Every new invention always brings at least one totally unexpected benefit. Teflon was discovered by NASA, for example. I bet nobody expected Neil Armstrong to come back from the moon with a non stick frying pan.
Actually, it didn’t happen like that. Teflon was developed as a heat resistant material for coating a rocket. One day, for a bet, a rocket scientist decided to fry an egg on the hot surface of a landing craft he’d been testing. But the egg kept sliding off. Though initially furious, he suddenly had what philosophers call a eureka. We in the technology industry call it a ‘monetise moment’.
Surveillance cameras have been just as surprising. Originally developed by George Orwell, so that Stalin could plant more jackboots on more faces, from the comfort of his management console, networked video has mutated into something beautiful and empowering.
Surveillance cameras evolved into community monitored TV. One day, a random variation took place in the breed, which allowed multiple people to view cameras. A news species of CCTV (genus Community Monitorus) was created, which was much better adapted to social cohesion. Conditions for this new breed were ideal and the species, popularly known as community monitored TV, has thrived.
There are burgeoning communities of CMTV all over the place. They’re like electronic meerkats, only they don’t kill their young or indulge in vicious gangfights or take part in hideous TV commercials for dodgy insurance companies.
Community monitored TV is great for watching out for predators and a great tool when foraging for food. “Mum, that’s the Waitrose delivery man at the door!”
Some use them for Wildlife watching. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds encourages all its members to get online and it has a whole raft of cameras you can watch. From the comfort of your kitchen – while you’re frying up your eggs.