Predictions 2024: Communication and Media Professors Tell Us the Future

At the start of the new year we often see different media organizations releasing predictions for the upcoming year. We asked Communication and Media faculty teaching in Spring to share theirs with us, and seven were up to the challenge. See the future of the field, below.

Google’s ambitious plan to phase out third-party cookies during the second half of 2024 stirs a sense of apprehension and indicates a transformative shift in the digital advertising landscape. Third-party cookies play a crucial role in web tracking as part of the web advertising ecosystem. The move by Google could significantly impact the industry, potentially restricting advertiser access to data for personalized ads. In my prediction, I foresee a potential reconfiguration of power dynamics, favoring media agencies with access to unique data at scale, ready to be provided to advertisers. The repercussions of the cookie phase-out may also extend to smaller providers, potentially leading to consolidations within the advertising industry. Businesses, in turn, will likely need to pivot their marketing strategies to adapt to this evolving landscape.

Aleksandra Skalska, Introduction to Advertising

Following a record year of shark attacks, less than one hundred unfortunate humans (and/or their family and friends) were able to “enjoy” widespread, if brief, media coverage around the world in 2023. Those of us who have avoided this unfortunate fate so far can only hope that this year we’ll hear about it also from the sharks’ perspective (in other words, we need more news set in the context of climate change). Wishful thinking, not a prediction.

Tess Slavickova, Introduction to Communication

I predict a shift in the communication and media sphere as audiences express weariness with artificial intelligence-generated influencers. Major brands, including fashion powerhouses like Prada, Dior, and Calvin Klein, have embraced collaborations with virtual influencers such as Lil Miquela, Noonoouri, and Imma Gram. However, a global sentiment has emerged, reflecting concerns about the displacement of human creators by AI. As the novelty fades, I suggest a move towards authenticity, with brands recalibrating strategies to favor good-traditional human-celebrity endorsers, signifying a return to genuine connections. The industry will respond to the growing desire for relatability and the unique stories that only real human experiences can provide.

Polina Shubkina, Visual Culture, Digital Photography

We will observe the further deepening of the global mental health crisis which will call for more skillful professionals in the fields of psychiatry, psychology and communication. On the other hand (or along with the above-mentioned) we will also experience the trend of understanding that “happiness” is not an unachievable myth and a broader shift towards a search for wholeness in our lives.

Veronika Zavrelova, Intercultural Communication, Mediation and Conflict Management

This year, sustainability issues will be more engaging, particularly in the aftermath of COVID-19. Along with Gen Z’s and Millennial’s increased green purchasing power and social media’s massive network, the sustainable development paradigm will attach itself to everyday politics, including political consumerism. The awareness of responsible consumption is inclined to increase and boost the rapid growth of green businesses and their products.

Angga Ariestya, Communication, Media & Sustainability

I predict an increase in the demand for anti-deep fake security / education. With the rise of easy to use and cheap tools for realistic avatar video and audio, the recognition of fakes will become a greater issue. This will be demonstrated across fields such as politics, media and interpersonal communication. Do check twice if a friend is calling you to tell you he has been in an accident and needs a quick money transfer to help him pay for surgery. Do make sure that the outrageous soundbite of a politician you are sharing is indeed confirmed from multiple sources. And of course, do agree on a safety phrase / code word with your private banker, just like they did in Harry Potter to recognize if the person was indeed real. Deepfake scams 3.0 are on their way…

Martin Pavlicek, Advanced Public Relations

I predict Alphabet, Meta and X will continue to act exclusively in the name of profit, draining funds from responsible media companies, refusing to act ethically and work in the name of civil society to do what they can to prevent the spread of disinformation, resulting in the further degradation of the public sphere. Rytíři Kladno will finally fall to relegation, Berani Zlín will return to Extraliga, and here is the big one – the Toronto Maple Leafs will not win the Stanley Cup!

Todd Nesbitt, Political Communication

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