Martin McLuhan once said; “the medium [of technology] is the message [of technology].” How technology works, and the effects of it, is the message of that technology, and we are constantly being shaped by it. It goes beyond the content that technology presents – a gospel tract, a TV show on African elephants, or a conversation on a telephone – and brings consequences from the technology itself. We don’t always realise that technology is changing us, but it is. It has consequences that define society and us as individuals. Our society is altered, and our human brains are actually changed, with the arrival of different technologies that replace the previous technology – the automobile replaced the farriers and the internet the complete reliance on the postal service and newspaper. It changes us by changing our standards and expectations; it has consequences, like email or the smartphone changing our capability to concentrate, or even how the microwave changes our expectations of how fast we can get hot food! Yet it has advantages, too – the car gets us places quicker, and the smartphone gives us the opportunity to communicate with others regardless of where we are. Technology itself – the book, the car, the smartphone – has implications beyond the content in of itself, implications to be alert to.
These are my thoughts from reading Tim Challies’ The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion. What do you think? Where has techonlogy changed your life or culture and was it for better or worse? I’d love to hear your thoughts – leave a comment below!
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