AI, AR, and VR hype is getting to me. The marketing narrative of ‘this will change everything’ is making me sick. And confused. I have to do something about it. I know 90% of this is marketing noise but that doesn’t stop me from getting paranoid. Where do I focus? Do I write? or do I quit?
What do I do? Who do I trust?
There is only one way to make sense of it all:
Understand media and content. Understand their relationship and my relationship with them. See how much things have changed to know how much they might change.
I will ask if everything has changed and then ask further questions based on the answer. I will also ask what AI, AR, and VR are likely to do to my life.
To understand the changes in media and how contents change with them, I made a list of the media devices I used and the content I watched each year from 2003 to 2023. That is, from the time I was 10 to the time I am 30. This list is based on what I remember and what I use currently. The remembrance might be vague and the years might be exaggerated, but it more or less paints what happened.
What I consumed in 2003 is pretty clear but 2023 is vague. Let me explain:
- I consume the same information on my laptop and my cellphone. The information is general in nature and is consumed on the internet. It is about how certain things work or where I can find something, etc.
- I watch the same videos on my laptop and my cellphone. They are mostly sports discussion videos (not sports) and crime fact stories.
- What I read in PDFs is the same thing I read in books.
Here are some observations:
- I don’t use any media today that I used in 2003. But that doesn’t mean TV, Radio and Newspapers don’t exist. I don’t use them.
- All 2003 media are integrated into our computers today.
- Today I consume none of the content I consumed in 2003. While sports is a common term, back then I watched matches, today I only watch discussion videos.
- The most radical media shift for me took place in 2006 when I went from Cassette player, TV, and newspaper to Discman, TV, and CD Player.
- The media I have used have remained the same since 2010. It was the year I deleted my Facebook.
- The content I consume has almost remained the same since 2011. General information, sports discussion videos. There have been phases where I have watched a lot of documentaries or read a lot of Dostoevsky.
- There has been a massive change in media.
- The content adapts to the medium if it wants to remain relevant.
Now to the marketing hype:
DID EVERYTHING CHANGE IN THESE 20 YEARS?
Yes, because I aged and changed.
After a certain age and change, I have used the same devices, same media and consumed similar content.
Some people still use radio, TV, and newspaper, so even the media hasn’t changed much in that regard. They have been well-integrated into our cell phones.
When content has adapted to new media, it has gone through a transformation. The sports discussion programs have changed. Now they are more candid and casual. The sports broadcast is more mobile-friendly. The songs have changed not just because the world has. Their sound and production are different now (they almost feel like an iPhone). Popular shows have had a radical change. People pressed a button on their radio once, now they open their YouTube or Spotify. Movies have changed not just because of the technology. Modern movies feel like an iPhone.
What are AI, AR, and VR likely to do to my life? Will they ‘Change’ Everything?
Going by what happened in the last ten years, I am unlikely to consume completely different content, unless something radical or dramatic happens in my life. I believe people remain more or less the same in their 20s and 30s.
Speaking about media and content, I believe a similar thing is going to happen:
If there is a massive change in media, content has to adapt if it wants to remain relevant.
I might enjoy my sports discussion programs on AR, and VR. What they discuss might be heavily influenced by AI. The sports broadcast will be more AR/VR friendly. (I might watch bots play.) The songs will be different (they will feel like the most popular AR/VR device). (I might listen to bots’ songs.) The popular shows will remain popular and people will watch them on their AR/VR devices. (People might watch popular bots.) Movies will feel like the most popular AR/VR device of that time. (They might be written-directed-acted by bots.)
I will be old.
The world will be old.
The media will keep changing.
The content will keep adapting.
Artificial Intelligence is the monkey on our backs. It is not media. It is computer technology so it might see integration. All media we have today and tomorrow will likely be integrated into a single AI system.
The problem with AI is that we have anthropomorphized it. Instead of looking at it as an upgrade to our computing capabilities — thanks to Turing and all his followers — we have approached it as multiple entities. This has complicated matters a lot. It is because of our greed: The desire to play god. I don’t see AI doing anything to us, I see we all going insane if we do not find a nice approach and attitude towards it.
Extremely sophisticated technology is still a technology — something under human control. But if we continue to perceive AI as beings, we will chop our heads with our own hands. And this won’t look serious, it will look funny. Like a slapstick comedy.
But to whom?
WE won’t know because we would have destroyed the only being who had visible ability to perceive and know.