NSFW Celebrity billionaire tech investor Sean Parker thinks video chat is what the world needs most, and is putting his money where his mouth is.
Now pinch yourself that it isn't 1995. Video chat is the innovation that nobody has ever wanted, but has never gone away.
The Facebook and Spotify investor, who was a driving force behind the original Napster P2P file-sharing program, has a new venture called Airtime. Airtime might not offer much that Chatroulette doesn't, but Parker believes he can stop the inevitable spiral into filth by building in "abuse prevention" filters.
Parker believes that today's social media is impersonal and removes the human element.
“You are just clicking and never really engaging in a deep way with anyone. There is a lot lost, and the result is this sense of dehumanisation," said Parker, via the FT
But then you could argue the same about the telephone – and many did.
Video chat has been touted as the next upgrade for telephony since the 1960s – and since the modern world upgraded to fibre in the'80s, the capacity has been there to deliver it. As late as the early 1990s, major telcos featured video terminals in "coming next" vision-thing brochures. A few years later it was cited as the major consumer application for UMTS, or 3G. But today, even with free telephony and ubiquitous webcams, video chat hasn't broken out of its niche market of murky exhibitionists.
(An example of this filth can be seen below: NSFW)
Why does Parker think it's going to be different this time? And if we had a more sober and realistic idea of "innovation" really is, would a new video chat service even merit a paragraph in the Pink'Un? ®