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    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2012
    Point 2 already happens with videogames.
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2012
    Tangential to point two, the TV advertising break certainly doesn't have much life left - certainly we can expect increasing targetting of adverts based upon our own product selections/choices - take this example set in 2020 from this Imperica article "The Creation Of Demand"

    The 30-second spot has become largely irrelevant; ‘Addressable TV’, which let advertisers target specific households with TV ads (Johnston, 2011 (6) ), was nothing more than Henry Ford’s ‘faster horse’, the solution advertisers thought they wanted. As the skipping and blipping of ads became increasingly commonplace it was proven in 2018 that a campaign of 800 TVRs wasn’t actually seen by anybody…

    Instead, the commercial support of advertisers is woven into the very fabric of the shows themselves. Whilst in one programme, the heroine wears Adidas, drinks Pepsi and cracks the Pentagon’s network with her Apple iWatch. In the other programme she’s clad in Nike, sated with Coca-Cola and performs her death-defying feats of silicon daredevilry with the ‘Intel Inside’ chip in her wrist.

    The version of the show you see is tweaked, scene-by-scene, just for you. It pulls together the data on who you are, who you know, where you’ve been, what you’ve bought and what you’ve yet to buy, and creates the show for you in real time.

    This happens across every show, every surface, every channel and every interface. Ads still exist of course, but they’re put together from a million possible options, each based on a different part of your data.

    Also I one aspect of our probable future that I don't think has been disussed on this thread (as far as i can remember) is the impact of algorithm based entities in shaping the world (see Slavin TED 2011). We are consistantly seeing greater influence of the agency of algo-entities across the spectrum, and they do things that are impossible to predict or sometimes even understand - you only need to look at the recent weird behaviour of the stock price during the Facebook IPO to see this in action (Buzzfeed, How Facebook's IPO Got Hijacked by Computers)

    (((there's a commonality of ground here with James Bridle's New Aesthetic, but I am not keen on provoking a discussion about the merits of that particular term/movement here as it'd probably need a separate thread)))
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2012
    Tangential to my last topic, what earthyl reason is there for any book to be "out of print" these days?
  1.  (10574.84)
    My problem with free-with-ads is that once you're reliant on the ads as your primary source of income, you're going to have an awful lot more. One thing that's currently annoying me in games is this attitude where deciding where and how to put in micropayments and adverts is a primary design concern right from the outset. I'm reminded of that ridiculous chunk of I, Robot where Will Smith is waiting for a delivery of some antique modern day trainers. Clearly in this future we're discussing people are going to be buying stuff still, so I'd be happier buying the film without the text-crawler and compromised artistic vision.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeMay 25th 2012
    @ben - with the games you're talking about, those are the only ways to get them funded at the moment. The whole games industry is in a right old state, and only guarenteed 3 million sellers get the up front publisher cash now. Everything else has to monetise as best as it can just to get to exist in the first place...
  2.  (10574.86)
    I'm aware of the problem, but I don't think the current solution for that problem is a good template for how to build the future for all media.
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2012
    I think the future of advertising is a really great angle to be taking, as it is essentially the future of how involuntary psychology will be leveraged to influence the mass behavior of people in really any context. The way it is normally understood is in an economic context - how do you pull on the levers of psychological response to nudge people into a specific economic activity, but it is used for non-economic purposes as well, and it is pervasive. One form of advertising, for example, is religious doctrine, and it is used to bend mass human behavior in support of certain social behaviors, or against others. It has been promulgated on multiple levels, from spectacle to intellectual, and contains economic dimensions as well.

    Now that we have a mass culture that is more literate and more conscious of the levers advertising works on, what ways can those be used to, say, increase justice? Improve health? What are the goals to which the practice of advertising should aspire? How can it be policed, in the sense that, as it operates by pulling triggers in the psyches of individuals, what can be done to hedge unscrupulous or non-consensual manipulation?

    I think that's a really valuable channel to think down.

