NYC Media Lab is built from a consortium of tech and arts universities in NYC, along with the New York City Economic Development Corporation to drive innovation and growth in media and technology. Celebrating their 10-year anniversary of funding, they hosted their annual summit last week at the impressive new City Tech (CUNY) building in downtown Brooklyn to look ahead at the next decade of media and technology and its impact on communities, economics, sustainability and culture. Here are the top takeaways from the panel discussions as well as a few emerging startups to watch.
Media 2030
The main panel focused on technology progressing so quickly that broader ethical and human implications now must be considered. From AI surveillance states, to equal access to technology to the overreliance on tech without human critical thinking, there are a number of emerging concerns for the media community. As panelist Yael Eisenstat strongly noted, “Being first, being fast and being free cannot remain a business model for media/journalism.”
Leaders in the space have a duty to consumers, communities and the general public to think deeply and critically about technology’s impact. Here are some of the emerging startups showcased that do just that as they continue to evolve the media and technology landscape:
eWitness – Developed by Doctoral Students and Faculty at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, eWitness empowers anyone with a phone to help fight crime. Using blockchain-backed technology, the eWitness app can store, protect and verify forensic properties of pictures and videos taken from crime scenes, making them admissible in court. With applications across police departments, news outlets, insurance claims and more, eWitness harnesses the power of blockchain for justice.
NYC Media Lab Summit Panel
NYC Media Lab Summit Panel
Project Fovea – aims to integrate real-time eye-tracking and deep learning into the creative process to seamlessly predict what will maintain viewers interest and provide a physiological measure of attention. The combined mechanism predicts the video that will most engage the viewer based on their personal viewing behavior.
Array Window Solar Charger – decorate your room with dynamic art while charging your devices. Unlike most solar panels, it’s designed to hang in any window. For those who rent or can’t install solar panels on their roof, this is a small way to be more eco-friendly.
The NYC Media Lab Demo Hall included nearly one hundred new technologies and products from future interfaces to spatial computing with two emerging themes coming through -- education and connection.
1. Ed Tech – Multiple projects focused on using VR/AR to help people learn more effectively and to access deeper information beyond existing legacy educational tools. One interesting example is Movers and Shakers, an AR platform that reimagines public spaces by showing new statues and telling stories of underrepresented historical figures.
2. Emotional/Physical Connection – From shopping together with friends in a virtual mall to anxiety-coping mechanisms and virtual travel companions, many students and designers are thinking about the ways virtual existence can help people feel more supported and connected in real life. Bounce! enables 2 users to collaborate in VR via low-latency interaction erasing the isolation which has plagued VR adoption.
Many of the ideas and products on display would be too nascent for many corporate partners, but it is within these early stages that trends begin to emerge that can impact your business tomorrow. By tapping the best entrepreneurs from universities in New York, the NYC Media Lab is one of the most thought provoking forums in the world to discover what is next, now.
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