Tom Sloan Cartoon: Ask Grandma About That Sunset, I Dare You

Written by Tom Sloan

Tom Sloan wants to know: Is a picture worth a thousand words? According to that old saying in tech speak, it probably is. — Is a picture worth, as the old saw goes, a thousand words? Probably. The latest Tom Sloan cartoon has one take on the matter.

Try to accurately describe what a rhinoceros looks like. That would be quite a chore. And it would take 1,000 words easily. If grandma were at the beach and she saw a beautiful sunrise, she might write a letter and say something like, “I saw a beautiful sunrise over the ocean. It was a brilliant red-orange.” She could go on and on describing all the colors, hues, shades, clouds and reflections.

It might be more poetic to write about imagery but …

Cartoon by Tom Sloan

Cartoon by Tom Sloan

The advantage we have in the 21st century is simple. It’s the combo of ubiquitous cameras and computers — all affordable, within reason

Putting a camera on a computer, smartphone or tablet opens up a whole new world that grandma never pictured. Computers can see and know what they are looking at. Fingerprint, retinal and facial recognition systems are becoming commonplace, as we saw at MWC 2014.

Robots with cameras on a manufacturing assembly line are able to recognize a defective product. The robots on Mars are another example. These robots can tell earthlings about the rocks it sees — although its description is in scientific jargon, not English. But to put it into words we all understand, all we need is to add a few kilobytes of programming to allow for full descriptions of the imagery seen. Then maybe I won’t have to write anymore. I’ll just photograph my ideas and let you read about them.

On that note, there’s another old saying out there: Actions speak louder than words. Therefore, are actions louder than pictures? Are pictures worth a certain number of actions? Or are they equal?

For, I’m Tom Sloan.

Tom Sloan has drawn cartoons and illustrations for numerous publications — including the original BYTE magazine. Not limited to print, Tom’s cartoons and collages are displayed in museums and galleries throughout the United States. He’s also an accomplished animator. He’s created animations for such as clients Sesame Street, HBO, Nickelodeon, Captain Kangaroo, Romper Room, Burger King and McDonalds.