Media Technology

Information, communication, media and media technologies have become increasingly important in today’s society and in people’s everyday lives. Media Technology can broadly be characterized as technologies and methods for supporting communication between people across distances in time and space. The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) has offered a Master of Science in Media Technology since 1999.

Future of media

In the project course “Future of media”, advanced graduate students in media technology and media management explore the relationship between technology, economy and social factors in processes of technological innovation and development. The course (10 credits) corresponds to a third of the course load during a full semester and the course runs throughout the autumn semester. It is one of the last courses in the education and only a master’s thesis remains to be done during the spring semester before graduation.

This year, 2012, the course is given for the 10th time, but this year is also the second year that the course is being given in English, and with international students participating. A special effort has now been made to document and make the results of the course available on the Internet. These results include a full-length book “The future of Magazines” (each project group writes one chapter each), this webpage as well as concrete practical “design representations” such as for examples movies and prototypes that have been created by different project groups within the course. The aim is to make the results of not just this but also of successive courses available on the Internet at http://futureofmedia.se/magazines/downloads/.

This year’s theme – The future of Magazines/Magazines of the future

Each year, the course treats a different theme. This year’s task has been to analyze, reflect upon, review, refine and further develop “The Future of Magazines” and “Magazines of the Future” from a media technology perspective.

The Future of Magazines! What could be more exciting? Well, some students were initially hesitant or skeptical about this year’s theme and asked whether (paper) magazines do have a future? Is “The Future of Magazines” perhaps a theme that was chosen one or two decades too late? If magazines are defined as (only) paper products with glossy covers, it might very well be the case that “Magazines” don’t have a future a couple of decades on. Reading the initial student essays about their relationship to magazines, you might for example be excused to think so. While young people might read more text than ever, little of that text is packaged and delivered on paper rather than acquired through a screen. For this course, we have however chosen to widen the concept of “Magazines” to encompass all consumption of texts between on the one hand news stories in the daily newspaper and on the other hand book-length texts. What is the future not only of magazines, but of texts and of reading? No less than 12 groups of students are currently (autumn 2012) exploring 12 different future for magazines. They will present their suggestions and the results of their projects on December 7. Read more about the presentation here >>>

A framework for all project groups has been to aim for a future that will happen sometime in the next 10-20 year, i.e. sometime between 2022 and 2032. All projects have also had to limit themselves to, or at least orient themselves towards a Swedish (western, relatively affluent) context. The proposed futures might, but do not have to assume large technological breakthroughs. Some technologies and ideas are already around today (or are being explored in laboratories at this very moment), BUT might take many years or even a decade or two to spread and take hold among a larger proportion of the population. The challenge might not always be to invent a purely technological future, but to imagine patterns of usage and new business models emerging when current (or future) patterns of usage among small groups of early adopters spread to larger groups in our societies. Read more about the projects here >>>

Work process

During an intense six-week long start-up phase (end of Aug – beginning of Oct), the whole class read selected literature about magazines, worked with magazine-related issues in seminars, and was visited by around 20 guest lecturers from industry and academia. These guests had a variety of backgrounds and presented us with a wide variety of perspectives, over-all giving us a well-rounded picture of the history of magazines, the present situation of magazines, as well as suggestions for some trends and possible future developments.

At the end of this start-up phase, project groups were formed around course participants’ emerging interests, and 12 project groups were formed. During the second half of the autumn semester, these groups independently explore different aspects of this year’s theme; The Future of Magazines and Magazines of the Future.

The result of each group’s effort is a proposal and a scenario pertaining to the future of magazines. The results are presented as a chapter in a book (printed in a limited edition), as well as in a live presentation that will be held held on on Dec 7 in front of a live audience of 200+ persons; younger students at the educational program as well as teachers, guest lecturers and people from the magazines industry. Documentation in the form of texts and other supporting materials can be found at the Downloads page.

Welcome to the final presentation

As previously stated, the final presentation is the 7th of December. If you would like to attend to the final presentation, please visit this page >>>. Welcome to explore the future of media with us!

Pargman

Sincerely,
Daniel Pargman – Assistant professor in Media Technology at KTH and responsible for the course Future of Media
pargman@kth.se

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