MAGIC, or the Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity; recently kicked off its speaker series with a talk from Clive Thompson, author of “Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better.” The series’ goal is to bring leaders of the industry, academia, and journalism in the domain of technology and “digital culture” to RIT.
I was encouraged to attend this talk in multiple classes: Storytelling Across Media, in which we explore… well, storytelling across different forms of media, and in Literature and Technology, in which we explore how technology fits in with society through various works of fiction and academic writings. Literature and Technology was obviously the most relevant class to this talk.
From the looks of things, my classes were not the only ones encouraged to attend! There were countless people standing in the back, having run out of chairs so quickly.
Clive Thompson writes a monthly column for Wired magazine, and is a contributing writer for The New York Times. He writes on how technology impacts our lives (again, a perfect influence for Literature and Technology!) Clive wrote this book in opposition to countless journalists who will campaign claims that, for example, social media makes us less intelligent, more vapid, more self-centered. Elizabeth Lawley, Professor in the School of Interactive Games & Media, and Director of the Lab for Social Computing at the RIT MAGIC Center, made sure we appreciated that, compared to those types of journalists, Clive “gets it.”
His talk brought up points that are expanded upon in his book. These points include how technology assists us in thinking more publicly, and increase the frequency and volume with which we write. And of course, why those are good things.
The point about writing is truly relevant here. Before blogging was widely popular, unless one wrote as part of their daily lives (as a job, or student, etc.), many people just stopped writing after schooling. Clive recounted asking his mother about the last time she wrote anything a paragraph in length. “In this year?” No. “In this decade?” No. It’s something we might take for granted, especially as students, but the fact that everyone is writing a lot more now is remarkable.
I won’t delve into his talk much more, but it was recorded and will be available soon.
And of course, follow me: @RIT_Kevin