fingers (digits) pointing to a computer (technology)

What is Digital Technology?




Angie Haro Moreno

Defining digital technology can be tricky. Digital and technology are often associated with one another but it’s more than just computers. Computers, for example, are programmed to follow commands because they use the binary digits. This technology only has two states and these respond according to how the system has been set up. There is no response from this technology unless it has been programmed to do so, however, digital also has to do how we communicate with our fingers. That is where the term “digital” comes from. The old technologies have to do how people used their fingers, or digits as they used to be called, to convey ideas.

Digital Evolution

The use of fingers has been the primary way for us to communicate and encode information. As Douglas Eyman wrote in Digital Rhetoric , digits “constitute the first artifacts of scientific and technological developments, hence the origins of technical communication, visual rhetoric, and digital rhetoric” (19). This is important even when it does not look like the type of technology that we know nowadays. Without these digital technologies from the past there would not be the digital evolution that we have today. We overlook this but it is important to remember how communication is affected by it. Rhetoric is affected by the use of technologies. Whether it is our fingers or computers.

Change of digital communication

Now this term “digital” is used to differentiate the old and new technologies. We still use our fingers to produce media. Now we have the help of new technologies to accommodate our needs. We do not have to worry about making enough copies of a certain document or about losing quality of a work. We can reproduce multiple copies faster than before. The history of written communication, digital, has drastically changed. It has went from using only fingers to convey ideas to using technology to encode our thoughts and convince others about them. 


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