Best of Times, Worst of Times – Technology in the Digital Age

This is perhaps the most beautiful time in human history; it is really pregnant with all kinds of creative possibilities made possible by science and technology which now constitute the slave of man – if man is not enslaved by it. ~ Jonas Salk

A new technology sometimes creates more than it destroys. Sometimes, it destroys more than it creates. But it is never one-sided. ~ Neil Postman

Watching Margaret Warner’s recent interview of Mark Bowden, author of “Worm:  The First Digital World War,” on PBS’ Newshour got me thinking … have we as a society gained more than we have lost as a result of the digital age?  The book conversation illustrates the pitfalls of “the Wild West period of the Internet,” namely computer security issues – botnet, malware, and viruses.

As noted in my earlier post “The Power of Collaboration,” filmmaker Tiffany Shlain advances society has benefited from the Internet’s capablity to foster innovation and collective problem solving.  On the other hand, we’ve lost some of the niceties of the analog era, in-person interactions, deep thought, not being “on” 24-7, etc.

Can we have the best of both worlds – the digital and the analog?  Or as writer Neil Postman suggests, is there is a clear victor – society’s gained more, or lost more?  Share your thoughts on the positives and the negatives of technology in the digital age.

Mark Bowden’s Book Conversation on PBS Newshour

Vanaja R.

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