Sunday, January 23, 2011

Theory 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0

Neil Postman in his book Technopoly: the surrender of culture to technology pessimistically warned people there were three stages in human history, Tool-using-Technocracy-Technopoly. At the first stage, people had the ability to limit the tool-using. Until the technocracy stage, complex technologies like mechanical clock, printing machine, and telescope gradually created new culture other than melt in old culture. And now, we are in the technopoly stage, culture life bended to the throne of technology, and human have to search for the meaning of life in machines and technologies. As Neil Postman’s student, Paul Levinson proposed technology epistemology on the sublation of McLuhan’s communication technology determinism and Postman’s pessimism in light of the trend of digital technology. On one hand, his anthrotropic theory puts forward that technology will imitate or copy the way we feel and cognize, and will be more and more like real people. On the other hand, he proposed his technology epistemology, which expresses optimistic believe that we can control the media. If we use the newest technology tagging McLuhan, Postman, and Levinson, I think they can represent the web 1.0 or web 2.0. Comparing with them, Jean Baudrillard and his consumer society theory, his arguments about signs, simulacra, and implosion are more of web 3.0. The relationship of technology and us will be like users and their avatars in the 3D virtual game Second life, or like what the movie The Matrix predict.

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