Lecture 4: Technological Origins

What stimulates new directions in the study of media?

New technological advancements

Incorporation of industries

New generation- new socio-culture


Key Terms

Digital (also look up analog)




Sharing and Telegraphy are communications technology


How to research the history of a term?

Etymology- can be done through the Oxford Dictionary or Medieval English Dictionary

Usage- can be done through Google Ngram, Oxford English Dictionary or LION

Information- Fundamental discovery, all information was reducible to discrete units, a fundamental unit of measurement

With the bit, information was fungible


Information didn’t exist in its current form as a theory until the twentieth century

Information in the middle ages was the imparting of form onto matter- matter

Information was believed to be received from the Lord during the renaissance- spirit

In the period of enlightenment humans are at the centre of the definition of information- mind


A Communication system is comprised of the following

Information source- transmitter-channel-receiver-destination

This can get interrupted by noise


Technical culture cultural effects of technological development


Technology and media have social and cultural consequences


Print culture vs oral culture

Standardized spelling starts around the time of the printing press, Samuel Johnson starts the dictionary in about 1830


Form (abstract) vs Content (literal)

Having a phone is more important than the phone call in McLuhan’s opinion



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