June 15th, 2004

Macbeth the Usurper

Predicting the Future

There's a story in Business Week on the coming convergence of media and networking and all that good stuff.

Here's a paragraph that almost made me laugh, and told me that somebody's smoking crack:

By the end of this 10-year cycle, the change could be extreme. Web pages will snap to life. Hundreds of thousands of political bloggers, fly fishermen, chefs, and Oprah wannabes will be uploading gobs of video programming -- creating their own channels. This plethora of Web shows will joust for attention with television fare, Internet radio, video e-mails, and games. All of it will play on televisions, computers, and cell phones, which will be different flavors of the same machine. "The concept of a network or a channel will go away," says Jakob Nielsen, a partner at technology consultant Nielsen Norman Group in Fremont, Calif. "They're artifacts of old technology."

Does this person have any idea how long it takes to create images? Interactive fare? Does this person understand how bad this stuff can be? Does this person understand that producing quality viewables takes time, which takes money, which needs backers, which makes networks very powerful? This doesn't mean that people won't produce amazing stuff. They will. But most entertainment is produced by groups, not individuals. Even a very short 10 minute film credits and thanks 50 people.

The second fallacy that I see is Standards Wars. These will keep happening as long as somebody thinks that they can make more money with their own standard, or lock out competition with this same standard.

Given the prediction that networks or channels will go away, I must then believe that these concepts will hit a resurgence and come back stronger and more profitable than every. Why? When you have infinite choices, you don't know what to choose. There's too much. You explore. You learn. After a while, you settle into what you like, and those become your "channels."

Looking over the whole article, there are places where it sounds nice, but I must think that some things will converge, and others won't. Then things will deconverge, and other things will converge in different ways. This will happen for a while. Why? Because the market will always follow money, and money follows the illogical fashions of people. Maybe that's to say that if you wait long enough, everyone will be right.
Macbeth the Usurper

More observation on the same article

The article makes convergence seem so inevitable and real. Like it's coming in well thought and ready to fight. I see this much closer to stumbling in and hoping to grab the railing. The belief in convergence is like religion. It is a prophecy of what must come to pass. The thought that it won't come to pass would be a terrible blow to the industries looking at convergence as their Savior. But no one reall knows what's the in hearts of consumers, not even me. Some things will converge, and others won't.

In the end, I think people have a finite use for technology. No amount of new gadgets will interest my sister unless she can see their uses, like e-mail and printers. Heck, I'm quite the geek and *I* have no interest in many of these gadgets.

Now I do believe that art and gadgets will grow closer. Right now, retro is in. You can get some very pretty, 50's style fans. Isn't that the weirdest thing with all our technology? But it's not. They imply a world without high tech (which is very ironic), which is how many people see their own lives.