When people envisage the minutia of the future, such as the media landscape, they have an interesting tendency. The future is either bleakly Orwellian or we as a species have created limitless technology.
Specifically, I think Epic 2015 missed the mark as far as technological advancements are concerned. They envisioned a hyper-monopoly 1984-style media landscape, with little mention of touch-screen technology or any type of communication beyond “podcasting” or audio-based mobile storytelling. Perhaps I’m asking too much, but that’s my point: predicting the future is a baseless game, a loser’s bet. When it comes to determining what might happen beyond the immediate future, we are all fools, locked in a grim cage of our worst fears and strangest ideas, absent the ability to acknowledge our folly.
But maybe that’s the thrill of guessing; What if we’re right? I think the videos of 1981’s KRON technology report and 1994’s tablet newspaper demonstrate how predictions can pay off. Both of which show stunning ability to see how the consumerization of America would change with technology, specifically the Internet and the micro-processor, making both portable computers and mobile communication an everyday life. The tablet newspaper showed how journalists could get their product out in a cheaper and more mobile way, consistent with technology, as well as discussing touch-screens and tablet products. Likewise KRON showed the propensity of transmitting data over the web.
The pay-off, of course, only happens if you water those predictions, without which nothing will become. It would’ve been nice if journalists had the gall to move with these ideas, as they would have eased the digital transition. Because we all know with the inexorable movement of digitalia, it is better to move with the current than against it.