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Virtual reality 'to replace high street shopping by 2050'

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High street retailers could be a thing of the past by 2050 as virtual reality takes over the way we shop, experts predict.

The only time we can expect to be asked “Are you being served?” is when interacting with an artificially intelligent app.

The kind of department store epitomised by Grace Brothers in the 1970s sitcom of that name is likely to be consigned to history by the middle of the century.

Co-author Russell Freeman, chief technology officer at digital marketing agency Holition, said: “It's ironic that the fashion industry is renowned for its innovation, yet the way we shop is so old fashioned. From having to use a changing room, to being offered limited space in a shop, the whole experience is generic.

“The future of shopping offers personalised experiences for people, dependent on their taste and mood and at Holition we see it as the humanising of technology.

“Augmented reality, virtual reality, drone delivery and artificial intelligence will completely change the way we shop. It's an exciting time - on the cusp of a revolution.”

Virtual reality shopping will be featured at The Big Bang UK Young Scientists And Engineers Fair taking place at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, in March next year.

Paul Jackson, chief executive of EngineeringUK, organisers of the Big Bang fair, said: “It is the young people studying maths and science today who will drive this 'revolution' in the future.

All Generations Love It. While some critics view virtual reality as something only young people like, it turns out that even previous generations largely approve of the technology. Currently, millennials are the generation most likely to embrace virtual reality, but apparently older generations are also getting on the bandwagon. One study found that a majority of baby boomers have a favorable perspective of virtual reality. A big reason behind the popularity is the versatility of many virtual reality systems.

“They will build on advances in artificial intelligence, drones and virtual reality and develop other innovative technologies that will shape our day-to-day lives.”

PA

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