The Roots of Our Digital World

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The Roots of Our Digital World

Today's world revolves around the storing, organization, and communication of information. While the world today may seem new and unique, this digital world arose out of a combination of many smaller steps that varied from innovations like a new discovery in science or a new philosophical outlook. In their writings Lev Manovich, a professor of New Media at San Diego University, and Dr. Simon Cook, an Economics professor at Duke University, have developed of a history of what lead to the development of the visual world. Manovich claims that the digital revolution came in a three-step process. The first took place in the time period between 1870 and 1920. Manovich believes that during this time period, called the late Victorian, a change occurred in the cultural attitude toward vision. This change was seen in the development of various forms of visual reasoning by scholars like Galton, Venn, and Einstein. The next step occurred after World War II. The world had seen large advances in technology and industry. Because of this change, the worker began to do less physical labor and a shift in focus from developing physical efficiency to mental efficiency occurred. The last step has occurred in the modern times. Here the shift focused on the development and dominance of the computer (Cook 2).

Cook agrees with Manovich's three- step theory, but feels that Manovich has left out a few important aspects of this visual history. The basic structure of Manovich's claim seems correct, but aspects of the development of late-Victorian visual representations were neglected or incorrectly viewed as unimportant. Cook believes that the more emphasis should be placed on the influence of mathematics in Galton and ...

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