Friday, March 6, 2009

Computers: What have we done?

Anyone who has spent a few hours on the Internet understands how reading a single paragraph can lead to a multimedia journey so far-reaching you forget what you originally went online to look up.

Computers had got in the way with of our relationship to nature. As we increasingly connect with the world through computer screens, we’re removing ourselves from direct sensory contact with nature. In other words, we’re learning to substitute symbols of reality for reality itself. I think that’s particularly true for children who’ve grown up surrounded by screens from a young age. You could argue that this isn’t necessarily something new, that it’s just a continuation of what we saw with other electronic media like radio or tv. But I do think it’s an amplification of those trends.

Every time there’s a transition to a new computer architecture, there’s a tendency simply to assume that existing applications will be carried over (ie, word processors in the cloud). But the new architecture actually makes possible many new applications that had never been thought of, and these are the ones that go on to define the next stage of computing such as social media websites that are also changing the way people are communicating with each other.

What exactly is behind our rage to document and publish in internet the minutiae of our daily existence? That's hard to say. Maybe it's just another manifestation of modern-day narcissism. Maybe it's a byproduct of our media-saturated culture, with its sense that nothing's real until it's been recorded and broadcast. Or maybe it goes deeper than that. In striving to preserve the moments of our lives, to immortalise them, might we simply be expressing our fear of death?


elastichica said...

For me it has to do with anonymity. I feel I can "publish" pretty much anything and it is still very much my secret... Does that make sense? Internet has to do with the whole world and yet no one in particular. I could be typing this comment in NY, Buenos Aires, Venice or Bangladesh and you wouldn't know...

Mariana : me pasas el blog de Pola que sin querer eliminé mis links y ando perdida... De a poco empezaré a reaermar mis blogs amigos...

Mariana Soffer said...

Txs elastichica:
I thought a lot about anonymity, it makes perfect sense what you are saying. Indeed I am doing another blog with an anonymous authors, things I do not want people to know I say them (Specially cause of work), but I still want to say then.

PD: my next post is for you, to answer your question

By the way who are you?