This year will be make or break for many of the global corporates, and a desperate race continues to capture consumers before the chains go on. Here are a few tips to avoid capture:-
Cars - Personal Car Leasing means increased sales for the manufacturers and is attractive to consumers who get a new car to drive at low cost for the first three years. The size of the 'bubble' payment is large, discouraging consumers from buying their own car and encouraging them to lock into a new three year deal on expiry. If the manufacturers' profits start to drop, they can nudge up monthy costs for new deals. To escape, bite the bullet, save your pennies and buy a 4 year old version of your car from an auction for cash.
Electricity - The national drive to get everyone onto smart meters - ostensibly to allow energy savings - may allow price discrimination instead. The suggestion slipped out during the annual Autumn power scare that consumers could avoid blackouts in the future by paying a 'premium' electricity price to keep their 'lecky switched on. This suggests that power cuts in future will be controlled remotely via individual consumer meters rather than by pulling a switch at the power station. They will no doubt justify the technology with an excuse about remote consumer disconnection for non-payment being cheaper and kinder. Or to allow them to keep a home with a dialysis machine connected during a general cut. To avoid, resist the fitting of a smart meter at all costs.
The Cloud - This one's pretty obvious. Firstly, vast volumes of storage for all your music, films, data, photographs and so on is offered free. This is the consumer capture stage. Once the market has been fully enrolled, the charging can start. It will be crude blackmail - pay or we'll ditch your stuff. To avoid, never keep anything in the cloud. Back up your stuff onto external HDDs.
Amazon / Spotify etc - Similar. You buy videos, music, games etc only these are not loaded on your own computer but on the vendors' servers. Which means they can cut access, or start charging more, at any time. Your stuff is hostage. To avoid, buy real CDs / DVDs or download MP3s to your own devices unlinked to vendor software
Facebook / Twitter etc - These are the most overvalued stocks in the market, true bubbles. The only reason they're holding value and not bursting is the opportunity the companies have to start charging their massive captive consumer base. Facebook's market penetration means it's almost good to go. Initial fees will be modest to maximise retention, with universal payment via mobile phone charges plus the alternatives. To avoid, ditch Facebook.
Internet of Things - It starts with apps to turn your central heating on from the office or have your fridge place a repeat order with the supermarket and will end with the corporates controlling your thermostat and filling your fridge with their stuff. This one's a no-brainer. The only thing in your house connected to the internet should be your router/modem and the device you use to surf the web and download data.
The 'bite' has yet to come for most of these - the corporates are still in the phase of rolling out the tech and capturing consumers. However, they are all good to go if they have to. Together with the good points made in the comments to the previous post about robots, the future is arriving by stealth. I'm not a tinfoil hat sort of person, and the foregoing are just the sort of basic, sensible precautions I take myself. Any such additions to the list are welcome.