May 25, 2012
The downside of technological advancesBack
Industrial|Manufacturing|News Media|Particular Manufacturing Plant|Print Media|Technology Advances|Technology Subjects|Digital Cameras
© Reuse this
At times, a technological advance could be confined to a single factory and the impact, generally, may only be on the people in that particular manufacturing plant. However, at other times, technological advances can have a much wider impact on the population.
Take the advances in the news media as an example. Today, news collection for TV and radio, as well as for the print media, is so good that it has a significant impact on the population. Most people do not even realise what is actually happening to society. Consider TV. I make videos on industrial and technological topics. These range from corporate marketing videos and training videos to general- interest videos for TV. I got into this business when I used to see videos on TV about technology subjects in which the script had been poorly written because, clearly, the scriptwriter did not understand the science of the topic.
I met up with a film-maker and we started to make films together. I wrote the scripts and arranged the technology issues to be filmed, and he did the rest. At one point, we had our own weekly TV show for a year and a half. In those days, the camera was a film camera, and it was large. The cameraperson always used to say that the downside of the job was carrying the bulky camera. At times, the cameraperson would have to climb a ladder or a sandy mine dump with that heavy and bulky camera. Alternatively, we would want to film in some small, confined space. It was almost impossible for the cameraperson to run with the camera on his shoulder and film at the same time.
After we had filmed for a day or two, we had to wait a couple of days for the film to be processed at a laboratory so that we could see what we had ‘in the can’.
We now have digital cameras, with no film, so one can now see immediately if the shots are correct, and if they are not right, one just does it again – immediately! There is no waiting for lab processing. Further, the cameras are now tiny by comparison. It is easy to hold a broadcast-quality camera in one hand. It is easy to run with a camera.
This means that a cameraperson can run with a camera rolling to ‘get the action’ and can also crawl into almost any space with a camera. These modern developments make it possible to film all these TV reality shows in which a cameraperson has to follow people around on a remote island or travel with an army unit inside an army tank, filming all the time.
Thanks to the digital nature of the recording and because of modern telecommunications, a news cameraperson in the front line of a battle can have the images transmitted back to the TV studio to be broadcast on the same evening’s news bulletin. At times, a live feed can be rigged up so that the public watch in real time.
This means that the public can see, for example, what is going on at about the same time as the President or Prime Minister of a country. So, the public develops an opinion on the matter by the next morning, well before a President can call a Cabinet meeting to decide how to present the story to the public.
The situation has moved ahead even further – TV channels now invite any members of the public to take pictures or video clips with their cellphones, and then to email them to the TV studio from anywhere in the world. You can put a cellphone in your pocket, which means that people can get into places that a cameraperson of the past, with a film camera, could not even have dreamt of. Radio and print media can also now get news from almost anywhere in the world almost instantly.
There is a good side to all this – the public is informed. But the bad side is that, if the public is given a slant that is not totally accurate, then public opinion is shaped and starts to influence government reaction and policy. These resulting reactions and policy inclinations could be wrong.
So, considering the general broad front of technology advance, as technology advances, there is more and more of an onus on the technology people who invent and develop it to consider the potential public consequences, both good and bad, of what they are doing. Scientists and engineers have to consider the potential social consequences of their work; they can no longer work in an ivory tower and leave the social consequences of technological advances to others to worry about.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Dr Kelvin Kemm News
Updated 43 minutes ago The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) would work with the office of the Afican National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Gwede Mathashe on a series of constructive engagements on improving the domestic economic climate and building a more...
Updated 55 minutes ago JSE-listed investment and empowerment group Grand Parade Investments (GPI) and electronics contract manufacturer Tellumat have teamed up to create a 51:49 joint venture company Grand Tellumat Manufacturing. The transaction would see the engineering skills and...
Updated 55 minutes ago JSE-listed property group Redefine Properties on Friday said its acquisition of all the assets and the property portfolio of Fountainhead Property Trust, had not been approved by the requisite majority of Fountainhead unitholders and would, therefore, not be...
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
This Week's Magazine
The multibillion-rand development of the Zendai Modderfontein New City, east of Johannesburg, will aim to exemplify an integrated city node, says property group Zendai South Africa COO Wenhui Du. The development will focus on the Modderfontein Gautrain station to be...
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) hopes to have finalised regulations for the flying of Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) – also designated Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) and popularly called drones – in the country’s civilian airspace by the end...
Various stakeholders have expressed optimism that the Small Business Development Ministry, created after the national elections in May, will add much needed impetus to enterprise development in South Africa, where a strengthening of the entrepreneurial culture is...
Capturing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) is the only way through which the world will achieve the lowest of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) global warming predictions, called the representative concentration pathway (RCP) 2.6....
The City of Johannesburg has recovered R107-million following the arrest of 22 people allegedly involved in corruption, collusion, fraud and tampering with the city’s electricity systems, which had ultimately cost the city R200-million in lost revenue.
Next ArticleAfrican conditions need African solutions