The age of digital authoritarianism and the reign of techno-autocrats are upon us. China is leading the way with their new “Social Ranking” Initiative, tracking people’s behavior (such as their health/fitness) and rewarding and punishing with things such as access to healthcare or government services. But eventually all countries will follow suit with different degrees of intensity: If (or when) the technology is in place, it will be used to monitor and track citizens. Some underlying themes: (1) the democratic space will shrink; (2) the world will “reborder” into different spheres of digital influence, and (3) smart cities will increasingly become surveillance cities.

The underlying investment theme (apart from the technology itself) is niche: All places that provide a sanctuary free of digital interference will benefit: a hut in the mountains, a cabin in the forests, a boat at sea…

Which means that at the micro level (that of the individual), wellness habits may provide an antidote to a coming Orwellian scenario. There is, of course, a niche and lucrative market, such as digital detox packages at luxury hotels, but it doesn’t have to be overly sophisticated or the exclusive domain of the rich. Rediscovering the power of stillness, practicing the art of doing nothing, being alone in our thoughts, observing what’s around us: These are all simple wellness “virtues” that people in the future will appreciate even more… The wellness industry, at various levels, could help with this return to the source.

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