Transformation Tuesday — Digital Edition

The digital world has altered the human life in virtually every aspect. While there are still a few outliers who treasure baseball cards and hoard photo albums, the value of the atom is definitely dwindling. After all, what happens if Babe Ruth’s baseball card is lost? Where’s the value?

Nicholas Negroponte’s Being Digital explains that while most of our information is delivered in the form of atoms (newspapers, books, etc.,) a bit has no color, size, weight, and can ultimately travel at the speed of light.

It appears as if there is no question as to which is “better” — atoms < bits. However, atoms do seem to provide a sense of ownership that cannot be found in most bits. After all, who would ever care about a virtual baseball card?

Nonetheless, check out some of these physical items or notions that have become outshined by their digital successors:

1. VHS vs. Streaming Service

Remember the days of the VHS? It was such a struggle having to rewind the tape everytime you wanted to watch your favorite Disney classic as a child. Now, with popular streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, forget rewinding! Endless movies and television shows are now instantly available with any wi-fi connection. It’s safe to say a VHS tape can now be considered an artifact.

2. Roadmap vs. GPS

The rise of the smartphone has also lead to the rise of the GPS. Space in our glove compartments is now freed as there is no longer the need for a roadmap! However, experts say that our reliance on devices such as the GPS have caused our brains to trust abstract direction command. As a result, we lack the devlopment of critical thinking skills. Maybe it’s a good idea to put down the GPS and see if you remember how to read a map!

3. Physical Activity vs. Video Gaming

These days, children are spending less time outside playing hide-and-go-seek, and more time fixed to some sort of screen. While studies suggest that our younger generation is becoming pyshically weaker with this transition, there are definitely benefits. Experts say that games help students understand how to solve problems and showcase their skills and understanding.

4. Postal Mail vs. E-mail

While direct mail is still beneficial for the delivering of packages, e-mail does not require the purchasing of stamps and is much more efficient (hence the term “snail mail.”)

5. CD vs. Music Streaming

Personally, the only CD’s I own anymore are the six that are stored in the console of my vehicle. With a $4.99/month subscription to Spotify (student discount applied,) I have access to almost any artist with the touch of a finger. However, many artist such as Taylor Swift have pulled their music off of these streaming services as a result of the decrease of digital sales in the U.S. due to streaming.

6. Blind Date vs. Dating Service

The idea of a blind date has begun to sound rather dated. (Get it? Dated?) Rather, virtual dating companies such as Match.com or Tinder allow users to search for a partner from the comfort of their home. These applications appear to be successful as nearly 35% of couples now meet online.

7. Print Newspaper vs. Online Newspaper

Studies show that the number of print publication readers is decreasing at a steady rate. However, research has proved that print readers remember a significantly more amount of news stories than those who read online.

8. Social gathering vs. Social Media

Social media has not completely replaced the idea of a social gathering; I personally still hang out with my friends whenever possible. However, even so, I find that those social gatherings have become watered down. When I’m with my friends, I still find myself scrolling through Instagam!

9. Phone Book vs. Contacts App

This one is pretty self-explanatory — who uses a phone book anymore?

10. Painting vs. Graphic Design

Don’t get me wrong — painting and other art forms are still very much so relevant in today’s society. However, the line between the traditional art form of paint and graphic design is definitely becoming blurred.

The question remains: how has this extensive use of bits affected the social aspect of our lives? Are we no longer capable of navigating through our own town without a GPS? Ultimately, these bits have become extensions of ourselves, therefore affecting every aspect of our lives. Our bills are increasingly moving to support our digital lives, by paying for phone plans, wireless Internet, and cloud storage.