Many of you are probably familiar with Google Maps. You can search just about anywhere in the world and see a map of that area. In some places there is even an option to click on “Street View”. This allows you to see a picture type image that is navigable. It’s quite amazing because you can turn and view 360 degrees and even walk virtually down a street. Google accomplishes this amazing feat by sending cars rigged with cameras that capture panoramic views. Their cars have traversed almost every road in the United States and many parts of other countries.
Street View has already captured 100s of human beings engaged in a variety of activities; from the mundane to the downright scary.
What happens when the Street View feature of Google Maps is enhanced with a “Live View”? For the past several decades, mass media has brought distant events directly into our living rooms. Reporters in Selma, Alabama were able to capture images that shocked and changed a nation during the Civil Rights movements in the 60s.
For the first time, a majority of Americans could see the brutality being unleashed upon African Americans as they marched for the right to vote. Soon thereafter, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act. Currently, most endeavors of kindness, violence or injustice are never captured for the world to see. Orwellian prophecies aside, if history is any indicator, more eyes in more places equals more justice.
It’s probably only a matter of time before the cameras that are already on most street corners of major cities are patched in to a live-type view for all to scrutinize. Military satellites are presently capable of reading the text of a newspaper in your hands from space. In the future, when the private sector has this capability it might be combined with cameras on the ground to provide live video of anywhere in the world. It’s likely that no single entity could process what is monitored everywhere. Rather, there will be millions of average people watching random areas of the world at any given time for fun, curiosity or other reasons. With a simple point and click, these videos will be shared across social media vastly contributing to our self awareness as a species.
It’s possible that one day, solar powered microscopic omni directional cameras will be mass produced. Millions could be dropped and networked all over the globe. Some sticking to trees, some sticking to buildings and other structures. With wireless energy transfer, cameras not located in direct sunlight could be charged by remote energy “cell towers”.
A recorded live view of everywhere will also produce a historical catalog the likes of which the world has never seen. Software could create a 3 dimensional representation using the perspectives of multiple street cameras and satellite video. Imagine doing a Google search for Times Square, New York during a specific point in time. Using virtual reality you could immerse yourself anywhere any time in the past. And it might not be just for public areas. Home security systems, computers and phones all have cameras that could contribute.
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