Thursday, October 7, 2010

Is Print Dead? or Just Dying? Part II.

The rise of computers does have its detractors. The French philosopher Jean Baudrillard argues that the internet may, by its excess of information, do little to solve the problem of information glut. “Computer science only indicates the retrospective omnipotence of our technologies.” Baudrillard says.  “In other words, it has an infinite capacity to process data and in no sense a new vision. With that science, we are entering an era of exhaustivity, which is also an era of exhaustion.”
Those who make the argument that the digital medium will never trump the written word also point out the inherent unreliability of electronic hookups, faulty computer equipment and information that is scattered across several servers. Pen on paper is more concrete, solid, trust worthy. “To err is human,” said a participant in a BBC radio program in 1982, “but to really foul things up requires a computer.”
Still, many people argue for the great advantages of the digital medium over the printed work: the ability to follow links quickly in a fashion that more closely resembles the associative nature of the human brain; the power to share information in the fields of medicine and science and the capacity to pinpoint information in several minutes that might have taken days or weeks in the stacks of a library.
 For those feeling a little nostalgic about the days when you could curl up by the fire with book in hand will be with e book in hand. It is hard to tell whether a class room in the year 2100 will consist of students who need only come to class with stylus and e book in hand. It is also likely that people will still read books on paper in another 100 years for the sense of authenticity that only a book with dog eared pages and a history of individual readers can confer. Then again,   some point out that the printed book is the text’s container, not its essence. Moreover, e books will cost little, never go out of print, and always be at the ready online.

1 comment:

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.