As the semester comes to a close, long study days, late night cramming sessions, and cumulative finals are about to make a very unwelcome appearance on Furman’s campus. While Aristotle and Plato, the history of the media, and theories of ethics will be long gone from my brain this Christmas break, I leave Digital Communications with a new tool set that is essential not only to navigate through the digital world but also the digital immersed lives that we live as well.
Over the semester, I’ve come to recognize that the our digitally dominated world is both a blessing and a curse, and there are greater things to be concerned with than whether “Google is making us stupid.” I leave the class with a pressing question that is impossible to answer with absolute certainty:
Where will we go from here?
In Open Sky, Paul Virilio discusses technological reductionism and transplantation revolution, two concepts that have the potential to drastically change life as we know it.
According to Virilio, less has become more in our society. There is a constant push to shrink technology to its smallest forms. We have gone from the two pound brick of a cell phone to iPhones that function more like computers than cell phones. Laptops have replaced computers and now iPads are replacing laptops as the new must-have gadget. How small can we go? What happens if we reduce technology to its spatial limits?
The miniaturization of technology has made the transplantation revolution a reality. Virilio discusses how stimulators, pacemakers, and “micromoters” can replace faulty organs, thus creating humans whose threads of life are tied to technology. Certainly these types of advancements can have tremendous benefits, yet the question of how far we will go remains a concern.
It may only be a matter of time before cell phones are no longer held in our hands but implanted in our teeth.
While it may seem outlandish that we are on the verge of becoming a society that communicates through our teeth, technology plays a significant role in our lives that was nonexistent before the Digital Age. Pumps manage the blood sugar levels of diabetics and patients no longer rely solely on the dexterity of their doctors’ hands to perform surgery as robotic surgeries have become commonplace. What risks and benefits are associated with the transplantation revolution?
The technological advancements of our society today are merely a sneak preview of what the future might hold.