Tag Archives: media

What Has Kathrine (Katie) Learned?

Over the course of the semester I have obviously learned a myriad of diverse things. In the video above I have described all factors I have learned as well as my thoughts and opinions about these topics. All of my information is based off our previous blog posts or personal knowledge gained from the classroom.  I hope you enjoy my video and I would love to ponder about your thoughts if you have any questions, comments, or concerns feel free to email me kathrine DOT dwyer AT student AT shu DOT edu. I would like to thank my teammates Allison, Spencer, and Daniel for having a successful semester as well as Professor Shannon. Thank you Professor for all your patience, guidance, and trust in me. And always pushing me to exceed your expectations to make me into a stronger student. Enjoy the video 🙂

Virtual Reality: Ethical Issues, Global Impact, and Impact on your Career

Virtual and Augmented Reality Ethical Issues:

There are a few ethical issues in regard to virtual environments which need to be addressed. These are related to human behavior, motivations, and inappropriate/ uncensored content in open sourced VR worlds. There are also physical and physiological health concerns in regard to the virtual reality experience.

As the researchers point out, there are good reasons to be especially concerned about the influence of virtual reality on the human brain, as opposed to television or non-immersive video games. Concerns have been raised about a possible relationship between virtual reality and desensitization. This refers to virtual reality games in which there are high levels of violence or training exercises for the military in which soldiers engage in simulated combat scenarios which include killing. Desensitization means that the person is no longer affected by extreme acts of behavior such as violence and fails to show empathy or compassion as a result. This has been noticed with gamers, especially those who play first person shooters or role playing games which involve a high degree of immersion. Unlike other forms of media, VR can create a situation in which the user’s entire environment is determined by the creators of the virtual world.

The VR experience can introduce a number of opportunities for new and powerful forms of mental and behavioral manipulation. Virtual Reality is just like any other experience in the real world in the sense that it can hurt people in the same way that real-world situations can affect people in a psychological sense. To avoid an ethical dilemma in regards to VR, it is important to remember:

  1. Experiments using virtual reality should make sure that they do not cause lasting or serious harm to the subject.
  2. Those participating in the experiment should be made aware of possible psychological and physical effects from VR.
  3. Create awareness about the many ways VR can be used for something other than its original intention.
  4. Adopting procedures through policy and law that ensure a user’s privacy and safety is protected and maintained.

Virtual reality is a form of technology that is continuously developing, because of this continuous progression VR may cause some problems that many of us have not encountered before. There will be problems that include poor ergonomics and then there are psychological issues. These issues are moral and ethical concerns that need to be looked upon with these technological advancements. There are physical effects and time constraints. Due to a person’s perception being distorted VR can provide users motion sickness. Some people are affected by this after spending only 30 minutes in a virtual environment whereas others can go several hours before they notice any ill effects. This is also known as cybersickness. These virtual realities and their devices unfortunately take a very long time to create and maintain, and as we should all know, time is money. Wasted time causes many issues within the surface of a company, the products it produces for the customers, the customer service, the research, the future technological advances, and so on. Researchers are attempting to create a balance between hyper-realism and production time but the equation is yet to be solved at this point.

How Virtual Reality Will Impact Businesses In The Next Five Years:

  1. We’ll Experience Our Reality Through Virtual Reality
    • AR and VR will be tools for our future to capture knowledge. The educational world and the way we will learn will dramatically change 5 years from now. VR will truly become an essential tool in the workforce. These technology-driven tools are getting better, more realistic, and are already accepted by those entering the workforce.
  2. Prototyping Will Go to the Next Level
    • VR and AR will allow companies to present their project in newer and better ways than ever before. These virtual prototypes will allow the customers, builders, and developers to have better planned designs and models which will lead to a higher rate of sales and a higher quality of goods sold as every minute detail of a project can be shown. Decision makers and end-users will be able to provide better and more valuable feedback early in the game. This will allow business to focus and spread out their timing more throughout the company and waste less money holistically.
  3. Certain Niche Markets Will Be Impacted
    • These devices will provide happiness and ease to travel around the world without flying or spending thousands of dollars to enjoy simple moments. However, these devices will be extremely expensive to purchase and most likely maintain.
  4. Advanced VR Will Become the Social Laboratory of the Elite
    • VR and AR will be simulating business strategies, assist government policies, and so on. These choices and devices are supported by billions of dollars in capital which makes this an audience and a market to dive into rather than to ignore.

