Being in a new life situation I’ve wound up doing some metaphysical contemplation. For the last ten years or so I’ve worked on digital television technology. Working towards the goal of enabling more choice has been rewarding in itself. I’ve thought that there is inherent value in breaking down the entry barriers in one to many video communication. Looking back it seems that not all that has been achieved has been positive.
There seems to be a dark side to unconstrained information flow. Namely the fragmentation of mass media audiences has happened as an unseen result of our actions . Television used to be the big uniting factor bringing together not just families, but even nations. Today as commercial advertising funded channels are losing market share more and more high quality content moves to pay-tv services. In the long run uneven distribution of wealth will also further divide the media consumption habits of the people.
Fragmentation of population from generations to subcultures has also another effect. Using the Internet it is much easier to find like-minded people and the danger is that the members of subcultures are radicalized even further. The low journalistic value offered by remaining free news channels is also polarizing the viewers’ view of the world. We see how extreme groups like Al-qaida and Neo-conservatives are effectively using the new media environment to spread their venomous message. Clearly the new medium that has been created is also very dangerous.
In the future I would like to work on something that is truly meaningful. I don’t know whether automated video services are a great contribution to society, but at least they are great fun. It is evident that automated video may have its dark side in privacy. Something may be lost, but something might also be gained in a more connected society. In the age of Internet it is possible that more connected lifestyle will constrain our behaviour and make our lives less fun. One way I can contribute is at least making sure capturing will be stricktly opt-in activity and there are mechanisms to erase recorded past.