Attending ad:tech Tokyo last week, I wandered through the streets of Tokyo, discovering the lovely old parts and the stunning new architecture.

And I was thinking: Remember when everybody talked about Tokyo as the city of the future? It was replaced by Dubai very quickly (until nobody couldn’t pay for the Real Estate anymore) and now it’s Beijing. Some folks in the media and advertising industry still hold on to the idea and imagery of Tokyo being the future: ambient voices, large screens with smiling faces – you know, the Minority Report thing. Applying old thinking of the power of disruptive advertising to a new century, world and mindset. It’s just easier to put lipstick on a pig than coming up with an idea how the world will really evolve and change. And how advertising will evolve with changing habits, desires and needs. We could blame Hollywood but we have to take part of the blame because you attend any marketing conference and here it is: Tom Cruise, ambient voices, screens. Again.

When people think about the future, they often assume that people change rapidly. We will turn into the Jetsons. In reality, we’re still the caveman family. We’re hardwired to think, feel and act a certain way. It took millions of years for us to become the way we are right now. Any smartphone or iPad won’t change that. Technology just amplifies certain behaviors, changes daily routines, and makes us behave differently. No matter how advanced technology will become in the future, we’re still cavemen trying to crawl out of our dark hideout. We’re not social because of Twitter and Facebook. We’re social because we’re human beings. We like to play games and get acknowledged by others, that’s why we check-in. (I’m sure there’s something deeper going on. But I leave that to anthropologists.) And, guess what, we’re damn lazy. When you had to know HTML to have a web presence, nobody was socializing. Now everybody is social because it’s so easy and doesn’t take any effort.

When you think about the future, when you think about how to connect to people, how to engage them: forget about the Jetsons. Forget about Minority Report. Forget about the city of the future. Think about a campfire. Think about caves. Tell a good story. Tell something they want to share with others because it’s so interesting. The more things change, the more they stay the same.