“Predicting What Facebook And Google Will Be Doing In 2021 Is A Fool’s Game”: Rob Strohfeldt

“Predicting What Facebook And Google Will Be Doing In 2021 Is A Fool’s Game”: Rob Strohfeldt

In yesterday’s doom and gloom article that claimed everyone in Adland besides Google and Facebook will be fucked, Andrew Birmingham predicted a bleak future for the industry. Today, resident columnist and founder of Strohfeldt Consulting, Rob Strohfeldt, has penned a rebuttal.

Adolf Hitler said, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed”.

Now, that’s not to say the purveyors of the above article are Nazis, rather they are once again proving the cornerstone of Hitler’s rise to power. (And the fact that the basics of persuasion/propaganda/advertising have not changed since people started to walk upright).

Predicting the future is extremely difficult. Predictions are based on what we know at present. The problem is that between the present and some date in the future, unforeseen events occur that void all of the assumptions on which the predictions are based.

At the start of this century (January 1, 2001), many very intelligent, experienced people predicted what the following decade would look like. Then, eight months later, a bunch of nutters thought it would be a good idea to fly passenger jets into buildings.

The rest, as the saying goes, is history and all of the predictions went out the window.

Facebook and Google are classified as technology companies, not media companies. As it stands, they are not constrained by the same legislative framework that dictates how traditional media companies operate. Here is one prediction that is pretty safe to make – that won’t be allowed to continue.

So predicting what Facebook and Google will be doing in 2021 is a fool’s game. There are too many vested interests, by too many powerful individuals, companies, organisations and governments to allow the status quo to continue.

Leaving aside the crystal ball, let’s have a look at the “big lie” (Actually, a few big lies).

  1. Agencies who deal with the traditional media need to understand that money is going to shift out of things like free to air TV. Money will follow eyeballs and the money is flowing to the other channels. For example, more people are watching video and the money will naturally follow that.

Professor Mark Ritson has been presenting real figures on where the eyeballs are flowing – and they are still fixed on TV. Around 84.5 per cent of video today in Australia is watched on TV. Mobile is used for a wide range of reasons, but it accounts for just over four per cent of video watched.

Rather than regurgitate his presentation to the AANA, everyone working in advertising and marketing today should just watch it:

The “big lie” has been in how the digital numbers are presented. They bury the truth and no one wants to dig for it. Of course, there are too many vested interests to keep the big lie rolling.

Let’s look at another big lie.

  1. Creatives love to think nothing beats their human genius but there’s a whole heap of companies like Adobe who are doing a stack of work on making ads made basically by computers. They’ll make tailor-made ads directly to suit the viewer in their favourite colours and models and style. It’s pretty clear that’s where the technology will take us in five to 10 years’ time.

This could only be written by an IT person – the same people who coined the idiotic term “digital marketer”.

I’m not sure what a non-digital marketer does, but it is obvious that those who call themselves “digital marketers” are bloody IT people who think they are creative.

It is similar to when desktop publishing first came in. Anyone who knew how to work a design programme was suddenly a “creative”.

There is a massive difference between machine learning and genuine artificial intelligence. Singularity is the term used for when artificial intelligence overtakes human intelligence. The race to genuine AI shows how disconnected from reality some IT people are, when they say, “Hey, let’s invent a computer that is smarter than us, knows it doesn’t need us and will quickly come to the conclusion that we are a possible threat”.

Obviously life sciences, in particular evolution, was not a strong point in their education. Considering how technology has been having the cumulative effect of dumbing down the human race, this may occur sooner than the forecast year of 2050. (A long way off 2021).

The music industry has recently lost two creative giants – David Bowie and Prince. A computer can create dance music. (Even a kid can, just ask “Black Summer”. No need for an algorithm, just some bloody oats. He should call himself Phar Lap).

Be it music, art, writing or even advertising, great creative is the development of something totally new. Machine learning, as opposed to genuine AI, works on past creative endeavors to produce the “creative outcome”.

Computer generated creative just keeps giving people the same old shit they liked before, but it is incapable of moving outside of past endeavors and creating something totally new and different. Again, think Bowie and Prince.

The difference between creative and IT is, for creative people, technology is just a tool. For the IT crowd, technology is the answer and most of the people are tools.


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Robert Strohfeldt Strohfeldt Consulting

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