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Entries in video (7)

Monday
Jul112011

David Byrne's 1987 Predictions for the Computers of 2007

The January, 1987 issue of OMNI Magazine included a cover story titled, "14 Great Minds Predict the Future." OMNI asked influential people from a variety of fields what was in store for humanity in the year 2007, twenty years into the future. There were predictions about everything from peace in the Middle East to 3D televisions.

David Byrne, lead singer and songwriter of the Talking Heads, gazed into his crystal ball to write about pop art, the future of television, and why computers will never help the creative process. With the benefit of hindsight it's a little hard to believe that Byrne was so pessimistic about the potential for computers as a creative tool, especially when futuristic designs for computers were getting so many others excited. An excerpt from the OMNI piece appears below. 

David Byrne, Lead Singer, Talking Heads

I don't think computers will have any important effect on the arts in 2007. When it comes to the arts they're just big or small adding machines. And if they can't "think," that's all they'll ever be. They may help creative people with their bookkeeping, but they won't help in the creative process.

The video revolution, however, will have some real impact on the arts in the next 20 years. It already has. Because people's attention spans are getting shorter, more fiction and drama will be done by television, a perfect medium for them. But I don't think anything will be wiped out; books will always be there; everything will find its place.

Outlets for art, in the marketplace and on television, will multiply and spread. Even the three big TV networks will feature looser, more specialized programming to appeal to special-interest groups. The networks will be freed from the need to try to please everybody, which they do now and inevitably end up with a show so stupid nobody likes it. Obviously this multiplication of outlets will benefit the arts.

I don't think we'll see the participatory art that so many people predict. Some people will use new equipment to make art, but they will be the same people who would have been making art anyway. Still, I definitely think that the general public will be interested in art that was once considered avant-garde.

Friday
Jul012011

Miss Honeywell (1968)

Every new promise of futuristic technology brings with it the hucksters, the swindlers, and the merely confused. In the 1970s the three-wheeled Dale car was supposed to get seventy miles to the gallon, but both the car and its inventor were ultimately revealed to be frauds. In the 1930s American newspapers warned that a robot in England had risen up against its inventor and shot him.

In the mid and late 1960s a highly suspicious robot made the publicity circuit with its "inventor," magician Mark Wilson promoting everything from computers to blenders. With Wilson at the controls and a blue ladybot stiffly walking like a zombie to prove just how mechanical she was, it was quite a sight to behold. In this newsreel from 1968 the "robot" is known as Miss Honeywell and the narrator himself even calls into question the veracity of the operator's claims.

The "woman in a robot suit" stunt is so transparent as to likely be harmless, but you have to wonder how many people saw this robot's demonstration and thought it was real. As we know, there are still some children of the 1980's who think, thanks to Back to the Future II director Robert Zemeckis, that hoverboards were taken off shelves by overzealous child-safety groups.

The ad below of Miss Honeywell -- or in this case, the "housewife of the future -- appeared in the October 9, 1966 Oakland Tribune.

Come see the robot "housewife of tomorrow" plugged in October 10th to 15th.

The Hamilton Beach robot "housewife of tomorrow" will be demonstrated in our 15th and Broadway window. She is the amazing robot who is programmed to do all the cleaning. Watch the robot then come to the fourth floor housewares department to register for the free drawing for Hamilton Beach electric knives to be given away twice a day for each day of the demonstrations. Also demonstrations of Hamilton Beach's amazing blenders and carving knives.

Wednesday
Dec302009

Video Resumes of the Future (1989)

Imagine LinkedIn, with fewer networking tools and more VHS tapes of you performing awkward magic tricks. That seems to be the future of job-hunting according to this article from the October, 1989 issue of Omni magazine.

I mean, even Arthur Radebaugh's prediction 40 years earlier of interviews via videophone was closer to the mark.


A standard printed resume suggests little, if anything, about how a job candidate talks, acts, and looks. But now there is a video resume, giving a prospective employer the chance to size up the person before the interview takes place.

Advantages? An employer can judge how well personalities will mesh before subjecting himself or the applicant to the pressure of a face-to-face interview. Just pop the video resume into a VCR.

It's also advantageous for the job seeker. "Paper resumes screen you out. Video resumes get you screen in," says John B. Kelman, president of Res-A-Vue, a video marketing company in Connecticut. "You can really put your best foot forward - no interruptions, no smoke blowing in your face."

Video resumes run about five minutes and cost from several hundred to several thousand dollars. To prepare one, a job seeker tells about his abilities and ambitions before a studio camera. The tape is then edited, complete with on-screen titles and background music.

The video resume can be used to illustrate skills that might seem unimpressive on paper. For example, a human resources vice-president prepared a video resume in which he performed magic tricks. It was shot on location all around the country. The cost: $12,000. In another instance, a scientist gave a video to his boss to prove he was management material. Says Lise Christensen, a public relations executive who recently found a job by using a video resume, "Employers get to meet you. You have an edge over anyone with only a piece of paper."

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Thursday
Dec242009

DIY Media of the Future (1981)

What we now call user-generated content was predicted in the 1981 book Tomorrow's Home by Neil Ardley. I dare say that this is the most accurate prediction we've looked at in 2009 (provided we ignore that robot arm, offering up delicious Christmas treats before it slaughters the entire family in a bloody rampage). Enjoy!

The caption:

Christmas in the future is an exciting occasion. Here the children have been given a home music and video system that links into the home computer. They are eagerly trying it out. The eldest boy is using the video camera to record pictures of the family, which are showing on the computer viewscreen. However, someone else is playing with the computer controls and changing the images for fun. At the same time, another child is working at the music synthesizer, creating some music to go with the crazy pictures.

Main text:

Have you ever wanted to conduct a huge orchestra, or direct a film? Very few people now get to do these thrilling jobs. However, the techniques of microelectronics are beginning to invade music and the visual arts, making possible all kinds of new and mazing ways of creating music and images. As computers develop, these techniques will begin to enter the home. You'll have the glorious sounds of vast orchestras and the excitement of the movies at your fingertips.

Your orchestra will not be a real one, but an electronic one with sounds created by a synthesizer. On command, the synthesizer's computer will play the music with any sounds you want. Singing is easy too. You can speak the words into the computer, and out will come choirs using your words or maybe even the voice of a famous singer of your choice.

You can make a film electronically too, by using video cameras and recorders. You can record family events, holidays, the world of nature, and even make your own video films with actors.

However, the home computer video system of the future will enable you to make these shows into spectacular entertainments. The computer will be able to take the images you record and assemble and treat them in all kinds of ways to produce a whole range of special effects of your very own. And you will also be able to use the computer to produce unusual moving designs and patterns, rather like making video cartoons or electronic paintings that move. Then you can put your video shows together with your own electronic music, and create the most stunning experiences -- perhaps even a totally new art form of the future!

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Tuesday
Aug212007

Living Room of the Future (1979)

This image appears in the 1979 book Future Cities: Homes and Living into the 21st Century and illustrates the living room of the (paleo)future.


This living room has many electronic gadgets which are either in use already or are being developed for people to buy in the 1980s.

1. Giant-size TV. Based on the designs already available, this one has a super-bright screen for daylight viewing and stereo sound system.

2. Electronic video movie camera, requires no film, just a spool of tape. Within ten years video cameras like this could be replaced by 3-D holographic recorders.

3. Flat screen TV. No longer a bulky box, TV has shrunk to a thickness of less than five centimetres. This one is used to order shopping via a computerised shopping centre a few kilometres away. The system takes orders and indicates if any items are not in stock.

4. Video disc player used for recording off the TV and for replaying favourite films.

5. Domestic robot rolls in with drinks. One robot, the Quasar, is already on sale in the USA. Reports indicate that it may be little more than a toy however, so it will be a few years before 'Star Wars' robots tramp through our homes.

6. Mail slot. By 1990, most mail will be sent in electronic form. Posting a letter will consist of placing it in front of a copier in your home or at the post office. The electronic read-out will be flashed up to a satellite, to be beamed to its destination. Like many other electronic ideas, the savings in time and energy could be enormous.

The picture [above] takes you into the living room of a house of the future. The basics will probably be similar - windows, furniture, carpet and TV. There will be one big change though - the number of electronic gadgets in use.

The same computer revolution which has resulted in calculators and digital watches could, through the 1980s and '90s, revolutionise people's living habits.

Television is changing from a box to stare at into a useful two-way tool. Electronic newspapers are already available - pushing the button on a handset lets you read 'pages' of news, weather, puzzles and quizzes.

TV-telephones should be a practical reality by the mid 1980s. Xerox copying over the telephone already exists. Combining the two could result in millions of office workers being able to work at home if they wish. There is little need to work in a central office if a computer can store records, copiers can send information from place to place and people can talk on TV-telephones.

Many people may prefer to carry on working in an office with others, but for those who are happy at home, the savings in travelling time would be useful. Even better would be the money saved on transport costs to and from work.

See also:
Future Cities: Homes and Living into the 21st Century (1979)
Closer Than We Think! Robot Housemaid (1959)
Closer Than We Think! Lunar Mailbag (1960)
Online Shopping (1967)
1999 A.D. (1967)
The Electronic Newspaper (1978)
Startling Changes in Housing in Year 2000 (Chicago Tribune, 1961)
Monsanto House of the Future (1957-1967)
Picturephone as the perpetual technology of the future
Frigidaire Kitchen of the Future (1957)

Monday
Mar262007

Magico Ano 2000 (2007)

YouTuber Esquadrao Atari has a rather beautiful yet depressing video collage/mashup titled Magico Ano 2000 that seems to illustrate the frustration of paleo-futurism and the present day.

From the video description:
"Back in the 60's, human beings had an optmistic view of what the year 2000 would be like. Space stations, clean fuel, intelligent computers. Now it's the year 2007, and reality is not very different from the Dark Ages..."

Wednesday
Feb212007

Jet Pack Video (1966)

A friend of mine contends that jet packs were the Segways of the 20th century. They promised to change the way that people traveled but were really just a novelty. I must confess that I find Segways fun, (no matter how nerdy I might look), and would love to try a jet pack if given the chance.

On second thought, I might let Buck Rogers have all the fun for now.