Monday, March 05, 2007

Design event submission to minister - news and design

This is a precipe of my talk to an influential design group, which is preparing its submisssion to the minister wo overseas this sector

THE OUTERNET - 21st century internet.

My talk focused on the Outernet – a manifestation of an emerging era of the internet which will have far reaching implications beyond that of the net itself.

We’ve seen glimpses of it in science fiction movies like Stephen Spielberg’s Minority Reports, where electronic billboards react with the user, where screens had the ability to recognise individuals via a number of arrays e.g. voice, iris ideintification, which are indeed a reality and today.

The Outernet is an outward front facing internet in public spaces – a html/css driven televisual medium delivering bespoke video programmes and ideas for the deliverer to end users.

It will be is possible because broadband at 8mb plus enables the streaming of DVD quality programmes.

Thus the biggest revolution to communications is the next crossroads of download speeds – an optimum 8mb. It’s also the biggest threat to the existence of television.

Imagine that: a council, an estate, a shop, an individual responsible for a “web site” with moving image information and advertising. There will be no OFCOM rules to navigate, no licenses on broadcasting. Decency and impartiality will be in the hands of the beholder.

We’re seeing early signs of this already in UK political site 18 Doughty Street, Al Gore’s US teen site and perhaps even my own work

As a news broadcaster, designer and video journalist, there are a number of facets to reconcile.

• A fundamental shift in the design of web sites; sites will look increasingly like TV screens and vice versa e.g. BBC
• A shift to database as opposed to time-tranistion programme. This has already contributed to the success of Youtube.
• A much more streamlined and cost effective way of programme making. This will involve video journalists – one person news crews – working more closely with subjects. This has been the path the UK newspaper industry is taking, which I have been involved in as a consultant and trainer.
• A fundamental shift on news and hierarchy. We should no longer entertain the artificialness of the news agenda which supposes news and programming should be centralised. One of the most exciting ideas to emerge is some work I’m undertaking with a senior government advisor on crime. The community we’re entering will, with a number of safety measures intact, be making programmes about the social impact they’re experiencing – which will be of interest to other groups attempting to find solutions. We’re experimenting on placing outernet screens within the estate.
• Gametheory: embracing new paradigms to combine journalism and design. The work we produced, The Family, for Channel 4’s digital awards is an example of this and one which I integrate into my lectures as a senior University lecturer
• A greater embrace of designers and information flow producers
• An examination of video hyperlinking and new technologies to strengthen our understanding of information.

I believe all the above is doable. The work I have produced in the US and Germany, both of which have won prestigious international awards demonstrates the need for looking at complexity, and Initiatives such as 'Designing for the 21st Century' to enrich all communities.

David Dunkley Gyimah

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