Car ownership was a fundamental idea of progress since Henry Ford came up with his Model T in the early 20th century. During America’s golden years, roughly from the nineteen- fifties until 9/11, owning a car was the first thing on every teenager’s mind. It was a sign of freedom and independence, the visible expression of the American dream, and ultimately a social necessity. The car you owned showed who you are, what you like, and where you stand in the social hierarchy.
Things have changed. Millennials own less cars than previous generations. Notorious traffic jams, CO2 pollution and parking problems make car ownership in cities difficult, and smartphone- based ride-hailing services such as Uber make it less necessary.
Mental models are ideas of how things are. They are not about how things are in reality – they are beliefs about how things work or should work. People’s mental models can be wrong. If they are, they tend to be persistent, creating problems and at the same time impeding the ability to fix these problems. Here are two real-world stories about mental models.
President Trump recently tweeted about allegedly photoshopped pictures of Melania. It shows that in our social media age, the task of editing images becomes increasingly important. The current market leader in image manipulation is Adobe’s Photoshop, namesake of the now common verb “photoshopping”. Photoshop is part of Adobe Creative Cloud, a subscription service for image software which generated a revenue of over 1 billion US$ in 2017.
The playing field is changing with a new breed of image software powered by Generative Adversarial Networks. Photoshop features intricate workflow processes, making it useful only for trained specialists. AI-powered image manipulation is however capable of much more, with the potential for a much larger market.