From Visual Influence to Creative Explosion
Back in 2014, a Wired cover story heralded that the rise of smartphones was set to unleash humanity's creative potential like never before. What used to be a platform for human connection had become an outlet for unimagined artistic expression at our fingertips. 

We got a working sense of this reality and opportunity during the same period. At the time, Weber Shandwick was deep into the social media game, helping global brands get their footing in a whole new medium as platforms quickly shifted from desktop to mobile. As that happened, a whole new palette of tools and means to engage unleashed an explosion of digital content from Hollywood to Madison Avenue to Main Street. 

In response, we reoriented our client strategies against this backdrop, signaled a big shift was in play and restructured parts of our organization to help clients adapt to this structural change in engagement. Reflecting on this time, in some ways we were ahead of the curve, but we couldn’t have predicted the speed, range of opportunity and consequences of this creative revolution. 

We've taken new steps to anticipate what's in store through an agency-wide dynamic teaming model and launch of our X Practice, which puts creative technology, analytics and integrated media front and center in our work. We're also experimenting with new approaches to engage external partners and universities given the depth of innovation in start-up communities and research colleges (special shout-out to Julia Dixon from our Media Futures program who works with me on this newsletter). 

As today's links demonstrate, an open innovation model is fundamental for any organization to engage with the world. Each shows just how far we've come – and have to go – to rethink media production in ways we couldn’t have imagined just a couple of years ago. This hints at the unpredictability of opportunities to come, and why Solving for X is more important now than ever before.  

Chris Perry 
Chief Digital Officer, Weber Shandwick
What We're Reading
Artificial Intelligence
Lufthansa and IBM Watson Think AI Can Convince You to Use Your Vacation Days
By Melissa Locker, Fast Company
Lufthansa has teamed up with IBM Watson Advertising to launch an AI-powered ad, a first for the airline industry. The campaign focuses on exploring a world of new possibilities in an effort to get would-be travelers off the couch and into a seat on one of Lufthansa’s planes.​
Platform Dominance
Roll Your Eyes All You Like, but Instagram Poets are Redefining the Genre for Millennials
By Laure Byager, Mashable

The work of Instagram poets is accessible in more than one sense of the word, and while the critics may not always like it, their work is now being celebrated as "gateway poetry" — and that can only be a good thing. 

Content Experience
Designers are Reinventing Hurricane Maps for an Era of Extreme Weather
By Karen Hao, MIT Technology Review
As climate dangers rise, researchers are testing new ways of communicating clearly about uncertainty. They hope clearer visuals will help people make sound decisions as to how they need to protect themselves and their families.
Artificial Intelligence
Computer Stories: A.I. Is Beginning to Assist Novelists
By David Streitfeld, New York Times
The idea that a novelist is someone struggling alone in a room, equipped with nothing more than determination and inspiration, could soon be obsolete. Robin Sloan is writing his book with the help of home-brewed software that finishes his sentences with the push of a tab key.​
Artificial Intelligence
USA Today Thinks Chat Bots Can Keep Voters Informed During Midterms
By Jon Fingas, Engadget

USA Today is rolling out chatbots that will help you keep tabs on various aspects of the 2018 midterm elections, including national news, regional election info and the hot-button issues of the day. In theory, this could make it easier to become a politically informed member of society.

Media Forensics
Actors are Digitally Preserving Themselves to Continue Their Careers Beyond the Grave
By Erin Winick, MIT Technology Review

Improvements in CGI mean neither age nor death need stop some performers from working. Actors are paying for scans that could make money for their families post-mortem, extend their legacy—and even, in some strange way, preserve their youth. 

Content Experience
Motion Photos
By Fred Wilson, AVC

Similar to the live photo feature on the iPhone, Motion Photos is a feature available on Google’s Pixel Phones that captures a bit of video as you are taking a photo. Fred Wilson explains how to convert your motion photo into a video or GIF so you can share it with the world.

Augmented Reality
There's Nothing Dystopian at All About These High-Tech Blinkers for Humans
By James Vincent, The Verge
Wear Space is supposed to create a “psychological personal space” for the wearer to help them concentrate, particularly in noisy, distracting, open-plan offices. The device isn’t intended to just isolate the wearer but also communicate with others, telling them: Go away, I’m busy. It has also produced some pretty hilarious reactions.
Emerging Technology
These New Tricks Can Outsmart Deep Fake Videos—for Now
By Sarah Scoles, Wired

Fake videos are appearing more and more, and they are becoming increasingly realistic. But as these fakes keep popping up, so do programs that aim to reveal them as frauds. 

Deep Take
Voices on Visual Influence
By Weber Shandwick
In 2014, we predicted that visual influence was a cultural revolution to align with. Looking back, this proved so true that it's almost an understatement. 
Copyright © 2018 Weber Shandwick

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