CNN Technology

Critics warn of multimedia 'hell'

September 14, 1995
Web posted at: 5:50 p.m. EDT

OSAKA, Japan (CNN) -- Some telecommunications experts fear the multimedia revolution is setting the stage for the eventual breakdown of society. The gloomy forecast was aired in a debate at a conference of the International Institute of Communications in Osaka.

American lawyer Delbert Smith said the telecommunications revolution is about control and power. "Hell is a loss of privacy, and nothing brings us closer to hell than telecommunications technology," he said. "We will all end up consumers with no privacy in a technological world with no protections."

Debaters said that while the so-called information superhighway improves access to information, it also could destroy jobs, isolate women, and possibly lead to anarchy.

John Eger, communications and public policy professor at San Diego State University, warned against what he called the divisive power of telecommunications. He said religious, linguistic and tribal conflicts throughout the world have been started and fueled to some extent by the spread of telecommunications, which he said can easily promote sensationalism and propaganda.

"This is the hell...that we must be most concerned about," he cautioned. "This is the hell that we must do something about if we are to succeed and survive in the new global information economy and society.

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