We may call McLuhan the first father of the electronic age. His famous article "The Medium is the Message", provides outstanding thoughts about medium. The way we see the medium is the medium and the message is the message is not right in McLuhan's eyes. For him the medium is the message. It is the same thing. The meaning of message will depend on the medium. In the past we believe that it was the form that was creative, but now we believe it is the content that is creative because the medium is the message in itself. In addition, the medium is an extension of human senses. The medium can extend humans' capabilities in communications. This thought links me to "The Technology and the Society" by Raymond Williams. Williams talked about the effects of technology on human society. How broadcasting technology plays an important role in human life. To me, we can't shout so loud and far, so we use radio. We can't show off in many places at the same time, so we use TV. We can't communicate with other people around the world within one second, so we use the Internet.
"Constituents of a Theory of the Media" by Hans Magnus Enzensberger is very interesting. He talked about a critical theory of the media. From each element that Enzensberger introduced in his article, he showed that media will become a prevalent tool for humans and they will realize the power of using it. For example, now we have a new type of collaborative Web technology such as Wikis, and we have individual diaries on cyberspace such as blogs. This idea also relates to "Requiem for the Media" by Jean Baudrillard. Baudrillard emphasized the theoretical model of communication. He tied the ideas of McLuhan, Jakobsen, Enzensberger, etc. in his article. There are three vital factors in communication model: transmitter, message, and receiver. I like the statement "neither transmitters, nor receivers, but only people responding to each other" (p. 286). This also connects to McLuhan's article. The communication media now affects how people perceive, believe, and respond. In my opinion, no matter what format of medium or message, it depends on how the receivers translate what they perceive. It is like an artificial intelligence agent, which seems like it has eyes and ears (sensors) to perceive inputs from the environment. It processes these inputs with programs and algorithms, which can be compared to beliefs or thoughts in humans. And then it acts something like outputs back to the environment or the senders. To me, the same movie may have effects on people in different ways. The same picture may provide different meanings to viewers. The Internet may present both good and bad aspects, which depends on how humans use and perceive it. The same movies or books that I had watched or read before when I was young, when I watched or read them again when I grew up, the feeling, thoughts, and meaning from these media have changed. It may be that because I have more experience and more knowledge that I translate these media differently over time.
"Computer Lib / Dream Machines" by Theodor H. Nelson impressed me very much. I like the way that the author used both words and cartoon pictures to send his message to the reader. I really enjoyed Nelson's article and his prediction of computer usage in the future. Now we have our own personal computer and/or laptop. We have both PCs and Macs. We have Microsoft Windows, Linux, Redhat, etc. We think that using computers to do tasks is much easier than without computers. For instance, computers can make writing, calculating, and making presentations more convenient. I can't imagine what it would be like not to have computers and the Internet. How could we live? Now in our daily life, one thing that most people have to do is using computer to check their email on the Internet. As now we have Blackberry and PDA phones, checking email is our routine. Some people may check more than one time each day, some may check it every hour. Technology is become a vital tool in communication of human life.