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Dead medium: Stillborn med
From: ilff3@cc.uab.es (David Casacuberta)

"Stillborn Media"

by David Casacuberta

After reading "Tattoos as media" (Note 26.2), I noticed how this entry widens the spectrum on what is a "dead medium."

So I have the idea of introducing the new category of "stillborn media": that is, media that are technically possible to develop now, but never have been developed, and possibly will never be == due to political, economical or ethical criteria.

Science-Fiction is full of examples of stillborn media, and so are lots of political and economic proposals.

Here is a small list of stillborn media I just made. I'm sure there are lots more.

1. Broad-scale identification and surveillance media (not in use, fortunately! because they are a great menace to individual freedoms)

1.1. Barcodes tattooed on people, so with some scanning device they can be always identified (it appeared, for example in the movie *Alien 3.* Evidently, we already have the technology to use this).

1.2. Monitoring private homes with TV cameras (as shown, for example in George Orwell's novel *1984*).

1.3. ID card with genetic information in it (This was a serious European Union proposal. Fortunately, it was finally dismissed).

1.4. Small radio transmitters inside people's bodies, so they can be tracked down. (You probably have seen that idea hundreds of times. Last time I saw it was in Gilliam's movie *12 Monkeys*).

2. Communication media

2.1 Video-Phones (I'm quite sure that video-phones will never work in the same way as telephones. They can be used in video-conferences, but video-phones are an invasion of your privacy. You don't want to appear with a hangover face when some stranger calls you :-) )

2.2 Web-phones. (though they are starting to be used, I'm quite pessimistic. I believe they are going to be banned because of PTT interests before they can be used as real phones).

3. Aesthetic media.

3.1. AI generated art. It is now possible to produce "contemporary" artwork by means of a computer, with no human supervision. Although this "art" is as good (or bad) as some ultra-modern works, this line is not very popular, mainly because we still live under the Romantic paradigm of the Creator of a work of art.

3.2. Real multimedia shows. That is, shows that employ other senses than hearing and seeing, such as smell, touch, or taste. It is possible to introduce, for example, plot-related smells in a movie theater, but no one seems very interested in doing that. My suspicion is that no one dares because a)it is not clear that people really want smells, touching or tasting in a show, b) it is still very expensive and c) no one really has good ideas about mixing different senses and producing something really valuable == or at least entertaining :-)).

David Casacuberta (ilff3@cc.uab.es)