Retire The Teleprompter

The following posting first appeared on the nascent blog of the Strategic and Emerging Technologies (SET) Section of the American Accounting Association. I am the Chair of the Committee that is developing the social media platform of the Section, and I am posting these whimsical messages on the blog to enable us to test various technical features.

Although this posting contains humorous content, we plan to transition to more serious fare as we build out the infrastructure of the platform … without losing our sense of humor, of course!

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Whether or not we agree with the political opinions that Donald Trump is espousing to Republican voters in the American presidential campaign, we might concur that he is correct about the over-use of a ubiquitous communication technology.

Which technology is that? It’s the teleprompter. According to Trump, “I think about my speeches and I don’t believe in teleprompters, although it’s very easy. I would like to go up and stand and read a speech for an hour and just leave … I jokingly say if you’re running for president you shouldn’t be allowed to use teleprompters … you know what happens, you don’t have the same vibrance, you understand.”

The teleprompter is hardly a strategic and emerging technology. It has barely changed since the TelePrompTer Corporation first developed it over sixty years ago. It’s thus a bit surprising that its fundamental problem— that individuals who talk with their eyes glued to their screens cannot possibly speak with Trumpian vibrance to their audiences — still exists to this day.

So why haven’t our technology whizzes developed a new device to replace the teleprompter? Customized pairs of Google Glasses, for example, would permit politicians to read their lines from the tiny screens on their eyeglass frames.

Of course, as a fashion statement, eyeglasses have been known to backfire on candidates. Recently, former Texas Governor Rick Perry withdrew from the presidential campaign after Donald Trump ridiculed his eye wear, claiming that Perry “put on glasses so people (might) think he’s smart.”

If that is a concern, then perhaps Google can develop a pair of glasses with transparent or invisible frames. On April 1st of this year, for instance, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum published a blog posting about its display of the comic superhero Wonder Woman’s invisible jet airplane. According to the Smithsonian, she has been flying it since she first became a public figure during the 1940s.

So why not ask Google to build its smart glasses with Wonder Woman’s invisible technology? The product would easily replace the teleprompter, and would enable many Republican candidates to compete with The Donald.  🙂