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AI-empowered algorithms that measure your data to determine which ads you’ll be shown on YouTube videos. Goggles that make alternate or fantasy worlds seem real. The state of media right now may seem like the synopsis of a Black Mirror episode, but make no mistake—the future is here.

Artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), 360-degree video—such technologies enable the creation of content that can truly engage our senses and immerse audiences in fantasy worlds beyond the confines of 2D screens. The potential of these technologies was demonstrated at this year’s Singapore Media Festival (SMF).

Ju Jian

Ju Jian, Head of Global Content Cooperation at Huawei Technologies

At the Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) 2018 conference, Huawei Technologies’ Head of Global Content Cooperation, Ju Jian, shared that the company is using AI to target its audiences Microchips within Huawei devices that enable AI technology and cloud services. This allows Huawei to tailor its services for users.

Meanwhile, this year’s SMF Ignite—the Festival’s keystone digital event—featured the theme of 'The Convergence of Big Data, AI and Storytelling', with diverse speakers sharing about the use of data metrics and AI in content creation.

 
Chen Xiao

Chen Xiao, Vice President of iQiyi, at the SMF Ignite keynote

iQiyi vice president Chen Xiao shared how the company’s hit shows such as Story of Yanxi Palace were carefully assessed through the use of big data and cutting-edge AI to ensure their success.

 
jim louderback 

Jim Louderback, General Manager of VidCon, at the SMF Ignite keynote

VidCon general manager Jim Louderback said it’s important to have viral content that is meaningful. 'It’s all about creating impact, creating connection and recognition. In the end, why do we want to be associated with viral content? [Because] we want to sell products and services; we want people to remember who we are, but doing it in a way that makes sense for our brand,’ said Louderback.

 
Alex Smith 

Alex Smith, Area Lead (APAC) of Microsoft at the SMF Ignite keynote

Microsoft’s Area Lead (APAC) Alex Smith talked about how the use of AI and data are improving both content creation and consumption—and put to rest issues about AI sentience. 'AI is not about replacing individuals,' Smith explained. 'It’s about using a tool for making AI itself a tool to allow every individual to achieve more. By 2026, AI will be able to independently write a high-school essay. But we’re not quite at the stage of [HBO series] Westworld just yet,' he said with a cheeky smile, referring to the hit HBO series about AI going rogue.

 
nasdaily 

Nuseir Yassin, CEO of Nas Daily at the SMF Ignite keynote

Speaker Nuseir Yassin, the man behind the popular Facebook page Nas Daily, shared some data-based tips on creating bite-sized content to appeal to wide audiences. His formula? Content that is simple to understand and consists of interesting and meaningful topics that ‘everyone should care about’.

Going beyond data analytics and AI-enabled trend prediction, the most impressive aspect of such technology is arguably its utilisation for content creation. Various exhibitors at SMF Ignite were also present at the Singapore Pavilion, demonstrating the use of AI across various types of software and purposes.

 
participants at smf ignite 

Participants at the SMF Ignite Exhibition

For instance, iVideoSmart helps brands keep up with monetisation on videos through its AI software, while Creadits makes use of AI to analyse and rank existing creatives for companies to determine optimal content as well as optimal ad buying strategies.

One of the highlights of immersive media’s presence at SMF was iMMERSiVELY’s VR 360 demonstration. Bajau Laut - The Last Sea Wanderers, one of four commissioned titles for Discovery VR, combines 360 and VR to take its audience underwater.

 
lionel chok 

Lionel Chok, Founder of iMMERSiVELY

‘We’ve seen a lot of video-based content in both short form and long form, but we are now in an era where we’re witnessing the inception of brand-new mediums—VR and 360,’ said Lionel Chok, founder of iMMERSiVELY. During the demonstration, Chok also shared the various challenges that the company faced and overcome during the making of the video—such as stabilising the 360 camera for underwater filming.

The potential of data analytics and AI is immense for content creators. But, ultimately, what drives great content should be passion, genuine interaction, and a sense of adventure. The best storytellers in the world will tell you that.