Reading Response 4 – Stephanie Blazevic

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?

 

I think the most important part of computer culture today to mention would be the sheer quantity of technology that has become so readily available to us, and how new that is for this time. It is truly a revolutionary aspect of todays culture, one that people 25 years from now should know about. In my lifetime I’ve gone from knowing a laptop the size and width of what would have been my torso at the time of it being in my house, to one that you could probably fit in the pocket of a pair of men’s cargo pants. Not to mention the fact that we carry even smaller versions of computers around with us at all hours of the day.

 

Another slightly comical aspect I’d want to bring up is the size of cell phones throughout the years. They started enormous, the size of a brief case I’m pretty sure, and eventually they shrunk down to the size of your palm. After this everyone seemed to notice how inconvenient this was, and now they’ve been slowly making bigger and bigger phones once again – although they will never go back to the size of a brief case I’m sure.

 

I can remember a scene in a show, unfortunately I believe it was Supernatural, where a character comes from the past. The main characters nonchalantly mention that they will look something up on the computer, and the character who came from the past shakes this off as a joke saying “As if you could fit a computer in this room.” When really, it’s a typical laptop that is often used today. I would hope to touch on this evolution of technology if I were ever to give such a speech. I believe I heard at one point that when the computer was originally built, they guessed they would only ever need 5 in the world. Now, it’s not uncommon to hear of people basically having about 3 or 4 forms of computers – with the variety being laptops, desktops, personal and work phones, and tablets. This will no doubt increase once again as technology progresses. It could be said that the new Apple watch is a form of a computer, so already we are finding newer ways to introduce more, smaller technology in our lives.

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