Thursday, March 27, 2008

Satellite TV Networks, Cell Phones, and GPS, Oh My!

As you may know, my main interest in [communications] is in the use of satellite relays, which I think may revolutionise the pattern of world communications. To the best of my knowledge, I was the first to suggest this possiblity (see "Extraterrestrial Relays", Wireless World, October '45). ... My general conclusions are that perhaps in 30 years the orbital relay system may take over all the functions of existing surface networks and provide others quite impossible today. For example, the three stations in the 24-hour orbit could provide not only an interference AND censorship-free global TV service for the same power as a single modern transmitter, but could also make possible a position-finding grid whereby anyone on earth could locate himself by means of a couple of dials on an instrument about the size of a watch. (A development of Decca and transistorisation.) It might even make possible world-wide person-to-person radio with automatic dialling. Thus no-one on the planet need ever get lost or become out of touch with the community, unless he wanted to be. I'm still thinking about the social consequences of this!

-- Arthur C. Clarke, anticipating international TV networks, GPS, and ubiquitous phone access, letter to Andrew Haley, August 1956

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Uniquely interesting blog; a good read.