Technophilia and the new media: Contemporary questions of responsible cultural consumption. A call for public debate

Roland Benedikter and Nicholas Fitz

Synesis: A Journal of Science, Technology, Ethics, and Policy 2011; 2:G62-68

Since the dawn of modernity, technological developments have shaped the social landscape. In the past few decades, they have done so with increasing pace and impact on everyday life and behavior. The rapid ascent of social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, and the broad diffusion of new tools of electronic mass communication like smartphones, webcams, and tablets unavoidably change how we perceive, interpret, and manage our lives, transforming our habits of cultural consumption. These developments and their practical implications question some of the micro-level (individual) and macro-level (social) conceptual cornerstones of Western modernity. The primary task at hand is not to anticipate the developments ahead – an impossible charge given the speed of evolution – but to identify an array of open questions at the inter- and transdisciplinary crossroads between the different fi elds involved in these changes. This short piece tries to highlight some of these questions as a kind of “memory aid”. In our view, the respective answers must be the outcome of debate and public dialogue. They will thus be found in differing ways under the circumstances of changing discursive, socio-cultural and political contexts.


Key words: technophilia, new media, medium, culture, consumption