Marc Davis is a media futurologist who paints a convincing picture of the convergence of motion pictures and computation in the future. Davis believes that in the next 50 years, computational motion pictures will bring a fundamental change in the possibilities of written language and communication, and that the full potential of computation has not yet affected our thinking about media. He is of the opinion that profound technological, linguistic, and social effects are imminent over the next half century.
The linguistic area where the most changes will occur, according to Davis, is in semasiography, or visual writing, where computers can aid in the transmission of ideas through pictures. He foresees the ascendance of semasiographical writing over the glottographic form of expression, or written language as it is prevalent today. This idea is already being realised in the proliferation of visual images and iconography in visual media. The immense popularity of video sharing sites such as Youtube might signify that the visual language is gaining strength as a form of expression. How far this will go remains to be seen, and if Davis’s predictions of humans using technology to communicate using pictures and mental imagery are realised, then the very basic foundation of human communication will change in the future, as we evolve away from the traditional glottographic language systems. Admittedly, the central challenge for computational media technology is to develop a language that both humans and computers can read and write. This can be quite a difficult problem, but not insurmountable.
Garage cinema can be likened to those videos to be found on video sharing sites. These home made videos are sometimes of surprisingly amazing quality and content. The rise of Garage cinema, according to the author, is the forerunner to this change, although many technological, social and legal changes have to occur before garage cinema becomes common practice. Sweeping statements and predictions such as these, especially in connection with computer technology, often have a way of being proven untrue or only partly true. This might be because the experts cannot fully predict the exponential patterns of technological evolution, or foresee the many twists and turns of changing reality in the distant future. Given the span of his predictions, whether Davis is spot on the mark, or bowling a wide ball, can only be analysed in half a century from now.
Davis, M. (1997). Garage cinema and the future of media technology. Communications of the ACM, 40(2), 42-48.