    The Old Gaffer posted a bit of weirdly sympathetic schadenfreude about Charlie Stross' disappointment in the narrow imaginations of his regular commenters. It states in better words exactly what I was trying to do in starting this thread. The topics he laments every discussion degenerating into are:

    * Space colonization

    * Automotive technology

    * Things that go fast and explode (rockets, military aircraft)

    * Alternative energy (from solar through wind/wave to nuclear)

    * Libertarianism (and everything is worse with libertarians)

    Someone in the comment thread basically argues, well, these are thing people interested in the future are interested in. To which he beautifully replies:

    These are all areas of interest to someone interested in the future.


    Why are they intrinsically more interesting than, say, the politics of gender/ethnic emancipation? Or the design of better kitchen appliances? Items which directly affect a near- or outright majority of the population every day?

    Your focus on these fetish items -- indeed, the focus exhibited by many commenters here -- seems to me to betray a certain narrowness and lack of depth to their interest in the future.

    YES! Fetish items. This is the thing I was trying to get at. The futuristic tropes I was trying to rule out of discussion in the first post, that so many have fought to keep in play, are subcultural fetish items with very little connection to the fates of the majority of the species.

    But things like advertising touch almost all of us every day!
    • CommentTimeMay 29th 2012 edited
    S'funny, I was literally just reading the gaffer's post and thought of this disussion so I'm glad to find you are in agreement...

    I am totally on your wavelength here. Part of me thinks the tropes of the C20th 'Future' are comfortable ( to people and so ingrained that it's hard to shake off the future vision that they create, but as you say for the huge majority these subjects are fetish items (I totally think we should adopt this term). It's sort of like the old way of looking at history - focussing on wars and kings and empire, and forgetting to think about how the ordinary person's life was led during differing periods of technological advancement.

    In the field of adverstising one recent development that concerns me is the erecting of 'Brand Exclusion Zones' around the Olympic sites in London - from Kosmograd:

    In urban design, exclusion zones are becoming commonplace in relation to sponsorship of sporting events. The Brand Exclusion Zone is the newest form of urban demarcation, and can be used not only to affect signage and advertising, but also restrict personal freedom of choice. Within this context, the London 2012 Olympics represents one of the most radical restructuring of the rights of the city in London. The 'canvas' of London will belong exclusively to the Olympic marquee brands.

    The most carefully policed Brand Exclusion Zone will be around the Olympic Park, and extend up to 1km beyond its perimeter, for up to 35 days. Within this area, officially called an Advertising and Street Trade Restrictions venue restriction zone, no advertising for brands designated as competing with those of the official Olympic sponsors will be allowed. (Originally, as detailed here, only official sponsors were allowed to advertise, but leftover sites are now available). This will be supported by preventing spectators from wearing clothing prominently displaying competing brands, or from entering the exclusion zone with unofficial snack and beverage choices. Within the Zone, the world's biggest McDonald's will be the only branded food outlet, and Visa will be the only payment card accepted.

    This kind of mediation of the urban canvas will be more commonplace I believe, especially as we see a further extension of the private/corporate ownership of 'public' spaces - which brings a loss of the democracy of the urban space.

    On a technological level, Augmented Reality billboards are already here, and as too are billboards that display gender specific adverts dependant on the sex of the viewer (of course the machine vision that decides which gender the viewer is not 100% foolproof..)

    Apart from the evolutionary arms-race that is the advertiser/consumer relationship, another part of aspect of futurism that may be worth considering here is Near Future Laboratory's 'Corner Convenience' idea - that things that were once technological marvels are now commonplace enough to sit on the counter of your local convenience store for 99¢ (or 99p) - their design fiction videos on this subject are fertile ground for imagining the type of product we'll see in the convenience store of the future (which lets face it, is the sort of future that most of us will be experiencing).
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeMay 29th 2012 edited
    One reason discussion tends to keep coming back to the fetish objects is that they're the LCD of the future.

    I may be interested in the democratization of industrial design.

    You may be interested in the implications of avatars and agents on concepts of the self.

    But we can both go "oooh" when something 'splodes good.

    Space Travel is the "Cops" or "Funniest Home Videos" of amateur internet futurism.

    On a different note: during the premiere of the Canadian sf show Conintuum the Showcase network actually ran an ad for a mobile phone carrier during the program -stills only, no audio, and it popped up in the lower left hand corner of the screen where they normally run stuff like promos for other shows.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeMay 29th 2012
    "Apart from the evolutionary arms-race that is the advertiser/consumer relationship,..."

