MindBullets 20 Years


Digital imaging files for Chapter 11

Kodak, for years the leader in the photography business, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy today. Kodak’s demise brings to an end a memorable era when we had to rely on paper and digital imaging to immortalize our memories.

That all became history with the DreamCatcher™ implant supplied by AOL Time Warner. Their strategy was shrewd.

First, the neural-digital interface was marketed as a way of downloading movies to be viewed while you sleep. The uptake of DreamCatcher™ was remarkable. Not only did our subconscious mind prove to be extremely receptive but it also freed up more productive time. Content proved to be king, but there is no content like ‘my own’ content – those pictures and memories that we love to remember and replay.

AOL Time Warner’s second strategy was to provide almost infinite storage at virtually zero cost to users, making devices such as digital cameras and recorders redundant.

Critics point out that DreamCatcher™ is still nothing more than a brain prostheses (from which it was originally developed). For the future, hope is still on genetic medicine to provide everyone with ‘natural’ perfect memory.

If they are proven right, will DreamCatcher™ and AOL Time Warner share the fate of Kodak in years to come?

(Read the full story in the detailed Analysis/Synthesis section – for subscribers only)

ANALYSIS >> SYNTHESIS: How this scenario came to be

In September 2003, Daniel Carp, CEO of Kodak announces what he calls the “biggest turning point” in Kodak’s history. There would, he said, be no more investments in traditional film.

Some said that this was a victory for digital imaging – but how long would this new booming industry last?
2006: Digital Kodak wins
Kodak’s strategy to “drive digital imaging to new markets” pays off. Kodak retains its leading position in the photographic industry proving the critics wrong.

2009: Neural beats digital
In retrospect digital technology was the enabler to successful merge neural and silicon networks. Neural prosthesis hit the market to assist patients suffering from Alzheimer’s after years of clinical testing. This follows the less controversial cochlear implants that restored hearing to the deaf and the visual prosthesis to help people who suffer from blindness. These prosthesis are digital devices and their manipulability by external means becomes apparent to the wider public.

2012: AOL Time Warner loyalty program
In January AOL Time Warner announces a new acquisition strategy. Successful bids have been made for two of the three most popular gaming economies. During the same year AOL Time Warner launches their massive “All we want is your time” campaign. Users earn loyalty points and unlike the gaming economies, these loyalty points can be used to purchase ‘real’ goods and services such as airline tickets, hotel accommodation and car rentals. Online shopping is added, as well as the virtual ‘idea factories’ that AOL created to allow knowledge workers to work online for clients also using the AOL network.

2013: Microsoft and Sony tackle AOL
In a surprise announcement Microsoft and Sony is set to combine their gaming communities into a competitive online economy to that of AOL Time Warner.

2015: Virtual economies flourish
Competition is fierce between the two large online economies, AOL and MSN Sony with AOL having a clear lead in the West and MSN having captured the biggest share in the East. Governments and regulators have caught up with legislation in an attempt to regulate these virtual economies. Most analysts agree that the enforcement of these laws will not be effective unless a multi-national regulating body can be established within the United Nations.

2017: DreamCatcher launched
AOL Time Warner launches a beta release of DreamCatcher™ a device developed from exiting technologies of neural prosthesis and wireless connectivity. Despite public outcry and initial objections from the FDA, the number of people willing to volunteer for the small procedure, far exceeds expectations. AOL time Warner claims that all technologies used have been approved by clinical testing and that the passive nature of downloads to the device makes it safe to use. The worst that could happen is that users awake as if from a bad dream.

With most of our working, shopping and entertainment hours spend online, the fight for users and their time has now reached the final bastion -the time that we sleep. Critics call it the largest scale experiment on humans ever, as the long term effect of DreamCatcher™ has not yet been established. Conspiracy theorists see this as the turning point when machines will have the opportunity to manipulate the human subconscious without our conscious thought being able to act as a gatekeeper. Then again, not so long ago cellular phones were also considered to be the largest experiment ever conducted on humans.

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

Despite appearances to the contrary, Futureworld cannot and does not predict the future. Our Mindbullets scenarios are fictitious and designed purely to explore possible futures, challenge and stimulate strategic thinking. Use these at your own risk. Any reference to actual people, entities or events is entirely allegorical. Copyright Futureworld International Limited. Reproduction or distribution permitted only with recognition of Copyright and the inclusion of this disclaimer.