Blog Response Number 4 – Will Parks

Although this speech was given 25 years ago at the advent of the Internet, many of Postman’s concerns and insights around technology and the role of the computer in defining contemporary life ring true today. If you were to give a speech about the state of computer technology today that would be read by someone 25 years from now, what issues would you address and what predictions for the future would you make?

In his speech on information technology, Neil Postman brings up some very important concerns. The over-abundance of communication and information brought on by computer technology is a double-edged sword. While people are able to obtain and learn information from all over the globe faster than ever before, this technology has been abused by people trying to make money by mis-informing people. The over-abundance of mundane information has also slowed people down immensely. For every two steps forward that we take, it seems we must take one step back. As technology moves forward, 25 years after Postman’s predictions, we are faced with new and old dilemmas.

Moore’s law states that the┬ánumber of transistors in a dense integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years, and will continue to do so in the future. This means that every 2 years, we are making huge leaps in computing technology, pushing out faster and more powerful hardware for people to use. As technology like this continues to grow, complex computing tasks will take far less time to complete. Complex processes, and long loading times will be cut down as people upgrade the technology in their homes and businesses. Simple tasks will be completed even faster. As technology and society speeds up at this aggressive pace, there will probably be some trade-offs in society. Simple mundane that exist outside of information technology and take lots of time will be probably become aggravating for people, or even worse, forgotten. People will be used to new speeds, and certain outdated technologies and ideals will fall by the wayside. Consider the difference between travelling in an original Model T car and a Bugati Veyron. This is the divide we are seeing in the coming years with information technology. It is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and also one of the fastest growing businesses.

As the computer industry continues to grow in size and influence, I think that there will be massive shifts in ideals and practices. As we continue to grow faster and faster in computing power, more mundane and time-consuming tasks will fall by the wayside.

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