Content Streaming: Past, Present and Future
On May 1st Fintech Influencers hosted a meet up for our special interest group in Advanced Technologies. We welcomed Guy Remond, who has recently left Disney Streaming Services following the acquisition of his company Cake Solutions, he gave a very thought-provoking presentation about how content streaming has evolved, where we are now and what could happen in the future.
The discussion got everyone thinking about how content streaming and artificial intelligence will affect them personally and the companies they work for.
“A decade ago, if you told me I would not have cable TV or radio in my house I would have laughed! Today, I stream TV and movies via apps on any of my devices. I listen to music on Spotify, I stream news content, I have ‘cut the cord’” – Guy Remond.
Forms of content streaming can include sound, video, text & computer data (IoT). Previously, there was a lack of choice, flexibility and control over content. However, the likes of CDs and DVDs are now a thing of the past!
Today we live stream video content via social media platforms, immerse ourselves in fictional environments using virtual reality and watch our favourite TV shows on demand. Internet speeds have improved more than tenfold since the advent of 3G, creating new possibilities for content streaming. What’s more, artificial intelligence enables highly personalized advertising and customer experiences which meet growing consumer demands.
However, where there are pros, there are cons. The increased personalisation of content via platforms such as Netflix accentuate people’s biases and close their minds to alternative ways of thinking. By presenting individuals with content we know they like and creating new content especially for them we push them into a bubble and manipulate their opinions, preventing them from seeing the context of the wider world. The consequences of which are in complete contrast to the objectives of such technology. We’re striving for innovation and to move forward, however if people live in a bubble we’ll actually move backward.
What’s more, new developments in technology inadvertently provide a platform for misinformation and fake news. The morality of the uses of artificial intelligence and content streaming is likely to exacerbate as new products and services enter the market in the near future; particularly concerns over privacy of data and security.
5G is the foundation of our digital future and will enable technology for a lot of innovations happening very soon with the likes of artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality. The three key features of 5G that allow for new possibilities are greater internet speeds, improved latency and the ability to connect to more devices. Essentially, it will allow for the efficient transfer of large amounts of data at unparalleled speed. The uses of 5G are currently being road tested and should be commercially available within the next 2 years. So how might the power of 5G be used?
Augmented Reality is designed to overlay objects and information with the real world, providing content within context instantaneously. The possibilities for its application are endless. For example, we can create wearable tech in the form of digital glasses. These glasses can be used to display useful information to tourists about restaurants and bars as they are looking for somewhere to eat. The information displayed could include price, cuisine, reviews, availability and so on. Similarly, the same glasses could be used when out shopping to find the products you’re looking for, to be shown any offers and discounts that are available and to guide you to your favourite stores. The user would have the ability to determine what data is shown and when to suit their preferences.
This reality is not very far away, and for many it can be quite a scary thought! We’re getting closer to The Singularity where man and machine merge. This particular example provoked discussion among our members about the drawbacks. One member questioned “Just because we can, should we?”, and rightly so, as such products would transform our lives indefinitely. Whether that’s for the better is a matter of opinion.
Discussion around the use of autonomous cars sparked even greater concern among the group, although opinions were divided. On the one hand autonomous driving is a lot safer and can greatly reduce the number of road traffic collisions and fatalities. Cars, smart roads and other tools will all communicate with each other and exchange information in less than a millisecond. This will help manage traffic and improve efficiency.
However, there is the moral dilemma about who should be insured; the vehicle owner, the car manufacturer or the technology provider? Who would be liable in the event of an accident? More worryingly, if a vehicle or a robot had to decide between crashing into a bus stop full of people or a mother pushing a pram, how would it make that decision?
Should we control technological advancement?
The ethical concerns beg the question – who is going to control how artificial intelligence is used? It has the capacity to create abundance throughout the world, providing food, water and shelter everywhere, but it also gives means to rogue people and states to steal money, or it could be used for war.
Governments already struggle to keep up to date with technology as transformations are happening far quicker than it can legislate. What’s more, many corporates, who put profit over ethics, cannot be trusted to self-regulate their use and application of artificial intelligence and may be tempted to use it excessively to target consumers through advertising.
It seems as though the only, and perhaps the most effective, way of governing how content streaming will be used is via the public. Their collective voice will demand regulation which cannot be ignored however, this generally only happens when we are close to a crisis. Consider the recent climate change protests as an example, the power of the public voice can bring about much needed change.
Who knows how content streaming, whether it be as entertainment or as data will affect our lives? One thing is for certain change is coming and it is coming quickly.