Media Evolution and Cultural Memory Discussion

Media Evolution and Cultural Memory Discussion

Question Description

I’m working on a writing case study and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

Media Evolution and Cultural Memory

In the last half century, humans have seen media systems rapidly converge and evolve. Going back millennia, however, our language and culture has also evolved alongside those kinds of technological changes. In the late 1970s, Media Futurist Nicholas Negroponte envisioned various separate media industries converging, creating overlaps between the publishing, broadcast, and electronic computer industries.

These kinds of large scale changes in our systems created shifts on personal levels, too, in the way that groups and individuals experience reality and human relations. Donna Haraway sees those changes as evolutionary, with those new interactions between humans and machines creating a new kind of organism, a cyborg. These kinds of revolutions in society created by various technologies are not new— language itself was a transformative technology, and as Walter Ong describes, the act of writing produced evolutionary changes in human cognition, making possible more complex reasoning while de-emphasizing certain social rituals.

However, the electronic age which has produced digital information and networks marks a significant paradigm shift. Stewart Brand insists that the ephemeral nature of digital information requires a concerted effort to be responsible ancestors to preserve human culture for future generations, some of which is critical for the survival of the human race. And Nicholas Carr worries that “Google is making us stupid,” or at least hard wiring our attention for different kinds of activities, undoing our deep thinking capacities that Ong noted, again on an evolutionary scale.

How has your personal media use changed since you became aware of new technologies and systems? How do you imagine the media-landscape or human-machine relationships will change in the coming generations and what do you see as the critical factors? What kinds of choices are you making based on those factors to preserve or transmit cultural memory or your personal history to future humans? What does it mean to be a responsible ancestor? Will you be able to give advice to future generations about how to be a responsible ancestor?

Use one or more of these models of media evolution and provide an example of how you see it affecting cultural memory.