In response to several requests, I’ve decided to post my thesis and my bibliography. These represent thousands of hours of research into the influence of new media technology upon literacy, which is a subset of the bigger question regarding the role of technology in human existence.
What drives a person to this level of research? After much contemplation on that question, I’ve concluded that my essential motivation is my primal resistance to malevolent outside forces seeking to control or manipulate me. Something deep inside me insists that my thoughts, my voice, my vernacular – and that of my community (family, neighborhood, classroom) – be protected from those outside forces that knowingly or unknowingly end up homogenizing or marginalizing everything they touch.
Am I paranoid? Maybe. You be the judge. But I recently took comfort in the fact that an internet guru and leader in the field of virtual reality has expressed the same concerns. In his book You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto, Jaron Lanier asserts that we as users of new media technology have lost our way: “Deterioration only began around the turn of the century with the rise of so-called ‘Web 2.0’ designs. These designs valued the information content of the web over individuals. It became fashionable to aggregate the expressions of people into dehumanized data.”
Mr. Lanier has joined the ranks of concerned human beings. And we are growing. We’re not Luddites; we’re just putting the brakes on certain super-geeks whose ultimate wet dream involves the breeding of man and machine.
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