DataDownload: Does Fortnite foreshadow the Metaverse?
DataDownload: Does Fortnite foreshadow the Metaverse? A weekly summary of all things Media, Data, Emerging Tech View this email in your browser
Hi everyone. Hope you’re reading this from the safety of your home.
This week we’re thinking about change.
Startups are always a leap of faith, and the challenges ahead will require fresh thinking, new ideas, and a spirit of innovation. A leap of faith.
So today we’re reading about changes in the corporate boardroom, how AI is tracking sales, and watching a documentary about how AI is having an impact in sectors you might not imagine.
We’re all going to have a part to play in this next chapter. Please email with ideas of how we can help — Steve@NYCMediaLab.org.
The NYC Media Lab Must-Read Silicon Valley Is Racing to Build the Next Version of the Internet. Fortnite Might Get There First.
“When 2 million people watch the exact same event together, not in one room or a slightly different synchronized version but the same exact version of that event, that is the closest you can get to, in my opinion, the definition of the Metaverse.”
Something like a quarter billion people play Fortnite. It’s been compared to a social network, and Washington Post is comparing it to a metaverse — “where the online world echoes and fulfills real-world needs and activities.” Which isn’t unrealistic at all, given that weddings and other social events are being conducted online and in games like Nintendo’s Animal Crossing and Second Life.
Epic, creator of Fortnite, is in an advantageous position, having developed a cultural phenomenon that has created celebrities from players, has a host of celebrities playing it, features live events from world-famous musicians, and can comfortably accommodate a range of IPs, from Stranger Things characters to Star Wars heroes.
Other mega-popular games like Minecraft demonstrate the potential a game engine can play in our lives: “International nonprofit Reporters Without Borders chose Minecraft as its venue for millions of publicly-censored documents, all archived in a massive 12-million block library built inside the game over the course of three months.”
12 min read
When 60 companies applied to join NYC Media Lab’s Combine accelerator just four months ago, they were already ahead of the curve. Seven made it in, and in early January they began a 12-week program. In the best of times, startups are hard. I couldn’t help but wonder, even with our mix of coaching, mentorship and support, how could they not be distracted by the global unraveling?
In hindsight, they had far more to teach me than I could ever teach them. Twelve weeks later, hundreds of audience members gathered to hear the pitches of our seven companies in a digital Demo Day. Startups are a leap of faith, and taking the leap doesn’t ever have a “right” time. Now is good.
4 min read
Read More For the Media Tech, Media Changes — Accelerated. Some of the changes that are going on in the technology space or predictable, but are happening faster.
At AT&T, a changing of the guard in the CEO suite was pushed by activist investors, putting John Stankey at the top of the company. The somewhat abrupt departure of John Legere from the combined wireless companies of T-Mobile and Sprint has some wondering where he’s going next. And what seems like a burgeoning partnership between Zoom and Facebook wasn’t consummated — instead, Facebook is launching a competitive product.
Clearly, we’re going to see more of these kinds of changes. Some abrupt, some inevitable, but all representing the acceleration of change in leading telco and tech companies.
5 min read Read More The Race to Save the First Draft of Coronavirus History From Internet Oblivion For all its persistence, the internet can be quite ephemeral at times. Like when MySpace accidentally deleted everything before 2016, or GeoCities shut down over a decade ago, almost taking 38M sites with it. Snapchat has ephemerality built-in, and things simply get lost in the Twitter vortex.
But there’s still hope for historians looking for deeper online personal accounts during a crisis: Suleika Jaouad launched The Isolation Journals to help people cope with the pandemic and document their stories. Over 20k people signed up within two hours.
“Archives have shaped how we understand our past. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, there was a massive effort to document aspects of American life…. But the internet is on a much bigger scale, and all those who post are potentially their own documentarian and curator. Capturing the covid pandemic online isn’t just about saving a URL; it’s about saving the right URLs over and over again, to show how things have changed over time.”
3 min read Read More AI-based Conversational Analysis Reveals That Sales Teams Are Holding Steady in Spite of COVID-19
Conversational intelligence platform Chorus.ai shared some insights from anonymized sales call data from their customer base, which includes clients like Zoom, mongoDB, Adobe, and Asana. Some key findings:
- “In many verticals such as the collaboration space, sales are up about 30% versus baseline and they’re up over 70% compared to pre-COVID-19 levels.”
- “Over 60% of all calls start with a COVID-19 reference led by the sales rep.”
- “There’s been a 30% dip in discovery conversations compared with this time last year.”
7 min read
Read More What We’re Watching How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Our Society
German international broadcasting company Deutsche Welle released a nicely produced AI documentary that spans the spread of fake news, autonomous weapons, self-driving cars, China’s rise to AI prominence, and the difficult balance of rapid technological adoption and ethical consideration.
42 min watch
Watch Now Virtual Events Virtual Event: Redesigning Brands Of The Future
Date: April 29, 1PM
Join ForceBrands Founder, Josh Wand and other industry leaders as they discuss what’s next as they adapt, innovate, and redesign for the future of their businesses. Register to submit your questions for Benjamin Witte, Founder + CEO, of Recess, Mike Messersmith, General Manager of Oatly, and Gunner Winston, CEO, dosist. Register Here.
Virtual Event: Entrepreneurs Roundtable w/ Union Square Ventures
Date: May 5, 6:30PM-9PM
“Entrepreneurs Roundtable” monthly events are free community events open to entrepreneurs and investors in New York City. This event’s speak is Rebecca Kaden from Union Square Ventures. Register Here.
Virtual Event: Elevating Women in Data
Date: May 7, 12:30PM-4:30PM
Data science salon elevate is a unique female focused virtual conference which brings together specialists to educate each other, illuminate best practices and innovate new solutions. Register Here. A Deeper Look Aligning the User Data That Websites and Apps Collect With What Consumers Expect
Digital Content Next, the trade association of major digital publishers, recently surveyed US adults about their expectations about data collection online. Around 50–60% expect sites to protect them from fraud, use their data to improve the website, and offer a personalized experience, while 32% expect the site to share this data with outside vendors.
Of those who expect sites to distribute their data to vendors, around 38% expect these vendors to reuse their data and 24% expect them to sell it. One thing for certain is that user expectations are far from aligned with site data collection practices.
3 min read
“I write an average of five new programs every week. Poets have to write poems. I have to write computer programs.” — Donald Knuth
Famed computer scientist Donald Knuth has a way with with words. In college he compiled a short story made up entirely of chemical formulas; he developed TeX, an open source typesetting language for researchers who know more about technical symbols than their publishers; and he ideated the concept of literate programming, code that’s written “as a piece of literature.”
Knuth speaks to Quanta Magazine on how he tells stories, adds drama, and presents a human element in his magnum opus, The Art of Computer Programming. A fascinating portrait of a literary programmer.
12 min read
Read More Transactions & Announcements ForgeRock Raises $93.5M for AI-Powered Digital Identity Management, Eyes IPO
Jim Collins Receives Funding to Harness AI for Drug Discovery
Peak Closes $12M Series A Extension Aimed at Bringing AI Capability to Customers