This is a continuation of the story published on 6th of January, here is the link of the previous post, and this article is focusing more on the future while observing the interplay between the phenomena of social change and technological advancement.

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Photo by Caspar Camille Rubin on Unsplash

Are we adopting to the way technology is or is technology shaping what we are? That is the question that has been puzzling me for a long time and today when we have a constant flux between the needs or what might be the needs of the people and the technology that is capable of meeting those needs or, indeed, technology that creates needs and then applies the psychological superpower of gamification, to make those needs an essential part of life. Today we see this in the relationship with most social media with the appearance of the FOMO phenomenon and many other side effects it has produced. In this article I want to tackle various aspects that I think determine this elusive relationship between technology and what it satisfies and I will start from the beginning, and, as every beginning is rooted with awareness of the self, so is this a personal beginning.

At the age of 15 when I realized I am a separate entity, faced with what a “normal” or conventional piano career should look like, I said “no” to all the interviews and media. This also was accompanied with saying “no” to any further piano competition (how can one compete in art and turn it into sports?). Thankfully by now, many pianists/instrumentalists agree with me on the competition aspect; a similar thing has happened with the concert hall as that is also a dying category, although I kept that until I switched to professional recordings, then I also diversified my career in all sorts of arts and activities,…long long story; anyway, the result is a full life that I am leading right now, relatively free of conventions and constraints.

The thing that troubled me then and still for me has a question mark today is the traditional concept of the interview, a public interview in the hope of promoting learning; however, in many cases it can feel empty and what I want to consider is its relationship with and my attitude to the concept of live streaming, because I am always questioning and with arriving (the newest and one of the more promising social media platforms on the block) I feel like I have to question my ways even more.

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Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

When the technology is mature enough (for example, in this case machine and internet can support live streaming) I feel like there is a choice of either holding on to the old ways, which is fine, if it is justifiable, or looking beyond them. For example, we are all witness to the slow but sure death of TV, maybe not now, but in a few years time. I personally don’t know how to operate a remote control any longer, and the only time I encounter it in the last 10 years is if I have to travel and stay in a hotel (I prefer airbnb, or even better, some private accommodation where I can actually make a human connection rather than receptionist — server — waitress — receptionist, despite all the pleasantries, smiles, positivity and comfort that this might entail).

I am not saying that this is a measure of the population, but something from Derek Sivers that struck and stayed with me, when asked why didn’t he watch the Game of Throne series, and he said (I am paraphrasing because this was some years ago) just calculate the number of hours you would dedicate to it in order to fully watch and then multiply it with the hours you would charge if you were hired to do something. One would come to the conclusion that in effect those hours are given (that could potentially be used to generate funds or achievements) for free to the GOT and what is one left with? A series of visual/sound events composed in an entertaining way to generate and maintain attention that will eventually evaporate into forgetfulness. In other words, benefits from watching the passive shows on TV designed to lightly entertain the viewers are eating huge number of hours because they are designed to be addictive but don’t necessarily contribute much in return.

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Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash

This is where I want to examine live streaming as a concept and how it might or should resemble TV production? Let’s start with the third of the ancient Greek trivium, Logic!

What can live streaming give us that TV can’t?

1. Participation, it becomes a participatory media, it is the internet as a concept in small or large, ideally it gives voice to the voiceless and those participating have a chance to be a part of the stream as if they were physically present and contribute in some way.

2. As technology has developed significantly since the golden age of TV, the access to what once was a superior technology for creating videos has been simplified and distributed widely, decentralized, available to all, and, more importantly, an individual can have a set up for streaming, a technology that could replace what once required an entire studio.

3. Benefit of not having to script, plan, organize, but instead just go live and stream different human things thus opening the eyes of the viewers to the authenticity of one’s life, ideas, visions, creations,…..etc.

After all, isn’t this the goal of technology to bridge gaps, create bridges over the abysses of illusions, divides and intolerance? I think it is and if we take a look at the innocent ages of the TV, when it appeared, the trajectory is very similar to the innocent ages of the internet. Everyone was delighted that with the TV we would be able to see the remote places all over the Earth, to have a deeper insight into things; it started that way, but did it continue? The same occurred with the Internet at the beginning — the excitement was palpable that it is a tool to be able to connect to remote places, remote nations, remote ways of life,….?

