By Craig Fosberry - Cloud Services Director, Level

Was Pong the first?

You’ve likely heard of Pong – the first ever home video game, which took the world by storm and helped to create the demand for video games that we see today. Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but Pong wasn’t actually the first.


In 1972, Ralph Baer licensed the blueprint of his ‘Brown Box’ prototype, which became the Magnavox Odyssey in September of that year. It consisted of just three little dots that players moved around the television screen and, coupled with transparent overlays that fastened to the screen to give context and colour to the game, this simple creation sparked the birth of the modern games console as we know it.

It’s safe to say that only a tiny fraction of today’s Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo generation has ever heard of the Odyssey but, without it – and without the curiosity and investment of those first 70,000 families who bought it – who knows what would have happened?

Magnavox Odyssey Pong

Early Adopters

This is a concept that we at Level know all too well. As we enter the 4th Industrial Revolution, hundreds of different cognitive AI products have flooded the market, and we’re seeing clients and prospects settle into one of two camps; those who are willing to take the first leap into something new (for their industry’s benefit as well as their own), and those who prefer to wait and see how the technology develops before making any decisions.

More often than not, the first-movers gain a competitive advantage, while the cautious ‘wait and see’ companies are left behind wondering what happened, as their industry moves forward at a rate that they’re unable to match. In fact, while 1 in 5 early technology adopters report growth rates of more than 30%, fewer than 10% of the more cautious companies are able to match that. If only they’d taken that first leap when they had the chance!

Cognitive AI – the silent enabler of people

In 50 years, while very few people will remember the names of today’s cognitive AI offerings (nobody mention Skynet or Terminator – those don’t count!), those products and their successors will continue to work silently and diligently in the background, enabling companies to notice and celebrate their creative people more. It’s actually quite reassuring to know that, while cognitive AI is a potentially powerful tool in a company’s arsenal, the company still needs its people to keep innovating and taking those all-important first leaps towards the next big thing.

So, remember: before you shrug off cognitive AI or any other new technology, think to yourself, “Could this be the next Magnavox Odyssey?”

ASK Level

Level’s cognitive AI platform intelligently automates the low-value, resource-intensive tasks that employees know all too well, are not fulfilling or engaging. See how you can take the robot out of your humans and free them to be more creative and productive with their time.

To find out how Level can help your company take that first leap towards the future of work, visit:

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