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From onlooker to eyewitness – and beyond

/ 07:45 PM June 03, 2011

Communications technology has progressed so exponentially in the past decade that the televiewer has gone from onlooker to eyewitness – and beyond.

Oldtimers can still remember the indelibly time-stopping moment when, thanks to the then relatively chunky and clunky TV technology, earth-bound viewers were able to empathetically “fly” off to space and land on the moon, taking that awesome “first step” with astronaut John Glenn in mankind’s visionary voyage to the stars.

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That brilliantly consciousness-expanding moment shall never be forgotten, but look where we are now: The TV camera has shrunk to the size of a pea, which can now practically make the trip to the moon in an astronaut’s left nostril—that’s how portable the new equipment has become!

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Not just astronauts – these days, practically anybody with a cell phone and the subsidiary technology can generate his own news footage, if he happens to be where the breaking-news action is – and, by adding more state-of-the-art doodads, he can transmit those dramatic images instantaneously to viewers all over the globe.

The onlooker has become an eyewitness – and that’s certainly not where the speeded-up, fast-forwarded action ends.

The “beyond” and “tomorrow” aspects of the ongoing video communications revolution have gotten so hectic that, quite frankly, some of us simply don’t know what amazing new changes the future will bring.

Never mind tomorrow, later this afternoon could lead mankind into a brave new world where technology rules – and doesn’t merely take man to his destiny, but reshapes and redefines it.

Thus, these are especially exciting times for man as viewer and communicator. But, even as technology helps him expand both his outer and inner universe, it can also trap him in messy, frustrating little corners and cul-de-sacs – especially when he realizes to his cosmic befuddlement that, as technology flies ever higher, man’s leaden feet and even more earth-bound consciousness could render all those dazzling technological advances sadly moot and academic, if he can’t figure out – what to do with them!

You see it every day on TV shows, both local and foreign: The technological flourishes and new equipment are there, but they’re put to mediocre, macadam use, because the people handling them haven’t caught up with those breathtaking advances.

Visual candy

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Take the new systems that enable TV newscasts to literally go where the action is, reporting live from any part of the country, or the world. Isn’t it sad that it’s mostly being used as visual candy, just to show the field reporter at that location, but adding little else to the depth and breadth of the reportage?

Inventors should stop coming up with amazing new technology, and artists and teachers should step in to focus instead on helping man catch up with his new machines.

It’s hugely embarrassing for the human race to have to admit that, due to the limitations of some of its members, “tomorrow” is often only the banal, anal regurgitation of today.

This is where our educators, mentors and artists need to step in. They have to help us focus, first things first, on fully developing our hearts and minds, so that we can make the most enlightened use of all the technological marvels we now have at our disposal!

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TAGS: Technology, Telecommunications, Television, TV technology
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