People spent the twentieth century obsessed with the future. We created technologies that would help connect us faster, gather news, map the planet, compile knowledge, and connect with anyone, at anytime. We strove for an instantaneous network where time and space could be compressed into one focal point: everyone would be everywhere at once.
Well, the future’s arrived. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, we live in a continuous now enabled by Twitter, email, and a so-called real-time technological shift. Yet this “now” is an elusive goal that we can never quite reach. And the dissonance between our digital selves and our analog bodies has thrown us into a new state of anxiety: present shock.
In this illuminating keynote, media theorist and author Douglas Rushkoff explores the implications of this “Present Shock” for narrative – and for the book industry.
Douglas Rushkoff is author of fifteen best-selling books on media, technology, and culture, including Program or Be Programmed, Present Shock, and, most recently, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus. Douglas made the PBS Frontline documentaries Generation Like, Merchants of Cool, and The Persuaders, wrote the graphic novels ADD and Testament, and originated concepts from “viral media” to “social currency.” He’s currently professor of media theory and digital economics at CUNY/Queens and lectures around the world about media, society, and change. Douglas won the Marshall McLuhan Award for his book Coercion and the Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity. He is also founder of the Laboratory for Digital Humanism and a research fellow for the Institute for the Future.
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