The Duncan Banner

Opinion

June 3, 2012

More techno growth in World of Perspiring Arts

DUNCAN — While cruising through the universe trying to regulate the pace of surging technology, 21st Century Technoman enjoys visiting the World of Perspiring Arts.

Some of you are aware of Technoman’s affinity for sports and that he was a sportswriter in a previous life. Seems Technoman always has one foot in the Real World and the other in the World of Perspiring Arts.

In search of balance between human capacity and the relentless march of technology, Technoman finds the first 12 years of the 21st century decade have been a time of techno-growth in sports. As it is in the Real World, some of the new technology in the World of Perspiring Arts has a positive impact, while some has been techno-detrimental.

As an example of the latter, there’s little doubt technology tied to performance-enhancing drugs took a problem that’s been around quite a while and turned it into a scourge.

In the 21st century, performance enhancers have tainted some sports — baseball, bike racing, etc. — to the point it’s difficult to take them seriously. Reports of athletes failing drug tests regularly appear in the media, and although people in leadership roles are trying to stem PED use, in their heart of hearts they know it’s a losing game.

In pursuit of success, fortune and fame, some athletes and their handlers will do anything to gain an edge. So the PED cat-and-mouse charade will continue.

In fact, in the years ahead, PED technology will become an even more cynical factor. As Technoman speaks, new performance-enhancers more difficult to track are being developed, and scientists working with genetics are studying ways to produce super-athletes through DNA manipulation.

Then there’s the technology of how we watch athletic events.

Technoman is aware of the impact TV has on sports, and the Internet, smartphones and other technologies are definitely laying out a braver new World of Perspiring Arts.

When TV networks first superimposed the first-down line onto the field of an NFL or college football game, it seemed really cool, but it’s already passé. Cable Cam and other brands of suspended TV cameras now provide new angles from which to view several sports, but even that’s old news.

Heck, during last month’s Indy 500, ESPN had more than 80 cameras televising the race, including four onboard HD cameras in nine of the 33 cars.

A couple years ago, NBC unveiled a techno-format called “Sunday Night Football Extra” that allows you stream a game broadcast on a computer, while at the same time watching four extra online-only views of other things going on in the game, on the sidelines or in the stands.

But before the “new” had been blown off that concept, along came another leap in technology that will make high-definition TV as a way to view the World of Perspiring Arts obsolete as the 20teens progress.

In 2010, the British launched a 3D sports satellite TV channel in pursuit of bringing soccer to life. If this technology pans out and the 3D broadcasts become more crisp than most of the 3D movies you pay $15 to watch at a theater, imagine what the concept will do with the NFL, college football, the NBA, the NHL, etc.

Will any common folks want to go to a live sports event again?

Think about it: You can watch action in 3D — with multiple angles and all sorts of techno-amenities and diversions — from the comfort of the living room.

Will you still be inclined to go to a stadium and spend $100 for a ticket, $8 for a hot dog and $10 for a beer, and end up with such a bad seat you spend most of the game watching plays on a Jumbotron?

In a way, the idea of boarding up the mega-stadiums pro sports owners and colleges have spent kazillions building — often with funds coerced from the public — may have some symmetry.

But from Techoman’s perspective, if we’re creating a World of Perspiring Arts in which everyone stays home and watches a computer or a 3D image, technology will have again stripped us of the communality of gathering together; of rubbing elbows with another human being, of looking someone straight in the eye and reaffirming our humanity.

As you might expect, 21st Century Technoman thinks that’s a bad thing, whether in the Real World or in the World of Perspiring Arts.

jeff.kaley@duncanbanner.com

580-255-5354, Ext. 172

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