Week #5: Tania Winston

The new product introduced to the market by Honeycrisp Inc., though innovative and clever, would bring about the end of mass media and communication as the world knows it. This invention’s canny ability to set preferred channels based upon a consumer’s body language and vital signs would open up a mess of problems. Not only would this product be considered an addressable technology, where it would only transmit specified content to a specified audience, but it would also only target and tie people together who have common interests, leaving any kind of cultivation from outside experiences absent from their lives. With this product one can predict the future of confinement, where consumers are limited in their mass media experience, caught in a repetitive loop of uniformity.
The reason mass media and communication work in the lives of the consumers is because of its diversity, with regards to the expanse of the different kinds of media to the many varieties of how to access it all. The massive amount of programming and media available to the consumers, in today’s world, grants them a plethora of entertainment to choose. Allowing a product to base media experience of off body functions and emotions takes away a certain freedom of choice. For instance, in what way would this product, let’s call it the Response Reader, for simplicity’s sake, utilize the data researched from a body? If the vital signs and body language show a person who is going through a depression, would the Response Reader broadcast heart-breaking dramas with sad endings as their favorite programming, which would then spiral them down into a severe suicidal state. For example, a veteran suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress, has just had a week full of night terrors. His, or her, vital signs show an elevated heart rate, they’ve tossed and turned all night and sweated through their clothes. They would be devastatingly in trouble if he or she decided to watch TV to distance themselves from their dreams. What kind of programming would the Response Reader have for them? If this is a common occurrence, then the Reader would set action, suspense, or even horror programs to match the vital signs. Would the Reader do the opposite of the data and show a happy and uplifting program? What if it’s a consumer struggling through a break-up, who wants to watch a sad movie, but the Reader is programmed to do the opposite? The whims and moods of a consumer are fickle and ever-changing. Would the Response Reader adapt to the variety of choices consumers previously had the freedom to make on their own before its existence?
The ability and desire for people to change their lives is initiated by new experiences and an available variety of choices. The Response Reader takes that freedom of choice away, and automatically stereotypes and places consumers in a group by how they feel and act, taking away the instantaneous and unfamiliar. Everyone and everything would be the same. Everyone would debate the same programming, the same events viewed, and believe their tastes and opinions are the only ones that matter. Creativity magazine editor, Teressa Iezzi says, “Maybe one day-you won’t be able to say anything to anyone because a common language or ability to grapple with or laugh at something outside of your comfort zone will have fallen away’ (37-38). The world would no longer hold its unique and diverse quality and the civilizations found within will either collapse or remain permanently divided.
Would future audiences be confined and classed into different groups, inhibiting them from thinking outside the box, in terms of the content they would never be able to see and experience? The Honeycrisp Inc. product would define a future where groups of consumers would be categorized by their prearranged TV programming. Where would new thoughts, new ideas, and new experiences come from, if all things surrounding the consumer remained constant? The future would be defined by a multitude of civilizations, all living in a compound-like society where outsiders existing beyond the walls are viewed as insignificant. Technology and enlightened ideas would advance sporadically based upon the consensus of the group. The future would no longer have a spontaneity, as consumer’s instant gratification with TV programming disappears and is replaced by the new norm of pre-selected entertainment.