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The Future of “Entertainment”

By Alex Igelman

By 2038, the landscape of entertainment has undergone a dramatic transformation. Traditional television and content consumption methods have been replaced by immersive, interactive, and personalized experiences. This shift is driven by advancements in AI, virtual reality, and the seamless merging of digital and physical worlds, ushering in a new era of storytelling and gaming. Nevertheless, these innovations come with significant challenges and potential risks.

A 2021 Deloitte poll revealed that Generation Z (those under 25) preferred gaming over TV and film as their primary source of home entertainment. This change in preference highlights not only the decline of traditional television but also the growing prominence of video games in the entertainment sector. With the integration of sophisticated AI systems with platforms like Unity, VR technology, and the emerging Web3, users can now create and customize their own immersive worlds using natural language processing (NLP) without needing specialized technical skills. This AI-driven shift holds immense potential for entertainment and productivity by making personalized interests truly immersive.

Since the advent of moving pictures, people have been captivated by the ability to escape their everyday lives and explore new worlds. Video games further enhance this experience by adding interactivity and control. The next phase in entertainment evolution involves a new form of media that allows users to control not only in-game activities but also the environment in which those activities take place.

Today, we live in a world with a vast array of media choices. It is evident that the current generation favors video games over traditional television and likely consumes non-linear multimedia (e.g., Netflix) and user-generated content (e.g., YouTube) instead of linear TV. The future points towards user-created media that is instantaneous and video game-like. As traditional television becomes obsolete, the entertainment landscape will continue to evolve, embracing interactive and personalized experiences made possible by AI and immersive technologies, along with voice-controlled chatbots as the primary means of user input and control.

To bring this vision of content consumption and entertainment to life, approximately ten existing technologies are needed:

  1. Natural Language Processing (NLP)
  2. Voice Recognition and Synthesis
  3. Procedural Generation
  4. Game Engine
  5. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  6. Networking
  7. Virtual Reality (VR)
  8. Input Devices and Controllers
  9. UI/UX
  10. Cloud Computing and Storage

However, these advancements are not without risks. Ensuring that AI-generated content remains safe and responsible is crucial to prevent the spread of false narratives, misogyny, racism, and other harmful content. The challenge lies in striking a balance between fostering creative freedom and shielding society from the potential negative consequences of user-generated content. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, it is essential to learn from and expand existing methods of controlling controversial or harmful content on platforms like social media, YouTube, and others, and to develop robust systems for monitoring and regulating AI-generated content (including using AI) in line with societal norms and values.

The future of entertainment will be shaped by advances in personalization, creativity, and immersion, driven by a growing preference for user-created content and the innate human desire for escapism. However, it is equally important to be mindful of the potential dangers that accompany these developments. By achieving the right balance between creative freedom and responsible content regulation, AI-generated content can be used to create a more engaging, diverse, and responsible entertainment ecosystem.