In 2002 Dominic O’Brien, eight time world memory champion, set a new extraordinary Guinness record. O’Brien successfully memorized a sequence of 2,808 playing cards, which are 54 packs, by looking at each card only once. Later on a study conducted by the University College London scanned the brain of memory champions using MRI, and found that the master memorizers do not have higher IQs or a special brain structure. They did however generate activity in their brain parts that are responsible for visual and spatial processing. Their talent was not a matter of born ability. It was based on an ancient technique that creates a visual journey, transforming each memory into a visual association while creating a stronger neuron connection in their brain.
About 50% of our brain is involved in visual processing. We remember 80% of what we see and do, and only 30% of what we read. Our brain is visually wired, which makes us much more engaged with visuals rather than text.
But the internet contains mainly text content and is based on the same language Tim Berners-Lee created 25 years ago, HTML. The hypertext markup language is structured around text, and only in recent years evolved to natively contain visual elements such as the video tag in HTML5. Looking at the numbers, the explosion of video traffic demonstrates the high demand for visual content on the internet and suggests that the visual web is already here. Looking at our brain, the impact of visual elements on us may transform the way we experience the internet, the same way that motion picture transformed the way we experience stories a hundred years ago. It is likely that 15 years from now, we will consume most of the internet content in a virtual-visual way rather than textual encoded information.
The big guys already understand that. This is why Facebook was willing to pay $2 billion to acquire the virtual reality pioneer, Oculus. How about experiencing your feed and connecting with people in a visual almost real experience? Facebook is already pushing hard on its video strategy, understanding the importance of visuals. Virtual reality will only be a natural evolution on the way to visual dominance.
This is why Snapchat transformed textual content into a visual experience with Snapchat Discover, and gained massive popularity. This is why GoPro announced its 360-degree project as part of Google Jump VR, which will become mainstream with the connection to Youtube. This is why most of the new content produced today is visual. From Instagram to Meerkat, eventually it’s all about how our brain is wired.
The big question is, how can it scale quickly with quality? Producing textual content is simple. Creating premium visual content is hard. In other words, writing this post took me a few hours, but to visualize it and produce a video would be a much harder job. The solution for that lies within two trends: crowdsourcing and robots.
Crowdsourcing content creation is here to stay. We’ve already experienced the rise of independent creators becoming extremely popular and significant in the online video scene. Platforms such as Vessel will enable them to unhook from Facebook and Youtube to create their own independent ecosystem, monetizing their content and improving their quality.
Robots will transform the way editors work. While editors will continue to create their unique stories, robots will help them transform each story to a video, and make it visual. Using artificial intelligence, this technology understands the story and transforms the text into a high quality video automatically, saving hours of manual production for the editors. As futuristic as it sounds, it is already available today and being used by leading publishers.
Has the internet becomes the Holodeck? The answer will probably be yes. With 360 VR and robots that will visualize the web, a parallel world will be created, made of binary code. Would you like to travel to Pluto? How about standing on the edge of an erupting volcano? Just click here to connect.