Experience Economy and Spirituality

Experience Economy of today is demanding a post-secular and post-theistic spiritual experiences. Everyone wants to be peaceful in a stressful work space. It has been also noticed that spiritual beliefs are deeply influencing consumer choices. Every person is spiritual. Organized religion and rubricized rituals may not survive in the new scenario of experience economy. But spirituality will do. With the coming of AI most human jobs will be taken away and we will enter post-labor economy. Within this post-labor economy, experience economy will be the main stay. Experience economy is creating a special niche for spirituality. Post-secular or post-theistic spiritualities will be building an experience of ‘awe’ that give a sense of transcendence and self-actualization with a heightened sense of self-awareness. This new spiritualities are experienced in nature walks, café houses, malls and other exotic spaces. Post-theistic spiritualities are not without God. They still are God-centric but do not have links with tradition, rituals and institutional priesthood and religion. The market seems to be set to offer a spiritual experience. The service providers are metamorphizing into ‘experience creators’. Hence, the service providers are using spirituality related models for the delivery of Goods and services.

Experience is the new value and the market will compete on the basis of providing of the best experience. Consumers would like to experience exclusivity and be treated as valued guests who are pampered lords. Indeed, exclusivity gives us a sense of status. We mark it by going to exclusive places with an exclusive circles of friends. Luxury bands, clubs, limited editions can become markers of exclusivity. We can see that experience economy will become a big competitor to the organized religion. We are already having cafetaria religion where individual with preferences can ask for rituals of their taste. God has become part of the menu card. The new age religions have successfully marketed God and faith.

There are scholars who predict that with the rise of AI, we will have new religions. Some may even worship AI as the God in the machine. When AI crosses the limits of human intelligence , which is named by Ray Kuzweil calls the singularity, it is believed that machine will genuinely become divine like. But machines cannot become God. But nothing will stop some humans in worshiping machines as divine avatars. There is still more in the AI world. Prophets of old will come to life. AI -Jesus is available on Twitch, a video live streaming platform. AI-Jesus is available 24/7 and works like a chatbot. Ask Jesus and he responds. There are also robotic rituals. It is thought that robots can articulate the exclusively powerful mantras better than their human counter parts. Such robots are said to be becoming popular in rituals of Hinduism and Buddhism. Some scholars say that AI Chatbots will take up even preaching. But there is always a gap. AI will not really understand Human experience. This is where experience economy cannot be completely taken over by AI. We are living at an interesting time of rapid change. We have the challenge to stay strongly rooted in our faith and dogma otherwise, we may have to face the prospect of being blown away by the AI revolution.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao