Because we are digital, crossing boundies by Charles Traub and Jonathan Lipkin, May 1999
Traub and Lipkin made us aware that we are already living in a revolution, a revolution that happened decades before (when we invented the machines), but we did not really realise this as we are expecting one. The digital computer, one of the human’s greatest invention, had redefined our ways of living, especially our relationship to knowledge.
The authors describe a new type of people; the creative interlocutor, that we are becoming now, with the help of the digital computer and its accompanying methodologies. We become connected to others by enabling them to empower their creative potentials.I agree with Henry David Thoreau’s remark that we have that tendency to always rush when it is not necessary. A great example is the rapid launching of technology devices that every year there is a new model. The user only can appreciates his or her gadget less than one year until a new type comes out and he orshe ditches the old one for the new one. It is true in our over-consumerist and capitalist society, we do not have time to appreciate fully the devices we just buy until they become obsolete.
Traud and Lipkin give me another view of a multimedia then, which I used to believe, which is neither new nor digital; during the ancient Egyptian time, the hieroglyphs combined with the technology of the pyramids, elements of architecture, typography, sounds and performances. The cathedral’s mass also illustrated the concept of multimedia, since there are various media that interact with all the five senses.
I like that the authors support Dewey’s view, that the computer changes the status of the teacher, that before was seen as the authoritarian person with privileged knowledge. It now empowers students to be have access to information more easily and in other ways than in books. It changes the aspect of the educational system, where before elitism had the power of knowledge, since access to knowledge was expensive and a privilege. The computer not only informs, but also helps to stimulate both creatively and intellectually as it contains art and science data. The authors also point out that the computer and its multimedia helps the user to think more creatively, as the computer gives us more freedom to interact with the visualization of the unseen.
I really appreciate how Traud and Lipkin end the essay; they show examples how Internet, the computer and the multimedia create a new kind of collaborative response from the users, the creative interlocutors. The latter can interact with others and help them to solve problems by collaborating together. A good example of that is the uncountable numbers of blogs, forums or other kind of online sources that give information, such as modified recipes, games walkthroughs, good deals, fashion critiques, etc… This also creates a new kind of work, such as bloggers, or youtube entertainers. By being able to be subscribed and/or followed by many people, they become famous and some companies or brands sponsor them. And this phenomena truly reflects what Traub and Lipkin were saying about the creative interlocutors.
This reading gives me another perspective about the digital computer and multimedia, and makes me more knowledgeable about its origins and history.