I'm sitting tall in the saddle, up on my high horse thinking about how I've got this digital thing all figured out. What helps me along is my reading of Charles Stross and other writers who have got much more imagination than those people who make all things digital happen in reality. In 2005, I began reading science fiction again, after a significant haitus of about 20 years. I realized that I had pretty much run out of ideas, and having been out of Silicon Valley for 4 years, I was a bit out of touch. That's not saying much. Silicon Valley is clubby and there aren't *that* many wholly new things despite there being all dimensions of clever. It boils down to a big chunk of middle aged humans trying to make money, using the money other people have used to make money. In other words, if a venture capitalist can understand it, it's probably not good science fiction. Only Steve Jobs can sell magic, but what gets bankrolled is an entirely different species of tech. It all boils down to some forms of consumer electronics & media. And really that's all about delivery, and that's all about the T-Mobile chick, the Sprint man and the Verizon dude duking it out. (The nerds who used to compete with the Alltel dude have been vaporized).
I've got the digital thing figured out in the same way the guy driving a Porsche has the automobile thing figured out. I've got the premium consumer products and I'm savvy. In actual fact, I'm a prosumer. So in things digital, I'm like the guy with the Ruf Porsche, I've got the aftermarket afterburners. But we're here to talk about books and horses because they are both commodities that suffered from automobiles and all things digital. Or have they?
I'm ready to talk about books in the past tense the way I talk about horse sense, but that should be your clue that the idiom has legs. We'll be rid of books in the same way we are rid of horse. They will become expensive luxuries in a new economy of more sophisticated transportation. But is a horse more costly than a car? No. Horses are only expensive luxuries because most of us peasants don't learn anything about them as compared to what we learn about automobiles. We don't know who sells horses to whom or how to inspect one. We know how to kick tires but not how to look a horse in the mouth. So too these things will describe our senses of books a generation hither.
I enjoy listening to audiobooks. It's much slower than reading, but the way I'm living I can get more of it done. My audiobook follows me in my drive to work, my lunchtime, and as a companion to drudgery. Im picking a path for several modes due to the transformative presence of my iPad, which is finally the thing I can call a true personal digital assistant.
But I wonder if the next generation will use the media or be used by it. A book doesn't want to be read, just like a horse doesn't jump under you and take you somewhere. You have to expend a bit of effort to get into a book or break a horse, but the new media follows you around like latest story about Donald Trump. They are insistent and have been designed to be easier and more comfortable, accesible and ubiquitous. That's the whole point of their invention.
So I am looking for parallels. How will pan-literacy and information change our society? I think, like the way Protestantism changed Europe.