Blog Post

Everyone's Afraid of Something

If I've heard it once, I've heard it a million times. For every new technological invention there is someone who gives some technologically deterministic argument that outlines the slippery slope from new invention until the end of things that are important to classic forms of learning and instruction. With the Internet came the idea that people would cease to interact in a physical space and with the e-Book came the response that soon there will be no more paper books. For some reason there is a fear, among people who engage in the Humanities, that at some point what they do is no longer going to be relevant, or it's going to be replaced with some shiny new invention. Now, although I can see, to some extent, how innovation may be a concern, I don't see how a person can believe that if a new thing is created an old thing will cease to exist. The most common thing that comes to my mind that refutes this belief system is the bicycle. Although we live in a world of cars and motor bikes, when I look around my college campus there are still people who enjoy riding their bicycles. Yes, motor bikes are newer, more efficient, and they get you to your destination much faster than a bicycle, but that doesn't mean that tomorrow bicycles will become obsolete. One of the most applicable ideas that I’ve come across in my time learning about Digital Humanities is Jay D. Bolter’s and Richard Grusin’s concept of remediation, which states that over time one medium is used to improve upon an older medium so that that an audience can enjoy that medium more. Taking this idea, it can be said that a consumer decides what things are going to be labeled obsolete or relevant, and that technology should not be to blame for the erasure of every old way of doing things. Technology only seeks to make things better, and although we should not forget the past, it’s also important to embrace the future.    

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