We take technology as a raw substance and direct our creative energies to harness its capability to do our bidding and it has always been such since made found out how to make fire. We have mentioned Gutenberg from time time and even in our whitepaper on mobile as the 7th Mass Media
The First Law of Technology says we invariably overestimate the short-term impact of new technologies while underestimating their longer-term effects. The invention of printing in the 15th century had an extraordinary short-term impact: though scholars argue about the precise number, within 40 years of the first Gutenberg bible between eight and 24 million books, representing 30,000 titles, had been printed and published. To those around at the time, it seemed like a pretty big deal.
They didn't know, for example, that Gutenberg's technology, which enabled lay people to read and interpret the bible for themselves, would undermine the authority of the Catholic church and fuel the Reformation. Or that it would enable the rise of modern science by facilitating the rapid and accurate dissemination of ideas. Or create new social classes of clerks, teachers and intellectuals. Or alter our conception of 'childhood' as a protected early stage in the lives of young people. In an oral culture, childhood effectively ended at the age when an individual could be regarded as a competent communicator, ie, about seven - which is why the Vatican defined that as 'the age of reason' after which individuals could be held accountable for their sins.
Naughton refers to a recent study on reading behaviour from the British Library and researchers at University College London. I am not sure if this is the correct link that Naughton refers to however it is interesting and I think it is the right one. The google generation and research
The findings describe 'a new form of information-seeking behaviour' characterised as being 'horizontal, bouncing, checking and viewing in nature. Users are promiscuous, diverse and volatile.' 'Horizontal' information-seeking means 'a form of skimming activity, where people view just one or two pages from an academic site then "bounce" out, perhaps never to return.' The average times users spend on e-book and e-journal sites are very short: typically four and eight minutes respectively.
John sums up
The study confirms what many are beginning to suspect: that the web is having a profound impact on how we conceptualise, seek, evaluate and use information. What Marshall McLuhan called 'the Gutenberg galaxy' - that universe of linear exposition, quiet contemplation, disciplined reading and study - is imploding, and we don't know if what will replace it will be better or worse. But at least you can find the Wikipedia entry for 'Gutenberg galaxy' in 0.34 seconds.
In one oy my speeches I say
The comedian Bill Bailey describes reading Stephen Hawkings’ A Brief History of Time. In it Hawking suggests the universe could be 3 possible shapes. These are:
1). Long and thin like a piece of tagliatelle
2). Round like a marble
3). Saddle shaped
Bailey finds it hard to deal with the notion that our universe could be saddle shaped. In fact, he believes that Hawkings should say that the universe is saddle shaped, and that is strapped to a giant donkey being led up and down an intergalactic beach by God.
The point is that our once familiar analogue world, which we understood no longer exists in our digital universe.
As Bailey observed, in the days of Christopher Columbus it was easier to buy a "To the edge and back ticket"
We don’t know what shape our new digital universe is. We have to learn to navigate and describe it, and it presents us with new challenges in creatine new businesses, new culture, and having a new logic and language to describe the world we live in.
Often we hear newscasts or documentaries where people are talking from the the 1940's their voices sound so different from today. It is a simple observation, but it readily demonstrates that nothing ever stands still.
We are in perpetual motion.