Technology Dystopia Essay

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In a vast majority of futuristic science fiction, reading books—or at least the owning of books—is no longer a part of everyday life.

(This isn’t to say these are all bookless dystopias: the plot of sci-fi, b-movie “classic,” in an abandoned library.

Maybe the real question is one of preservation: does text survive into the future and how?

Chris Rusbridge, the former director of the digital curation centre for JSTOR believes that the digital preservation of texts should be viewed not as ends in themselves, but instead, simply as ways we pass on the information: “[I] view digital preservation as a series of holding positions, or perhaps as a relay.

At first glance, a Library Planet seems like it would be a book-lovers’ dream…

Technology Dystopia Essay

but then the ugly question surfaces: where, in this print-on-demand paradise, have all the original print books gone? In the vast majority of imagined sci-fi worlds, the dearth of physical books usually just means everyone is “reading” in a different way.

It’s called a book.” Twenty-five years later, given our actual onscreen-reading habits, the answer to Asimov’s riddle is less obvious.

In 2015, is the traditional book format still our most elegant reading technology?

Well before we got e-readers in the real world, most of the reading in science fiction happened on screen.

And now we’ve arrived at the future: we read from screens, every day, all the time.


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