A collision of thoughts


I just attended the 1st US edition of the Collision conference in New Orleans.
A 3 days marathon of start up pitches and product demos, talks by founder, developers, media execs and investors.

I focused my time mostly on keynote sessions to get a good feel for tech and media tends.

Here is what I captured.

I am not going to write about the strategic value of data, the astronomic rise of video, the audience fragmentation push and pull game, the importance of native content or the need to experiment with bots, etc…

All these topics were definitely highly discussed but I’d rather share fresh new insights that I haven’t heard much about before.

There are 2 of them.

1- VR is better with AR and AI:

VR was at the center of many many, many conversations. Every company, every start up seems to be involved in some way or another.

It is like we are recreating the invention of the moving image but instead of doing it over 100 years, it is happening in 3 to 5 years.

The impact of VR on our lives, our social interactions, our empathy is (will be) huge.

From the New York Times Displaced documentary covering the refugee crisis, to Charity water story telling, to Cirque du Soleil working on integrating VR into their shows, or recording important moments of our lives with the new Samsung VR camera being released next month….

VR is the next big thing. That is pretty obvious.
What was interesting at Collision conference was to hear about what will happen when VR is here, at scale.

 VR will be bigger with AR and AI (and vice versa)

The potential for VR + AR +AI merged together deepen utility and “enterpisification” in the work place, education and general life experiences…

For instance, imagine a VR experience with voice recognition, space tracking, hand movements and personal data all in one.

You are in a VR experience, you turn your hand up, your emails appear, speak to dictate your response, swipe right  and it calls the person you want to communicate with…

As screen definition improves, processing power speeds up, content creation becomes simpler, new human behaviors that we don’t even know could be possible will emerge simply because the VR echo system exists…

This is a good transition to the next insight.

2- Ethics:

If we are going to create robots and attempt to enhance human genetics and physiological functions, we need to solve ethical questions that didn’t need to be asked before.

I started to think about that at SXSW where I saw a few engineers giving presentations that we were closer to philosophy than technology.

Right now we know 2 stages of life “alive” and “not alive. So where do robots fit in and how we define their missions in society?

Andrea Keay, Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics has endless knowledge and opinion about that. Here is one of her previous keynote.

What about the fascinating applications that Halo Neuroscience will have not only on sport performances but learning, education, medicine… how can the device be used without aggravating inequalities?
Is it pushing the limits of the human conditions?

As you can sense, the Collision conference was a great experience.
After 3 days of hyper stimulation, my brain was ready for some relaxing rhythm at NOJazzfest.


Marie Sornin

Create the future

Larry Page, CEO & Co founder of Google participated in TED2014.

The whole interview by Charlie Rose is totally worth watching on the TED site here.
You will discover some great insights on what position Google will take in our future.

Outside of the inventions and innovation projects Larry talks about, I found his closing comment particularly impactful.

I think all of us working in media & technology should think about it every day:

Focus on creating the future today

Marie Sornin

The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour

Wanna know the future of news, or media in general? then get yourself in front of Jeff Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future. He knows it all!

Jeff Cole founded and directs the World Internet Project, a long-term longitudinal look at the effects of computer and Internet technology, which started 12 years ago and is conducted in over 25 countries. The World Internet Project is the leading international project examining the ways in which our social, economic and media lives are changing

The insights from the research are brilliant at using historical data to have a stab at predicting the future. Jeff doesn’t want to be seen as the prophet of the death so when asked if newspapers are going to die, the “between the lines answer” is: there will be less of them, a lot less often!

The research has proven that there is a clear correlation between Internet sage and Newspaper decline: When the internet penetration reaches 30%, newspaper readership starts falling… and we all the internet penetration rate in our western countries. Guess what’s going to happen in India , where it’s only at 10% but growing rapidly…
Around the world, every time a news reader dies, he/she is not being replaced by a new reader. Teens are interested in news. Yes they are… (if Jeff says they are, believe him, cause he’s pretty spot on in his predictions!) but what teens are not doing and never will do is get their news via a newspaper!
With that in mind Jeff thinks that within 4 or 5 years only be 4 or 5 newspapers will remain as thriving news editors in the USA. It doesn’t mean that newspapers are dead. Weekend papers will remain! They are like mini mags and will stay attractive

One of the reasons why Jeff ‘s research proves that there will be a role for newspapers, or, shall I say news organizations, in the future is that the proliferation of user-generated content actually creates craving for good professional & reliable content. The message seems clear to me that to stay in business news organizations must evolve the way they distribute this unique content and grow their digital business. The future of newspaper is in interactivity. Moving content from paper to screen might mean downs sizing for most newspaper companies but it does have several benefits for the media industry: cost saving/ environmentally friendly/ accessible anywhere.
A great example of medium moving to interactivity is Bjork’s Biophilia album based on iPhone & iPad experience… (hmmm, not such a fan of the music but her artistic approach is unique, progressive and fascinating;)

Now, the bad news doesn’t only apply to newspaper companies, if you are the CEO of a PC manufacturer, and you are not Tim Cook… you should worry about your business model (and read the innovator’s dilemna by Clayton Christensen). You have missed the opportunity to crack the tablet market
Tablet is iPad, other devices are not even on the map! As ironic as it might sound, the only brand which is catching up with the iPad is Apple itself! So for now,
iPad means transformation. In a few years, Jeff might say that tablets are transformation but there is zero sign of it now.


So why should you worry if you are the CEO of a PC manufacturer, and you are not Tim Cook? Because Jeff’s research clearly identifies the iPad as replacing the 2nd screen, your PC! and not emerging as the 4th screen! Jeff predicts that only 4% to 6% of the population (the ones who write, big data cruncher, students and designers) will still use PCs in the future.

He said that a few years ago someone was willing to bet $50K to prove him wrong on some of his prediction… someone would have lost $50K by now!

You can watch his key note speech at Ad Tech San Francisco 2011 and get more details on his thoughts about the future of media:

Marie Sornin

Ps: anybody knows who that title quote is from?