Using History to Solve a Problem
For the last few weeks weâ€™ve been looking at historical examples of how older media have reacted to the arrival of new, disruptive technologies or media. For example, we looked at how the newspaper industry reacted to radio and how radio adjusted to television.
In this project we are going to apply what weâ€™ve learned from historical examples to a futurist scenario.
A Futuristic New Technology
Itâ€™s 2025 and a new technology has just been introduced to the public â€“ the InstaWisdom chip. When implanted in a human brain, the InstaWisdom chip allows a person to instantly learn about new things. Rather than having to read a book, watch a TV show, or listen to music, a person can simply click a button and suddenly all the knowledge from that book, TV show, and music is uploaded to the personâ€™s brain. Even better, the person will feel like they read, watched, or listened to the item â€“ they will not only know what ever information was contained in the item, but also feel all the emotions associated with it. So, for example, if a person uses the InstaWisdom chip to upload a movie, they will instantly know all the words of the dialogue, instantly see all the images from the film, and they will feel like they experienced watching the film (feeling happy if it was a comedy, scared if it was a horror film, etc).
How Do You Respond?
You are the President of the New York Times Company, a multimedia company that has published the New York Times newspaper since 1851 and provides audiences with news & information (in text, photographic, and video forms) through nytimes.com (available since 1996), several mobile apps (first introduced in 2008), and e-books (first published in 2012). The company also offers print and digital versions of crossword and Sudoku puzzles.
How do you and the New York Times respond to the arrival of the new InstaWisdom chip?
Identify three (3) different ways the New York Times Company can react to the arrival of the InstaWisdom chip. These responses can be good or bad (i.e. they can be responses that might or might not work). For each way:
â€¢ tie the response to a historical example of how an old or existing medium reacted to the arrival of new, or disruptive, medium we studied in class,
â€¢ explain how the New York Times could use this historical example to respond to the InstaWisdom chip, and
â€¢ discuss whether or not you think this response will be successful.
Articles for previous assignments:
â€œWilliam Randolph Hearst and the New York Journalâ€ in Folkerts & Teeter â€œVoices of a Nationâ€ (Pearson, 2002).
Campbell, W. Joseph, â€œNot Likely Sent: The Remington-Hearst â€œTelegrams,â€â€ Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Summer 2000.
Roy Rsoenzweig, â€œCan History Be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past.â€ published in The Journal of American History, June 2006.
Gwenth Jackaway, â€œAmericaâ€™s Press-Radio War of the 1930s: A case study in battles between old and new media,â€ Historical Journal of Film, Radio & Television, August 1994, p. 299.
Richard Jewell, â€œHollywood and radio: competition and partnership in the 1930sâ€ Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 1984.
Kristen Heflin, â€œThe Future Will Be Televised: Newspaper Industry Voices and the Rise of Television Newsâ€ American Journalism, Spring 2010.
Eric Rothenbuhler and Tom McCourt, â€œRadio Redefines Itself, 1947-1962,â€ in Michele Hilmes and Jason Loviglio (Ed), Essays in the Cultural History of Radio.
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