Peter Hirshberg takes a look at the development of Radio, TV, the telephone and the computer on this interesting TED talk.
I didn't realise that the computer and the television were invented around about the same time. I also keep seeing Al Gore's name popping up with the internet and I don't quite understand that connection either.
What is interesting though is the interviews with kids where they are given a few things such as TV, computers, Facebook, etc. and asked to rank them in terms of what is important to them. TV kind of made people dumb because they couldn't interact.
It also gave advertisers the right to shout at us. We had no choice.
I get shouted at whenever I watch TV here in Bermuda (the TV is american). The ads are like the telemarketing channels back home. Over half the adds are for pharaceuticals with half of those adds being compulsory disclaimers. Watching the programmes becomes painful in the extreme because you see these poorly put together adverts being repeated over and over and over and over....
With computers, we interact and it is harder to get our attention. You have to earn our attention. Attention becomes as valuable as money.
We don't pay a cent for Google, for facebook, for TED. Instead of shouting at all the television watchers as loudly as they can... companies now have to produce something worth talking about. Something people want. If they want it and talk about it, customers come to them... and they talk to them... and they want to.
The world becomes less loud and more interesting. And more interactive.
Given the choice between interaction and staring passively at a television screen, I think most people will choose interaction. Social networking, computer games etc. are definitely a step forward. Stories start being exchanged rather than being told. An age of intellectual curiosity. Everyone can contribute if they want to.