Software Takes Command

Manovich’s paper on his propositions of understanding and working with this new world driven by digital communication has raised some interesting questions for me.

One of the theories he posits is that in order to use this new technology to its full potential, we need to understand the makings of the software, what happens behind the scenes. But this process is so intricate, involves so many facets, to what degree do we need to understand why and how a webpage is created? If we know just what we need to make it look the way we want it to, is that enough? I’d also like to understand his ultimate reasoning for why. Is it so that we can realize the potential with what we have? Or is it so that we more fully appreciate what it takes to make our communication look the way it does? In either case I can see the merits of both arguments. I’m sure my phone, laptop, and software have so much more capability than I’m using them for, but because I don’t spend the time to read a manual or go behind the scenes, I only scratch the surface of what they’re really capable of doing.

Another interesting part he explores is the role of technology in our culture and the different venues that we can now use to express our culture. What does this mean for the development of our culture? Does it mean it will grow and change faster? Looking back, there are always major periods in history on how people think and is defined by what is important to them at that point in time. Looking back in 200 years, will we see these phases happening more quickly and will it have something to do with technology? When we transfer our ideas so frequently through digital means, new movements can spread like rapid fire. Case in point, the Arab Spring, other revolutions around the country, and even elections have spread throughout the world at an astonishing pace, and I wonder how much of that gets captured into a part of our permanent identity.

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