The thought experiment continues! Beyond Literacy Radio is a series of podcasts about post-literacy in all its dimensions and implications.
A project of the students and instructors in the Beyond Literacy graduate course offered by the iSchool, University of Toronto, Beyond Literacy Radio invites you to listen and engage.
A few other considerations:
The Tech Contrarians
What About the Artifact?
by Michael Ridley
on December 12, 2012
2 Comments ↓
I like the use of the term hyper-literacy. I think it far more likely that literacy will evolve without necessarily being replaced. Certainly I would agree that we can improve on literacy (defined as reading and writing) but I’m not convinced we can replace it completely only expand its possibilities.
Even in the singularity I can’t help thinking that the impact of literacy on our cognitive processes will translate to the singularity. Maybe not in an easily recognizable form but just as biological evolution works with the tools it has at hand, i can’t help thinking that an evolution to the singularity would work with the tools it had handy, including literacy.
I agree with Jeff that the literacy will evolve. While I like the discussion surrounding the term post-literacy, I believe that the definition of literacy that focuses on the ability to read and write is too narrow, and through the narrow definition that the claim that literacy is doomed, is too absolute. Reading and writing is only one way of communicating, one tool that falls under the definition of literacy. Jack Goody’s discussion What’s in a List, examines the way that information is communicated through lists, “A characteristic of the presentation of information in the form of lists is that it must be processed in a different way not only from normal speech but from other ways of writing…The list relies on discontinuity rather than continuity…And the existence of boundaries, external and internal, brings greater visibility to categories, at the same time as making them more abstract.” Goody’s description of a list, could be extrapolated to literacy as well. The trans-human and the post-human, and their ways of communicating both serve to create boundaries, but through the process of creating these boundaries between these ways of communication, literacy itself becomes more abstract, moving away from simply reading and writing and structure of the way that trans-human/post-human augmentation transform the communication of ideas. vlogs for example, allow for individuals to communicate is ways that reflect the oral tradition, but also give the opportunity for the composition of complex arguments through multiple takes and creative editing. When placed in the context of the Hive Mind or collective consciousness, I would argue that individuals would be able to select what is broadcasted from their individual perspective to the shared consciousness.. In the context of telepathy or techlepathy, this same selection process will be required to allow individuals to process the raw data that is constantly being generated. This directly plays into Henry Jenkins’ idea of “convergence culture” as participation from multiple modes and multiple medias, with techniques from the narrow definition of literacy are used alongside techniques from augmented trans-humans and post-humans. From this structure, literacy is not doomed, but is instead evolving and adapting in the same ways that humans are evolving and adapting not only our physical bodies, but the ways that we communicate.
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Are reading and writing doomed to be replaced or displaced by something more profound and advantageous?
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