    Heres' a thought: what happens when adbusters gets hold of Google Goggles technology and offers an "ads-free" app that recognises and censors corporate logoes?
    • CommentTimeMay 29th 2012
    In keeping with my apparent role as resident curmudgeon - I can't think of two things less likely to exert even the slightest influence over the future than adbusters or Google Goggles. Might as well wonder what Highlights magazine would do with a pair of 3DTV glasses.

    People online don't even universally use browser adblock plugins. People mostly don't care, and I don't see any reason to think that they suddenly will. Google Goggles will not be widely adopted because people have exhibited an uniform preference for not wearing stuff on their face that isn't medically necessary. I think almost nobody looks at the notion of icons in their walking field of vision as a desirable thing. I'd argue that if someone says they do, they will quickly discover they don't once they try it. And adbusters will never instigate anything bigger than the dying Occupy movement.

    Short answer: If they did that, nobody would care or use it.
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2012 edited
    @Kosmopolit - agreed, everyone loves a good WHEEE! every now and then.

    In the google glasses thread I jokingly inquired as to whether it would be feasible to generate AR filters for *anything* the user would find objectionable - for instance images of a sexual nature (Reality 2.0, now Safer For The Children) or poor people (For the 1%er who finds poverty distasteful)...

    Referencing Gibson's 'the street finds its own use for things' though, so I wouldn't want to dismiss the notion of FOS-Spex completely. Tim Maughan's 'Paintwork' collection of stories explores some ways in which AR may develop (and is the source of my use of the word Spex for google glasses..).

    I wonder how quickly legislators would catch on that driving while using spex would be a bad idea.*

    There may though be certain groups of people that have good use-cases for Spex - imagine a warehouse manager getting real time stock information, or law enforcement/military personnel having a tactical overlay displayed in their visual field, but for the mainstream I agree that pervasive visual-field User Interaction is unlikely to win AR Spex any friends. If combined with a gestural interface which would bring up/dismiss the AR layer at will this be a better option, I reckon 'kinect' style gestural interfaces are probably going to be more ubiquitous than wearable computing for mainstream users - having your home recognise input commands would be ace: waves hand at espresso machine, cup of coffee waiting by the time you've walked over to it.

    [*edited to add: I suppose we'll all be driven along in our google earth navigated, self-driven cars though by then... ]
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2012
    once again Charles Stross points us in the right direction - Our accelerating change/future-shock meme is a by-producct of deviant globalisation
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2012 edited
    Google Glasses are all well and fine, but they seem to be more of this "life-blogging" which Big Poppa shared, like, a year ago? These devices plug us in to a shared consciousness on the net but if we're not doing anything interesting with these things then what is the purpose

    A lot of interesting news in today's (paper) edition of the San Jose Mercury News, including speculation about Facebook's stock (it sucks), Tim Cook will be Tim Cook and not Steve Jobs, an Appalachian town in Pennsylvania has little hope as coal loses value to natural gas, but most importantly this piece borrow from the New York Times: Wasting Time Is New Divide in Digital Era

    The article talks about how poor people are using digital devices and the internet as a distraction rather than a tool. (Which sort of seems obvious when I consider the platforms from which these devices have emerged, as corporate fueled devices in which people are encouraged to spend the minute amount of available capital they have on micro-payments and mini-transactions) So, when we consider the future we should consider the way traditional values are changing alongside the emergence of new technologies, if the majority of the population is happy eating the garbage shoveled them by mass media how can we expect to live in a future where these technologies prioritize our value of life? It's the whole world that's launching into the new frontier not just us early tech adopters and futurists. It's a global movement which means we need to consider everyone who shares the world with us.

