Digital Technology and Remixing What Comes With It

Our experience with digital technology has been remixed. Our digital lives, our online lives have become second nature to us. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat, and even Tinder. The way we perform and interact with the virtual world influences how we are seen in the outside world. Our digital lives and our real lives constantly converge. Whether we are live streaming, or tweeting while we are at dinner with friends and family, how connected are we truly, if we are disconnected from others in real time? Some of the issues of how technology has become a pillar in our lives is something that the older generation has become afraid of.

We are seen as the “Casualties of the digital revolution” according to Producer Douglas Rushkoff of the PBS documentary series Frontline’s episode titled “Digital Nation”. Digital Nation is a 90 minute special that further explores and calls into question the bias, fears, and life in the age of technology. They explore themes such as the issues with multitasking and overabundance of information, the role of digital technology in education, the nature and impact of VR on reality and culture.

I think the bias and fears of those that are interviewed over the course of the episode are somewhat dated. This fear of digital technology when it comes to the older generation isn’t rational. I think they just have a hard time adjusting themselves to the change that’s happening to technology, and they are struggling to keep up. I think some of the fears have been subdued, but the debate still remains, Technology: Friend or Foe.

Do the benefits of technology outweigh the costs?

Digital Natives, those that grew up with technology, think they do, But Digital Immigrants, those that grew up without technology aren’t as trusting.

The Digital Immigrants worry about the impact of technologies’ change on culture, learning, and morality, while various Digital Natives believe that the technological advances are improving our way of life and establishing an efficient world order.

Those that are caught in the middle of the debate, such as me, who choose a secure middle ground understand that technology is disruptive change to the old but welcome innovation as long as we proceed with caution and humility. We are optimistic about the changes being made but also recognize the reality and short-term growing pains that come with our new normal.

The truth of the matter is: There is no stopping technology. But the good thing is we don’t need to. Humans adapt, we’ve always adapted, but some take to it slower than others. We will continue to grow and change and learn from each other. One obvious example of this is the way we “Remix”.

Kirby Ferguson proclaims in his 2012 TedGlobal Talk, “Embrace The Remix” that Everything is Remixed. This is a great example of how we adapt and change and repurpose it in the form of creativty.

A Remix is new media created from old media by copying, transforming, and combining the original to reinvent into a new product. Is this the culmination of creativity? Ferguson alludes that there is no creative property. That our ideas exist to be built upon.

We make creative leaps by connecting ideas. We believe that our ideas are property. We are territorial over ownership of our creations, despite engaging in remixing both actively and passively ourselves. Copyright laws and patents help to uphold these hypocritic beliefs by increasing protection and offering large rewards but is this at the sake of art and creativity? Does this limit or hinder what can be created?

When we add remixing in the context of how much our digital lives have changed the way in which we experience and create media will grow as we grow digitally. The Digital Immigrants become Digital Natives, both parties converge and grow . The way we repurpose, adapt, and experience media and ideas are going to continue to change and I am interested in seeing where that ultimately takes us.



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Gabrielle Burton

Gabrielle Burton

Senior Undergrad at CSU Northridge majoring in Cinema and Television Arts with an emphasis in Screenwriting. Writer, Director, and Editor based in SF and LA.