by Arvin Patel
This year marks the 50th anniversary of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick’s seminal science fiction film that examined our evolution as human beings and technology’s role in our development. Looking back, you can argue that Kubrick was surprisingly prescient in depicting man’s relationship with machines as companies like Amazon, Google and Apple continue to invest in AI-related products and services. Instead of HAL, the supercomputer villain in Kubrick’s film, we have Alexa, Siri and Watson to help us avoid traffic and find shortcuts to work or answer simple questions like, “What year did 2001: A Space Odyssey come out?”
And while there’s no denying the promise of artificial intelligence as the next big thing, how we consume content is one area where we may see its impact sooner rather than later. As content consumption behaviors continue to evolve in today’s highly fragmented media landscape, media companies and platforms need to harness artificial intelligence to improve the quality of viewing and content experiences. By doing so, they will make it easier for consumers to use programming, while providing more access to content and developing new AI-related technologies like voice control.
As someone who has been at the leading edge in the media business, I’ve seen a lot of hits and misses when it comes to technology, but artificial intelligence is transformative and different, and will have a fundamental impact on the entertainment industry. Here are some of the areas where artificial intelligence promises to change the way we watch TV and movies:
- AI will eliminate the need for traditional programming guides and DVRs by pushing content to the appropriate output device at the perfect time for consumption. AI will know what you watch and will queue it up for you on your device without you having to ask. It will recommend new content based not only on what you have watched in the past, but on what your friends and others with interests like yours have found binge-worthy.
- AI will disrupt advertising as we know it as real-time product placement and precision targeting fundamentally change how advertising is delivered. In the future, AI will make it possible to deliver precision-targeted advertising and product placement inside the content that you’re watching. Your favorite movie and TV characters will drink your favorite drink, drive your next dream car, and drive past billboards with advertisements that have been place there just for you. Advertisers will use AI to target individual viewers with inline ads and product placements and will be able to track and optimize the return on their advertising investments.
- AI will be able to automatically compile user-generated content and content from other sources to create new streams of content that takes personalization to a new level. In the future, AI will make it possible to create real-time, custom-curated streams of content that are tailored just for you. Your daily sports updates will be customized to feature your favorite sports, teams and players and will mix in just the right amount of content from outside your current areas of interest to keep you informed and let you explore new areas of potential interest. News, lifestyle, and entertainment content will be custom-curated to optimize your own personal viewing experience and adjusted over time as your interests grow and change.
- AI will be able to create content on a hyper-personalized level on-demand — entertainment made just for me (songs, characters, shows, etc. that don’t yet exist). The endgame for AI in entertainment will be the creation of entirely new content that is created just for a narrow niche of users. AI can already create amazing music and poetry, and it won’t be long before advanced AI along with computer animation and visual effects will make it possible to create and render real-time storylines that are targeted at small groups or even individual viewers.
While much has changed since 2001: A Space Odyssey first appeared on the silver screen, man’s quest for advancement has not. Artificial intelligence will play a pivotal role in that endeavor. And even though reality hasn’t caught up with fiction as it’s depicted in Kubrick’s masterpiece, how we watch movies like his through emerging technologies like artificial intelligence will be here before you know it.
This article was first published as a guest column on July 20, 2018 in “Deadline | Hollywood”. Editors’ Note: Industry veteran Arvin Patel is Chief Intellectual Property Officer at TiVo and former chief IPO officer at Technicolor, with previous stints at Rovi and IBM. At TiVo, he oversees the company’s annual $400 million IP business and about 6,000 issued patents, as well as its pending applications worldwide. He also leads TiVo’s global organization of IP professionals overseeing portfolio development and management, licensing, strategic patent acquisition, policy, and the company’s long-term innovation strategy.