Repost: Computer Graphics and Social Change - SIGGRAPH 2001

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Posted by Peter H. Rosen ( on May 06, 2002 at 03:17:34:

Computer Graphics and Social Change - SIGGRAPH 2001 by Peter H. Rosen

Get ready to live life at an even more accelerated pace; the result of two shifts on planet earth: The reawakening of Spirituality and Creativity and secondly, the technology revolution/evolution brought on by advances in computers and computer graphics. Secretly (and not so) these forces are changing our world faster than at any other time in existence -- except for the primal planet forming moments. We live in an explosively changing world on many levels!

I will be reporting advances in computer graphics that are, and that will help us live and create as optimal human beings! What effect will technology have on society as we know it? Is all the murder on television, made so compellingly dramatic thanks to computer graphics, responsible for "giving permission" to our young people to do harm to others? Are we desensitized to violence because of the messages the media carries? We must ask what are the latest tools that are empowering our creativity and fueling science and invention – hopefully to build a more peaceful and harmonious humanity?

In several days, this writer will be attending ACM SIGGRAPH; the premiere conference on computer graphics, to discover what companies, products and services will enable us to make more money doing what we love, heal our bodies and minds faster, and have an impact on personal and planetary evolution. SIGGRAPH, a sub group of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), is the surviving representative and educational organization covering of all aspects of computing as it relates to GRAPHics (NCGA faded out in the late 80s). Therefore ACM's Special Interest Group (SIG) on GRAPHics is SIGGRAPH.

This writer had the honor of having his project "KidCast For Peace; Solutions For a Better World" accepted for showcasing at SIGGRAPH 1998 in a week-long demonstration of several aspects of Creativity Café. Our exhibit was sponsored by SIGGRAPH, private individuals and technology corporations.

What does SIGGRAPH have to do with Creativity? Everything! To the twenty-first century creative person, SIGGRAPH is THE place to discover the latest advances in technology for digital storytelling, visualization, animation, scientific imaging, CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing), virtual realitly, medicine and multimedia communication. But there is a deeper story here. The focus of this article is not so much on the hardware or software itself, but on how we will use these new tools both as the creative computer user and the technophobe.

Presently in our world, there is a schism of those who are tracked, controlled and manipulated by the powerful and the media, and those who see through the ruse of commercialism, power and corruption (Cultural Creatives). A good many people are hip to and avoid the manipulations of these forces. Still, most are media’d into submission – convinced to try and emulate the norm at all costs. For our lives to truly advance, we must think and act "outside the box" [see:].

The stories from the storytellers of the future will be "empowering and healing" rather than controlling and fear inducing. SIGGRAPH and NAB are the playgrounds and connecting points for these future movie makers. As the empowered and networked new media makers begin to use desktop tools to portray a world that works for everyone, more and more artists -- the great synthesizers, problem solvers and compassionate world servers, will meet, collect and collaborate in virtual and real places to help lubricate the birth of the unfolding new world order (not American President Bush’s version).

Humanity will begin to shift out of archaic powerful and controlling government/relationships into unified efforts to truly serve all of humanity; empowering us to live at a higher and safer standard of living than ever before! The world will no longer be "owned" by those whose will it is to dominate and control. Media producers everywhere are collaborating and producing compelling media that will uplift and liberate us. The difference being that in 5 years, their voices will be as loud and visible if not louder than the "old self serving, status quo reproducing regime" of governments and religions; which will be called to task to truly act on the voice of the people...or revolution will result.

Watch out for Bluetooth and GPS! Stores you pass will reach out to you and call your attention to special sales -- catered to each individual on the spot thanks to GPS (the Global Positioning System) and Bluetooth technology that will record your patterns, whims and predilections, then pass your personal details to marketing and sales teams. Are you ready for that invasion of privacy?

Don’t worry…there will be counter measures you can add to your hand-held. We are talking about a communications device no longer sporting "iffy" at best reception and transmission that depends on system specs. and location. This device will originate and transmit multimedia effortlessly and transparently. Quality of communication will become a given for all such instruments of "thought processing and transference". Compelling Content will rule!!

