Media Study Guide
•“The medium is the message,” McLuhan argues that technologies are not simply
inventions which people employ but are the means by which people are re-invented.
• James Carey’s argument that the telegraph marks the separation between transportation
and communication; marks a fundamental shift in understandings of space and time; and
points to the collapse of the ritual and transmission views of communication.
•Before telegraph, transportation and communication were synonymous; the telegraph
(including earlier line-of-sight optical forms, allowed symbols to move independently of
and faster than transport
• “Print technology created the public. Electronic technology created the mass.” –
•David Cronenberg , Canadian director of Videodrome
•character Brian O'Blivion as a stand-in for Marshall McLuhan.
• Most scholars “emphasize the film’s paranoid dimension of social manipulation and
mind control, which connects individual anxieties about identity engulfment and
transformation through media images with political analysis that asks questions about
who wields media power and to what ends. The film’s political and social implications
are also much more serious: deep and widespread, offering a kind of postmodern
paranoid model of manipulation of helpless private individuals by predatory corporate
forces under conditions of universal technological penetration and colonization. At the
same time, the protagonist’s psyche and body become the uncontrollable landscape of
transgressive sexuality, boundary-less transformation and abjection, and murderous
•“The Television Screen is the Retina of the Mind's Eye”
•Technological singularity refers to the hypothesis that technological progress will become
extremely fast, and so make the future unpredictable and qualitatively different from
•In the canonical usage, it defines the moment an object being pulled into a black hole
passes a point beyond which nothing about it, including information, can escape. In other
words, although an object’s entry into a black hole is steady and knowable, once it passes
this discrete point absolutely nothing about its future can be known. This disruption on
the way to infinity is called a singular event — a singularity.
•innovations in computer power would enable us to design computers more intelligent than
we are; these smarter computers could design computers yet smarter than themselves, and
so on, the loop of computers-making-newer-computers accelerating very quickly towards
unimaginable levels of intelligence.
•If we make an Artificial Intelligence (or AI), which in turn makes a greater AI, ad
infinitum, then their futures are unknowable to us, just as our lives are unfathomable to a
slug. So the singularity becomes, in a sense, a black hole, an impenetrable veil hiding our
future from us.
•He demonstrated that this kind of exponential acceleration isn’t unique to computer
chips; it’s happening in most categories of innovation driven by information, in fields