station" before the Japanese do. But he's not around, so we won't use any of those jokes.

It is a good time, instead, to talk of technological transition and the change it is spawning throughout industries and indeed, throughout American society. As all of you know, technologies are moving increasingly from analog to digital forms of communication, and whole industries are undergoing a transition being wrought by the convergence, or growing together, of digital technologies.

This technological transition or convergence is leading inexorably toward the creation of a new mega-industry: the information industry. Comprising computer companies, software houses, telephone and cable companies, manufacturers of wireless gadgets, and others, the development of this mega-industry and its harmonization of what we more often think of as diverse technologies and distinct industries are taking place at a heady pace.

A quick look around at what is happening out there can astound even those who follow such developments, as I do, rather closely. For instance:

  • Hollywood is going digital. New computer-controlled special effects like "morphing," which allowed villainous characters in Terminator 2 to constantly change form, digitized movies, and computer-simulated prescreening, which saves producers thousands of dollars, are becoming commonplace. The "high-tech" efforts of today are allowing "digital actors" from yesteryear, like Humphrey Bogart or Groucho Marx, to come alive again on the screen, or to dance with Paula Abdul in soft-drink commercials. Columbia has talked about releasing its movies and interactive video using digital distribution over telephone lines and cable TV to homes and theaters.

  • In health care, a recent study by Arthur D. Little concluded that advanced telecommunications could help cut the cost of health care delivery in this country by $36 billion annually through "telemedicine," remote video doctor-patient consultations, and electronic filing of claims.

  • In education, the advent of digital communications in the classroom, from ISDN-based distance learning projects to interactive media as a new tool in teaching, could help make the telecommunications infrastructure of tomorrow the "great equalizer" in U.S. education by linking resources and students, rich and poor, urban and rural, and by giving everyone access to the Information Age.

  • In manufacturing, the agile techniques that telecommunications-conversant CEOs employ could mean that the "virtual corporation" may help Bill Clinton achieve a "virtual economic recovery."

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