Friday, December 28, 2007

The Mathematics of Multi Media News

David reflects on an article written about broadband

"Multimedia in my view, is not an invention but an ongoing discovery of how mind and the universe it imagines ( or vice versa depending) fit together and interact.

Multimedia (MMs) is where we have always been going"

So said William Gibson, the author who has done much to guide our thoughts and ideas within cybermedia.

The word he changed the world with was cyberspace.

Much has been said about MMs origins; many claiming it started with television, a multi-sensory device; or even cinema, a system of moving images so radical that when a train was first shown on screen - people physically cowed for fear they would be tramelled.

Better still watch Eisenstein's Revolution: Battleship Potemkin for a simply unsurpassable piece of multimedia theatre (Cinema).

You could even argue hieroglyphics present a good case.

The dispute over when multimedia started if it ever did, going by Gibson's assessment detracts from one of the central arguments of where it's going and what it can do.

However I'd also acknowledge that a source, an origin, provides a platform for advancement.

Ted Nelson, a man so ahead of his time theorising open systems that the web should have been his invention commented on innovations surrounding the new digital economy of hypermedia.

That even though CDRoms kiosks, DVDs and the rest were innovatory multimedia systems they were closed, unlike computers that allowed an open transaction and flow of new ideas.

This would later lend itself to Berner's Lee nonhierachical structure and open protocols.

This is not a closed argument (I wouldn't dare) but it strikes me that in the pursuit of ongoing discovery in an open system the status quo of closed TV reports, cinema etc represent an ideal which is so passed a paradigm shift quotient that 2008 awaits to be a truly exciting year.

For me this harks back to an earlier article (:() how to use the web a year ago Broadband's capacity offers scintillating innovation, for

I'm looking at that now, proclaiming "ungh!"

Vannevar Bush 1945 prophecy now
Re-reading Vannevar Bush's seminal essay circa 1945 which would cause huge excitement in amongst others the science world, one begins to marvel at the present.

Bush, Roosevelt's scientific advisor was a genius.

"Consider a future device for individual use, which is a sort of mechanised private file and library. It needs a a name, and, to coin one at random, "memex", will do."

In 1945 Bush had already seen the web.

But something else to take from that period onwards, that all the major advancements towards this evolving multimedia platform involved an array of disciplines: scientists, engineers, artists and poets.

Journalism, despite its own internal brilliant advancements was just one of spokes.

It should frankly be of little wonder that today it is technologists, dramatists, and engineers who are pushing at the seams of multimedia.

And that multimedia within journalism itself is so ill-defined

Journalism ~ writing for a journal. Was there ever a misnomer for our century?

In fact multimedia journalism is the imaginary media of its age.

Whilst mathematicians were comfortable with Natural Numbers, Integers, Rational and Real Numbers, how might they deal with numbers whose square root was less than zero?

Put simply -2*-2=4, so what could yield the answer -4?

Mathematicians found it in a fifth quadrant, imaginary numbers (j or i), so the square root of -4 is 2i.

I had fun teaching an eight year old nephew this over the Christmas.

If anything from a scientific POV, it illustrates an ability to adapt (though thoroughly brutally in the science world) and address varying circumstances when they arrive. For instance solving integration and differential equation in physics.

In journalism we're being made privy to far more information than the present paradigm can handle.

Spatial context gives us location and timeline, but we insist on a 2 dimensional approach of what, where, how, why and when.

Interactivity offers us differential windows into a story, but we adamantly pursue a linear exposition, blithely ignoring other "less important".

Multimedia gives us many access routes to create as well as eke out layers of knowledge, but for its use with video we deign it should be closed.

Here is the 9.O'clock news and if you don't like it well, sod off.

Alan Kay said in one of his essays recounting McLuhan's Understanding Media [1964) that McLuhan's claim about the profoundness of the printing press was not merely about making books available but "changing the thought pattern of those who learned to read it".

Could it be for both those who read and those who teach multimedia we'll have to ride an even bigger crest than that of 2007?

Could 2008 well turn out to be the year when we not only break out from quarantined eco systems of say video news, but embrace a different thought pattern of presenting the narrative?

See related article on video hyperlinking at which was featured in The Economist

Mike Jones pod on open and closed systems - extremely informative


Anonymous said...

The difficulty with this article is knowing which part of it to leave out of a submission to Pseud's Corner....

David of said...

For those who may not know what psued's corner is, er, woops sorry if you do:"Pompous and pretentious quotations from the media" listed in satirical mag Private Eye.

That might be your interpetation, which I could beg to differ, but on the other hand I'm not.

Imaginary numbers and multimedia is not a subject for the media, just as hypermedia isn't., er wasn't.

And that ( uhum) is NOT making any comparisons with Nelson.

But frankly that's in part what a blog is for me.

A rant, first draft brain dumps, disconnected ideas that make sense at the time of writing.

A scribbling pad, a sketch book, somewhere to be careless, if so, without being offensive.

I suppose if it were the only outlet I'd be more vigilant.

Once in a while I take a digest from it and rework it for something on where I'd say I'm more careful.

But if a post ellicits a reaction without being offensive, if it causes engagement, then I think that's pretty good.

So even you taking the time to write and for me to respond that's a win win.

Don't get me wrong, I may have broad shoulders, but I like many would probably prefer not being called Pompous - a first for me.

So for the next post.... ""^%£

Once had a guy who emailed me, er, some years back now.

Must had been something in an earlier website.

In the end we went out for drinks. Turns out he's a pointy head. Worked for one of the futures labs.

Either BT or Bell I can't remember.

I thought what's he wasting his time on me and asked whether he'd pubished anything I, others could read.

He hadn't but vowed he would.

I didn't understand half of what he was saying.

Poor sod. me!

You can't take yourself too serious.

Though you've got to feel a little sorry for Sunday Times wine columnist Pamela Vandyke Price who complained:

"Every time I describe a wine as anything other than red or white, dry or wet, I wind up in Pseud's Corner"

... and who said I work in the media :)