Assailed on all sides by digital/physical bits

Three things crossed my screen in rapid succession, all ruminating on the issue of the shift on our lives from physical to digital, and the changing nature of our sense of artefacts.

First up is this article in the NYT by Carina Chocano on “The Dilemma of Being a Cyborg”, in which she says:

This is the dilemma of being a cyborg: It’s not just that everything we once committed to memory we now store externally on devices that crash or become obsolete or are rendered temporarily inaccessible due to lack of coverage. And it’s not that we spend a lot of time storing, organizing, pruning and maintaining our access to it all. It’s that we’re collectively engaged in a mass conversion of what we used to call, variously, records, accounts, entries, archives, registers, collections, keepsakes, catalogs, testimonies and memories into, simply, data.

It’s accompanied by this lovely cartoon by Tom Gauld which reinforces what we’re constantly saying in Cambridge, that as things change things stay the same.

Tom Gauld

Next, on Core77, is this little bit of casual fieldwork by John Scalzi in which he shows his daughter an LP (she’s 13 and the object is quite foreign to her). It’s great. And her questions make total sense in retrospect. It IS huge. It DOESN’T hold much. And sticking a needle on it seems DAMAGING. You can never get it if you don’t live it, and that’s the cycle of the generations.


Finally, is this great cartoon I found in these weeks Private Eye, by Russell, entitled “Modern Last Words”.