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Voyeurgasm: I Like to Watch

May 6, 2021 | Ubertrends

Rodney King’s 1991 beating was a watershed moment in modern history. Not only was it groundbreaking due to the light it shed on police violence, but the captured video also surfaced a visibility Ubertrend, Voyeurgasm, which points to a future where smartphones, action cameras, or surveillance cameras capture just about everything.

Voyeurgasm dates back to the beginning of humankind but the rapid evolution of technology has consolidated this Ubertrend over the past few decades:

  • Early history – While paintings were the first medium to help budding voyeurs catch glimpses of others, unrobed or not, it was the 1839 invention by Louis Daguerre, the daguerrotype, that ushered in the ability record photographic images on film.
  • Reality shows – Voyeurgasm’s impact on media is well-documented. In 1992, MTV debuted “Real World,” a show about seven strangers who shared a home, which kicked off a huge reality show wave.
  • HDTV/UHD – The 1990s ushered in high-definition video technology, which dramatically raised the quality of voyeurgasmic videos. Now, the market is moving to “ultra high definition,” or 4K, which will ratchet up video quality in anticipation of 8K.
  • YouTube – Perhaps no other medium has brought Voyeurgasm to the forefront more than YouTube. Launched in February 2005, YouTube has changed the way the world shares and consumes video. After just 15 years in existence, more than 1 billion hours of video are watched each day on YouTube. You might label it “digital rubbernecking.”

LG Signature 8K OLED TVAt the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show, LG unveiled an 88-inch, “Real 8K” OLED TV ($30,000), offering double the resolution of 4K TV, or 7680×4320 eye-bleeding pixels. Devices like these will provide endless hours of immersive, voyeurgasmic entertainment.

  • Action cameras – Following a 2002 surfing trip to Australia, Nick Woodman kickstarted another trend when he founded GoPro, which established a new type of Voyeurgasmic output, action-camera videos.
  • Smartphones – If the video camera revolutionized Voyeurgasm, it’s the smartphone that made it possible to capture any event and instantly upload video to the internet, allowing the broad dissemination of formerly less public happenings.
  • Police brutality – Another remarkable incident happened on Jul. 19, 2014, when a bystander used a smartphone to catch a New York City police officer choking 43-year-old Eric Garner to death. Mobile phones, bodycams, and dash cams will soon capture every police deed and misdeed, as the George Floyd footage so powerfully illustrated.
  • Surveillance – Security cameras are routinely capturing misconduct, from FedEx drivers carelessly flinging delivery packages to three girls taking a bath in a KFC sink. Not an evening goes by without a news report showing someone caught by surveillance cameras. According to Emergen Research, the video surveillance market is predicted to reach $87 billion by 2027. The installed base of surveillance cameras is set to surpass the 1 billion mark by 2023.
  • Celebrity Worship Syndrome – Our voyeuristic obsession with celebrities led New Scientist magazine to conclude in 2003 that one-third of Americans were suffering from something it dubbed “Celebrity Worship Syndrome.”
  • Transparency – Another subtle effect of Voyeurgasm is the growing role of transparency in everything we do. From public disclosures to glass-walled bathrooms to see-through restaurant kitchen windows, society is rapidly vaulting towards a future where being able to see one’s innermost processes will become de rigueur.

Expect Voyeurgasm to materially reshape society, as Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, conspire with billions of smartphones and surveillance cameras to create a brave new media world where just about anything goes, on video.

“Voyeurgasm” was originally identified by author Michael Tchong. To learn more about this Ubertrend, read “Ubertrends — How Trends And Innovation Are Transforming Our Future.”

Michael Tchong’s Ubertrends book
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