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A Q&A with Andrew Wallenstein, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Variety

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At the Variety Entertainment & Technology Summit on May 9th, the magazine’s Co-Editor-in-Chief, Andrew Wallenstein, joined IBM’s Global Managing Director, IBM Telecommunications,
Media and Entertainment Industry, Steve Canepa, for a keynote conversation about how the media industry is using cognitive power and real-time consumer data to create a more personalized entertainment experience.

I asked Mr. Wallenstein to sit down for a quick Q&A after the Variety event. Below are his insights into the world of Artificial Intelligence, deep learning, and whether “going out to the movies” will ever become a thing of the past.

Q. If you had to choose the biggest single challenge when it comes to the Media & Entertainment sector and Artificial Intelligence/deep learning, what would it be?

A. The single biggest challenge will be changing the gut-based culture of Hollywood decision-making to be more accepting of all the analytics that A.I./deep learning have to offer. I am confident the entertainment industry can embrace these innovations, but it’s going to take time and considerable trial and error.

Q. Broadly predict what “going to the movies” today will be like a decade from now. Will people still go to cinemas or will the cinemas come to them? Is there something socially important about people gathering in a cinema vs. sitting at home watching a movie?

A. While I firmly believe that the traditional movie-going experience will never go away entirely, I do think its place in the media world will shrink considerably in the coming years as studios and exhibitors will inevitably experiment with providing more opportunities for viewers to bring the cinema home, so to speak. In-home viewing of movies while they are still in theaters will grow in due time, but the social aspect of the theatrical experience will endure, albeit at a much smaller scale decades down the road.

Q. What human elements of the entertainment industry will A.I.-enabled platforms never be able to replace/replicate?

A. I strongly believe that no matter how sophisticated Artificial Intelligence gets, it will never get to the point where the creative decision-making that is at the heart of storytelling becomes a less human exercise. Screenwriters, producers, and directors will probably get a lot of help from new platforms to help inform their process, but I can’t see the day where robots are churning out scripts all by themselves.

Andrew Wallenstein, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Variety


Mr. Akasie is Content Manager & Client Advocacy Leader for the Telecommunications, Media & Entertainment, and Energy and Utilities industries at IBM.

Content Manager & Client Advocacy Leader: Telecom, Media & Entertainment, and Energy Industries

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