I think we need to consider what miraculous times we live in. Mass communications have been developing for the past century or two, but until now they have been so ludicrously expensive to implement that only the Powers That Be could afford to use them. And we all know what that means: more power to the Powers That Be.
This is changing rapidly. Consider just one little aspect, something that is possible right now to anybody in the upper middle class who has a bit of computer skills, and is continually becoming cheaper and easier. I am talking about a personal, mobile TV studio and broadcasting station.
All you need is a Powerbook, a digital video camera, and a phone line or a mobile phone.
They have already talked for years about the "CNN effect". That means that because every violent happening is being broadcast to a worldwide audience, it is much more difficult to get away with waging war and slaughtering innocent people, like it seems more or less all governments of the Earth really get off on doing.
Now imagine the very near future, where every town has several young people who love having a global audience, and are continually videotaping everything happening around them, and broadcasting it the same day in QuickTime format on the WWW, perhaps even in real time. Despots be scared.
In the very near future, important events will not just be reported by big corporations who have to have their heads far up the ass of their sponsors and so can't be counted on to report anything like the truth if it threatens an ad account. News will be reported by millions, all over the world, and in living color.
And this is just the immediate political ramifications, or the surface of them. Just imagine what this will do to creativity. Creativity and journalism, or fiction and fact, are becoming less divided, which is great (or at least is when it isn't hidden, at which point it is lying, or what passes for journalism in big media). Art and creativity is a powerful factor in Man's progress in understanding the Universe, himself, and his spirit, and computers and the Internet has already revolutionized what the creative person can do, and how he can get it out to people. The new age of mobile creativity will boost this even further.
And it won't stop. I am pretty sure that in the foreseeable future, you can have a computer much more powerful than what you have on your desk right now, but so small you can carry it around all day without even noticing it. It may have a virtual display sitting in a pair of lightweight eyeglasses, and it may have speech recognition, or it may use a Virtual Keyboard where it monitors the position of your fingers typing on anything or nothing in front of you. Or it may have any of dozens of interfaces not even imagined yet. It will naturally be connected continually to your own data kept securely on your web server, and also to the rest of the web, meaning basically all of human knowledge and current events, art, and culture globally.
It doesn't suck.
Yours, Eolake Stobblehouse
is a contributing editor to the Mac Observer, specializing in cultural matters, and comes to us by way of MacCreator. Comments invited.
The title of this column, "Fuzzy Logic", refers to an attempt to view the larger issues without getting lost in the details. Sort of "squinting" at things:) Of course it is also the term for an attempt in computing to get computers to look at the world like it is, in a spectrum of grays, instead of 1 and 0, or Black and White.