Our world has become over-saturated with technology.
Steve LeVine writing in Axios says that from 1 AD to long after the invention of the printing press, media was a non-issue. Shortly after the beginning of the Industrial Revolution it wasn’t long before everyone had a smartphone, as the chart above demonstrates.
The speed of this new communications revolution is occurring at a pace that is virtually impossible for us to wrap our minds around. And it’s going to get even faster with artificial intelligence, 5G wireless, quantum computing, robotics, and more on the way.
Expect the future to rapidly change our lives in ways both good and bad.
Expect that as communications brings our world closer together, it will also create more distractions, divide us into silos, create chaos and change our societies in ways we haven’t thought about.
This is the world that traditional media will need to adapt to.
Maryann Wolf, the director of the Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Leaners and Social Justice at UCLA recently found that “Many college students actively avoid the classic literature of the 19th and 20th centuries because they no longer have the patience to read longer, denser, more difficult texts.”
What this means to our society is that large numbers of students today have an inability to read with a level of critical analysis to sufficiently comprehend the complexity of thought and argument found in more demanding texts, contracts, or those deliberately written to be confusing in public referendum questions we all have encountered on voting day.
Arguments engaged in on Facebook and other social media platforms are often based on emotional assumptions and biases, rather than any deep study of the issues being debated.
The issues most critical to society are often the ones needing the most critical analysis and complexity of thought to fully comprehend, unfortunately those types of issues can’t be chanted like “build the wall” or “lock her up.”
Yet, we live in an increasingly complex world where people are attracted to simple solutions. The reality is, there are no simple solutions to the problems that confront all of us, like climate change.
Amusing Ourselves to Death
Neil Postman published his seminal work “Amusing Ourselves to Death” in 1985. I continued to use it in my broadcast classes because, back in the day what he saw occurring with only television, has exploded in magnitude with the growth of the internet and social media.
We’ve never been more connected as a planet or more divided into our own little silos.
A New Direction for Broadcast
In next week’s blog, I will continue to consider a way for broadcast media to deal with this over-saturation of media. It’s radio’s super power whose time has come again.