New media can be defined as a highly interactive digital technology which allows people to interact anywhere anytime.
This has evolved as a non-tangible channel for communication on the preset of growth in Information Technology.
The ability to transform content to a digitized format allowed new-age media to take shape within the internet.
Accessibility through hand-held devices like mobile platforms, personal computers, digital devices, and virtual computing machines has aided the growth of new-age media.
The medium of new media is not just restricted to social networking platforms, blogs, online newspapers, digital games and virtual reality, but any aspect of communication that can be communicated real-time, processed, stored and delivered in formats of data instantaneously.
Accessibility, speed of data access, reversibility & storage capacity are the basic three parameters which characterize new media.
Since new media creates a medium which is basically ones and zeros, which represents all aspects of digital data representing human senses such as seeing or hearing, including video, audio and tactile data.
In the past decade the rapid development in Artificial Intelligence has led to the evolution of more intelligent new media in the realm of communications.
Machine learning codes can simulate the role of human cognitive abilities, they have the information storage and processing abilities to represent or imitate a human level of communication.
2. The Evolution of New Media
The growth of new media has progressed through riding the wave of technological progress over the evolution of our species.
Around 500,000 years ago the migrating human species started representing data through engravings at different geographical locations.
And the irony is that the world’s first known drawing from 73,000 years ago looked like a hashtag.
It is thought to be inspired by the urge to communicate, co-operate and share the basic aspects of the human species.
With the advancement of civilization, the cognitive ability of humans expanded along with the invention of more tools and crafts like terracotta, dyes, inks, cotton etc., allowing us to use improved languages and visual arts.
Special techniques of carving and writing aided the representation of data from the environment and expressing creativity in a more refined way.
This advancement in technology subsequently led to the development of paper in 220 AD, China.
The breakthrough in paper processing led to the evolution of books – recording and keeping information, which eventually led to rapid communication with the invention of the printing press in 15th Century Europe.
Further technological breakthroughs in the late 18th and early 19th centuries on sound and video led to the evolution of transmission.
The combination of audio and video revolutionized modern broadcasting.
The invention of the transistor in 1947 and the ultimate integration of the first Pentium processor in 1970 transformed data communication, controlling and computation.
The data representation and growth in communication eventually led to new media by the early 2000’s.
The evolution of technology is shown in Fig. 1 above.
3. The Composition of New Media
New media encompasses all aspects of digitized data being created, consumed and communicated over the internet using digital devices.
Even the old media found new ways of expressing themselves within the new media landscape in the form of e-newspapers, e-books, etc.
The mass availability of smart-phones has led to a revolution in the social and interactive spaces.
Standalone social networking platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have all tried to integrate old-ways of chat boxes along with advertisement and e-commerce.
Generally, new media can provide a more accurate data on different parametric aspects like a users age-group, digital platform, communication platform, accessibility, location, content generation, security, computational methods, algorithm, and the number of users to name a few.
Since it is an ever-evolving technology-based phenomena, it is difficult to categorize new media under one specific parameter. A more scientific classification would be based on semantics and user interfaces.
The list also includes video games, virtual reality, real-time chat interfaces and dating sites with digital interactivity like Tinder for example.
The new media of today can be characterized broadly based on the following parameters
Digital (Extend of digitization)
Interactivity (Number of users/transaction)
Virtual (Integration of Virtual /Augmented reality)
Networked (Accessibility and reach)
Simulated (Flexibility and usability)
4. The Future of New Media
Self-learning, self-controlling and self-communicating standalone intelligent systems have enabled entirely different paradigms in recent years.
Virtual reality and gaming uses the programming abilities to create totally new environments or replicate existing environments.
This is enabled through users being able to interact and interface virtual objects and spaces in that environment.
Graphics, games and simulations have flooded open the gates wherein each individual recreates their imagination in the virtual world.
For example, according to TV[R]ev Magazine, the online P2P game Fortnite has become the most preferred social media experience for teenagers.
In a similar way augmented reality has enabled users to directly or indirectly view the real environment and at the same time interact with it, using computer-generated audio, video or touch.
Future new media will use computer programs to enable users to supplement real or virtual world environments with digital objects.
In a broader sense virtual reality, intelligent systems and automation could slowly replace different aspects of industry, human interaction and progress of the human species at large.
5. The Role of AI and Machine Learning
Human-based content generation will be taken over by machines and software algorithms, capable of imitating human cognitive abilities.
This is already happening with some old media companies using Artificial Intelligence to turn their data into news, through services provided by companies such as Narrative Science, which has even received an investment from the funding-arm of the CIA.
This is leading to a new way of generating, communicating and consuming data (mass communication).
Social networking platforms and personalized communication will become more intelligent and sophisticated.
In the immediate near future, the human emotions which are being conveyed as data and communication by humans will be equally contributed by machines.
Combined with virtual and augmented reality, self-learning systems or intelligent systems will percolate mass and personal communication.
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