VR and AR on a Global Level:

The insurgence of VR and AR has massive global implications. International Data Corporation (IDC) has projected that in just four years, the VR/AR market will reach sales up to $162 billion. More and more 360o videos have been showing up on video channels such as Youtube, subtly reminding viewers that they could be getting a better experience via a VR device. VR and AR are by no means constrained to video gaming. As mentioned in a previous blog post, VR is already having an impact in the medical industry, education, social media, and business. Surgeons could be using VR for surgeries, and patients for therapy sessions. Education could become much cheaper if entire courses begin to be taught by one teacher embedded into an immersive software. Social media platforms will become entirely new realities with virtual social spaces and avatars. Mark Zuckerberg has created a plan to do something like this in combining Facebook and VR.

So VR is not restricted to gaming; gaming is simply the gateway to people’s interest in VR. But the “gods of technology” seem to have greater plans for Augmented Reality. Virtual Reality will forever be an experience that takes us away from the present and physical world around us. AR, however, could potentially become an everyday part of our lives.

 

Having trouble believing this could be a close representation of our future? Samsung has already put in patents for smart contact lenses. Get ready world!

Melomics Music Composition

When considering art, one must at some point or another question it’s origin and what makes it so special.  Some people believe art comes from something beyond our comprehension; a higher power of some sort.  Others believe that art at its core is a very human thing.  No matter what you believe, Artificial Intelligence has the potential to disrupt your current philosophy and force you to reflect on what it all means.

In 2014, Melomics released 0music – an album composed by an artificial intelligence named Melomics109 without any human intervention whatsoever.  You can watch and listen to one of the songs from the album here.  Now, the music isn’t anything special; it’s no Mozart or Beatles.  However, it’s lack musical greatness doesn’t take away from the magnitude of the step taken.  As we’ve all learned from studying disruption innovation, most disruptive innovations start out unimpressive; that’s why most people don’t pay attention until it’s too late.  As a musician who has studied disruptive innovation, this scares me.  I’m scared of the potential that an AI can reach not just musically, but across every genre of art.  There are even instances where AIs are writing film scripts.  Again, they’re terrible, but that’s not the point.  The point is that it’s a step and a giant one.

There are multiple reasons why this scares me.  I’m scared of an obstacle that I think humanity will face and has faced repeatedly in history.  It’s the same obstacle we faced when we learned that the sun did not revolve around the earth.  When AI achieves a level of artistic creativity that leaves us in awe, I think we will all question how special humans really are.  As of right now, art is very much a reflection of our experiences, and often times an extension of who we are.  When we like a song, we feel connected to the artist – it’s all very grounded in relationships.  How will that change when something that isn’t human does the creating?  What is there to connect with?  I’m also scared because humans are very creative.  We love it! If we didn’t, then there wouldn’t constantly be new innovations, music, movies, etc.  What are we going to do when we don’t have to create anymore because we have machines doing it for us? How will we adapt?  Lastly, to refer back to the question from the beginning of this post: “Who do we owe this tree to?”  I think the evolution of AI will make answering this question even more complicated. 

How we Stream

No matter the medium, a cable box, a satellite dish, or now a computer with an HDMI cord. How and what we stream has been changing and evolving, but so has the televisions we use to do all our streaming on. Growing up I remember tube TV’s, these box boxes that if they came with a VCR were the coolest thing ever!

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As we progress through the years it then became all about Flat Screen TV’s and 1080p. Flat screens became all the rage and everyone was desperate for the upgrade.

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Then something funny happened. The latest innovation in television became the 3D TV.

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This was the point went the market decided, “No we don’t want that, this is not the future please try again.” The 3D TV fad never did catch on maybe it was because it required glasses? Shortly after the 3D TV demise we saw the rise of the Smart TV.

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In recent years the market has proven it wants smart TV’s and so how does the market continue to disrupt? Flexible glass of course!

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Pretty soon you will have a smart TV that can be completely transparent and flexible to the point where you can roll it up.

 

Televisions, like mobile phones and computers, are constantly changing and evolving. In the last 15 years we have bared witness to the transformation of televisions from being a box in our homes to something that weighs 1/5th of the weight that we mount to our walls and has internet capability. This proves how much power, we the market, have in terms of dictating what disruptive products survive or die. With the example of the 3D television, the market didn’t want it and therefore it is no longer here today but we the market do want flexible screens and so that can stay for the next iteration of televisions.  Using the evolution of the television as an example one could then propose the question.

Do we the market control the pace of disruption or is disruption an independent variable unconstrained by mass adoption and acceptance?

