Saturday, January 10, 2009

Visualise This For Me

Saturday, January 10, 2009
I recently read an online article entitled: Is Google Making Us Stupid? To summarise the article, the writer ponders the way the internet is shaping our thinking processes. It's a very interesting article, because it compares the advent of the internet with the introduction of two inventions that changed human history: a) the written word to record information and b) the use of the printing press to spread knowledge to a mass audience. Not only did the world change with the introduction of the two, but also the consciousness of the community. The way the human brain processed and stored information changed with the introduction of these two technologies.

One thing hinted out throughout the article was that the medium we use to receive information can change the way we think. Let me give you an example - a while ago, I started reading a well-known comic series from the 1960's, which is drawn in a very distinctive style. While working through the series, I caught myself at random points of the day visualising images in that same distinctive style of drawing. Also, I recently read the book Cold Mountain. I had previously seen the movie adaptation and found myself visualising the actors from the movie while reading their respective characters in the book.

This makes me wonder - how have our modern sources of media changed our thinking, particularly our visualisation processes? If someone reads a lot of manga, do they start visualising the novels they read in manga style? If a person watches a lot of film noir, do they tend to visualise dark, rainy cities? How have the CGI special effects in movies and TV changed our modern imaginations? 


Therin of Andor said...

You know, despite every change they've made to Google, there are still efficient and inefficient ways to customise an information search. This is why teacher-librarians teach school students how to be "savvy searchers".

Google is very clever, and getting cleverer, but we need to keep pace ourselves - and learn to ask it the right questions to narrow our search.

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