Summary: A new book explores how the advance of digital technology could impact our personal identities.
Original author and publication date: Tracey Follows – April 27, 2020
Futurizonte Editor’s Note: Unless we are able to connect our creative minds, we will lose our minds (and identities).
From the article:
We have already entered post-literacy. Not only are we more and more engaged in social media feeds where we scroll through video-based imagery, it feels like we are moving backwards in time, away from reading language with the eye, to once again hearing language with the ear, as social audio like Clubhouse gains ground.
You may have noticed that when you are reading you are less likely to be taken in by misinformation, because the brain is actively engaged in interpreting and imagining rather than just receiving communication via the TV. More interesting than that, is the notion that in leaving our literacy behind, we are also saying goodbye to the notion of separateness – the separateness of one individual from another, as well as the detachment of the individual from the environment in which they find themselves.
Marshall McLuhan made the case in his work that phonetic writing is a technology that extends the visual power of words but detaches us from emotion, explaining that “language does for intelligence what the wheel does for the feet and the body. It enables them to move from thing to thing with greater ease and speed and ever less involvement”. In this way, language extends and amplifies man but it also diminishes the possibility of collective consciousness or intuitive awareness.
However, now with the internet usurping literacy we may do away with words and come to rely on connecting our thoughts instead. We have seen the acceleration of this through Elon Musk’s Neuralink to name one of many experimental brain technologies of late.
I wondered what it would mean for marketing and advertising which rely so heavily not only on the idea, but on the idea being executed in visuals and words. For a start, it may fundamentally change the creative process…
The Future of You
The following is an excerpt from The Future of You: Can Your Identity Survive 21st Century Technology by Tracey Follows. It is published by Elliott & Thompson, available from Bookshop.org now.
The exciting thing is that we do not yet know the limits of the brain’s plasticity.
If technology such as the Buzz wristband [which turns sound into touch] is already possible, why couldn’t we train our brain to not only receive information but send out information to wirelessly control a machine from across the room? Perhaps – in the same way that DARPA hopes to link soldiers to fighter jets – we too might find ourselves able to thought-control any kind of everyday machine from a vacuum cleaner or a smartphone to a more sophisticated workplace robot or even robots in outer space.