The little machine that will save us

Advertisement for an important technology (Ad is two pages. Scroll down to see both pages)

Headline on ad:
Man might conquer diseases, stop crime and save his environment with the help of this little machine

Excerpt from ad:
Knowledge snowballs. You can see the possibilities: Long distance teamwork among police in different cities. Among ecologist all over the world. A communications explosion in education, business,industry

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not 40 yrs later, that machine is gone

... and the world is still the same. cancer and world strife are still here, but Ron Jeremy made a nice living because of that machine and others like it.

Technology and librarians

You are of course correct about this machine changing the world but if the use of it had been maximized in positive ways some powerful things could have happened. This is true with all technologies. Just think what TV could do if maximized for societal benefit.

The insight of the failure of the videocassette machine to change the world is that technology will not create utopias. The world will be a better place when people operate in a better way. Sharing and teaching are aspects of this better way. Librarians can play a large role in this teaching and sharing. The problem is that it is hard to get money for teaching and sharing. What we have as librarians is a massive challenge before us to find ways to improve the world with limited resources. I have faith in librarians. The challenge can be done the world can be better. History suggests that it will not be the iPad that saves us just like the videocassette did not save us.

The Internets haven't saved the world yet, either

Amen to the above! Videocassettes didn't cure cancer or bring about world peace. The internet hasn't, at least not yet - and neither will the iPhone or the iPad. It is all about US, people. Sharing and teaching, and learning how to communicate, not just how to use the latest gizmo to communicate, but having something to say and saying it in a way that leads to understanding. I don't have any great answers as to how we librarians can "save our profession" by appreciating this, but it seems to me it still has something to do with structuring the flow of information and especially cultural history. Not as gatekeepers (the favorite term when I was in library school many moons ago!) but perhaps as facilitators of this sharing??

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