“The Future of Media is Human”

Dimitris Dimitriadis
7 min readSep 17, 2021

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My talk at DCN Global’ s first hybrid event.

About the Hybrid Forum: DCN Global’ s first hybrid event, since the beginning of the pandemic, signals a new start the day after. Building on the work done we had a series of conversations, illustrating ways digital technologies are impacting: -Rebuilding TRUST -Defending TRUTH -Reshaping INFLUENCE Well known experts from all around the world discussed key trends and issues regarding building digital trust in relation to finances, democracy, and the technology itself; challenges to scientific truth during the current pandemic; and the geo-strategic play for influence.

You can read a more detail long-read version of this talk:

I want you to close your eyes for a moment and travel back in time with me. Not too far back in early 1920s, just 30 years ago on a Monday in 1991. We are in a bar somewhere in Thessaloniki, one of those with a big wooden bar and soft music where you can almost hear the bartender beating the ice cubes in the shaker. Our hero starts talking to his company again about the future. That in the future we won’t have to go to the office…instead, we’ll be working from our home, that we’ll have 4 and 5G connections and not have to wait 10 hours for the modem to connect; that in our pockets we’ll carry a powerful computer which will also serve as a digital camera, and we’ll have access to banking transactions and will be able to communicate via live video with the other side of the world and we’ll play games in vast fantasy worlds and we’ll flirt and fall in love through it.

And now, let’s open our eyes.

If you had heard all of that back in 1991, wouldn’t you have called him crazy, or at least a naive dreamer?

This is how I feel today when I tell stories about the future and the emerging technologies over the next 30 years.

The concept of the future is a human invention. I believe it is something that we constructed from our earliest days on earth. A mechanism to keep ourselves excited about what we perceive as tomorrow.

If the future is indeed a human invention, then can we predict it? And if we can predict it then we can certainly shape it.

Today we live in the most interesting moment in history. We have, at our disposal, technology and knowledge like never before. I’ll begin by analyzing the technological convergences that enable us to see the future of media.

The media & entertainment industry has been a saving grace for many of us during our weeks of COVID-induced lockdown.

At no time in history has society consumed as much media as we currently are.

However, the post-COVID media consumer will be an acutely more discerning individual following this vastly increased consumption.

Media providers with sub-standard or minimal content will be judged harshly, while those that can provide numerous, timely, high-quality content will flourish.

Also, the post-COVID media consumer will seek adaptable and engaging content that they can influence

(remember Black Mirror Bandersnatch episode).

In a post-COVID world, media providers will face ever-increasing pressure to up their game for value

On the other hand

With robust consumer data and advanced, AI-based analytics, media companies will be able to predict consumer preferences with more accuracy than ever before.

As media becomes more personal and adaptable, trust is becoming a serious issue

Deep fakes, hoaxes, echo chambers, misinformation and propaganda are increasingly impacting people’s perception of media.

The conflict between true and false is an eternal question that no machine can solve but, if used as a contribution combined with people’s professionalism the machine can make an impact.

Technology may provide the best cures for these kinds of problems.

Today, platforms make it easier to create and distribute content without the need for middle man. But this has given rise to unfair compensation for content creators. Technologies like blockchain will make direct interaction between artists and audiences possible.

Ujo for example is an open platform that uses blockchain to create a transparent and decentralized database of media rights and ownership. It automates royalty payments using smart contracts and cryptocurrency.

Another example is

Fakespot uses smart algorithms to analyze online reviews to ensure fake reviews are eliminated and consumers make better purchasing decisions.

The media landscape in 2025 is likely to be seamlessly integrating within individual consumers’ tech ecosystems — mobile, voice and augmented/virtual reality smart homes.

A technology for every human sense

The use of AI will become commonplace, and will be used to improve customer interaction and manage resources for a seamless and self-service system completely in tune with each one of us

AI will become part of nearly all media that is produced.

As media and entertainment become contextual, fully personalized, adaptable and predictable, vanila content will be easily cast aside, and replaced with completely relevant, targeted media that matters to each one of us individually.

Our world is becoming interconnected at a tremendous speed. In this new world, we will tell stories with our bodies and seamlessly interact with our surroundings. In the near future, fans will not only watch games and entertainment; games and shows will watch them back. Performers will wear sensor-embedded equipment and clothes that stream data to fans

The future will not be about using smart technology to intrude on people’s lives; it will be about inserting themselves into people’s lives with respect to their time and needs, and putting people in control of their own attention and helping them get the most out of the interaction

We live in a curated media world, in which everything we watch and see is suggested to us. Shows we see are based on past viewing behavior, and products we buy are based on algorithms learning our needs from past buys. We find ourselves in a feedback loop between us and the companies we allow to follow and monitor us. It is the ultimate personalized and instant world.

In the next 10 years the demand for non-personalized experiences and “offline astonishment” will grow, fueling the desire for offline and live group experiences. In a world where digital is the new normal, physical experiences will become the next unique. Human contact will become the new luxury good and even a status symbol.

Step to an Immersive Experimental age

We’ll experience a shift from the information age toward an immersive, experimental age. In this new blended future of the virtual and physical worlds, our attention will turn to experiencing human emotions instead of consuming streams of human-written content. On a personal level, we’ll be able to augment our lives.

The world around us will become a part of our media experiences and content channels

For example Valkyrie is getting closer to users with personalized experiences that appeals to all the senses. Valkyrie is adding sensory technology (haptics) to virtual simulations so that customers can actually feel the texture of those bed sheets before they order.

How does all this sounds to you?

Does it still seem like a technological media utopia? Or is maybe the invisible line that connects today with tomorrow, slowly beginning to fade?

Certainly some of us have mixed feelings. Maybe we don’t know how to feel. We’re not sure if such a reality makes us happy or uneasy.

We are troubled.

Maybe the control of biological data by authoritarian regimes and the use of artificial intelligence as a weapon harbor great danger?

We think that…

In all the technologies that have changed humanity — from fire to atomic energy and from nanotechnology to artificial intelligence — there is also a dark side.

We are afraid that maybe…

A general artificial intelligence will wipe us out one morning, as we, homosapiens, did to so many other species.

It is reasonable to be concerned about tomorrow, but…the future doesn’t always come like a bolt of lightning, surprisingly. It comes slowly like a cat that sneaks into the living room — so slowly that by the time it approaches, we, as humans, are being shaped, as our data, desires and needs, but also our fears, are no longer identified by the now, but changing as the daily use of technology and media, as well.

Before I close Lets make a vision together … By letting go of our mental barriers and with our eyes open this time

Imagine it’s 2049, and there’s no longer a distinction between the virtual and physical worlds.

Our human body is connected to a decentralized web, and we’re represented by our digital twins that make decisions for us and provide us with guidance through our daily interactions.

We are continuously analysed.

Our emotions and body functions can be measured and acted upon.

In this environment, we interact with our surroundings and the world of media.

Everything we do and see is curated.

Imagine that we also have an optional “miracle mode,” in which we can purposely have experiences that aren’t informed by algorithms. The system forgets who we are and delivers us an impersonalized random positive unique experience.

I invite you…to create this miracle together.

And invent the future of media

Thank you.

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Dimitris Dimitriadis

👩‍🚀 Digital Futurist 📢 International Speaker 🎙 Social Media Podcaster