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A History of Media Technology Scares

February 16th, 2010 02:09 admin Leave a comment Go to comments

jamesswift writes “Vaughan Bell at Slate has written an interesting article on the centuries old phenomenon of hysterical suspicion surrounding new media and the technologies that enable them. ‘A respected Swiss scientist, Conrad Gessner, might have been the first to raise the alarm about the effects of information overload. In a landmark book, he described how the modern world overwhelmed people with data and that this overabundance was both “confusing and harmful” to the mind. The media now echo his concerns with reports on the unprecedented risks of living in an “always on” digital environment. It’s worth noting that Gessner, for his part, never once used e-mail and was completely ignorant about computers. That’s not because he was a technophobe but because he died in 1565.’ The best line comes near then end: ‘The writer Douglas Adams observed how technology that existed when we were born seems normal, anything that is developed before we turn 35 is exciting, and whatever comes after that is treated with suspicion.’”

Source: A History of Media Technology Scares

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