The Rise of Technology Culture

Turner’s discussion of the evolution of the personal computer in Taking the Whole World Digital prompts the question of which came first, the chicken or the egg? Was the technological change from governmental and educational based uses of computers to more personalized computers fueled by a change in social needs with regards to the distribution and method of attaining information? Or, conversely, were these changes in perceptions of authority and their role in information distribution prompted by the technological changes that allowed for a counterculture to arise and give way to the personal computer?

After the second of two waves in the development of the personal computer brought about “mass distributions of minicomputers into homes and offices nationwide,” minicomputers became “so ubiquitous and their effects on daily life so pronounced that Time magazine named the computer its ‘Machine of the Year’” in 1983 (pg. 129). Personal computers changed the way we consume information and altered our perceptions of authority figures and the information they provide. Additionally, computers have facilitated information distribution and acquisition in such a way that it is now a much more fast-paced information culture.

Computers have become so commonplace that we now use technology to inform the public about new technologies whereas previously it was technological innovators and leaders who communicated revolutions. Much like this change, new media technologies have brought about changes in many various aspects of social order as well as politics. However, there is one thing that has remained the same throughout the advancement of technology and more specifically the computer, which is that they were created to enrich human knowledge and they continue to do so today.

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1 Response to The Rise of Technology Culture

  1. jmclancy says:

    I appreciate your opening with the chicken or egg question, but to be honest, I think it was inevitable for the authority over the computing world to have been overthrown by the masses who strived for a better way of communication or simply, a better past time. It was only a matter of years before individuals thought to themselves “the government and universities have them, why can’t we, the outsiders?” I suppose this idea back in the 60s was an ‘easier said than done’ sort of thing considering the limitations put on these computers, but with our society’s capability today of being able to access almost anything via computer, the idea of these past restriction is almost silly. In my opinion, it was the technological change, but also the creative imagination from the hackers that brought us to where we are today-even this blog post commentary that I am currently writing! In response to your second paragraph, just reading it and thinking about the very idea of our society being able to share information today and the way we do it is fascinating. We can give many thanks to the initial hackers, but it makes one wonder, was there a hacker along the way to change the very direction of where we are now? What if there was a separate agenda of the original hackers and it was altered when a new batch of them came into the computing world. Lastly, as we the public are taking on a new realm of online communication, many of us do not consider there to be many technological leaders or even forerunners (possibly aside from Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey). As our society is changing and transforming the way we retrieve and share information, could we infer that our world went from having a small group of MIT hackers to having a group of hackers with the head count of 7 billion people? (Or, at least, the head count of those who have a Facebook or Twitter account?) With a larger mass of our current ‘hackers’, what can we foresee for the future of online communication and the future of our world with this type of technology within it?

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