Wednesday, May 19, 2010

As Technologies Expand, What Do We Lose?

Remember Marshall McLuhan and "The Medium is the Message?"

While preparing for some upcoming presentations, I came across a very interesting blog post from "Life After Powerpoint." Chris Witt, author of "Real Leaders Don't Do Powerpoint" (another great book, another great post) elaborates on some of McLuhan's thoughts. Here is an excerpt:

Media, according to McLuhan, is an extension — any technology a person or society uses to expand the range of the human body or mind in a new way. Telegraph, radio, movies, TV, the Internet, e-mail, and IM are all extensions, because they are — or were at one time — new technologies that expand how we communicate.

Extensions bring about amputations — technologies that are lost because of the adoption of a newer technology. The telegraph, for example, is an amputation caused by the telephone.

McLuhan noted — and was concerned by the fact — that most people are excited about extensions while ignoring amputations. We are, in simpler terms, excited about what we gain by a new technology, a new medium, without giving much thought to what we lose.

You can read the whole post here.

What about it? In your efforts to have the latest and greatest, are your extensions bringing about amputations? What is being lost? Will anybody miss it? Do you care?

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