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If after reading Robots and Hunting, part 1 or you think the notion of Emerging Technologies significantly influencing hunting is still crazy talk and straight out of Will Smith’s film “I Robot”, you might enjoy a few predictions I see for our industry in the next 10 years. Disruption is headed our way.

As part of Robots & Hunting part 1, I included screen caps of the answers some of you provided to gauge your individual appetite for technology in the outdoors, hunting or fishing. I’m going to keep the survey open so anyone who comes across this article from Jan 1, 2018 forward can complete the survey. Periodically, if answers continue to come in, I’ll update this post.

10 Emerging Technology Predictions for Hunting by 2028

 

  1. Social Data is weaponized –
    Remember when we were kids and the police or government needed warrants to learn who we were talking to on our phones – basically to spy on us? The last few months has resurfaced conversations about FISA warrants into the national conversation but really, who’s worried about phone taps and antiquated surveillance in a modern world when most data on most Americans is available through a free social analytics tool not to mention millions of records of private data via hacked accounts? I realize it’s not entirely the same thing but it sure feels like we should be worried more about the behavioral insights being collected and sold to brands than who we’re talking to on the phone.Emerging Technologies like Artificial Intelligence could be used to tilt the scales between hunting & firearms community and activists by leveraging insights from social data. Through social data analytics, anyone can quickly see what brands you follow, posts you’ve liked, things you’ve purchased, where else you spend your money, political leanings, religion, age, phone number, favorite tv show, past relationships, game harvests, which organizations you donate towards… and on and on and on. Owners of this data (Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, etc) are sitting on a treasure-trove of valuable insights on you. On all of us.The political and power shifts in the coming years may largely dictate how much social media data will be weaponized to influence and silence mass numbers of people or industry but it’s already possible. After all, it’s what we do as marketers and strategists do in a smaller way today; we change the idea or perception of a brand, product or service. We use sentiment of a demographic over time through content, influencer, social, digital or brand marketing strategies and tactics. We do this through behavioral insights – the kind we get when you interact with any online or social destination – anywhere. Marketers have been doing this for generations but in today’s modern marketplace we have a convergence of emerging technologies that supercharge this data and make piles of data meaningful and actionable like never before.Recently, one of Facebook founders warned of the behavioral nectar they knowingly injected into the fabric of our society. This is scary stuff; not that they knew of this per se, that they’re admitting it in such a brash way publically. They took the human condition of wanting to be liked or being popular along with the gratification felt by others liking and sharing our posts making it just as addicting as a drug.

    There are brands and organizations already capable of leveraging emerging technologies to restrict land, and firearms access and general hunting rights while our industry seemingly is on the sidelines watching. If we don’t spark an industry conversation soon, we’ll lose some big fights effecting hunting, conservation and gun rights. We need to get in the ring and fight for our rights using emerging technologies.

  1. Big Box retailers as we know them, die –
    Sorry Bass Pro, I know you just picked up Cabela’s for a few Billion but no longer will you need 50,000-foot showrooms for commodity goods. I’m guessing you already know this given the holiday news you just released days before Christmas, 2000 workers being laid off and $10M towards displaced employees and retirements. The problem with the typical retailer model as I see it is two-fold:

        • i. The value exchange is broken – look no further than

      JC Penney, Sears and plenty of others.

      • The advice provided inside stores is transactional, hardly valuable – or at least not as valuable as consumers get on their smartphone. It makes the notion of traffic and waiting in lines just to hand someone my money not as convenient as picking up that same product online. Plus, the same information provided by helpful staff will be programmed into commerce, IoT, and fluid platform solutions while the product itself is delivered to your door or even hunting camp via drone.
      • ii. Immersive Retail Experiences – Outdoor retailers are missing the opportunity to create immersive hunting, fishing or conservation experiences that blend technology, interactivity, education and design into a retail experience that attracts younger, tech-savvy consumers into stores and away from online behemoths like Amazon.

       

