TALK­ING TECH

£200 a month to let the en­tire world see you do­ing the wash­ing-up. Who could re­sist?

T3 India - - CONTENTS -

Dun­can delves into the new trend of live-stream­ing your home shenani­gans on­line (he doesn’t know we’ve se­cretly in­stalled a cam­era in his house).

Andy Warhol got it wrong. In the fu­ture, ev­ery­one will be fa­mous at 15Mbps

How much would you want in re­turn for some­one set­ting up a load of live-stream­ing cam­eras in your house, then let­ting ev­ery­one in the world mon­i­tor you at all times?

How about 200 quid and free broad­band? Well, you could run up a big bill oth­er­wise, what with all that video con­stantly up­load­ing of you in your pants, un­block­ing the sink.

You might very well think, “You know what? Ac­tu­ally I’m all right, mate,” but the of­fer is there, from an en­ter­pris­ing out­fit called CamSoda.

It will, sub­ject to cer­tain con­trac­tual niceties, set you up with three ‘cus­tom-built’ webcams, livestream­ing in HD qual­ity. Although, ac­tu­ally, it’s only 720p, so not real HD.

Now, in the cause of jour­nal­is­tic verisim­il­tude, I de­cided to con­duct some in-depth re­search into CamSoda – ie: I Googled the name.

Where I ex­pected to find a se­ri­ous­minded broad­caster, a bit like the BBC in the 1950s, I was shocked – shocked! – to dis­cover them promis­ing the kind of ‘pro­grammes’ you would never find David At­ten­bor­ough fronting. No, not even when he’s work­ing for Sky.

As T3 is a pub­li­ca­tion, I won’t be­labour you with the de­tails, but put it this way: the ‘shows’ had quite low pro­duc­tion val­ues and an ex­tremely lim­ited wardrobe de­part­ment. Though the ‘per­form­ers’ were, ad­mit­tedly, in ex­cel­lent phys­i­cal condition.

All-night bed show

So, okay, CamSoda is a porn com­pany. Fine. What’s in­ter­est­ing about its 24/7, multi-cam­era, 1984-but-nude con­cept is they are adamant that it needn’t nec­es­sar­ily in­volve sex. Well, at my place, the chance would be a fine thing.

This sug­gests that what they are re­ally after is an in­fi­nite num­ber of Only Way is Es­sex-style, home-made, scripted re­al­ity shows. They are angling for peo­ple who like to make their whole life a per­for­mance.

Why? To amuse a jaded pop­u­la­tion of voyeurs who come on the off-chance that there will be bonk­ing, and stay for the dra­matic vi­gnettes of life in an Ac­cring­ton flat share, and the abil­ity to watch strangers eat­ing corn­flakes.

Ad­mit­tedly, perus­ing the rest of CamSoda’s out­put does sug­gest that what the com­pany would re­ally like is for the ‘per­form­ers’ to be ex­clu­sively at­trac­tive ladies, and for there to be 24/7 shag­ging, in mul­ti­ple rooms of every house un­der sur­veil­lance.

That strikes me as un­re­al­is­tic and hard to mon­e­tise, how­ever. There’s hardly a short­age of porn on the web, and no­body can have sex 24/7, apart from Sting. And to be hon­est, I think he’s got better things to do than be the pub­lic face of an on­line porn com­pany.

The thing is, you just know this will be a hit. Your first re­ac­tion might be, “Wow, this is a new low, surely no­body’s go­ing to sign up for this, as ei­ther per­former or viewer?”

But your sec­ond re­ac­tion, on think­ing about it is, “Who am I kid­ding? Peo­ple will love this!”

The ba­sic con­cept is that of long­for­got­ten TV show Big Brother. If you’re a civilised per­son, you might be sur­prised to learn that BB con­tin­ues to this day, but thank­fully only on Chan­nel 5, where it will never be seen by any­one sen­tient. In truth, the con­tes­tants on BB are ac­tu­ally care­fully vet­ted to en­sure they aren’t to­tally de­mented – although a bit de­mented is fine – or ir­re­deemably bor­ing.

This opens up the hu­man zoo to any­one in need of £200 (`16,400) a month. As an in­ter­est­ing ex­ten­sion of the con­cept, CamSoda is also keen that par­tic­i­pants use other so­cial chan­nels to post about each day’s most dra­matic events. This is why I think it will end up go­ing a bit ‘scripted re­al­ity’; most peo­ple just don’t have that much drama in their lives. The re­sult will be a sort of gesamtkunst­werk of at­ten­tion-seek­ing fools, live on cam­era, 24/7/365.

When this takes off, as it in­evitably will, what will be the re­sult? Will we all be­come si­mul­ta­ne­ously per­form­ers and voyeurs? Log­i­cally, by the mid­dle of the cen­tury, peo­ple could be sit­ting down to watch other peo­ple watch­ing live cam­eras. Like Gog­gle­box, but with more drool­ing.

‘Stars’ used to be oth­er­worldly peo­ple with some out­ra­geous tal­ent in the arts, sports or other fields. Now it’s any­one with a cam­era and min­i­mal self­con­scious­ness. Andy Warhol got it wrong. In the fu­ture, ev­ery­one will be fa­mous at 15Mbps.

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