Extending Marshall McLuhan – Second Edition
Chapter 51. Enabling Technologies Not Dealt With in Understanding Media
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ENABLING TECHNOLOGIES NOT DEALT WITH INUNDERSTANDING MEDIA
There is a set of enabling technologies that make the new media that were just analyzed possible. They include:
Electronics is an extension of electricity where the flow of electrons was controlled originally by vacuum tubes; it was used to process, store, and transmit information. Vacuum tubes were replaced by transistors, making use of solid ← 411 | 412 → state physics, and subsequently by integrated circuit chips or microelectronics, where an entire circuit was etched on a silicon chip.
LOM: Electronics enhances control of information, obsolesces vacuum tubes, retrieves mechanical steering and shunting, and reverses into microelectronics, which reverses into nanoelectronics, which reverses into quantum computing.
Microelectronics ushered in the age of microcomputers and sundry other applications such as computer control of traditional devices such as automobiles and appliances. The most recent developments still at the research level include nanotechnology, where a small number of practical devices have been built, and quantum computing, where a proof of concept has been achieved but practical applications have not yet been built.
It is interesting that McLuhan never dealt with electronics in UM, although it was certainly an important technology circa 1964, without which there would have been no radio, television, or computers, to mention just a few devices that require electronic technology. In fact, McLuhan failed to make a distinction between electricity...
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