…the critical technology, for the early phase of the industrial revolution, was gin.
The transformation from rural to urban life was so sudden, and so wrenching, that the only thing society could do to manage was to drink itself into a stupor for a generation. The stories from that era are amazing-- there were gin pushcarts working their way through the streets of London.
And it wasn't until society woke up from that collective bender that we actually started to get the institutional structures that we associate with the industrial revolution today…
If I had to pick the critical technology for the 20th century, the bit of social lubricant without which the wheels would've come off the whole enterprise, I'd say it was the sitcom. […] And it's only now, as we're waking up from that collective bender, that we're starting to see the cognitive surplus [time spent watching TV instead of thinking or working] as an asset rather than as a crisis. We're seeing things being designed to take advantage of that surplus, to deploy it in ways more engaging than just having a TV in everybody's basement.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
This is a really interesting article about television, the internet, the ways we interact with media, and the next social revolution.