1800’s belonged to Industrial Revolution, early 1900’s to the Great Wars and the decades following 1950’s to the PC & Internet. What does the 21st century belong to? Artificial Intelligence, Self-driving cars, Mars expeditions, World Wars, the cure to cancer and HIV or maybe the social, shared economy? While they all can define the century, I think 21st century will impulsively belong to a more shared and social world with AI paving the way.
The dot-com bubble burst welcomed the new millennium, I was in 2nd grade. Every year our school had an interesting policy. Our class sections were changed, dividing all students to promote diversity and friendship. While it helped students to be more social, it also meant parting with your old friends. The only time you could see them in school is during the tiffin break. In a class of 25 and with 5 sections it almost meant you never would sit with your best friend again. I hated it and so did everyone else!
The internet had just launched in Bangladesh at the time and we had dial-up connections. A lot of people were using it. The technology behind internet was fascinating for a third world country, much like the landing on the moon. People were awed by the power and scope of it. Growing up 15000 miles from the US, I was intrigued by the World Wide Web too. Stories of the dot-com boom and giants like Microsoft, Amazon and Google were all that our school’s computer class lectures were about! I always wished we had a way to connect to our old friends through the internet — something like a yearbook but that would be using the internet (free and interactive). Cell phones were just picking up at the time and they were expensive!
Enter 2004–05! It did not take long for my dream to become reality as a sophomore in Harvard developed Facebook and built it into a company that would go onto connecting nearly half the world. Thank you, Mark! Facebook started the revolution of a more social and shared approach to life, and technology startups like Uber and Airbnb soon capitalized. They created a business model that stood on the pillars of sharing and socializing. The concept picked up in no time, it was a win-win for everyone. If one could save some money the other could earn some.
Always fascinated by Facebook, the idea of Airposted came to me in the Summer of 2014. I want Airposted to be the leading social platform for the shipping industry. Using Airposted a shopper will be able to purchase a good from a country where they are the cheapest or uniquely available. Then get them shipped at the most affordable prices — by a traveler heading their way (We all know how expensive FedEx, DHL, and all those traditional shipping services are)! This not only opens new boundaries for unique products, it also aims to end price disparity while travelers get to earn some extra money. According to the Air Transport Action Group, the world’s airlines carried a total of over 3 billion passengers in 2013. Oxford Economics projects significant growth in aviation through 2030, with passenger numbers expected to reach 5.9 billion. There is significant room to run and connect!
Airposted, as the name suggests looks to unite the travel and e-commerce world, building a smooth, easy platform for its users that would potentially revolutionize the ever-stagnant shipping industry. All of this with the help of the social concept, started by Facebook and the shared concept, institutionalized by Uber and Airbnb.
So, if shared economy is rebuilding the 21st century what will be driving it? Enter Artificial Intelligence.