“McLuhan and Media’s Messages” by J.D Applen, gives an insight into how “the medium is the message.” Even though I am still processing this phrase, McLuhan emphasizes the influence of our behavior on digital platforms instead of the interaction they provide. Whenever we use social media platforms, we never focus on how they influence our culture. We focus on the scrolling and interaction we have in these digital spheres. We usually don’t focus on how technology changes the way we think and act.
The article insights into how technology itself, changes our culture. Technology changes our culture by creating a new level of connectedness with other people (Applen). The cellphone example that Applen suggests is very reasonable. When we think of cell phones and how it changed our lives, the list is endless. If we also think of the web, technology has drastically changed society by allowing us to be digital rhetoric. The Internet is an irreplaceable tool that propelled us into the digital age.
No room for ambiguity
A century ago the culture was severely different. People were miles and seas away from being connected. Letters were the most technical medium society had. Even though technology changed our culture for the better, there is one setback. We have lost some of our ability to be content with our own thoughts or focused on other things (Applen). Nicholas Carr infers that technology allows us easy information. Unfortunately, it has also changed our relationship with it. Carr believes we don’t read as deeply as we used to. We skip from URL to URL.
This belief is true because technology makes us want easy access to everything. For example with Google, we want rapid facts. However, we don’t breed knowledge for ourselves. When we use Google, we automatically receive factual and rapid information but don’t leave room for ambiguity and problem-solving for ourselves. Google has made us like robot machines where we store knowledge replacing our intelligence. Such as the Jeopardy game example. Does knowing all the information make the players intelligent? Or are they just programmed to store all this information? How come no problem-solving questions are asked in the game? Only facts are asked in Jeopardy. The same with Google. Google can only provide concrete facts rather than solutions to real-life problems. Technology/ Google cannot judge, arrange, or discard. These can only process facts rather than provide a solution.
Ambiguity should be welcomed
As Nicholas Carr suggests, ambiguity should be welcomed as “an opening for insight.” We don’t have to rely on technology for everything. Google, Watson, and Chat GPT can be essential tools to provide us with factual information, but it doesn’t leave room for our own thoughts. Therefore, ambiguity should be welcomed because it induces our culture to combine facts we know with our own judgment.