In recent years, technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality have sparked the interests of thousands across the globe. Whether you’ve purchased your very own VR headset, have been able to experience AI first hand or have simply seen one of the thousands of clips available online, you can’t deny that it has been a truly remarkable innovation. Experts predict that by 2022, the AI market will reach a value of around £122 billion globally. It’s clear that this isn’t just a passing fad, but is it really the future?
A particular hot topic in the debates over AI involves employment. A prime example of this is the Uber drivers facing pay cuts, where the money that’s being taken is funding driverless technologies for the future. Ultimately, the drivers' pay cuts are leading them into an early redundancy. This is exacerbated by the astounding number of apps replacing the need for human contact, often meaning that we never even need to leave the house in our day-to-day lives. It may seem to be more cost effective or time efficient, but will the quality stay the same?
Technological bugs and glitches however, can be just as detrimental as human error and will need a trained, real-life person to fix them. Take for example the self-service checkouts at your local supermarket, when was the last time you managed to use a self-service machine without needing the attendant to come and fix an issue? Ultimately, they often don’t save you much time, and they certainly don’t save you any money, the real value of these devices is questionable. In some cases, manual labour will always be needed (even if everything becomes digitalised).
We as humans value real-life experiences, and although the digital age seems to be having an impact on this, consumers are still screaming out for the old-fashioned way of doing certain things. Festivals and live event figures show increasing attendance year-on-year and market reports show a clear shift from material purchasing to experiential consumption. What people are buying in 2018 is human interaction, and we certainly don’t think that this can be replaced with AI. But it can help to make for memorable experiences.
AI & Events
Call us naïve, we think the events industry is pretty safe when it comes to AI advancements, as our AI friends simply can’t match our creativity. On a daily basis, those in our field create spectacular multi-sensory experiences, transforming spaces and immersing people in amazing stories on stages and elsewhere. The ideas and challenges faced need to be developed and dealt with by real-life humans, with real-life experience in the real world.
That’s not to say that these technologies shouldn’t be used in events; they add spectacular elements that really sell the wow-factor, and we want to see more. The public are demanding to see more! But, behind all the tech and the grand shows, there needs to be a crew of dedicated human-beings anticipating issues and adapting to the environment around them. With the best planning in the world, we are talking about dynamic occurrences that are subject to unforeseeable glitches, so some of the creativity behind successful events involves behind-the-scenes problem-solving: switching to wet weather contingencies when a storm breaks, or rearranging content and schedule when a performer fails to turn up.
Our event crews in Liverpool, Bristol, London and elsewhere in the UK have been providing high-quality services for over 21-years now, and we’re sure that they won’t be replaced with robots anytime soon… Well, certainly not by us anyway. This is because of that need for creativity in events, be it in the design, in finding solutions or taking the next step. By all means, VR and AI have made things possible that weren’t even imaginable ten years ago in events, but it cannot replace the core of humanity that runs everything behind the scenes and on the stage.