The promo and the computer algorithm foot-shooter

Where did I first see this linked? I can’t find it again. Anyway, there’s a video on YouTube called Prometeus – The Media Revolution which I hied off to spend quite some proportion of my life watching because of my dodgy connection speed which makes such viewing more time-consuming than I should like.

And what is it? A ho-hum resumé of the rise of digital media followed by a snore future projection with a strange and distractingly Italian-accented voiceover and good captioning. Also available in Italian, Spanish and Japanese.

There’s a link on the uploader’s YouTube profile to a web page containing the same video with a Technorati link tracking blog linkage. Turns out it’s the product of an Italian company called Casaleggio Associati run by Italian internet analyst Davide Cassaleggio which…

defines the structure, purpose and implementation path for sustainable and profitable business models for the use of the Net and identifies web marketing strategies through the study of the target of reference, the message to be conveyed and the channels to be used.

Amusingly YouTube’s “related” box, which automatically offers other material the search algorithms determine might keep the viewer on the site, throws up Prometeus – The Media Revolution part 2 (the actual title of which is EPIC 2014 *) which is a similar resumé-projection exercise but made back in 2004. Much is made in both videos of the “computer algorithm” sifting through the infoverse to produce personally tailored diet of infonuggets.

So here we have what appears to be a new media consultancy group using the medium and methods it expatiates upon in a viral marketing campaign but having its efforts to appear hip, happening and ahead of the curve subverted by the very mechanisms it purports to offer analysis of and advice about harnessing.

Why subverted? The video they have produced, Prometeus, shares the same time-line present-to-future format as EPIC, has a similar but not as strong dystopian flavour and has as its title the name of an imagined sinister monopoly internet content harvester/masher/distributor. It’s difficult to imagine that one did not influence the other, but can the makers of Prometeus have wanted the comparison to be drawn? or not imagined that it would be? Additionally the accuracy or otherwise of the predictions made in EPIC for the years between 2004 and now (well on the way to 2008) is easy to evaluate and the major and unforeseen developments which have taken place show how labile and exciting the internet and digital media are.

Viewing the two videos side-by-side only serves to make the more recent offering look derivative and lacking in credibility. And it’s not nearly as compelling or well made.

One point it does illustrate very clearly, though, is that the old adage it’s not what you know it’s who you know still holds true since not everyone making rather unremarkable videos predicting the future of the media is able to harvest feedback via sites such as Richard MacManus‘s Read/WriteWeb and from thence forth into the linkage of the mega-hitters. This video really isn’t as interesting as they all seem to think it is. However their goatfuck is.

* Yes, I know it’s actually the slightly updated version called EPIC 2015 but things are already complicated enough aren’t they. Comparing the changes between the two versions is interesting, but beyond the scope of this already byzantine post.