Technological Conceptions

Reading Response to Open Sky Part 1

Paul Virilio talks about a variety of things in his book, Open Sky.  For this post, I will be discussion what I found to be important from Part 1 of the book.  Virilio is a cultural theorist and an urbanist.  The concepts in this book apply to communications in many different ways.  Over the next few posts, I will discuss how his book relates to digital communications.

open sky

One of Virilio’s main points was how technology has changed our conceptions of space and time.  With the increase of technological presence, we are spending more and more time using technology.  The more and more time we spend with technology, the easier it is for us to lose track of time.  I know I’m not the only one who has done this.  Every single time I pick up my iPad to play a game I always tell myself that I will only play two or three games and will stop after ten minutes.  Two hours later, I realize it’s 2am and I should probably get to sleep.  What about YouTube?  Have you ever gone to YouTube to watch one video about something for class and end up watching three hours of cat videos?  What should have been a quick break has turned into several hours of mindless entertainment.

Virilio points out another result of the technological age we live in.  We expect everything to be instant and to fit in the palm of our hands.  Virilio uses the example of Smart Houses.  Smart Houses is simply a computerized house.  When this book was written, Smart Houses were beginning to be built so obviously Virilio would have been interested.  Today, our version of a Smart House is called SIRI and she lives in our pockets.  Technology is always shrinking from the size of a house to something that fits in the palms of our hands.  It is truly amazing to see how technology has changed over the years.

Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 8.28.13 PM

Yet another one of Virilio’s main talking points is telecommunications and teleconferencing.  Skype.  Technology and the Internet have it easy to videoconference with people around the world.  Skype is the coming together of everything we expect from technology.  It connects us quickly to the people we want to and need to talk with while giving us the ability to see them on our screens.  Technology has made the world a smaller place because of what we expect from it.

Discussion Questions:

1) Have you ever found yourself playing iPad games or surfing YouTube longer than you wanted to?

2) What do you think of our expectations of technology today?

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