Digital Age and It’s Problems

Reading response to Open Sky Part 2

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 2 of the book.  This will be the second of three posts about Open Sky.

open sky

One of Virilio’s main points in Part 2 is about how we came into the digital age.  He states that we have gone though two previous revolutions prior to this digital revolution.  The first was the transportation revolution.  This was followed by the automobile revolution. Today, we are in the digital revolution.  We are surrounded by new technology that is always evolving and always changing.  Personally, I am sometime afraid to upgrade my phone or upgrade my computer because I am afraid that within a few weeks of getting it, it will be outdated by something newer, faster, cheaper, and better.

The digital age has brought with it some unintended consequences.  We now expect everything instantly.  Technology like smart phones and tablets allows us to always be connected to the world and to each other.  Virilio asks the question multiple times through out this book.  He asks, “What is the difference between experience and exposure?”  For Virilio, the answer is simple.  Exposure is simply knowing about an event and experience is actually being present at the event.  However, people today are confusing the two and the line between the two is blurring.  Social networks like Twitter and Facebook allow us to post about our experiences and that exposes our friends and followers to what we experienced.

 

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Virilio’s second key point of Part 2 that I found to be interesting was society’s use of virtual reality.  The more and more time people spend on virtual reality games, argues Virilio, the more and more they think it is reality.  Games like Second Life are a great example of how a virtual reality game can take over the lives of the people who play them.  Some people use virtual reality games as an escape from reality while others actually believe it is reality.  Personally, I do not find the appeal of these games.  Virilio warns us in Open Sky about the dangers that the digital age brings with it.  What do you think?

Discussion Questions:

1) What do you think of the difference between experience and exposure?

2) What do you think of virtual reality games and the affects they can have on people?

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