Books are holding their own against e-books, vinyl is making a comeback, film if it isn’t making a comeback, is holding steady since the Kodak bankruptcy. This cycle gives voice to what we want from our technology, devices, and everyday contraptions. In my first post on this matter I reasoned that it comes down to the experience, and that “The contrast between a digital and an analog experience can alter interpretations of media.”
This still holds true, and the nostalgia and authenticity attached to an analog experience has led digital technology to be reworked, in a way, to take advantage of these emotions.
I had to talk about it eventually, and Thursday’s news was a good impetus. Newsweek had a big “scoop” potentially unmasking the founder of Bitcoin. The magazine saved this story for the cover of their return-to-print issue. The story features stalking masquerading as investigative journalism, as the author tracked down this man through national records, then tracked his interests to a model train forum, where she emailed him purporting to be interested in trains, then began asking about Bitcoin (at which point he stopped responding).
Then she tracked down his home and family members, and interviewed them extensively about the man and itcoin. She finally paid him a visit at his home, and instead of answering the door he called the cops. This surprised her. Read the article in full, if you’d like to know more about the lengths some people will go to find people who don’t want to be found (and who haven’t done anything wrong).(After some sushi and a car chase the man himself claims he is not involved with Bitcoin).
Here’s what was important this week
I wrote a really long link round-up piece about how technology and our memory interact in potentially damaging ways. And then I realized it was a blog post. So you can read that here:http://wp.me/p3qnzQ-5J
It’s something I find endlessly fascinating, and will be interesting to see how it progresses as technology becomes ingrained in even more aspects of our day to day life and becomes more visible (or not).
Technology is also changing many analog experiences into more digital ones. One photographer explores the future death of the standalone camera for the New Yorker, and reflects on perspective lost:
“As anyone working in a creative field knows, the perspective gained by spending time away from work is invaluable. Before digital (and outside of Polaroids), photography was filled with such forced perspective. No matter how quickly you worked, it was common for hours—if not days, weeks, or longer—to pass between seeing the image through the viewfinder and reviewing it in the darkroom. Digital technology scrunches these slow, drawn-out processes together.”
(If you want to see some truly analog photos, negatives were discovered clumped together from Ernest Schackleton’s Antarctic voyage. Unbelievably, they’ve been restored and printed.)
A reliance on technology is beneficial, allowing our brains to work harder, faster, and outsource more menial tasks such as keep track of which meetings are in which rooms at which times, to a web application. However, that reliance has sometime-damaging effects when coupled with a lack of understanding about how technology works and impacts us.
Camera phones can impact your memory by altering what you focus on and observe while taking a picture. When you take a photo, your brain remembers less of what you photographed, perhaps because it realizes that in taking a photo, you will have a record which you can reference later and therefore the information is less important to store. Dave Pell elaborates on this in an excellent essay on Medium:
“We’ve ceded many of our remembering duties (birthdays, schedules, phone numbers, directions) to a hard drive in the cloud. And to a large extent, we’ve now handed over our memories of experiences to digital cameras.”
This is especially relevant now since camera phones and picture-taking are near-ubiquitous in many facets of our society. Dave Pell continues, remarking:
“Snapping and sharing photos from meaningful events is nothing new. But the frequency with which we take pictures and the immediacy with which we view them will clearly have a deep impact on the way we remember. And with cameras being inserted into more devices, our collective shutterspeed will only increase.”