Vision Paper – Carla Sertin
By Carla Sertin
May 9, 2016
Media is at a very interesting place right now. We’re on the verge of making immersive media mainstream and accessible to the public. For a long time, the media user experience consisted of a consumer interacting with content through media platforms. The user and the media were independent and completely separate. For instance, someone would grab a newspaper and read it. They had no direct input on the content of the newspaper, and they were not interacting with the content besides the basic act of consuming it. The Internet (and advancements to the original Internet and its purpose) was one of the main innovations that changed that.
With Web 2.0, we have the user consuming but also producing content for the web (blogs, Facebook posts…etc.), but they are still separate from the media platform – I am still sitting in my room, accessing a different platform. With virtual reality (VR), the user becomes a part of the media content – I am walking in the content and interacting with it almost naturally (particularly the case with the HTC Vive). I am transported through the media platform into the content, and can (in many cases) directly impact the content.
In order to keep up with this trend, media producers have to image the world. With high tech scanners and sensors, we have more data than ever before. Tools like photo and videogrammetry allow us to experience realities that are continents away. We can explore places and events that were way beyond reach only years ago. This will have a drastic effect on how we are socialized and will hopefully give us more perspective.
On the other hand, augmented/mixed reality brings media into our personal space. I expect that it will have a similar effect as television did during the Vietnam War, and am very curious to see how it will affect our media consumption habits and whether or not it impacts social progress. I think AR will be more successful than VR in the long run, mainly because you can still see your surroundings while accessing it, making it more convenient and also bringing new worlds to your personal space.
We’re moving closer to the singularity. We’re creating media that is increasingly a part of us (or has us as a part of the media experience). With Google and Samsung both having patented eye lenses that allow media creation, media will literally become a part of us. The tools we’ll need to create media will be in our bodies, not in our hands. We already have a plethora of media content coming out every day, and algorithms from sites like Facebook and Google create echo chambers within those spaces – I only hear the opinions that I ‘like’ and/or agree with. With media consumption and production becoming increasingly personal – we now have cell phones on our person at all times, and with implantable devices we will literally have them 24/7 – I believe this will only get worse.
I don’t mean to be overly negative; the future of media can help as much as it can hurt. With more immersive media comes more empathy and perspective — two things we desperately need. Still, I think we need to be wary as we move into an age that will likely mix artificial intelligence, personal “implanted” media devices, and the accessibility of new media.