Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired, discusses the future and the power of AI and VR

Kevin Kelly discussing the future of advertising

Kevin Kelly, the founder of Wired cuts an avuncular figure, and his sage no-nonsense proclamations on our tech-driven future were a refreshing contrast to some of the more hyperbolic (and much less enlightening) speakers on tech and trends on stage at the Cannes Lions this year.

The future, in Kelly’s view, will be dominated by two key players. Yep, you guessed it – AI and VR. VR will become the most social of the social medias, Kelly said in the session “Where We Are All Heading”, hosted by PHD. VR will allow experiences to become the new currency, Kelly explained, and we will be able to buy or download the experience of having another person share their presence with us thanks to VR.

It’s a fashionable and fairly sure thing, given that VR is predicted to be a $30B marketplace by 2020.

Kelly advised the next round of start ups simply to “take ‘X’ and add AI”. By 2026, he predicted Google’s income won’t come from advertising, but from AI. He tried to assail fears of robots making us all redundant by pointing out that new technology has always created new employment – noting how the invention of the internet brought about the need for web designers.

While half of today’s truck drivers will be replaced by robots, jobs for which efficiency or productivity is not important, such as in science, the arts and human experience, will be strictly human territory. “You don’t rank Picasso on how many paintings per hour he is putting out,” he said. AI is not man versus machine, it is humans working with machines. “The best medical diagnostician in the world is not Watson and it’s not a human doctor, it is a team [of humans and AI],” he said, adding: “You will be paid by how well you work with AI.”

For those of us who feel we are nowhere near the forefront of future trends, Kelly had more words of comfort. He told the audience that we are just at the beginning of this new revolution and that, as we go into the future, the most important tech may not be AR or VR, but something that hasn’t even been invented yet. “That means you’re not late,” he said.

At Blippar we’ve taken our strong AR heritage and added AI, to make the most of the AR, predicted to be worth $120bn. Maybe you don’t have to invent something new – but transform something you’re already brilliant at.

This piece was written by Omaid Hiwaizi, president of global marketing for Blippar.

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The Drum is a global media platform and the biggest marketing website in Europe. We produce The Drum magazine, 30 awards and events and manage The Drum Network which aims to make independently minded agencies more successful. We also help brands find the right agencies to work with through the Recommended Agency Register (RAR).

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