Magazine article American Cinematographer

President's Desk

Magazine article American Cinematographer

President's Desk

Article excerpt

After last month's column about language and set procedure, we are still thinking about language. It seems to us that language can lead you astray or lead you to knowledge. We are struck by the current use of the word "technology" as a stand-in for anything related to electronic devices. According to Wikipedia, "Recent technological developments, including the printing press, the telephone and the Internet, have lessened physical barriers to communication and allowed humans to interact freely on a global scale."

So, "technology" refers to almost any machine or technical solution to a problem, from the printing press to the Internet. The original printing press was not an electronic solution, but still a technology. What is "high technology," we wonder, and what is it higher than?

We have also tired of the terms "transformative technology" and "disruptive technology." All technologies are potentially transformative in one way or another. Take the invention by Bell Labs of the touch-tone keypad in the 1960s. The father of human-factors engineering, industrial psychologist John E. Karlin, figured out how to position the keys 1-2-3 across the top - a design alive and well on your iPhone. This also facilitated all-digit dialing. As a result, the wonderful phone numbers that combined letters and digits disappeared: MAin-1-2345 became 621-2345. Soon, area codes were added, creating 1 0 numbers per phone. At a party Karlin attended, a guest reportedly said to him, "How does it feel to be the most hated man in America? …

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