The Fate of The Bookstore

I have fond memories of bookstores.

As a child I would actively seek out bookstores and when I could go inside of one, I would rush the aisles, taking in the scent of the printed page. There was a magic to it, the colors, the titles, thousands of worlds tucked into shelves, waiting to be opened.

That magic has since gone, or that’s how the market is interpreting this mass controversy of where bookstores are headed in the digital age.

In the current day, everyone has a virtual bookstore in their pocket, no one truly needs the bookstore anymore yet it still survives, at least for now.

In 2014, electronic book sales rose to $11 billion dollars while Barnes & Nobles bookstores stagnated and fell off to $4 billion dollars.

That was in 2014.

In January 2017, sales at physical bookstores went down 1.9 percent according to a study by American Booksellers Association.

So where is the book business heading?

It is likely that bookstores will be around for a long time, the decrease in sales is a slow one but even so, it is an apocalypse for booksellers, just waiting to happen.

One day, bookstores will likely become antique shops to a medium foregone by digital media such as e-books and audio-books.

Imagine having to travel an hour to the only bookstore in New York and wandering in, to only find stacks upon stacks of unorganized and fairly expensive books, marketed not as books, but as antiques.

With companies adopting subscription models with promise of deliverance near unlimited books or audio, it is going to be hard to compete.

Luckily for Barnes & Noble, it still has its Nook series and plenty of online e-book presence in the world of book sales.

Time can only tell if this will be enough.

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How Virtual Reality Could Change The Face Of Film

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Imagine, a young moviegoer buys his ticket, gets his popcorn, and claims his seat in front of the screen displaying ads for snack bundles, movie ticket discounts and local commercials.

Instead of watching the screen, however, the young man puts on a helmet, straps into his seat and dives into the world of the film in virtual reality, or VR.

The scent of grass wafts through his nostrils as he arrives in the grassy plains of what seems to be a prehistoric age area. In the distance he can see dinosaurs chewing leaves from trees, enormously long necks and some smaller creatures prancing through the tall grass.

He can hear the sounds of the dinosaurs all around him and he swears he can feel the vibrations of their footsteps echoing in his head.

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Suddenly, the shadow of a larger dinosaur casts over him. He turns his head to look at what it is thats looming over his virtual body, there a Tyrannosauraus Rex, jaw wide, teeth dripping in saliva stares at him nearly eye to eye.

He turns his head, hoping the creature will go away, and when he turns back, the creature is gone, distracted by the characters of the film driving away in a Jeep as it gives chase.

This could be what film looks and feels like in the next couple of years thanks to the millions of dollars invested in virtual reality across the world of media.

The new technology could change the face of film, putting viewers directly in the movie, instead of posing as an outside viewpoint to the events unfolding on-screen.

Short films already utilzing this technology have been released on mobile devices and at several film festivals, and have been recieved well.

Filmmakers using this new technology have seen that viewers felt closer to the characters and developed stronger emotions during the film.

With this technology in the hands of educated filmmakers and studios, it could provide amazing new experiences in Hollywood, essentially opening a new era of film.

Since 1895 when the first film was shot and shown in paris, Cinema has allowed viewers the opportunity to epxlore unknown worlds, different planets, and even see personified emotions residing in a young teens head.

The cinema world is changing though, virtual reality is taking the stage and it is happening soon.

Marketers, journalists, and artists all make use of this rising technological marvel and cinema will be the next victim to the spectacle that is VR.

News publishers have already begun to report using 360-degree cameras and utlizing VR to help viewers witness things like the battles in Syria as if they were there themselves.

This type of technology is game-changing, quite literally.
Since the beginning of the era of film, seeing movies was an experience unattainable at home. Theaters contained speakers, projectors, and other technology that was meant to draw viewers in and keep their attentions wrapped around the film and its world.

In the era of VR, consumers want more, and film-makers want to feed that fire growing in the consumer market.

As VR becomes a more affordable product, huge changes are being made to the VR market. Headsets such as Oculus Rift, or the Samsung Gear VR, while originally meant for gaming, are opening doors to cinematic experiences opening doors to cinematic experiences unseen anywhere.

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Fox Searchlights Pictures launched a three-minute 360-degree film called “Wild” back in 2014 and studios are pouring thousands into VR firms and workshops to learn and utlize the infant technology to achieve films that could allow viewers to experience a whole new type of movie.

Of course, with VR headset prices drastically declining, home sales will increase, pushing theaters to jump on and adopt the new technology or fail and allow home sales to overtake the market.

Previously, movies could only be viewed at a fixed angle decided by the director and camera crew. With VR, the consumer can choose what angle to view the film in. If they want to turn away from the horrific killing of the main character, they can, or if they want to escape the gaze of the evil creature stirring in the dark, that is also a possibility.

This technology immerses the viewer in the world that the director and screenwriter are trying to portray.

While it still has a few years before it reaches a price friendly for the majority of consumers and filmmakers, it is a product that is likely here to stay and will likely change the way that we interface with technology.

Will AI Replace Journalists?

WILL AIREPLACEJOURNALISTS?

In the rapidly growing field of Artificial Intelligence, it’s hard to determine exactly what AI is capable of, but we know it is capable of many complicated and advanced tasks.

Just recently we witnessed the AI human who got Saudi Arabian citizenship and who claimed to want to kill the human race in an interview.

Some routine or simple jobs are already being replaced by the new technology, easing up simple manual labor but also putting some white-collar workers at risk of layoffs.

When it comes to journalism, writers tend to think they are safe from the clutches of artificial intelligence, but that may not be the case in the future.

Recent progress in AI has seen the increase of natural language generation (Think Alexa, or Google Home) and this type of technology could eventually help artificial intelligence write hundreds of articles a day.

UK news agency Press Association already uses this technology to create 30,000 localized news stories every month.

Unlike Alexa, Siri, and Google Home, this news based AI works together with humans to create articles based on data that is fed to it.

The Press Association project is known as RADAR – Reporters and Data and Robots – and relies on data sets from government, local authorities, and public services.

No news office can handle writing 250 localized, but this automation technology could handle it, and without taking any journalists job.

Human journalists are still very much needed in the still growing field and as journalism transitions to being mostly online based, humans are needed to make crucial decisions in the article writing process.

The hope for this technology, which is set to be available to other local UK news organizations, will mostly be used as a building block to creating local content.

Local journalism has taken a hit recently as online journalism becomes the standard, but without local journalism, who will keep local authorities responsible for their actions?

That is the idea behind this artificial technology, not to take jobs, it is meant to be a savior for local news organizations who have refused to adapt to technological change.

Rest assured, journalists are safe for now.