ThinkTank Issues

The Electronic Media

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New chapters in man's technological evolution are being written every day. Information delivery systems are developing at lightning speed; our technological knowledge is expanding at an unprecedented pace.

Perhaps technology is out-pacing our human capability to comprehend its ramifications.

This new millennium presents exciting challenges to the creators of TV programming and the controllers of the TV medium.

Possibly, the greatest challenge is keeping our humanity.

We need a chance to let human feelings catch up with technology; we need to assess our values.

The critical choices and major decisions made by those who control the TV medium over the next decade can -- and will -- change the face and soul of our society.

BeyondTechnology was created to answer many of these challenges.

Please feel free to share your ideas and thoughts. Together we can work to find and form answers to the questions below.

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FACTUAL VALIDATION

Most people in our society turn to the media to receive the information that will help them make sense out of the world in which they live.

How can the members of society validate the information they are receiving, and how can they use it to become more independent thinkers in the world?

CORPORATE MORALS

The proliferation of digital cable communications avenues offers a plethora of TV programming into the home. The Internet offers an interminable amount of information.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 opens the flood gates for a river of profitable opportunities to those who previously did not have access to the window of the TV viewer's mind -- the viewer's eyes.

Does this access to a person's home bring a new level of corporate moral responsibilities?

What are those moral responsibilities?

Who is to be held accountable, if anyone?

UNEQUAL ACCESS

I n f o r m a t i o n on cable TV is limited to those who can afford to pay for it. There will always be people who cannot afford the cable fees. They will have to rely on TV rabbit ears to receive their entertainment and information from the broadcasters.

Will this create a two-tiered system of those who can afford to receive "through the cable" cablecasts, and those who can only receive "through the air" broadcasts?

ROLE OF BROADCASTING

With the cable wiring of America and "wireless" direct satellite TV reception, what will be the role of "through the air "broadcast television?

What will be the purpose of broadcast television programming?

Will the broadcast stations and broadcast networks evolve into an enlightened communication form, or will they become purely advertising delivery systems -- caveat emptor?

EDUCATION

Do those in education and media see the audience as obedient and conforming receptacles of answers dictated to them as "The Truth"?

If so, does this hamper critical thinking?

Can the media of film and video support critical thought?

Do those who are in positions of teaching and creating visual media have amoral imperative to choose means that increase critical thought wherever possible?

If so, what will be inspiration and the incentive to seek and create change? If not, from where will come the tools for change?

MONOPOLY OF INFORMATION

As a citizen, I am concerned about the acquisition of the information avenues; e.g., the papers, the magazines and the TV channels by the mega-mass communications entities.

This disquieting trend may present a multi-tiered delivery system of one-sided thought restricting the viewers' ability to think through an issue by themselves by weighing several sides.

Do not informed citizens need all sides of the question?

Is it too Orwellian to think that the potential outcome could be corporate or government tyranny, or both?

DIVERSITY OF VIEWERS

As a marketer, I have practiced and felt the power of television to influence and motivate people.

I know techniques to define an audience and the specialized techniques to target specific audiences.

I believe deeper research into the diversity of the audience can be used to develop programming to empower the audience as unique individuals.

How is this to be done?

INDIVIDUAL IN THE COMMUNITY

As an artist and the creator of TV shows, I know interactive programming can be developed to balance the viewer's autonomy with his or her role in the community.

What would motivate an individual to become part of a new kind of community --a technological community?

What would motivate the deliverers of one-way communications (e.g., TV) to welcome two-way interactive communication?

HUMANIZING TECHNOLOGY

Although technology is moving at a head-spinning pace, our human evolution is slow.

By the minute, the world around us is becoming smaller, forcing us to live with rapid change.

But the basic elements of human nature do not change; our internal essence is less dynamic.

We can only master technology and keep our independence by comprehending the integral core character of our humanity -- and by remaining in touch with our higher consciousness and values.

Today, television is used primarily to play to the human primal instincts: sex, money and power.

But the TV medium can be a tool to uplift human consciousness.

Optimally TV can serve us, allowing us to share knowledge and inspiring us to see -- and reach -- beyond mediocrity, beyond the technology.

We can humanize technology by:

Envisioning what we want our community to be in the next century.
Sharply defining audience needs through values assessment and developmental psychology.
Imagining how programming and the program delivery vehicles could be -- then creating them.
Incorporating interdisciplinary knowledge into the process of TV production: look to the fields of Communications, Psychology and Sociology.
Focusing our attention on our most important natural resource, our children.
Providing our youth with mentors hip forums to enrich minds; they need role models, wisdom, hope, and practical keys to success.
Creating children's educational television and computer programming that encourages human interaction, honesty, and interpersonal communication.
Developing unique, enticing adult entertainment programming that enhances parenting skills, motivates parenting and positive interactions with their children.

BE AWARE, and MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

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