    Now for a bit of good news, eh? There are some Bay Area schools which have adopted a computer testing system that handles all the monotonous test-taking, leaving the job of teaching new information in the hands of the teachers. (I poked around the net for a few minutes without finding a link, sorry but I've got things to do. I'll wait for the beatings over here in the corner. Please mind my head, thank you, it's lumpy enough) Perhaps in order to build a better future, until such a time that intelligence-enhancing implants are made readily available, we need still consider just how these emergent technologies will enhance our standard of living as opposed to providing new distractions and over-informing our peers.

    tl;dr Technology for people living below the poverty line sometimes results in a loss of of quality of life. [edit: What happens when technology panders to the broadest consumer base?]
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2012
    Uhhh, "quality of life" is not objective. This idea that low-income people with technology must necessarily be doing "stupid" things is pretty insulting. Twenty years ago poor people would be spending their limited disposable income on clothing/cars/other things to make themselves appear less poor. Maybe what the article really meant to say was: Bad parents are everywhere, and their method of parenting -- buying their kids something shiny to shut them up -- will never really change.
    Isn't it better that we have smartphones which occasionally result in function, rather than something purely decorative? Isn't it better that we're spending less money going out to movies and more time figuring out how to pirate them? Isn't it better that a few people occasionally stumble upon Instructables and try out some DIY stuff once in their lives? Also, video games are good for your brain.

    Just an idea: why don't we teach kids how to use technology in interesting ways (i.e. how to teach themselves the shit they're interested in) rather than limit their access / bore them to tears / scare them off with threats? I spent a LOT of time on the internet as a kid, and as a result I got bored of chatrooms and instant messaging pretty early, and am now cooler for it. Can't we structure this shit through the novelty period so we can get down to business?

    (Other idea: why don't we make media screens hurt our eyes more? So that's it's physically impossible to spend more than four hours a day with a computer, before you have to get outside and play in the dirt?)
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2012
    I knwo this marks me out as a Robot cultist/fanboy/wanker because only mindless conformists believe in Space travel (Papa Warren as said it so it must be true.) but it seems to me that any realistic look at the immediate future actually has to factor in a much larger human presence in sapce.

    Just ask Paul Allan, Elon Musk or Richard Branson.

    You can argeu about how significant it is; you can argue about hether or not its desirable but you can't deny it's happening and will continue to happen.
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2012 edited
    Hm. The Papa Warren crack seems misplaced. I rather get the impression that he has favored and continues to favor manned space flight. Maybe you are responding to some of us referring to his pointing to a Charlie Stross post that was about Charlie's frustrations with commenters? The fact that Charlie Stross being bored with his commenters endlessly circling arguments about space colonization, among other things, gave Warren some thoughts about the value of blog comments says nothing about his opinions about human space flight. That I found Charlie's characterization of the topics that bored him dovetailed well with the intention behind starting this thread doesn't really suggest there is any kind of ideological conformity happening. Particularly as I don't think Warren would agree with me and I made all of my arguments long before Charlie Stross wrote that bit.

    SpaceShip Two is a suborbital tourist stunt lob. It will last as long as people will pay thousands to pop briefly out of the atmosphere. It is no more inevitable a first step to anything that the Concorde was to mass supersonic flight.

    Space X's cargo capsule is neat, and at least has some connection to actual space infrastructure. It was an unmanned cargo lob.

    Stratolaunch is also a payload delivery system, not a manned effort.

    You'll argue that these two payload delivery systems could at some point carry people. True but so can the Russian program right now. The national manned space flight programs are dying out because there is very little for people to do in orbit, and nothing that returns the investment of sending them. Innovative payload delivery systems from private industry will make money delivering satellites and robotics into space, not people.

    I do deny that human space flight will continue at even it's current negligible scale. Again, time may prove me wrong and I wouldn't be sad if it did, but really I don't see any real evidence of that changing.

    Is it really so hard to try imagining other things? I don't get the utter inability to just set this topic aside.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2012
    "I don't get the utter inability to just set this topic aside. '

    I'm obviously guilty of badthink and I'll stop now.
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2012
    Man, I love being passive-argessively accused of being some sort of Orwellian thought cop for trying to keep a conversation that was explicitly started to talk about non-space related futurism from being constantly derailed into space. I just love it.

    My web rage is rising now, so I'll back away.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2012
    Yes and I'll shut the fuck up so that my deviationism doesn't interfere with a lively, free and open debate on the Approved Topic.

    Because if you look back at this thread all I did was talk obsessively about space.