I think that I have less streaming TV content than the average American, yet vastly more than I had a year ago. I have noticed that with my expanded selection of streamed on demand content, I have a harder time finding something that engages me more than a few minutes or one episode.
I find much less joy in watching TV and spend a huge amount of time just scrolling through dozens of descriptions and trailers. It could just be that I am overwhelmed by the choices. Back in the 80s and 90s I preferred getting VHS or DVDs at convenience stores or other video nooks rather than at huge video stores like Blockbusters. I just took the least objectionable and headed home with my gas station sub sandwich and was often sometimes pleasantly surprised.
Or it could be that I am searching the huge catalog of shows for something that reflects the values and outcomes I prefer. I don’t like movies or shows with cutting edge hip characters or condemnations of the world in which I grew up. I like the characters to conform with the traditional gender traits and virtues from my life. I like the story arc to progress from the protagonists I prefer overcoming adversity by doing the things I grew up thinking were wholesome to triumph as defined by how I feel the world should be.
In the past there were fewer choices and shopping for a story arc, characters and locales I liked was less possible. Therefore, I would take things that were marginal and different. This would often introduce me to new ideas and concepts, ideas and concepts that given more choice I probably would have avoided. Often the introduction (or indoctrination I suppose) would widen my range, my ‘horizons’. Now I just scroll and scroll looking for ‘my storyline’ with my protagoists and my desired outcomes.
I wonder if with AI, we might in the near future be able to dictate the themes, locales, characters, and story lines we want to see. Will AI render the characters and sets and dialogs we want so that we are each our own fantastical director and producer? Maybe it can insert a buffed up, younger, smarter, more likeable version of ourselves into the show. What effect would this have on society and our interactions? Would we just abandon most physical world interactions and sit home enthralled by our own fantasies on screen? Would we strive less to achieve competencies in a world in which we only need to be able to dictate them to enjoy them?