future of the news? 01.22.2005, 6:28 PM
posted by virginia kuhn
The year is 2014, and "everyone contributes to the living, breathing mediascape" by way of EPIC, the Evolving Personalized Information Construct. EPIC results when the hegemony of Googlezon (a media giant formed by the merging of Amazon.com and Google) trumps the Microsoft-friendster-newsbotster alliance, having long since obsoleted conventional news agencies. The "news wars" of 2010 are forever settled when Googlezon begins employing "fact stripping" technologies that customize news, usually bastardizing the truth in the process.
EPIC 2014 by Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson is an eight minute Flash production that charts the evolution of capitalist concerns in the digital world via flickering, faux-historic-newsreel footage that is as riveting to watch as a twenty-car pile up on the freeway.
Not only do Googlezon subscribers gain unlimited space in which to post the minutiae of their lives via Google Grid, they also shape their very own worldview by using "editors" which will harvest and (re)combine news that's been mined from the torrent of available articles. Though the potential for an in depth and complex view of the world is afforded, "for too many" EPIC consists of a "collection of trivia, much of it untrue, all of it narrow and sensational"; thus, in "feeble protest" the New York Times goes offline, the "slumbering fourth estate" having awoken far too late.
This piece is a very sobering one to view immediately before I embark upon the Media Literacy class I've been so pumped about teaching. Indeed EPIC 2014 is not the work of chicken-little extremists, but issues from savvy techno-cultural critics and their cautionary tale is one that should give pause to any of us concerned with the future of the book (or any other communicative vehicle for that matter) in a consumer-driven individualistic society.
I think I've found the perfect text for the fist day of class....
Posted by virginia kuhn on January 22, 2005 6:28 PM
tags: Publishing, Broadcast, and the Press
ben vershbow on January 23, 2005 8:28 PM:
Thank you for posting this - it's a fascinating piece.
I'm intrigued by this idea of everyone being employed by Googlezon to comb for information - everyone's a roving geo-cacher. Reminds me of the CIC stringers in Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash.