Friday, December 14, 2007

Infinite Media Everywhere

Written around 2005, this was on the front page of the stylofone foundation for ages.

Chancing my arm at futurism, I predict that the development of computer technology, wireless networking, and peer to peer file sharing will result in an ether of human expression which I call Infinite Media Everywhere.

This info-nirvana would mean that every book, audio recording, film, video, computer program, or any other form of media which can be made digital, will be available instantly, anywhere in the world, on a range of inexpensive wireless devices. These devices could range from television sets, to portable or wearable devices such as wristwatches and hand-held media players. The proliferation of file sharing networks will help force the price of media down until the cost of intellectual property is negligible. Technology will likewise reduce the cost of networks and devices to acquire the media.
The first stages of this process are well under way. The continuing development of P2P networks is gradually forcing the music industry to offer its catalogue online. At the same time, storage technology, internet bandwidth and increasingly sophisticated file-sharing software is also making it easier for people to amass libraries of their own, independent of the music industry.

Wireless networking is now making those files easy to exchange within the home. Higher powered networks will soon make files available to increasingly larger communities. The spread of privately administered network resources both wired and unwired will provide a parallel resource to mobile phone and data companies, with individuals able to build small local networks themselves which previously would have been the preserve of large corporations. As these neighbourhood networks begin to link, and improve in efficiency, an extension of the internet, combined with local data networks will spill into the airwaves. Independent programmers will create protocols which will spread throughout the network and catch on like new P2P services have done in recent years. The local wireless spots will naturally complement the larger paid networks, and ensure that prices continue to fall as the technology improves until the majority of services can be offered free, often as leverage for other products, similar to the World Wide Web of today.

File sharing and private distribution by individuals will be the driving force behind this process, not products marketed by corporations which will have to play catch-up with people finding innovative ways to benefit from technology.

I can't predict how copyright owners and governments will try to stop this process. They might slow it down, but I believe they will fail in the end. The important thing is for everyone to share as much media as they can, and keep abreast of the improving technology and use it to its fullest.

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