07 Aug

If you think it’s a bit much to hear about every time your Facebook friends eat a sandwich or go to the zoo or whatever the hell occurs to them, just wait for the next thing coming down the block – the constant personal video feed.

The camera will be tiny, no larger than the earpiece to an iPod, and it will wirelessly connect to your cell phone, and you can wear it around your neck or clipped to your collar or even as a piercing, right there on your face.

Your cell phone will then stream the video live, and any of your Facebook or Twitter friends will be able to follow you in a much more literal sense.  They’ll be able to click an icon and see exactly what you are doing or experiencing in real time, anytime you’re logged on.

In other words, you won’t have to sit there and roll your eyes at your pal as they give you the play-by-play on their trip to the ice cream store, all you’ll have to do is click their profile, and there’s a video feed of their perspective, walking down the street, walking into the parlor, peering into the case at the rainbow yumminess.

Why not add some audio?  Add an earpiece and a tiny microphone, and you can chat with your friend as he or she does all those things.  You look into the case with them and say, “Oh, look, it’s Honey and Cashew Crunch – the greatest ice cream in the world.  Get that!”

Streaming will become the next big thing, that’s my prediction.  Instead of 140 character snippets of a trip to Chicago, instead of a photo spread tagged on Facebook posted a few days later, what you’ll get is the whole experience, streamed right into your computer or futuristic cell phone.

Running a marathon?  Stream it live and open the audio to a couple of your most supportive friends, so they can see your bouncing perspective as each foot hits the ground, and you can hear them cheering you on the whole time. 

Your pal in Ecuador could run the marathon with you on a treadmill, streaming your feed the whole time, and the two of you can exchange breathless, jocular one-liners from separate hemispheres.

People will stream everything they do, and as the processors go faster and faster, they’ll be able to archive it, too.  Share their experiences like files on iTunes.

It’ll be pretty fun, that’s for sure.  Clip one on your kid’s basketball jersey and experience the whole game from his perspective – imagine the effect it will have on coaching. 

On parenting – sure you can go to Prom, sweetheart, keep that camera on at all times you got that?

And let’s say you want to meet your pal out for a beer but he lives in Boston.  Just head to the bar with him, drink a few at home while engaging his video feed.  You’re sitting right there talking to him, looking around the same bar he is.  You can’t quite clank your glasses together, but it’ll be a lot like being there.

Loneliness will become a thing of the past.  Solitude will become an elitist vegan type of thing.  And hiding – forget about it. 

Pretty soon the technology will be so tiny it will fit into contact lenses.  You’ll be able to stream exactly what your eyes are seeing, and the same lenses – upon closing your eyelids – will act as high definition projectors, casting the image directly onto your retinas, rendering the video as clear as something happening right in front of you, your entire field of vision engaged.

Two contact lenses, so we’re talking about digital 3-D.  Depending on the power of the source camera, these images could be even more sharp and clear than really being there.

Our own memories will seem like a crude and primitive method of reliving the past, in a world where we digitally record all of our experiences in crisp, reality-quality detail.  And these super-memories, these retinal holograms, whatever you want to call them, they’re just computer files.  They will be transferable.

In other words, every experience can be visually and aurally reproduced and shared – rock climbing, skiing, sexual intercourse, you name it.  You thought sexting was creepy, that’s just the tip of the creepy iceberg.

Slowly we’ll move away from non-digital experience.  A generation or two down the road, and scratching your head to remember something, straining your eyes, searching for it on the tip of your tongue, all of that will be nothing more than the lowbrow quirk of a dying breed of human. 

Imagine you can spend your whole weekend streaming Kanye West.  Lying on your couch with a sleeping mask on, drooling and forgetting to eat, while Kanye does whatever he does, and you do it with him. 

Right now the internet is what, two thirds porn?  That’s nothing compared to what’s coming down the line.  The streaming porn industry will devour a hundred million lives.  Remember the Paris Hilton sex tape?  Crystal meth is going to look like Frankenberry. 

Lots of people will figure, why should I ever do anything at all, when all these people are doing much more interesting and stimulating things for me?

I’m serious – that’s what’s going to happen.  I’m not talking about teleportation or anything – the technology for everything that I just said is on the way, no doubt about it. 

The only question is, would we do that?  Would we go down the road, would we really abandon our own experiences for the larger-than-life, digitally recorded experiences of total strangers or even simply more interesting friends?

The answer to that is obvious.  We’re doing it already, right there on our televisions all the way across the room.

1 Comment

Posted by on August 7, 2010 in Future Tom Grab Bag


Tags: , , , , , , ,

One response to “Submerge

  1. shawn

    August 9, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    TC, check out Natalie Wood’s last film, “Brainstorm.” You’ll love it. It’s got Christopher Walken to boot.


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