Morris was joined by John Underkoffler, Oblong Industries CEO and Minority Report interface designer, to peer into the future and the ‘post-digital world’.
A packed audience at BAFTA was treated to a vision of new technology, new interfaces and gadgets – but were reminded that emotions must still be at the heart of marketing.
“Every single day the world becomes more convergent,” Morris told us.
“The things that really determine what’s successful and what isn’t successful are things like ease of use and ease of control and access.
“When you go back 20 years, we actually thought convergence would mean we’d have one device – we’ve ended up with hundreds.”
He asked: “How many remote controls have you got and can you ever find the right one? True convergence is the integration of technology into our lives – what do we want from technology?
“But if we reach people with the wrong content, that’s even worse. We have to understand people and their emotions because we make these decisions on emotions.
We expect as people that brands know us and know what we want.”
Underkoffler spoke about how he had tried to predict the future with the classic film Minority Report.
“We had the brief from Spielberg, and it’s pretty scary when he tells you this, to build an entire world. It’s really, really hard to predict the future,” he confessed.
He talked about the need to create a new UI to replace the mouse or finger, to tap into the way that we work more naturally.
“If we can drop the mouse, we can use our hands, the full measure of your dexterity. All of this is taking advantage of the way your mind is actually wired. When you build a new ui, you know you’ve got it right if it feels exhilarating.”
He also talked about developing new technological systems for collaboration. “If you can build systems that are digital and have that power, but enable and encourage collaboration, that will be a new play,” he said.
Morris told us that brands needed to find ways to tap into culture at speed. “It’s about tapping into a cultural moment and utilising it, which is why live events, big cultural moments, become increasingly important,” he said.
But he too admitted it was difficult to guess what would come next. “In 2000, you really couldn’t believe that in seven years’ time there would be something called the iPhone. You wouldn’t have been able to really imagine Facebook or YouTube,” he said.
“The challenge for us is to really think what will be next, what could happen? We absolutely have to take invention into the core of our business.
“We have to think about the role of brands; the role of brands is going to become so much more important. People, especially younger people, trust brands more than they trust so many other of the organs of control, the organs of the state. We have to be much more personal – the opportunity is there to be much more valuable to people.”
He showed the audience a dramatic Dentsu ad from Japan, where a young woman is seen wearing a phone which senses her emotions, which then trigger the camera.
“This is coming, and it’s coming much more quickly than we can imagine, and we absolutely have to take control of that,” said Morris.
“We have to think about the love as well as the algorithms. We absolutely have to be bold.”