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Signs, Sounds and Techniques of the Times

I’m coming to take for granted the accomplishments of modern technologists, but this week has brought home the progress we’ve made in communications in recent times. Twice, actually.

The first example was a panel discussion on Tuesday evening in the United Kingdom, which I joined remotely via video from a hotel in Doha, Qatar. To have done something like this not very long ago, I’d have had to go to a TV studio with a satellite uplink and sit in front of a video camera and blue screen. It would have been inconvenient for me, and unaffordable for the university sponsoring the discussion.

This time, in my hotel room equipped with semi-fast broadband Internet access, I simply fired up my iSight video camera. No, the video quality wasn’t nearly as good as it would have been in the studio, but it was quite good enough for what we were doing.

The second example came on Thursday, when the BBC interviewed me for an upcoming radio program about the future of media. Instead of using a phone or studio, I logged into my Skype account and spoke with the reporter that way. Because Skype’s sound quality is considerably higher infidelity than a phone, I sounded almost like I was in the London studio.

What once were tools for professionals are in everyone’s hands. This is a remarkable era, getting more so every day.

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