      1. Massive job market disruption –
        You’ve heard the headline reading “Robots are coming to take your job” – or similar for a year or two by now but probably still don’t believe it. Well, I hope you’re not sending your kids off to become a lawyer, doctor or farmer as it might be a very bad investment of their education dollars. Personally, I think the world would be a little better off w/ fewer lawyers pitting us against one another.Largely, middle America will fall victim to its workforce and economy flipping upside down in the next 10-20 years. This isn’t a tomorrow shift but you’ll begin seeing significant disruption within 10 years. Some publications are sending out conservative projections that will make most people shutter like – 800 Million Jobs Displaced by 2030 worldwide. Fortune took a stab at which jobs they think will be eliminated first – worth a read!If you don’t think this is anything to worry about, answer me this – what happens when middle Americas jobs go away and are shifted to the coasts or managed centrally? Do you think hundreds of thousands of jobs staffed by people who are not tech savvy today will be tomorrow’s programmers in a new, modern marketplace? Doubtful. Even jobs like marshaling homeless people off the street might be left to robots like the ones being tested in San Francisco right now.
      1. Food plots will be managed with autonomously shared equipment and cloud services –
        I know, not a news flash – autonomous agriculture solutions already exist but how many are for your deer food plots? How many of them are planted, watered and harvested based on optic soil analysis, nutritional content and predictive feeding patterns based on the mix of game, geography, season, weather and other identified factors? Exactly.You might imagine in the not too distant future scheduling “food-plot” service from your mobile device for tilling, planting and harvesting with equipment you don’t own but have a cloud subscription service paid monthly. Kinda like ordering a pizza from Pizza Hut today. Or a little like Reach Now, a popularized car-sharing service. Another sharing service example is Outdoor Toy Share, a shared services for boats, RV’s and more. You may not even have to schedule harvesting since the regular optical analysis would compute, schedule and manage when the ideal times for planting or harvesting would be based on weather patterns & availability. It will cost one-fifth it does today and free landowners up for more important – or different things.
      1. Rural and remote real estate takes off
        When people in the cities leverage more autonomous driving vehicles, they can work during their commute and leverage teleconference tools. As a result, people will live further and further away from cities and closer to wilderness working where they love to live instead of living where they must to work. Good news if you own rural hunting acres, ranch or outfitting business, right? Not so fast.The increased economic land value benefit is easy to see but what else comes with more people moving into rural areas are more anti-hunters and anti-gun activists moving next door to your farm or hunting ranch. There’s all indication the demographic moving out to rural acres will get older too. Advances in telemedicine will allow for an older crowd to move further away from city hubs. There are some impressive advancements in telemedicine and emerging technologies alone that could take up a future post by itself.
      1. Radical business pivot for outfitters & guides
        Outfitter and Guide brands who do not retool and modernize online and via technology will largely go under. The pricing model for those outfitters that do survive will radically change. No longer will there be a flat fee based on arbitrary value. If the actual costs (water, seed, time, fuel, equipment, etc) are all known variables then transparency will be expected from the consumer.Low hanging modernization needs for guides and outfitters will likely include a set of basic user expectations in a mobile-first world; mobile dev, online registrations, clean UI design, online payment processing, IoT, VR and content subscriptions. Those that don’t modernize will be squeezed by those that do as the audience gets younger, land access is reduced and modern conservation techniques of game management evolves further away from the needs of the average hunter. I wonder which outfitter or guide will be the first in the world to accept Bitcoin or alternative currency?If other economic, power, timber, private, government or political interests result in the continued reduction of land access the outfitting business will be among the first to feel the squeeze for all the obvious reasons. The scary ripple effect is surely on outfitting & guide business operations but also think about the effect reduced land will have on new guides 20 years from today and in turn, what effect that will have on new hunter participation.
      1. Digital Camo & HUD Optics
        As a kid, I recall watching Predator for the first time and was amazed at the technology the film introduced; an electronic cloaking device making you nearly invisible to the naked eye. Imagine if you never were busted by big game seeing you again. A form of this technology exists but for government use, but consumer products are beginning to emerge. I wonder if RealTree already working on licensing this from the military…Integrated optics will provide a heads-up display (HUD) in sunglasses, scopes and even on bow sights. Reducing mishaps & fines from DFW organization to private citizens weapons will become smart like game identification before the shot, distance, windage, drop and more. No longer will mistakes be made on age classification of a sheep, bear, goat and other game.
      1. The Integrated Hunter
        Seamless integration of disparate data sources to create a fully integrated hunter. Data and technologies like GPS, fitness wearables, landowner maps, other hunters, harvest reports, rules & regs, nutrition and hunting recommendations. DFW will use chip technology to manage herd movement allowing for paper license and tagging to become relics of the past. Your mobile device will scan harvests automatically notifying wildlife officials via the cloud as it’s updating your DFW profile, harvest report and biologist databases. Hardly any different than catching a chipped COHO Salmon or the chip you might have in your dog.The question then becomes if hunters will want to give up specific GPS coordinates of harvests each year as opposed to GMU and general locations since it would be shared data. Honey holes will become less private.
      1. Virtual Hunting, Safety & Scouting
        Reducing mistakes in the field for a new hunter comes with experience, encounters; and wisdom in the outdoors. Classes and certifications will be conducted in Virtual & Augmented experiences to increase realistic hunting scenarios, gain experience quickly and more accurately measure decision making under stress.High Consequence Immersive Training can accelerate learning & experiences in a believable way which will reduce incidents, cost taxpayers less and allow DFW to focus on larger enforcement issues. I’m spending time on supporting this area with CRRNT, learn more about Gyre.
      1. Jim Shockey hunts Mars
        Ok, not sure about this one but we’ll be space traveling in 10 years commercially and if anyone will pioneer hunting in space, Jim Shockey would be a fantastic ambassador! This could bring back the Uncharted series; Outerspace Episodes…I wonder what his first harvest would be?

      I enjoyed writing Robots and Hunting and writing for the first time to share perspectives and hope you like them too. The overall purpose of the piece was to start a conversation within our industry no matter which side of the debate you reside. Thank you all for responding and participating. Happy 2018!