Winner: Best Artificial Intelligence Film - July 2021 Edition
Hello Jonny Caplan, thank you for having us. Tell us a little about your earlier background: your education, your first steps in professional life.
Thanks so much for this interview and the incredible award competition and ceremony. I actually started singing and dancing on stage in London from a very early age, and then progressed to televised programming on major networks in the UK. At high school I was already an aspiring entrepreneur and through a national school competition, I was awarded the Duke of Edinburgh Award for Entrepreneurship.
This propelled me to start-up a number of technology businesses during the dot com era, and led me on a path of pioneering several new markets, processes and technologies. After selling out my last tech start-up, I started to get approached by emerging entrepreneurs who wanted advice, support, mentoring and connectivity and I realized my help was needed on a larger scale. In 2017, Tech Talk Media was founded with my cousin and digital entrepreneur Ronald Hans. The mission was to create TV around all of the amazing innovation and discoveries we were making in the business world. We knew that the greater population needed to hear about the amazing advancements and changes that were taking place, and it started with our first show TechTalk. TechTalk (12x30’) first aired on Amazon Prime & Apple TV+ in October 2019. The show won 11 International Awards in 2020, was added to the UK School Curriculum for 8-13 year-olds by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) and the 50 or so emerging tech start-ups that were featured, have generated more than $350m in investments, deals and opportunities since the show went live. All in all, the show created huge impact and benefit and is now broadcast in 80 countries across more than 20 broadcasters. Since then, the Company has more than 14 productions all focused on emerging new markets, major social & lifestyle changes and true development & evolution.
You're renowned as a technology expert. How did your passion for technology see the light?
My love for technology has been since a young age, I have always been fascinated by new technology and gadgets that can enhance our lives and help us to do things that as humans we can’t. As a child, I used to take my mother’s vacuum cleaner apart when it broke down, then somehow put it all back together and have it working again. Technology is our friend and if used correctly, can greatly enhance and improve our lives. Now with the rise of robotics, A.I. and autonomous machines, the capabilities of the technology has become much greater, so has our duty to build, operate and program it to align with humans and their ethics. As you can tell, through my own inquisitive nature I became fascinated by technology and then, after creating and developing new technologies, my passion and knowledge evolved considerably.
The experts we meet in The Rise of A.I. are also passionate. There is a sense that some of them relate to A.I. as "magical" —how, in your view, can this connection be made between the two (A.I. and magic) ?
The magical connection between A.I. and magic are only perceived. A.I. can give the illusion of magic, it can make a process or solution feel like magic, but the truth is, it’s just super-fast computing and processing information and data, all of which is pretty boring and unmagical. But when done in an instant… MAGIC!
Some applications of innovative technologies, such as facial recognition, are highly controversial. What do you have to say to those who equate innovation and control ?
Innovation is not equated to control at all. Innovation is in the hands of the innovator, a nefarious innovator can create destructive technology, whereas a proactive innovator can create the same technology to create positive impact. The choice is with the creator, not the technology. Without innovation, we never evolve, never get smarter, life becomes mundane. Innovation is imperative to our development as humans. We simply need to always ensure our innovation is ethical.
There's a recurrent talk, in your film, about "influencing" or "predicting" the future. To the non-initiated, this sounds a little like the old adage of "man wanting to play god." What positive aspects of those possible predictions could you present the non tech-oriented mind with ?
The Rise of A.I. showcases a number of leading companies and brands, many of which talk about the vast capabilities of the technology and potential predictive capabilities. Predictive A.I. can be used to detect cancer and diseases, it can be used to prevent wars and crisis. A.I. can ensure we limit the amount of disaster on the planet as we have some time ahead to compensate for whatever the situation.Again, the use of these technologies always comes down to who is actually using them and their motives.
What do you think about NFTs? Is it all yet another bubble ?
NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are an amazing revolution in digitizing our assets and providing a level playing field for all. I discovered NFTs around a year ago, it took me several months to understand the jargon and what was going on. When I finally launched an art collection, sold out, then became a collector, then a mentor, NFT consultant and thought leader, I was sold on the concept. NFTs provide a new way of doing business, one where there are no barriers to entry and everything is tracked. The market is only in its infancy, there is certainly no bubble (yet anyways) as it’s so early in the market. I believe it’s a game-changer to the global economy. Web 3.0 is a new mindset as well as resources. NFTs have already gained such huge traction they are making huge developments. The metaverse and more immersive worlds will become a default part of our future. As such, we are in late production of our newest title, NFTme. More info and teaser can be found at www.NFTme.tv
In your film, it is stated that "technology has facilitated safety and sanity." Is life supposed to be all safe and sane ?
I don’t remember this specific line from the show, but the concept of technology facilitating sanity doesn’t sound that easy. There are some technologies to prevent depression and dementia for instance, you could argue these facilitate sanity and safety. I guess life isn’t always safe and sane, but we wish it to be on some level. On another level that may turn out mundane. I think the goal for tech to be safe and sane, as well as life, but as we all know, things don’t always pan our as we planned.
Short statement describing your vision of the post-covid cinema, do you think there will be notable changes ?
Absolutely, yes there will be notable changes due to the pandemic, and due to multiple other factors, including the rise of digital TV and streamers, NFTs and blockchain, advancements in mobile phones and tablets, etc. Since we started Tech Talk Media in 2017, the entertainment, TV and film market has been evolving drastically. First Netflix made huge changes to the TV market, then many other streamers came in too. Then smartphones, faster broadband, social media platforms, YouTube and alike made video sharing, video editing and adaptation much easier and more accessible, so the need for more content became apparent. Then after a hugely divisive political situation almost globally, Covid-19 hit and things went upside down. Now production was nearly impossible, travel included which made the production of high end TV & Film, pretty much impossible. All whilst the demand, requirement and usage for content skyrocketed. Things have already been changing, people adapt. We filmed several of our new productions in 2020-2021 in innovative new ways, using minimal film crews, remote producers, semi-autonomous robots, drones and more. We managed to keep producing, although this is the stark opposable of most other companies in the space. The future will continue to see more remote operated and completed projects. We now use drones, robots, internet connected devices as part of our main crew makeup. The way we produce will evolve and be future-proofed to ensure it can’t be shut down again, and the need for content will only increase, whilst technologies will make it much more immersive. With the rise of NFTs, its becoming more accessible for everyone.
CEO & Executive Producer
Tech Talk Media / Impossible Media
Jonny Caplan is an award-winning Executive Producer/Director, Serial Entrepreneur, Innovator, Technologist, Influencer, and Media Personality. Having featured on major TV channels, and on stage in the UK from the young age of just 8 years old, Jonny has been in the limelight for most of his career. From acting & singing on stage to modeling, to presenting. He later excelled as a highly passionate and highly successful young entrepreneur and technology innovator, who after winning the Duke of Edinburgh award for Entrepreneurship at High School, subsequently went on to lay claim to several awards, patents, innovative products and companies. With a uniquely artistic and creative style, merged with vast scientific, technical, and entrepreneurial ability clearly shines in all his ground-breaking innovations and media. Jonny has written, directed, produced and featured in award winning titles such as TechTalk (12x30’) on Technology & Innovation (11 International Film Festival Awards) premiered on Amazon Prime & Apple TV+, The Cannabis Biz (6x30’ Docuseries, 2 International Awards), Last Man Standing: The Chronicles of Myron Sugerman (90’ - True Crime Iconic US Mafia Documentary), The Rise of A.I. (6x30’, Award Winning) premiered on Discovery Asia, Women in Charge (Female Entrepreneurship), TechHeroes (Sustainability), Inside NASA’s Innovations (Aerospace), premiered on Discovery Asia, and more. As Co-Founder, CEO & Executive Producer at Tech Talk Media, Jonny boasts an all-round skill base, including show running, writing, directing, narrating, and presenting skills. TTM and Impossible Media titles now reach more than 81 countries worldwide, and more than 500K viewers.