Monday, February 08, 2010

Will literacy become a thing of the past, to be replaced by a new VIVOlutionary "oral" culture?

I came across this book, which seems to predict the end of written language as being not only inevitable, but also as a good thing! Listening replaces reading:

VIVO [Voice-In/Voice-Out]: The Coming Age of Talking Computers
"A welcome addition to the discussion about voice-recognition technology and the social implications of talking computers." -- Edward Cornish, President, World Future Society, Bethesda, Maryland

"Audacious and mind-stretching. Crossman sees our reliance on the printed word coming rapidly to an honorable end." -- Arthur B. Shostak, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"If you are an educator, you need to read this book." -- Les Gottesman, Golden Gate University, San Francisco, California

Product Description
A positive look at how talking computers, VIVOs, will make text/written langauge obsolete, replace all writing and reading with speech and graphics, democratize information flow worldwide, and recreate an oral culture by 2050.

Text is an ancient technology for storing and retrieving information; VIVOs will do the same job more quickly, efficiently, and universally. Among VIVO's potential benefits: 80% of the world's people are functionally nonliterate; they will be able to use VIVOs to access all information without having to learn to read and write.

VIVO's instantaneous translation function will let people speak with other people around the world using their own native languages. People whose disabilities prevent them from reading and/or writing will be able to access all information.

Four "engines" are driving us irreversibly into the VIVO Age and oral culture: human evolution, technological breakthroughs, young people's rejection of text, and people's demand for text-less, universal access to information.

Future generations, using eight key VIVOlutionary learning skills, will radically change education, human relations, politics, the arts, business, our relation to the environment, and even human consciousness itself. Worldwide access to VIVO technology looms as a key human rights issue of the 21st century.

Clearly the trend exists. I've seen in my lifetime, people reading less and less; getting their information from TV, radio, videos and movies, more than reading. But will it go so far as to actually make text and reading obsolete?

Imagine if there is a blackout or prolonged power outage. Nobody can read, because they get all their information from electronic devices that talk to them. Suddenly, everyone is a dumb-ass moron, until the power comes on again? Are we just becoming too dependent on electronic devices? If power goes out for an extended time, due to either natural or man-made causes, an illiterate population with no books would be in double trouble.

Oh Brave New World, with such (illiterate) people in it...

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