Technology and the Media Essay
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Technology and the Media
In this essay, British historian and broadcaster Asa Briggs looks at how technological advances made in recent decades have created a revolution in the media, allowing people to communicate in ways they had never dreamed of. Briggs notes that although these new modes of communication—including the television, the personal computer, the Internet, and other digital technologies—are available throughout many parts of the world, these media may be used in different ways depending upon the prevailing political and social circumstances. Briggs also raises questions about the future of the media and how the unfolding media revolution will affect people’s lives.
Technology and the Media
The sense that the world is…show more content…
It was within the computer age that the term “information society” acquired wide currency to describe the context within which we now live. Advanced countries, it was claimed, were evolving from an industrial to an information society. The term “industrial revolution” had been used before the term “communications revolution,” and now these two “revolutions” were compared. They had each influenced both work and leisure and how we think and feel both about place and time, but in each case there had been controversies about their economic, political, social, and cultural implications. “Benefits” were weighed against “harmful” outcomes. Generalizations proved difficult. The press and the journalists who wrote for it had always had their critics.
Television was attacked more comprehensively for “consuming much [time and] energy” while ignoring “the fundamentals of life.”
Not everyone agreed—or agrees—about the “causes” of the communications revolution. Were there single causes of particular episodes in it? The words “cause” and “effect,” which have been applied to each technological change in turn, from the steam engine to the computer, are quite inadequate. It has never been possible to isolate each single effect, big or small. Technology by itself does not explain. The same technology was used in quite different ways in different political and social contexts.
All these changes in media and communication that have taken place over the last century are due to a huge technological development. Furthermore, this is a cultural and technological evolution and it is the nature of evolution that it accelerates. Therefore "the pace of change is itself accelerating", according to Ray Kurzweil "the 20th century was like 25 years of change at today’s rate of change. In the next 25 years we’ll make four times the progress you saw in the 20th century. And we’ll make 20,000 years of progress in the 21st century, which is almost a thousand times more technical change than what we saw in the 20th century".
"Technology is a drug.
We can’t get enough of it.
We feed it to our kids and watch them grow on a forced diet of desensitisation. Switch on the TV and someone will tell you 50,000 people died in India. Two seconds later you’re watching a comedy. Technology can do that. It gives us simulated realities that make us oblivious to the real world. Heroin does the same thing. So do most class A drugs. Basically we are all addicts – addicted to the comfort and convenience that technology provides – addicted to the notion that progress is directly related to the size of your computer screen… When I look in front of me, I see two paths – spiritual or material. Two worlds – developed or developing. You decide which is which…"
NitinSawhney, Prophesy (2002)
Yes, our daily lives have improved greatly thanks to new digital media, satellite communication and all the technological advances that surround us. But one thing we must not forget is that all that is there to help us, not to make us become its slaves by making us oblivious to what really matters. Now that we have access to more information we should make good use of it in order to try to solve the problems that we have around the world.