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Onward digitization...

The ripple effects of portable communications and a global computer network have only begun. It is not inconceivable that it will alter the world as much as the Gutenberg press, radio, and electrical power distribution. The biggest obstacles now are speed of transmission of information, cost to participate, and the telephone anchor line.

Consider the camcorder. The L.A.P.D. and Rodney King were thrust into the world's attention because an ordinary citizen recorded a video tape. I wonder if it would have been different had some citizen been able to send streaming, real-time video to various agencies, news and government, while it happened? Or maybe each patrol car fully networked. Some supervisor back at headquarters, insulated from the adrenalin and fight or flight syndrom, sees things getting out of control and issues commands to the cars to sound klaxons and flash lights to drag the officers back to their training. Maybe Joe Citizen sees a mugging taking place and sends digital video to a local police web site. Instead of dialing 911 to attempt to describe an emergency, you punch the emergency button on a portable, wireless, internetworked little box that sends its location along with audio and video to the 911 operators. If the bandwidth, cost and anywhere connectivity problems are solved, it's a short step from there to having that same cry for help simultaneously sent to multiple possible respondents.

Now how about that cockroach you just saw skittering away from your desk? Was it a live one, or should you smile for the camera?

Connecting buyers and sellers by way of a global computer network is just scratching the surface.

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