Should we welcome the nanocams?

I’m reading a short story by Ian Creasey called “The Edge of the Map”. In the world depicted by Creasey, automated cameras called “nanocams” take photos and newspapers (and other media, presumably) source their illustrations from the pool created by them. In other words, there is no need for specialist photographers.

This raises a number of interesting questions.

1. Is this sort of technical development likely? How feasible is it? (I’d say yes, and very.)

2. Is it desirable? I suppose your answer may depend to some extent on whether you make your living from photography.

3. Is it inevitable?

4. What happens to the specialist jobs associated with photography once nano cams, or something like them, become ubiquitous?

5. What happens to the notion of privacy once there are nano cams everywhere? Would we even notice a difference, given how much CCTV surveillance goes on already?

I think it’s important to discuss these sorts of issues with students. If you’re worried that it has nothing to do with “Computing”, think “digital literacy”, “cyberwisdom”, “e-safety”. And in any case, these sorts of things are interesting to discuss regardless of whether they feature explicitly in the curriculum.

cross-posted at

Terry Freedman is an independent educational ICT consultant with over 35 years of experience in education. He publishes the ICT in Education website and the newsletter “Digital Education."