the WHO, said Gartner.
My Medical Mantra spoke to health experts about the possibility of this happening. We also asked them if online shopping can affect the psychology of a person.
Dr Vinay Kumar, the General Secretary of the Indian Psychiatric Society informed, “Today all the necessary things are available online. Owing to which people are getting addicted to it. Online shopping is turning out to be a mental illness. But this largely depends upon the thought process of an individual. Massive discounts, sales are attracting people towards online shopping. This is one of the main reasons that people are suffering from mental illness.”
It’s no surprise that online shopping cultivates satisfaction in people who like a ton of variety. Plus, online stores never “close.” This can lead to more regular cravings for shopping.
People who feed off immediate gratification are drawn to online shopping, where purchases are one click away. The quick satisfaction feeds into the cycle of cravings and rewards.
Dr Sagar Karia, Psychiatrist, Sion Hospital, Mumbai, stated, “Just because people are buying online can’t be termed as mental illness. But, there are a few who buy things without a need, and do it just for pleasure. Patients like these come to the hospital when they feel depressed, as they don’t have money to spending on shopping. Then we come to know that a person is suffering from a mental condition.”
By 2023, the number of people with disabilities employed will triple due to AI and emerging technologies, reducing barriers to access, Gartner predicted.
Vice-president and Gartner Fellow, Daryl Plummer said, AI, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and other emerging technologies have made work more accessible for employees with disabilities. While mentioning an example, he says, select restaurants are starting to pilot AI robotics technology that enables paralysed employees to control robotic waiters remotely.
By 2024, AI identification of emotions will influence more than half of the online advertisements you see.
By 2023, up to 30 per cent of world news and video content will be authenticated as real by blockchain countering deep fake technology. By 2023, individual activities will be tracked digitally by an ‘Internet of Behaviour’ to influence benefit and service eligibility for 40 per cent of people worldwide.
Through facial recognition, location tracking and big data, organisations are starting to monitor individual behaviour and link that behaviour to other digital actions, like buying a train ticket, the firm said.
The Internet of Things (IoT) where physical things are directed to do a certain thing based on a set of observed operating parameters relative to a desired set of operating parameters is now being extended to people, known as the Internet of Behaviour (IoB), added Gartner.