Saw this recently about how technology will eventually mean it is feasible to record a human life from start to end and what moral questions this raises, imagine Facebook taken to the extreme, when it requires no user input because all the gaps are filled in by sensors in everything we come into contact with (Iain is… about to get hit by a bus but he doesn’t know it yet, though he will in about 400ms, I could warn him but I’m just a mobile phone and far too busy working out my next chess move).
It reminded me of something I read recently on the same thing about how in 500 years historians of the time would have an amazing resource to call upon. The amount we can glean from pollen grains in stomachs of frozen icemen currently is pretty amazing, but if ice man had been recording his life we would have a wealth of information about him beyond what type of tree pollen blew into his food. Also had a thought recently along the Phil K Dick line of pre-cognition, but instead of weird woman hooked up to a machine it would be amazingly constructed algorithms for predicting human behaviour, based upon whatever inputs were available, maybe visual and heart rate for example, the ‘system’, such a barbed word, detects that a guy is showing behaviour consistent with someone about to rob a bank and raises the alarm to whatever effect (maybe lock the airlock style door just as he enters, would look great on an American cctv comedy clips show “Little did he know that ‘the system’ had been tracking him since he left his house this morning and now he is trapped in an airlock, watch how he explodes as we evacuate the air, ho ho ho, and now a hilarious clip of a puppy falling into a meat grinder”).
To be continued.
(Chris: On a similar note, I got around to watching Aaron Russo’s America: From Freedom to Fascism recently on google videos, and there is an interesting interview about this kind of technology near the end of the video. The documentary is pretty well made and quite startling, so if you have time its definitley worth watching – if only as a great example of the mistrust of government that sits in the heart of so many Americans).
As US news networks scramble for ratings, it is nice to see a network doing something a little different. EuroNews has no visible presenters, no studios, no ‘situation room’ and (thankfully) no Wolf Blitzer. What you do get is the news, interesting little magazine spots on different issues, and information about what’s going on in the Eurozone. It’s unashamedly diverse and highbrow. It’s not particularly exciting. And it’s very good for it.
EuroNews seems to have taken some influence (if only subconsciously) from another programme that did things a little differently: TransWorld Sport. It too had no studio and did not focus on the ‘big’ sports – articles on football would be sandwiched between extended pieces on khabadi, netball championships or go-cart racing. For someone interested in sport but not really interested in football it was a god send.
EuroNews does something else that is worth mentioning. Rather than filling dead air with meaningless speculation from presenters and talking heads, stories on EuroNews are repeated unchanged until something new actually happens. This means that on slow news days little stories are not blown out of all proportion. “Is this really national news?” is a question I find myself asking a little too much!
For someone not particularly interested in the sensationalism that has infected that former bastion of British cool, the BBC, EuroNews provides a very welcome break. Funnily enough, as the BBC moves towards American-style news values, I find myself moving towards Europe (maybe there is something to be learned from this…Am I thinking what Douglas Alexander is thinking?) Whether or not EuroNews will succeed is a different matter. Can a news channel that renounces the cult of celebrity compete in a world where the line between news and entertainment is being smudged into non-existence?
I hope so, or I will have to fork out for a paper subscription.