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May 10, 2011 / graceunsw

Science, media and technology

Science and media are at the forefront of enacting social and cultural change and development. Kevin Kelly blogged about this, noting that “right now, with the advance of communication technology and computers, we have entered a new way of knowing. The thrust of the technium’s trajectory is to further organize the avalanche of information and tools we are generating and to increase the structure of the made world.”

New media is fundamentally transforming science, technology and innovation, which has profound impacts on how we function as a society. To take a recent example, I recently came across a billboard on a bus stop with the headline ‘what if there was something about you?’ that directed people to sign up to a national breast cancer registry. The implications this could have for the future are enormous, offering immense potential for archiving and understanding the conditions that may give rise to cancer, and contributing to it’s prevention and ultimate cure.

This highlights the tendency of new media to operate in a predictive capacity, attempting to visualise the future and respond to it in the present. Obviously, there are benefits inherent to this. However, any understanding of this must also be tempered by the reality of the destabilising nature of these new technologies. Elizabeth Pisani, a journalist and “sometime researcher” for The Guardian stated that “support for data management, development of infrastructure, [and] resources for curation of data” is crucial to seeing the benefits of data sharing realized in the 21st century.

Although we may be on our way, I think there is still a while to go before science, media and the human mind can be reconciled fully.

 

References:

Kelly, K 2010, Evolving the Scientific Method: Technology is Changing the Way We Conduct Science, accessed 10 May 2011, <http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/57831/>

Pisani, E 2011, Medical Science Will Benefit from the Research of Crowds, The Guardian, accessed 1o May 2011, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jan/11/medical-research-data-sharing>

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