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Joshua Engroff

Member since April 2015Contact Joshua

  • Partner KBS Ventures
  • 160 Varick Street
  • New York New York
  • 10013 USA

Articles by Joshua All articles by Joshua

  • Radical Transparency In Politics And Media in Online Spin on 05/19/2017

    In medieval Latin, the word "transparency" means "shining through," and in most modern contexts the word has a positive connotation, even in negative situations. The wafer-thin intellect of a President, for example, by letting the light shine right through, reveals neither the madcap stratagems of a next-gen Richard Nixon, nor the hard outlines of a consistently pro-business ideology, but a vast and vacillating willfulness. Transparency is topical not only in the political sphere, but also within the media business. As in politics, for media agencies, transparency is connected to alignment, to the responsibility of an appointed party (the agency) to always act in the best interests of the party it represents (the client).

  • Exploding Old Contexts With AI in Online Spin on 05/05/2017

    According to IBM, we produce 2.5 exabytes of data each day. This is equivalent to 250,000 Libraries of Congress or 90 years of HD video - each day. This data exhaust results from our continual digital interactions, whether explicit - such as typing a search into Google - or implicit, like the location signals we give off as we move through the world with our smartphones.

  • On Sarin And Cyberwar in Online Spin on 04/07/2017

    The events this week provided a condensed view of the past, present and future of weapons technology. Assad's attack on Tuesday used sarin gas, an old technology dating from 1938 (but no less horrible for being old). The U.S. response on Thursday used Tomahawk missiles, a tech dating from the 1970s. And the most instructive glimpse of what the future will hold came in the form of the (intended or unintended) symbolism of the timing of the U.S. announcement: right after President Trump's dinner with Chinese president Xi Jinping.

  • The Ultimate Empathy Machine: VR And Social in Online Spin on 03/10/2017

    A common critique of VR is that it is will make us even more antisocial than we already are. But there are powerful counter-arguments against this. Chris Milk, probably the most accomplished film maker working in VR today, has called VR the "ultimate empathy machine." Experienced in VR, his movie "Clouds Over Sidra," about a 12-year-old Syrian girl living in a Jordanian refugee camp, carries an emotional power that is hard describe. The viewer does not watch the movie as much as experience it as a participant, with all distance between viewer and subject removed. That effect is impossible with 2D film.

  • Highways Jammed With Broken Heroes in Online Spin on 02/24/2017

    The American romance with the automobile is the stuff of legend. Seldom has a product of mechanical engineering been as obsessed over by pop culture as the car. Just peek inside that 100-year almanac of American desires, hopes and fears known as The Movies and you'll see the wide range of protagonists it plays: friend ("The Love Bug,") enemy ("Christine"), accomplice ("Bonnie and Clyde," "Drive)", freedom fighter ("Mad Max"), outlaw, ("Smokey and the Bandit"), sarcophagus ("The Godfather), time machine ("Back to The Future") and sexual aid (every James Bond film).

  • VR's Distribution Problem in Online Spin on 02/10/2017

    The Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, and Sony Playstation VR are separate systems with their own specs, and there is no guarantee that applications and content developed for one platform will run on another. Not to mention AR platforms like Magic Leap and Microsoft HoloLens. This creates a major distribution challenge for VR app developers, and content creators, and brands seeking marketing opportunities within these new experiences.

  • To Zero and Back Again: The Coming Revolution In AI in Online Spin on 01/27/2017

    There are strong indications that the next technological revolution will be artificial intelligence. For decades, AI has been a sci-fi dream, but core developments in several complementary areas are now colliding to make AI a reality.

  • Advertising's Walking Dead, Or: Toward a New Marketing Stack in Online Spin on 12/29/2016

    The big new thing often starts out being dismissed as a toy. Facebook, Snapchat, virtual reality, bots, emoji, messaging -- what marketer took them seriously at the beginning? What marketer dares to ignore them now? Somewhere back in time, any marketer could have seized the moment, but many rode past it on a wagon train of legacy models and old thinking. As a result, media channels today are clogged with advertising's walking dead -- static banners, 30-second spots that bury the lede, you know the ones -- that consumers either ignore or kill. The new marketing stack is predicated on user-centric modes of communication and commerce, and it looks something like this:

  • The Rise Of Autonomous Agents (And The End Of Advertising) in Online Spin on 12/16/2016

    Two things we heard a lot about in 2016 were "autonomous cars" and "bots," but rarely in the same sentence. True, they both share the common thread of AI, which powers the "self" in self-driving cars (computer vision, decisioning) and the chatty personalization of bots. But that's where the similarity ends, because most bots don't employ real AI or machine learning, but are just collections of "if-then" statements in a new package. Indeed, two of the things we might most associate with 2016 are "bot hype" and "bot fatigue," which is due, no doubt, to the utter triviality of most bots. However, a number of things happened this year that carry true significance for 2017 and beyond:

  • The Voice, Unbundled in Online Spin on 12/02/2016

    Forget about Millennials. Anyone trying to understand the future of media and technology should observe what the children do. First of all, they talk to computers.

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