The content creator is YOU and Computer Graphics is your genie! This year in some parts of the world and within two years everywhere else, you will be able to carry one handheld device to watch video, listen to CD quality audio, do your e-mail, enjoy streaming media, explore virtual reality environments (no goggles) and MOO's (Internet virtual game playing spaces) while making phone calls. You will be able to capture (and transmit) your experience via a built-in still and video camera, compose and record your music on built-in audio recorder/mixer and hook into your MIDI instruments and personal camcorder ...anywhere you happen to be!

How will a little cramped screen on your hand-held enable you to do all that? Not! The built-in LED driven DMD projector (Digital Mirror Device from Texas Instruments) will blast the image through a built in lens system onto a nearby wall or screen that you unroll. The digital display material stretching to fit the edges of the collapsible frame to extend your cell phone-like screen to monitor size proportions!

Whenever the creative urge strikes you, your hand-held will provide all the tools you need to be a movie or music producer on the road! Add to that the Internet and WAP (Wireless Access Protocol) and our power as independent digital storytellers will be distributed far and wide. We are already collaborating and networking with each other irrespective of time, date, location, age or education.

We are riding the waves of change, designing and discovering new forms of self reflection, creative self-expression and with gene splicing, optimized physical forms. It is predicted that one in 6 worldwide will carry one of these high bandwidth instant communicators within the next five years. We are already beginning to see the trends. SIGGRAPH is the place that will tune evolutionaries and imagineers into what’s coming.

Right now electronic Commerce is being shoved at the consumer from every direction. Most Media all attempt (and succeed) at manipulating us at every turn to buy, buy, buy! Media rules! But, we are now on the threshold of popular control of the media. Each of us will dedice what we get exposed to. We will also create what we want to be exposed to and offer it up to the "Net" luring kindred spirits.

Collaboration will produce edutainment that sparkles and shines -- just like productions that come from multimillion dollar corporations. Thanks to computer graphics and supercomputer-like desktop processors our "art" will communicate powerfully.

This writer will attempt to discover at SIGGRAPH, who are the pioneering techno-shamans and the people and corporations that are bringing new visionary hardware and software into the world? Our minds mirror what we are exposed to on TV and feature films. If trends continue, the Internet will rapidly replace traditional television -- where most of us get our news and self image models. In a few short years when bandwidth will no longer be an issue, each of us will have the potential to write a story, create life-like animated actors (that come with pre programmed personalities and reaction patterns under algorithmic control) and easily "broadcast" our productions to the Web!

You and I will control the audio and video, no longer accessible only to the powerful and rich. The creative personality will have the same capability to affect the masses that only a few years ago was wishful thinking and prohibitively expensive. Compelling media production is now in the hands of everyone (potentially) for relatively little or no economic outlay thanks to companies like SONY, Motorola, DELL, Apple, Intel, Microsoft, etc., who support public education with their corporate giving programs.

In the next installment of this article, we will discover and explore the new and unfolding world order where art, technology, spirituality, science, electronic commerce, physics, broadcasting, visualization and/or personal creativity enhancement converge. Where the creative personality will be called upon to be the problem solvers and healers for a world still at war with itself. The universe is indeed expanding and changing. Old ways of doing things are breaking down. Computer graphics will play an increasingly larger role in building the new bricks that artists and scientists are using to discover what in "life" is possible?

The question remains, how can we work more effectively and efficiently together across boundaries of time and space? Computer graphics is helping us learn how to become optimal, long living, creative humans travelling on a star in effortless peace and prosperity for everyone! Stay tuned for my reports from the trade show floor.

Copyright 2001 by Peter H. Rosen All rights reserved.

Peter H. Rosen is a multimedia artist and evolutionary dancing on the edge of time . He is dedicated to using art and technology for a better world and founder of Visionary Artists Resources Including Other Unique Services, producer of "KidCast For Peace," the Maui Artists’ Showcase and Creativity Cafe; a "New School for the Next Millennium."

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