Adbusters

The Era of Simulation

Consequences of a digital revolution.

“For the message of any medium or technology is the change in scale or pace or pattern that it intrudes into human affairs.”
—Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media

We are being shaped by the constant proliferation of digital technologies in our everyday lifestyles. The Internet may have connected the globe forever, but the developed world is now completely at its mercy. Terms and conditions apply to our autonomy. The World Wide Web has infused our society with an all-encompassing reliance on media technologies. At any given time we are staring at a screen, listening to an iPod, using GPS or holding our iPhone – the device that combines all the above functions in an intuitive and responsive little pocket tool. With this handy instrument on us at all times we are obligated to communicate and to be tuned in to entertainment and information. We are objectified as “users” not people. The products of our digital revolution run our daily routines. We are no longer free agents – technical extensions to our physical selves have become as vital as a limb or an organ.

Digital media will continue to shape us independently and as a society, by acting as a conduit of experience and by invading our real space and time. How many of us have wasted hours idly surfing the Internet or aimlessly flicking through endless TV channels?

“We are asked to follow pre-programmed, objectively existing associations.”
—Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media

This is what Jean Baudrillard called “the era of simulation,” we are being herded in preordained directions, dictated by omniscient authors. By following hyperlinks on Wikipedia, for example, we are following someone else’s premeditated path through information and jumping from one piece of subject matter to another. All too often users mistake these connections as their own and continually follow externalized thought processes, relying less and less on their natural associations. Similarly, social networks such as MySpace and Facebook externalize relationships, which has fragmented society by encouraging everyone to recede into their new portable plaything rather than sparking up conversation. The BlackBerry smartphone means that bosses never have to leave the office, while microblogging services such as Twitter mean that they can text the entire team to call an all-important emergency meeting in one fell swoop. Escape is futile. As we move from an industrial civilization into an information civilization, we’re online and we’re locked in. Try a digital detox for even just a day, I bet you will fail, I already have.

Zachary Colbert

Thank-you to everyone who participated in this year's Digital Detox Week. Send us your feedback, thoughts and epiphanies to [email protected]. Did you miss this year's detox? Have your own anytime or check out the campaign page for updates for next year.

Adbusters 111 Cover

On Newsstands December 3

At last we’re in Winter. It’s the year 2047. A worn scrapbook from the future arrives in your lap. It offers a stunning global vision, a warning to the next generations, a repository of practical wisdom, and an invaluable roadmap which you need to navigate the dark times, and the opportunities, which lie ahead.

Subscribe to Adbusters Magazine

116 comments on the article “The Era of Simulation”

Displaying 51 - 60 of 116

Page 6 of 12

SurfingMan

I failed at my digital detox because I have to use a computer for work. I avoided the TV for a day and was happy not to hear all of the bad things on the 10 o'clock news. You can limit your use of your cell phone, iPhone, Blackberry, and iPod. You can also choose which links to click and follow after you search online using the browser of your choice. However, I do agree that we can't really avoid "the constant proliferation of digital technologies in our everyday lifestyles." Rob

SurfingMan

I failed at my digital detox because I have to use a computer for work. I avoided the TV for a day and was happy not to hear all of the bad things on the 10 o'clock news. You can limit your use of your cell phone, iPhone, Blackberry, and iPod. You can also choose which links to click and follow after you search online using the browser of your choice. However, I do agree that we can't really avoid "the constant proliferation of digital technologies in our everyday lifestyles." Rob

Anonymous

god another rant. why can't you commission a decent piece of investigative journalism and get out of this rut of lowest common denominator angst rant rubbish. stop treading readers like idiots.

Anonymous

god another rant. why can't you commission a decent piece of investigative journalism and get out of this rut of lowest common denominator angst rant rubbish. stop treading readers like idiots.

Right in Two

How come its always a rant when people are trying to help you get back to nature? to personal human connection, or even privacy? how come its a rant when we are asked to recycle, or pay attention to global warming and the effect it may have on civilization? mother nature is being ignored and her planet is suffering. the earth is bigger than all of us and if there is one thing this earth knows how to do, it is hit the reset button. one day we will be typing on our phones, the next we will be wiped out by a tidal wave, or an ice age, or massive volcanoes. dont worry about the leader's power, worry about the earth's power. if we keep ignoring and letting this get out of hand, god's server might be down, and your texted prayer might not get to him. remember,these are all just pretty buttons keeping us from being what mother nature wants us to be.

Right in Two

How come its always a rant when people are trying to help you get back to nature? to personal human connection, or even privacy? how come its a rant when we are asked to recycle, or pay attention to global warming and the effect it may have on civilization? mother nature is being ignored and her planet is suffering. the earth is bigger than all of us and if there is one thing this earth knows how to do, it is hit the reset button. one day we will be typing on our phones, the next we will be wiped out by a tidal wave, or an ice age, or massive volcanoes. dont worry about the leader's power, worry about the earth's power. if we keep ignoring and letting this get out of hand, god's server might be down, and your texted prayer might not get to him. remember,these are all just pretty buttons keeping us from being what mother nature wants us to be.

Anonymous

I do agree with parts of this blog, however as cognitive individuals we have the capabilities to select, ignore and interpret. We have the advantage to manipulate these technologies rather than them manipulating us. I have no time for people that waste away in front of the tv or obsessively update their facebook. -Nathan

Anonymous

I do agree with parts of this blog, however as cognitive individuals we have the capabilities to select, ignore and interpret. We have the advantage to manipulate these technologies rather than them manipulating us. I have no time for people that waste away in front of the tv or obsessively update their facebook. -Nathan

Anonymous

I cannot read this article without following the preordained directions dictated by its omniscient author.

Anonymous

I cannot read this article without following the preordained directions dictated by its omniscient author.

Pages

Add a new comment

Comments are closed.