Dec 10, 2007

Cultural impact of the technology wave

It was clear that the combination of digitization and a worldwide network of communications networks would change culture radically, but even a decade ago the scope and scale of change were unknown.

Who could have foreseen the iPod revolution, or the fact that selling pop tunes to signify when you have an incoming cell phone call would be a $600 million a year business in the U.S. alone?

The last 20 years have seen developments in digital, computing, and communication technologies that have been absolutely unprecedented in their rate and intensity, which has made the broader impact of these developments extremely difficult to anticipate or predict.

But you don't have to be a technological determinist to observe that this sea change in technology has brought about similarly profound social and cultural changes.

When considering the impacts of digital technology on art and culture, the early focus was on pragmatic and logistical matters like copyright and delivery systems. But the major impacts of technology have been in areas like the intersection among artist, institution and audience, and the ability of non-artists to interact with objects that were once, only a short time ago, beyond their reach.

Read more from Carleton University Magazine Online.

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