Saturday, July 9, 2016

Curse Or Cure

The videos of the recent shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota and images of bullets ricocheting of building columns in Dallas were recorded by ordinary citizens using Facebook Live streaming on their cellphones and transmitted in "realtime".

Now imagine this...

Google, Samsung, Sony and a number of research groups have all made patent requests in recent months for contact lens technology with a built in camera.  Imagine, walking around with contact lenses and taking pictures and videos just by blinking your eyes. The contact lenses being envisioned by these companies would basically take pictures and videos and then transmit them to your phone for storage.  But what if these contact lenses could live stream the video to your Facebook page or back to your own computer at home so that you could edit and store and do whatever you wanted with them?  And, if you're wearing two contact lens why couldn't you simultaneously live stream back to your computer two videos.  And if you had enough processing power in your computer, why couldn't you take those images and make 3D videos of what you see?  Then everyone would see in "realtime" the true horror of what happened in Minnesota and Dallas.

Now let's take this camera technology in a different direction...

Today is a dark day in American history. An unbelievable series of reactionary events has just happened. We’ll have to wrestle with the consequences of these events for a long time while deciding what sort of world we want to live in. There is a toxic culture of fear and we are witnessing unbelievable back-to-back violence. We are often driven by narratives, rather than facts, by pathetic people at the national level who lack leadership.
Times are now turning because of the way news content is being produced and the mediums in which it is being shared. One thing to draw from all this is that there might be a glimmer of real hope for our society.
The Facebook Live video of the shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota and the live streaming of images of bullets ricocheting off building columns in Dallas were all caught on camera by ordinary citizens with cameras. We are witnessing new technologies which are transforming the way we perceive the reality around us. Journalism is changing more than ever now.
Of course, legacy media reacting to social media is nothing new. But what makes us pause is how devastatingly effective the video can be; video that was taken by a courageous woman in Minnesota (you can see my commentary about her in the video below).
The impact of citizen video journalism has been one of a domino effect. Arguably, there has never been a reaction seen on such a scale before in history; racially, cultural, or politically.
The mainstream media is reporting that raw video has thoroughly shaken the foundations of policing. It has caused nationwide protests, prompted reactions from President Obama, initiated federal investigations and changed attitudes and policy on race. Nearly every white conservative has been shocked by these recent videos.
Yahoo News reported that live video is an unregulated, intimate, extraordinarily powerful new frontier with no limitations.
We are entering a brave new world where Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reacted to the live streaming of Castile’s death by saying, “While I hope we never have to see another video like [the one Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds published], it reminds us why coming together to build a more open and connected world is so important — and how far we still have to go.”
Representing an organization that has dozens of undercover journalists in the field right now beta testing hidden cameras that stream video straight to our server, I feel compelled to write this.
I hear utter hopelessness from patriotic Americans when the solution to government sclerosis is right in front of them in the form of streaming video.
These Americans feel hopeless when they see FBI Director James Comey excusing Hillary Clinton from indictment. The same transformative power that has recently recorded and exposed violence can also cleanse our government and lead to the replacement of our leadership. It can be used both to expose horrific incidents and police bad apples. It can, and should, be used to clean up Washington.
People are upset that the Department of Justice may be unconstitutionally working with the Executive Branch to disrupt justice.
What if we had live streaming video inside our federal agencies which have betrayed our trust? What if the meeting between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch was live streamed? What if the bribery of federal judges was live streamed? What if every corrupt official lived his or her life in fear of being recorded while abusing power?
Impossible? What Reynolds did would have been a technological impossibility a few years ago. Then this week happened. And as far as I’m concerned, Reynolds is an unwilling journalist who was quick to expose what many are calling a civil rights injustice. What she did needs to be done over and over all over the country in every school board, statehouse, and every state and federal office where officials are conspiring to abuse their power.
A key contributing factor to the conclusion of our Civil Rights turmoil in the 1960s was the introduction of black and white television to most households in America. For the first time in history, people could actually see recent and relevant video on the evening news of the peaceful protests, ugly riots and police brutality in Alabama and form their own conclusions. With cell phone video and instant streaming technology, this result is now instantaneous and the gatekeepers in the mainstream media can easily be bypassed.
What is happening right now is a power reversal. Live streaming platforms combined with hidden cameras can help everyone interested in holding government accountable. That’s the power of this new medium.
It’s not a political movement. It’s a movement to clean up society.
We are working hard to apply this technology and find the people with the courage to shine the light so we can restore hope. Mark my words, it may take time, but the medium of hidden camera video is going to change the world.

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