My impression of the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Annual Conference (Part 2)

3.) Everyone was worried about money. This was more than the simple worrying about operating expenses, it seemed that the focus was on the economy and how this added to the uncertainty of the overall business. All of the keynote lectures that I attended seem to fixate on this vital point. In addition, the economy was pointed to as the main reason that attendance was down clear across the board for all of the 11 conferences that make up the 10 days of the NAB Annual Conference.

4.) The future will be push the level of simulacra. The examples that comes from the conference and the exhibitor hall were the increase in vendors focusing on 3-D broadcasting, holographic television and virtual sets. The uncanny valley seems to be closing up. I especially looked at the virtual sets as a way of create good digital programming at the fraction of the cost of traditional broadcast models.

5.) There are no real future tellers in the field of digital media. The final point that was a consistent theme at the conference is that the future of communication is wide-open. Some felt that there were certain trends that would continue in the future (an increase in user-generated content, a stronger focus in narrowcasting, broadcasters speaking to a smaller segment of the entire public). If there is one lesson to learn over the past decade, it is that technology and public interest can change these trends very quickly. Therefore, it is best to curb your bets as much as possible.

Thoughts on the Future Imperfect

During the summer of 1996, I experience my first taste of freedom. Since I recently graduated high school, I had the summer to myself. There was no track or cross country practice. There was no band rehersals. It would be three months till I found a job.  I had no responsiblities to anybody. So, I explored the last public space in our town, the mall. Those days, the mall had the best gaming shop in my area. I got to search through the new card and board game, look at the comics and explore the latest video tapes. This experience formed my current research interest. I played "Netrunner" in the store with my friends, watched "Tek War" and some other cyberpunk movies and read the works of William Gibson and Douglas Adams.

I thought computers would be more present in the "public sphere." What I mean is that I had images of the information superhighway being virtually rendered to anybody who jack into the system through some piece of hardware that was connected to his or her body. The user could touch the electronic representation of the Internet and be able to float on the network and fly to the different destinations online. As you can tell by typing on your keyboard and looking at the information on a screen, this didn't happen.

I guess most of my academic exploration online has been simply trying to resolve the disconnect between the world laid out by these mediated futurists and the world as it is now. I was expecting a cyber-distopia to exist after a collapse of some world power. Some wanted the future to have jetpacks, I wanted VR5.