 

 

Disruption Occurring in the Media and TV Industry

Throughout the entire semester, we’ve detailed the disruption of the media and television industry. From the rise of video giants like Blockbuster to their ultimate demise, we’ve seen how seemingly untouchable businesses can fall victim to disruption. The current landscape shows mainstream use of online streaming services. These platforms provide consumers with not only more convenient options, but increased offerings tailored to viewer preferences. With the widespread adoption of these services, along with other platforms that offer services similar to cable at a cheaper price, more consumers than ever are cutting the cord.  Watch a summary of our findings below:

 

To learn more about the processes and programs we used to facilitate our learning, click here.

Here’s our take on how to adapt to these disruptive times in the media and television industry.

 

Before there was streaming, there was cable

It’s really obvious to trace the disruption of the media industry to Netflix and similar streaming services. Everything was perfectly fine before that, right? It is so easy to ignore the fact that disruption began long before Netflix became mainstream; it began with the growth of cable television.

First, let’s clarify the distinction between broadcast television and cable television. Broadcast television consists of NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and to an extent, CW. These channels have the largest reach in terms of viewing households, the standard by which reach is measured for television. It is also a very diverse audience that watches, they are measured in terms of the number of adults between the ages of 18-49 watching a program. In terms of how an advertiser chooses to spend their dollars, broadcast channels are sort of a necessity, but may not always be the most efficient use of money. These commercial spots are often tens of thousands of dollars each, if not more.

Cable television however is much more niche in their viewer composition and in the type of programming they offer. Cable TV allows advertisers to reach a more targeted market due to the nature of their programming. The viewers of these channels can be guaranteed on bases such as women between the ages of 25-49 or men between the ages of 18-34.

In addition to allowing advertisers to spend their more dollars more efficiently in targeting, the cost per commercial spot on cable television is significantly cheaper than its broadcast counterparts. So while the reach of cable television may not be as great, it a lot cheaper and a lot more efficient in terms of advertising spend.

There are hundreds of cable channels available to viewers; and because of this, viewers have hundreds of options when it comes to choosing what to watch. The increase in available cable channels has fragmented viewers and ratings alike. There is an ongoing competition between the networks to put out the best programming to attract viewers to their network. There is a big push for fresh, new programming every new season, and this has led to more failed freshmen series for each network. It is rare for a TV series to achieve lasting success in such a competitive landscape.

“Free and Easy” Disruption Dismantles Music

When you look at the sudden free fall of the music industry due to disruptive technologies, you can’t help but empathize with an industry that was completely blindsided and not equipped by any means to handle such a sudden alteratiaccon in the way music is made, bought, and distributed.  The question we find ourselves asking is, “What drove this change in the industry?” Music torrent sites like Napster, streaming services such as Spotify, and music production applications like GarageBand are all examples of these disruptive technologies, but I would describe them as the effect of disruption and not necessarily the cause of it.  I think the main ingredient of the music industries spiraling downfall is the consumer. Like all disruptive technologies, the music industries disruption is based on the fundamental question “How can we make the consumer’s life easier?”

“Free” and “easy” are the words driving the changes in the music industry.  Why pay for music when I can get it for free? Why drive to a store and purchase my favorite artist’s album when I can do that with just a few clicks of the mouse? It was these concepts that anyone could get music for free through file sharing that drove Napster to such prominence that wounded record sales to such an extent that they never fully recovered. Napster of course would not have been able to thrive without the internet and file sharing capabilities that were becoming a big presence in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Not only did Napster give society the chance to obtain artists’ albums for free, but also it popularized the idea of downloading music on your computer without the hassle of going to the store and purchasing music.  It’s no coincidence that Apple’s iTunes really took off after Napster disbanded in 2002.  Society became enamored with the ease through which you could purchase a song and add it to your MP3 player with just a few simple clicks of a mouse.  With Napster no longer an option to illegally obtain music for free, other peer-to-peer file sharing services such as Limewire and BitTorrent began to emerge, along with Youtube to MP3 websites after 2005, to satisfy the consumer’s need to not have to pay for music.

