Imagining the Future (Annotated)
The success of any form of entertainment is ultimately determined by the individuals and social groups that are its subjects. The modes of entertainment that people find appealing are diverse and change over time. It is therefore hard to predict the forms entertainment will take in the next fifteen years precisely. Nevertheless, current trends suggest at least a few features that the future entertainment landscape is likely to contain.
To date, the information revolution has mostly unfolded in software. However, with the growing availability of cheaper sensors and devices, greater innovation in the hardware used in entertainment systems is expected. Virtual reality and haptics could enter our living rooms—personalized companion robots are already being developed. With the accompanying improvements in Automatic Speech Recognition, the Study Panel expects that interaction with robots and other entertainment systems will become dialogue-based, perhaps constrained at the start, but progressively more human-like. Equally, the interacting systems are predicted to develop new characteristics such as emotion, empathy, and adaptation to environmental rhythms such as time of day.
Today, an amateur with a video camera and readily-available software tools can make a relatively good movie. In the future, more sophisticated tools and apps will become available to make it even easier to produce high-quality content, for example, to compose music or to choreograph dance using an avatar. The creation and dissemination of entertainment will benefit from the progress of technologies such as ASR, dubbing, and Machine Translation, which will enable content to be customized to different audiences inexpensively. This democratization and proliferation of AI-created media makes it difficult to predict how humans' taste for entertainment, which are already fluid, will evolve.
With content increasingly delivered digitally, and large amounts of data being logged about consumers' preferences and usage characteristics, media powerhouses will be able to micro-analyze and micro-serve content to increasingly specialized segments of the population—down to the individual. Conceivably the stage is set for the emergence of media conglomerates acting as “Big Brothers” who are able to control the ideas and online experiences to which specific individuals are exposed. It remains to be seen whether broader society will develop measures to prevent their emergence. This topic, along with others pertaining to AI-related policy, is treated in more detail in the next section.
 Ryan Calo, “Digital Market Manipulation,” George Washington Law Review 82, no. 4 (2014): 995-1051.