Going Digital: Is it all it’s cracked up to be?

Posted: November 13, 2010 in Books and their issues, Digital Publishing, Digital Technology
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Is going digital all its cracked up to be?

Like everything else, digital does has its downsides, and although the following are more speculation than anything else, they are things to think about if we carry on down this path.

How empty is our world going to be in the future, if we no longer have books cluttering up our bookshelves?? If books are replaced by Ebooks, the world will seem very strange.

Maybe one day every human will have one machine that does and has everything:

  • Able to read any book in existence as an Ebook, whether its the Bible or the latest bestseller.
  • Able to watch videos of anything in any place
  • Able to listen to music from anywhere in the world
  • Able to access TV channels and programmes from anywhere in the world
  • Aable to order stuff from anywhere
  • Able to access news and information from anywhere about anything

and the list goes on!

Interestingly, the mobile phone started as a huge brick-like contraption (just like the first computer was huge too), and has gradually shrunk over the years as technology has improved. However, now touchscreens are the big thing and seem to be getting bigger and bigger in size! The Iphone is pretty big as it is, but then we have been introduced to the Ipad and the other copycat devices, all with large touchscreens. Maybe one day there will be a touchscreen which is the size of a wall!

The possibilities seem to be endless.

But one wonders if we are spending too much time and effort on these technologies.

For one thing, we are losing out in other areas, for example music records, LPs, and CDs are being phased out….we are losing the actual physical object which we can hold and have signed by the artist. The same thing is happening with books, with each Ebook that is released, we are losing the physical object.

Another worry is that we are becoming increasingly dependant on devices which need a whole lot of energy, and that energy isnt all coming from green sources. I can’t imagine how much fuel is needed to make the electricity to charge these devices. Poor Mother Nature must hate us for our greedy sucking-the-Earth-dry approach to living. What happens when the fuel sources run out? What happens when there’s long term powercuts and we will no longer be able to access all this information on our phones and various other devices?

Something else to consider is that with all this technology, we are slowly losing our ability to think creatively, and losing our imagination. I think that maybe digital technology could destroy the creative mind and not allow the brain to construct mental images as you read a book.

Is our evolution as a species being prevented by this abundance of technology which we rely on? We humans haven’t changed or evolved in thousands of years!

There is also the worry that our ability to interaction with other people in real time is being affected because we can find out so much about people from their online profile, such as Facebook, and the use of email and IM means we don’t see each other’s reactions. The way we interact with our children is different now, with mobiles and computers taking us away from each other, and computer games and so on making us less inclined to sit and chat properly with each other.

It could be that the introduction of special enhanced Ebooks for children – with features such as being able to record the parent/grandparent/carer’s voice reading the story and pictures and games – could destroy the vital bonding between the parent and child,  especially if the parents just leaves the child with the ebook to read by themself, while the parent goes off to bed or work (obviously the child won’t be fully abandoned, i just mean, that the interaction will be much less).

I’m not saying that these things are definite, but it is important to consider the implications and potential consequences of our actions now.

It’s something to think about, certainly, and i wonder what others think of these, and if you have any issues to add to the list.


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