Monday, October 10, 2005


Owen Kelly asked me to point him to some more information on how these traditional roles are breaking down (as we casually assert in the Transformative Technology paper), and I struggled to find references to precisely what I'm talking about. Partly this is due to it being educated (or at least informed) conjecture on my part, but it's also due to there being a sense in which it's just assumed now, and a baseline for any further discussion about what the future holds (for consumer tech, for big media, for creative education). Each new technological conduit (the railways, telegraph, telephone, fax, sms, email) has increased the participatory potential of big media (from letters to the editor to the BBC turning R1 playlists over to the whims of SMS-equipped listeners), but the flattened, symmetrical landscape of the emerging media really takes this to a new level. 10 years ago it cost the equivalent of a small house to do digital video at anything like production quality, and not a whole lot less to do what was called desktop video. Nowadays there's hardly any video that doesn't happen on the desktop, and plenty of people watching video on equipment as good as or better than that which was used to create and edit it. Add P2P into the mix and you might be consuming it on something that's also serving it up. You can see the general direction of this, and why I called it a baseline for further discussion rather than an end in itself. In fact I think this recombining (hmm, I'm going to have to justify the use of that word at some other point aren't I?) might well be a feature of the anthropology of digital natives which is the starting point of the paper we're writing for League of Worlds in Melbourne. More on that soon.

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