Remote ways of life? Not yet. Internal ways of how things function? Not yet. Why do we have the two “not yets”? We have all the technical means to overcome these but I think culturally we are still hanging on to the old paradigm, and the old paradigm is already comfortable in it’s ways, the big data companies are happy with things staying the way they are as long as possible, because change is rarely profitable for the large and old, and being profitable is the goal that matters most in this paradigm to start with.

This leads to a very existential question outside the scope of this article, but I would like to divert the line of thought back to live streaming and I will start with it’s dark beginning which witnessed its first large-scale adoption through medium of TV. I am referring to the reality shows that ate the world some years ago, bringing out the darkest aspects — profane, mundane and, in general, very destructive. The physicality of existence became the dominant phenomenon, the ripples of which we still experience; however, I am convinced that they are subsiding and that stage has been completed.

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Photo by Efe Kurnaz on Unsplash

On to the new stage we have to redefine the concept of live streaming and ask these questions: 1. What is it?, 2. How? and 3. Why?

1. What is it?

Potentially it is a means for people to see into each other’s lives without seeing their lives (in a sense of what reality shows did observing the body) but rather connect with something far more powerful, their minds.

2. How?

To achieve this one must overcome the old trying to turn the live streaming experience into a TV show and rather focus on the aspects of reality of one’s life that are worthy of sharing and at the same time don’t require a special time dedicated to it. Today every individual is a producer/scriptwriter (without scripts)/promoter/organizer,……etc time is super valuable. What one shares should ideally be something that contributes to the productivity of the individual, live streaming the creating and enjoying the togetherness of those moments when different people tune in and out.

3. Why?

Because we are an empathic species; behind all the ruthlessness and conquering the weak and sick in the past eras of human experience, we still intrinsically recognise the importance to us of benevolence. We genuinely want to help each other, not just appear good through remote philanthropy that keeps the poor, weak and disabled under control of not quite progressing yet. We as a collective believe in creating a civilization that gives equal opportunity to all, we are at the same time very long and very far from this objective, but we will eventually get there. As Kevin Kelly says, there is always that small percentage of progress that makes the difference from one century to the other.

Finally looking ahead, I am going to make some predictions relating to the two “not yets” within the cultural changes above and this absorbs and utilizes the live streaming in the next decade.

1. We will witness an increase in interest towards the “remote” ways of life

We already started on this road with many digital nomads in a way pioneering and discovering their little Shangri-las all over the world and their remote working, which in itself can be the subject of another article. This is already reinforced with many artistic communities opening artist residencies all over the world and finally, the mainstream population will follow realizing that the truly precious areas on this planet are also the ones that hold unique culture, society, social habits and deep roots to the past. Something that we can’t find any longer in the big metropolis, but is still preserved in small remote places. I believe that live streaming will play a very important role in revealing the true nature of things as more individuals adopt it and feel the true philanthropy by sharing the time spent in those places with the world.

2. We will witness the increase in people willing to share the internal workings of their projects, missions, tasks.

I think that this will not only prove beneficial for the person creating in “public” because there has been many psychology papers that concluded that building in public in fact increases performance and responsibility (Maybe that is why Twitch is full of digital creators that are coding in public, thus not only creating but also educating and in the process of making communicating with the potential users of their product) but it will also be very valuable for viewers turned commentators turned participants of the stream to build stronger ties with the actual creating process, in a way directly learning and benefiting by seeing how something is done rather than reading about it. Of course, one could reason that nowadays everyone can learn whatever a person wants, thousands of youtube tutorials and videos, but while it is true that one can learn the data, does it really replace the personality? Can the functional ever replace the fictional? Can the encyclopedia ever replace the fairytale? I don’t think so, while encyclopedia may hold all the correct information, it is how information is treated and handled that counts and truly transforms the world and is one of the most human aspects, a story telling. Demonstrate through actions rather than words, and live streaming has this power.

In this context, of the all live streaming services one of the most interesting at this time and that shows huge potential and serious vision is Not only is it versatile enough in the technical sense to handle the demands of exponentially growing technology, it is also visionary in a human sense which is the most important, and probably the only social media platform that emphasizes the importance of giving a voice to the people who might otherwise be left silent, realising the importance of empathy and of bridging the gaps of divides in a way that many social media platforms do not. Most apps are run by the younger generation that think they are building a new Instagram and the emphasis is purely on simple entertainment that will retain attention. Finally, because Happs is primarily live streaming (it also has an option for posting other type of content) its promise is further enhanced by the fact there is a difference between seeing something done and reading about something being done. Vide et crede. Seeing is believing.

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Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

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