Tangibility Obsolete: Fears of the Teach Rise

“Thus, after killing off all the brick-and-mortar stores for DVDs, CDs, and books, Amazon and Netfl ix seem poised to do away with all vestiges of the real and enter the digital-only domain. What will be lost in the process is not only the physical reality of books and DVDs; many titles won’t make it to Kindle or streaming video, simply because they’re not popular enough. In short, we’ll have the “top ten” classics, and the rest of fi lm history—many superb, remarkable fi lms—will gather dust on the shelf. If you can just click and stream, why wait for the mailman?”

— Wheeler Winston Dixon in Streaming: Movies, Media, and Instant Access

We are living in an age where nearly all of our wants and needs, for those of us who can afford such a luxury, can be met with the click of a button or the typing of a keyword. Technology has upgraded itself and redefined the capabilities of humankind since the invention of the wheel, the hunting spear, and other ancient inventions. We’ve found ways to mass-produce anything from food to clothing in order to support a growing global population. Technology has granted us the ability to move beyond geographic or man-made borders. We have transportation that would take us to anywhere in the world, and even beyond our world. But when exactly did the introduction of technology begin to create such a resistance in the general public? There is a fear about the future of technology and what it means for mankind.

The portrayal of machines and the intelligence behind them–as well as the intelligence built within them–in the media plays a huge role in how the general public makes its distinction between what is good or bad. Movies like Poltergeist (1982) and The Ring (2002) along with a growing list of technophobic horror films make certain to leave us questioning if our favorite machines and household appliances have ways of surpassing the human-machine hierarchy. Dixon touches heavily upon that in his book when he stated the quote above. The base-level of the fear of the unknown is what can lead people to believe the worst. Brick-and-mortar establishments have had huge competition with online distributors and retailers since their inception in the digital revolution. Stores like Blockbuster and Borders have been completely eradicated after being relevant for generations in the sales and rentals of books and movies (VHS and DVD).

What do we have now today? Netflix.com and Amazon.com.

Two websites that provide not only the same services as their brick-and-mortar predecessors, but also much more, and with extreme convenience awarded to their respective consumers. Of course on the surface this does not at all sound like a bad idea, but media traditions and the values that they held in the lives of so many people are slowly dying out.

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