The deeper, more compelling piece of the digital technology story is the “How?” In what ways does it alter us? One story we are sold is how we work — productivity, task completion. Another is how we think. For those whose work is cognitive, these merge in the story of AI. But we are, genetically, social beings, and from us arises a complex and fabulously diverse human culture. The most basic element from which we derive our identities is the individual message, which is social information. The spoken word, speech, radio broadcast. The private letter, public essay, book. The magazine. The image, televised address, movie. The telegram, email, post, like, emoji, tweet, gram, slack, snap.
In 1990, Steve jobs presciently used the more awkward term “interpersonal” to describe the work/social aspect of digital. With evolution of “social media,” with the explosion of the message-sphere, where the digital message and the human bond become ever more finely wound, the medium is not the message, but rather the messages, the conversations, the culture (network).
How will the digital change humanity?