| The historical evolution of those four generations should not be viewed as a simple addition. The emergence of each generation produced a structural shift in the communication setting from speech to speech-print to speech-print-video to speech-print-video-multimedia. One can not, therefore, escape the implications of this current shift by simply continuing to work within the previous generations and ignoring this fourth generation. It feeds back on the previous generations. The impact of this fourth generation on the second generation of print, in the form of desktop publishing (DTP), has already essentially wiped out the traditional typesetter; its impact on the third generation of video - the domain of broadcast education, in the form of desktop video production (DTVP), threatens (or promises, depending on your point of view) to do the same for traditional video processors.|
This threat can also be viewed as an opportunity, since people trained in the third generation of media are most competent to enter the vast domain opening up in this fourth generation. If you are visually illiterate before a computer appears on your desk, then you will still be visually illiterate after it does. Those who have been "homesteading on the electronic frontier" are being threatened by the arrival of the railroad and cattle barons (Rheingold 1993). However, there will be a huge demand for people at home on this range.
A more precise prediction (Brand 1987, p. 42) presents another challenge to broadcast. It questions both the "broad" and the "cast". It suggests that video will become increasingly directed to narrow, specialised audiences in the emerging 500-channel future; and that the emphasis will shift from the source to the destination as those channels become interactive, that is, from "cast" to "catch". BEA members may not want to rename their organisation Narrowcatch Education Association but they must rethink their discipline in the light those two shifts.
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