Marshall McLuhan in Chile


Panellists at the round table

UNIACC University commemorates the Centennial of Marshall McLuhan

The University of the Arts, Sciences and Communication (UNIACC) organized a round table to commemorate the centenary of the birth of renowned Canadian thinker, Marshall McLuhan.  Ambassador Sarah Fountain Smith inaugurated this event that brought together a number of leading Chilean experts and academics, including: Drs. Max Colodro and Ricardo Lopez from the University of Chile; Tomas Mosciatti, Director of Radio Bio Bio; and, Dr. Edison Otero, Director of the Center for University Studies at UNIACC.

Participants debated the evolution of human communication, including a number of innovative concepts developed by McLuhan over a half century ago.  In particular, his ideas of the “global village”, the emergence of the Internet, and the social impact of mass media and technological development were examined.

They agreed that the rapid development of technological tools predicted by McLuhan has improved interaction and communication between people, but there are also consequences when such technologies are overused. . “We need to realize that virtual interactions do not replace direct communication between people. McLuhan never implied that these developments would increasingly isolate us as individuals. Quite the contrary; he attributed them a clear integrative power” said Edison Otero.

In her opening remarks, Ambassador Fountain Smith suggested that McLuhan’s upbringing in a relatively isolated community in Manitoba, Canada [Winnipeg, isolated? I don’t think so!] may have influenced his research and interest in global communication. “This may have led him to study the social impact of mass media and technological development to help people overcome physical isolation and connect with their peers” she said.

This round table held in Chile last June is one of the many events that are taking place at universities around the world to commemorate the centennial of this renowned Canadian philosopher.

Panellists at the round table.

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