1 04 2009

I just watched EPIC 2014 for the second time. It’s an interesting take on the world of journalism, both print and online. I found the doomsday tone of voice and the sombre music to be a little off-putting, but I suppose what Sloan and Thompson were trying to do was posit the world of journalism in a post-apocalyptic type setting, and to that end their presentation is quite effective.

I also found the newer version of this video here – named EPIC 2015. It’s been updated to include things like iPods and GPS positioning. It’s still pretty much the same premise, though.

As for the idea of EPIC itself, it doesn’t seem wildly far-fetched (perhaps just a smidge dramatic!). Such an information network is probably inevitable, it’s just that the effects of such a system don’t necessarily have to be as intense as portrayed here.

Judging from the past week, which brought the cessation of print runs for several long-running newspapers and magazines in favour of online versions, we’re heading towards tough times for print media. This means that the existing print media companies need to really focus on how to stay current in the digital age.

The idea of the New York Times being a newsletter for the elite and elderly is a little scary, but personally, I don’t think that such an iconic pillar of the media will be taken down so easily.

I also can’t imagine that an all-encompassing online world information system will necessarily phase out the existing (highly regarded) news services.  With no journalists, and the majority of the editing being done by computers, it seems that a system such as EPIC wouldn’t be a particularly reliable source of information. Much as Wikipedia’s content is user-based and not always fact, EPIC would struggle without proper research and editorial processes.

Sloan doesn’t think that this view of the future is a prophecy either, saying that all he was hoping to acheive with this presentation was “to illustrate the fact that the various monopolies of the large media organizations are currently being threatened by many of the new online services.” He adds that if there were to be such a “crazy integrated suite of Google services that will rule the world”, it wouldn’t be too big a deal.

Yesterday I posted a link to a blog about preparing for the onset of online news monopoly, by Patrick Kuras. I see EPIC 2014 as a similar sort of commentary, portentous for the purpose of making the news conglomerates aware that they have to diversify if they’re to ward off obsolescence.

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