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New Fast Company Column: I Can See You

My new Fast Company column is now up. I Can See You looks at the dilemmas surrounding mass transparency and the "culture of documentation."

With the rise of cheap, networked recording devices--aka, cameraphones--we're seeing the emergence of a culture of documentation, where individuals use their cameraphones to record and share unusual and often problematic moments. From events as amusingly scandalous as South Korea's "dog poop girl" to those as shocking and tragic as the New Year's Eve killing by an Oakland transit cop, citizens are using cameraphones to catch misbehavior and make it undeniable. What's particularly notable (although not especially surprising) is the availability of multiple perspectives on the same event, as personal documentation with a cameraphone becomes almost second-nature for many of us.

(Here's a tip for aspiring filmmakers: one way for an audience to see a spectacular event as "real" is for any crowd scenes surrounding the event to include at least 10% of the people there recording the moment with their phones. Disaster or science fiction movies set in the present day that don't include such mass documentation will increasingly look weird and dated.)

That last bit was inspired by seeing the preview trailer for a new science fiction TV show (the remake of "V", I think) that had crowds all over the world gazing in wonder at the big giant space ships floating over their cities.

And not a one of them was holding up a cameraphone.



Heck, they can even do it in the Nubian desert:

Faced with this strange phenomenon, the Sudanese villagers did what any citizens of the 21st century would do in such circumstances – they took pictures with their cell-phones.

I have often thought it would be a cool application that could take imagery and combine them into a 4-d diorama.

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