Virtual reality and artificial intelligence

Four letters form the two major tech trends when summing up tech conferens South by Southwest, in Austin Texas – VI and AI. Virtual reality is truly becoming a new language of storytelling and artificial intelligence will probably change both how we live our lives and our workplace, maybe just not the way we’ve imagined.

If you want to name one tech trend that is the leading one, it’s probably Virtual Reality.

Virtual reality is a reality in gaming, documentary filming and news storytelling. It enables Nasa to travel to Mars and the more modest travel industry is discovering virtual tourism. The advertising business is curious how to use it and it might work for sports and military training. Art and music videos can be added to the list. In health treatment it can be used to help people with PTS and to distract pain.

Basically VR is the new way of storytelling that takes you to another world where you can see, touch, smell and interact. You are no longer watching what’s going on – you’re in the story. It creates a new presence that increase engagement, appeal to feelings and sympathy and that, at times, makes you forget your own troubles or pain.

At SXSW Kevin Kelly, Senior Maverick at Wired magazine, described how he has followed the development of VR. His experience has not changed that much from when he explored the first attempts in the late 80’s but today VR is available – thanks to cheap components and technology. Kelly even believes that VR will be the next big platform, after the mobile phone, and that it will be the most social of social media, since you are there, meeting and interacting with others. Beneath it all there is a movement from the Internet of information to the Internet of experience.

AI – a brain in the cloud

Next to VR on the tech throne is artificial intelligence. It’s great for making our fantasy create both astonishing visions – and fears. All those movies where robots are taking over, thinking like humans, but in the end acting evil. Or the more ground to earth threat – of them taking our jobs.

What if it’s all going to be completely different? What if AI even will create new jobs and what if AI will be more like electricity – services that flows and that we can pick and choose from?

Experts seam to agree on one thing – AI won’t be like us. It will not have a conscious, it’s not trustworthy, it can’t interpret feelings and can’t argue why it reaches to different conclusions. It will simply put be a bit autistic – a nanny anyone?

But AI will think differently, and that might be one of it’s biggest assets – with all challenges lying ahead we will need different ways of thinking and solving problems.

It seams like if we won’t have human-like robots in our home for a great while. But we might have an AI-brain in the cloud, handling things like personal calculations and information. In the bigger scale, companies and authorities will have access to AI as support for decisions and competence.

About the jobs – Kevin Kelly from the Wired, believes that AI will do all the things humans shouldn’t, all the boring and monotonous jobs. And that this will enable the growth of more creative jobs for humans. In the future humans will work along side AI – and there will be a new attractive skill – collaborating with AI. Imagine those coffee breaks …

As for now – robots can also be fun. Swedish Simone Giertz makes the world’s worst.

South by Southwest (SXSW)

SXSW is a set of annual conferences and festivals in Austin, Texas, gathering experts and enthusiasts within, film, music and interactive media.
The music festival is regarded as the largest of it’s kind, featuring more than 2 200 acts and attracting more than 30 000 registrants in 2016.
SXSW film started of focusing on indie films but is now also attracting larger players.
The interactive part is focused on emerging technology and trends and attracts start up hunters as well as industry leaders within tech and media. The first SXSW festival took place in 1987.