Has Technology Changed Us? Marshall McLuhan & BBC Animations Provide the Answer


March 4th, 2015 – In a word: yes. But then, everything we do has always changed us, thanks to the property of the brain we now call “plasticity.” This we learn from the video,“Rewiring the Brain” (second video below), which, balancing its heartening neuroscientific evidence with the proverbial old dog’s ability to learn new tricks, also tells of the “attention disorders, screen addictions, and poor social skills” that may have already begun plaguing the younger generation.

Marshall McLuhan, of course, could have foreseen all this. Hence his appearance in “The Medium is the Message” (top), a title taken from the University of Toronto English professor turned communication-theory guru’s famous dictum. The video actually spells out McLuhan’s own explanation of that much-quoted line: “What has been communicated has been less important than the particular medium through which people communicate.” Whether you buy that notion or not, the whole range of proclamations McLuhan had on the subject will certainly get you thinking — in his own words, “You don’t like these ideas? I got others.”

The other two videos in this series, despite their short length, get into other intriguing related concepts: “The Fourth Revolution” that comes as a result of life in a “mass age of information and data,” and the workings of “The Antikythera Mechanism,” the first computer ever built. Our personal technology has certainly come a long way, but we shouldn’t fall into complacency about it, lest, as Anderson says in this series, it all wrecks our attention spans and “education will all have to be delivered in two-minute animations.”

2 Responses to “Has Technology Changed Us? Marshall McLuhan & BBC Animations Provide the Answer”

  1. 1 Paolo Granata

    Hi Alex,

    Thank you. I usually show these videos in my classes. Very cool. About that one of the Fourth Revolution https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=80&v=W06fWz1mWNg we were thinking to invite Luciano Floridi for the MEA convention in 2016 in Bologna. We will discuss about that soon.

    Thank you! Paolo

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