Friday Reading #105

Is anyone reading this? It seems half the world is off on holiday at the moment, so we can’t help thinking we’re shouting into a digital void at the moment. One group of people not taking a break are the investment teams at Goodstuff, who spent a day this week discussing the future media landscape – helping to plan a route through the choppy, ever changing waters of the media market. 

A study being conducted by Osnabrück University has
placed a big fat question mark over the future of AI, as studies in machine
morality have begun testing the implications of mimicking flawed human
behaviour in algorithms used by driverless cars. The study uses virtual reality
to test how real humans respond to obstacles by placing them in different
traffic-type situations and presenting them with various obstacles such as
women and children and then forcing them, in timed-conditions, to decide which
life has more value
. Weighing up the value of human life is complex and takes a
level of morality that isn’t possible in algorithms – while they are lacking of deeper knowledge, morals and the ability to feel blame, what is at stake with the
future of driverless cars?

Okay so we might have slightly missed the timer on this one, but we hope you haven’t got a soggy bottom from the waiting. The long awaited trailer for the Channel 4 GBBO is here, and it’s a stunner once again from 4creative. An animated celebration of the joy of baking, with anthropomorphic cakes and buns abound – and interestingly, not a presenter in sight. Taking a conscious choice to draw a line between the BBC version for this first glimpse into the show is a brave move, but one which has certaintly delivered on it’s creative promise. It’s Nice That have interviewed the wonderfully named Mikey Please, co-founder of animation studio Parabella to find out more about how they brought the idea to life.

Video on Facebook is an evolving proposition, with people and brands still figuring out the best way to pair the demand for video content and platform not really designed for it. There are a few rules which are established already (subtitles, don’t rely on sound, short form, hook people at the start), but that hasn’t stopped some crafty sorts trying to game the system. The most recent trend to pile up the view count involves taking static images, but turning them into videos. As people scroll their feeds, they might stop to view the image for a few seconds not realising that it’s being counted as a video view. 

Richard Huntinton’s blog can always be counted on to have something stimulating to say. His latest post builds on a theme we’re seeing across the industry at the moment, with the debate over the effectiveness and value of audience segmentation. Huntington argues that grouping individual people based on some simple demographic factor is demeaning and overly simplistic – especially afflicted at the moment are millennials. Being born between 1980 and 2000 apparently makes you lazy, entitiled and narcissistic if you read the papers. There are some obvious flaws to any kind of segmentation, where the average will never include all the outliers – but does that mean the whole exercise is meaningless? Or, in a business where scale matters, does the average still have merit?

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