I’ve long been a fan of the podcast Answer Me This by Helen Zaltzman and Olly Mann, and indeed appeared as a guest on Helen’s other podcast, The Allusionist, talking about ball point pens. Olly recently launched his own podcast, The Modern Mann (note: it’s not really safe to listen to if there are young ears nearby).

On the most recent episode, resident ‘zeitgeist’ expert talks about his tech predictions for 2016. While a couple of the predictions were relatively predictable (the use of virtual reality headsets becoming more mainstream, and an increase in the use of apps and devices to monitor your health), one of the more interesting observations was that in 2016, we will start to see more and more silent films.

This may sound a little odd, but he doesn’t mean we’ll be going to the cinema and watching a new generation of Buster Keatons or Lillian Gishes, but rather online.

The “autoplay” feature on Facebook and other social networking sites means that as you scroll through your feed, any video content automatically starts playing. You might not have the sound on your laptop switched on, or your headphones plugged in, but an eye-catching video might still grab your attention. As a result, sound will become less important to producers of online video content who want their videos to go viral.

Is the future silent?

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