Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Medium is the Message

These are the immortal words of Marshall McLuhan (recently quoted by Jim Fitzgerald)that just seem to surface over and over and over again through the course.
This is of course McLuhan's most famous and enduring quote, but another idea put forward by the famed 1960's media analyst also has profound relevance these 50-some-odd-years later.
McLuhan put forward the theory of the extension of man. He sees the human desire to extend itself in bigger, faster, better ways. In that, he proposes, the hammer is an extension of the fist, and the car is an extension of the feet, humans are able to promote their autonomy over the world - a basic human desire. He continues to describe the idea of the over-extension. The car in its overuse has brought about massive social problems in North America. From what was intended to be a device of increased mobility has resulted in record instances of obesity.
How does this play out when paired off against the idea that computers are an extension of the brain? When used effectivley, they undoubtedly extend human intellectual capabilities. What then is the result of computer overuse? I think the answer for the next generation of computer natives is akin to the obesity result in the car example.

No comments:

Post a Comment