Brian David Johnson, a Consumer Experience Architect at Intel Corp., takes on a moving target – the evolution of entertainment and the forces that are constantly at work shaping that evolutionary path – as the big topic in his new book, Screen Future: The Future of Entertainment, Computing and the Devices We Love (Intel Press; hardcover; available July 21).
It’s a vast subject, to be sure, but Johnson makes it a palatable one, with chapters of easy-to-digest research, analysis and commentary alternating with Q&As with academics, business executives and government officials who are all, in their own ways, “what’s next” visionaries – and who all have their say about what’s to come in new devices and how they are being (and will be) used by today’s screen-hopping, content-consuming public.
The book is the culmination of 10 years of ethnographic research at Intel about “what consumers are doing in their homes,” Johnson explained. Intel saw the need to collect such data, because “when you design chips, you need to understand what consumers are doing,” he added. “For the past three years, I’ve looked at the future of TV – what happens when you combine the power of the computer with the beloved nature and entertainment value of TV. It’s a look at what happens when entertainment becomes the leading experience on all our devices.”
Johnson said his goal for the finished work was to maintain a delicate balance. “Intel has a lot of ‘deep geek,’” he noted. “I wanted to make this book not too ‘geeky,’ and it isn’t – but it still has technical chops. I tempered the writing with the understanding that every technology that’s brought to market will always be influenced by consumers, but that there is always the business aspect of it that is an influence.”
Johnson said he is well aware that, as he writes at the opening of his concluding chapter, “I can pretty much guarantee you that by the time you read this book something in it will be out of date,” so he has anchored his writing to “the grand history of TV. But TV has always evolved, from the very beginning and it is always evolving. TV is a seismic event. What this book is about is the conversation.”