As technology increased its capabilities, so did the ease through which music could be created, distributed, and bought.  Why pay $1.29 per song on iTunes when you can pay a monthly fee on Spotify or to stream music on Pandora radio?  Nowadays the area of the music industry that is feeling the powerful influence of disruptive technologies are recording studios.  Popular Recording studios such as this one in Soho in Manhattan may soon go by the wayside with the lack of use by artists. But this begs the question, “why pay incredibly high rates to use a recording studio when GarageBand and other recording services are available right on your own computer?”  It is very likely that we could soon see more recording studios and even record labels become a thing of the past. http://www.fastcompany.com/3032642/why-the-music-industrys-next-big-disruption-is-in-the-recording-studio

So what is to come for the music industry? What new products are going to make life easier for consumers to have access to their favorite artists? A new platform of music streaming called Direct-to-Fan has made it possible for independent artists to bypass record labels and sell their music or merchandise directly to their fans through websites such as Musicglue.com  or Nimbit.com.  The logic here is, if you’re an artist, why give record labels and music/merchandise distributors a significant cut of your revenues, when it would be much cheaper to use one of the aforementioned websites?  Another new product consumers are beginning to use is Periscope.  Periscope is a live streaming app that allows the user to view live videos that other users are uploading and the user can upload their own live stream.  Periscope has come under fire as some users are using the service to stream live concerts or sporting events, which violates broadcasting copyright law.  Once again the consumer is finding new ways to avoid paying expensive ticket prices for events that they can watch for free from the comfort of their own home.

The question the music industry is asking itself, was there a way its collapse could have been prevented? Is there anything that can be done to stop this downward spiral?  According to this article there is still something that can be done to prevent further collapse but this Forbes article does a great job explaining why the music industry is “beyond all recognition” thanks to disruption. Finally this video also gives a brief description about the causes of disruption in the music industry.

 

 

 

The Impact of Original Programming

With the rise of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, consumers have been exposed to new, innovative programming from these providers. These original programs are created exclusively to air on that platform and be viewed by its subscribers. This breaks from the traditional model of shows airing on broadcast or cable television, and later being put on the streaming service after each season has aired. Programs like Orange is the New Black and Transparent have not only captured large audiences, but have also been nominated and award several awards traditionally reserved for traditional television programs. Just this past year, Orange is the New Black was nominated for three Golden Globes awards and for three Primetime Emmys. Uzo Aduba, a supporting actress in the series, won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. Transparent, an Amazon Original, won two Golden Globes, five Primetime Emmys, and was nominated for an additional six Primetime Emmys. Between Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, the two took home a total of 46 nominations for Primetime Emmys. This demonstrates how original programming on streaming services are starting to contend with traditional television shows airing on broadcast and cable networks. Within just a few years of introducing original programming, streaming services have gained major traction with their shows.

Traditionally television networks and their programs have been guided by ratings of its shows. Nielsen data is used track the number of households watching a particular program, and this information is used in accessing not only how successful a show is, but how to price the advertising space in that program. Since there are only a limited number of primetime spots in each network’s lineup, there is high pressure to have high-rating shows in an effort to maximize advertising revenue. This has led to an extremely fragmented industry with new networks popping up in an effort to achieve a piece of the success. TV critics have begun to call this era the “Golden Age of Television” due to the amount of new, original programming that came out this year. Broadcast and Cable networks aired just over 300 original programs this year, compared to 24 from the streaming services. With the influx of new programs and competing channels, the ratings for individual shows continue to drop each year. This has also made it extremely common for new programming to fail within the first season due to lack of sufficient ratings. Viewers are overwhelmed with choices, and the decreased ratings show that. Along with decreased ratings comes less advertising revenue for the networks as well.

The advantage streaming services such as Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflix have is that they are able to create content that appeals to viewers, rather than advertisers. There is no longer the constant worry of having to achieve sufficient ratings for a show since the providers aren’t reliant on advertising revenue to sustain themselves. Instead, the streaming services are able to produce shows that consumers are interested in. Netflix uses user data to not only help to serve customers, but to also find out what customers are interested in and produce original content that appeals to them. This has led to Netflix having an extremely high success rate in their original programming. Having consumer centered content has also turned into an integral way for Netflix to retain current customers. Ultimately, Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video are focused on gaining and maintain subscriptions. The popularity of their shows does not matter as much to them as does the engagement of the viewers. Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, has declared that “Netflix company isn’t interested in the ratings of its original – or licensed – content.” This model allows streaming services to provide content that caters exclusively to the viewers desires. Traditional networks do not have the flexibility to change their model and keep up. Networks are still reliant on ratings and held responsible by advertisers.

Of course, where there is success, other players tend to come into effect as well. The latest rumored company to enter the field is Apple. While there is not much information out yet, there have been reports of Apple meeting with Hollywood executives to discuss creating original content.

Original programming from streaming services could be the incentive that consumers are looking for to finally cut the cord of their cable subscription. With consumer tailored content, and not being reliant on advertising revenue, Netflix, Amazon, and soon Apple are poised to exploit the cord-cutting market.

 

In the next post, we will discuss “cord-cutting.”