We all know that the communication revolution has brought about astonishing changes in our society. Many of us have a computer, more powerful than those that controlled the first lunar landings, in our pockets, which also serves as a telephone and as a television. Such advances are a revolution as significant as the one initiated by the Gutenberg printing press; the difference is that we are in the midst of this new revolution. How are we to keep up with the new technologies? Who can be our guide to the new ideas that will shape the advances of the future?
Dr Suman Kumar Kasturi, in this clear and concise book, provides both an overarching metaphor and clearly-explained technical information which can serve to guide us through the new technologies, and particularly the hybridized technologies, that will shape the societies of the future. The metaphor at hand is "satmass communication," by which Dr Kasturi means the merger of virtually instantaneous satellite communication of information around the planet, to even the most remote locations, with terrestrial sites where that information is then made hyper-local through the application of artificial intelligence technologies and distributed through the fiber-optic and aerial transmission to consumers.
Dr Kasturi tells us something very important here. The revolution of the "Gutenberg Galaxy," as Marshall McLuhan might have put it, is nowhere near a close; since artificial intelligence is in its infancy, and it will play an ever-greater role in mass communication, "satmass communication" will continue to change and to change our world. And, as he suggests, to be informed communications, and to be informed consumers of communication, we must understand the "satmass revolution" in the same way that McLuhan argued it was essential that we understand "media hot and cool."
The distinction between "hot and cool" media has blurred in an age of universal digitisation; the "satmass revolution" implies that the convergence of media into digital forms means that rapid transmission of entertainment and news messages from metropolitan centres can happen instantaneously. And as governments free up bandwidth previously reserved for military use or bandwidth-eating commercial analogue communication, we can expect to see entrepreneurs and scientists seeking to develop as-yet unimagined uses for that bandwidth.
Dr Kasturi, with his depth of knowledge of both technology and society, here provides an outstanding introduction to how a new generation of communication technologies work, and how such advances will impact society. The concept of "future-proofing – " of developing skills and knowledge which will guarantee that an individual or firm won't be devastated by shifts they did not foresee – is gaining currency throughout the world; this book, and the concept of the "satmass revolution," is a valuable tool by which one might "future-proof" themselves.
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