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Why New Technology Always Makes Us Feel Like We're on Thin Ice

May 22, 2013, 6:00 AM
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I’m willing to agree that information is a source of stress.  I’m willing to agree that there's too much if it means that we have trouble finding what we’re looking for.  But, yes, I think that is endemic to the human condition because we humans are information-seeking creatures.

Information is what we love, information is what we live by and it’s always been that way.  So I feel we have always been walking on thin ice.  Every time a new technology comes along, we feel we’re about to breakthrough to a place where we will not be able to recover.  

The advent of broadcast radio confused people.  It delighted people, of course, but it also changed the world.  Bertolt Brecht, the German dramatist, was suddenly obsessed with the radio, and you can see why he would be.  He worked in a medium where the biggest audience he could hope to have day to day was a few hundred people, if he was very lucky.  And suddenly here is a way that people could broadcast to thousands of people, now millions of people.  And he said the man who has something to say and can't find listeners is in a terrible state, but even worse off is the listener who is looking for information and can't find someone to speak to him.  

Well, that's a 100 years ago and it makes you think what if he had known about Twitter?

60 Second Reads is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

 

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