3. “. . . questions about the psychic, political, and social effects of information are as applicable to the computer as to television. Although I believe the computer to be a vastly overrated technology, I mention it here because clearly, Americans have accorded it their customary mindless attention; which means they will use it as they are told, without a whimper. Thus, a central thesis of computer technology—that the principal difficulty we have in solving problems stems from insufficient data—will go unexamined. Until, years from now, when it will be noticed that the massive collection and speed-of-light retrieval of data have been of great value to large scale organizations but have solved very little of importance to most people and have created at least as many problems for them as they may have solved”(Postman 161).
Question: “What is [‘the Internet’]? What kinds of conversations does it permit? What are the intellectual tendencies in encourages? What sort of culture does it produce?” (Postman, Ch. 6; slightly modifiedJ) If television was “the command center of the new epistemology” (Postman 78), what is the epistemology of the Internet, and how can or should that affect our understanding of rhetoric? What is the ideology of digital culture? What is its relationship to issues of race, sexuality, disability? How might we understand “the public sphere” online?