Information Technology Does Not Begin with Computers
Digitech or digital information technology certainly begins with the electronic digital computer, but information technology, which many argue defines human nature, has been around for millenia. It includes
- Language and speech, which create communal or community memory, permit cultural (or Lamarkian) as opposed to biological (or Darwinian) development based on feed-back as opposed to natural-selection alone. [Speech, spoken language, is a technology of presence. Speaker and listener have to be in the same place and time.]
- Writing permits asynchronous communication, or communication, teaching, and learning in the absence of the teacher. [For millennia, writing was nonetheless a technology of oddly combined orality and literacy.]
- The Scroll, Codex (book), and Interword Spacing are all technologies that change writing from a craft skill to societal requirement. [The last two are technologies of literacy and hence absence.]
- Hand-set printing with movable type permits readers widely separated in time and space to encounter the essentially same text -- and hence creates a new kind of virtual community of readers and many other things basic to modern culture. [Early printing exemplifies asynchronous, silent communication.]
- High-speed printing truly democratizes asynchronous, silent communication, producing many of our conceptions of self, intellectual property, and education.
- The Telegraph and telephone, like more contemporary forms of telepresence, such as live television and video conferencing, produce synchronous, location-independent communication, gaining the virtue of immediacy-via-simulated-presence while losing that of reflection.
- Digital textuality, networked systems, and virtuality. What is new here?
- Immersive and non immersive virtual reality systems: simulations, not abstractions, of experience -- how related to learning and writing?