Reassessing Our Relationship With Technology
Back in 1993, KQED produced a 5-part series called "Virtual World." It was a weeklong run of reports looking at how the “information superhighway” was impacting society.
Reporters examined how emerging technologies in Silicon Valley were affecting things like education, work-life balance and consumption habits. The goal was to "take a moment to examine the past and look at possible futures."
Today -- 25 years later -- we do the same, taking a look at those past stories, and examining what the future may hold.
Since the beginning of the world wide web, people have been talking about how computers can “connect people,” “bring the world closer together” and “build community.” Much of this techno-utopian rhetoric was adopted from the counterculture and back-to-the-land movements of the late 1960s, and in the following decades it came to shape how the public conceived of advances in computing and networking.
As we reassess how technology is affecting our lives today, these phrases and the ideas that they encode persist. But the rhetoric no longer belongs exclusively to a counterculture enthusiastic about the potential of a nascent internet. Now it is infused in the talking points and marketing strategies of CEOs for what have become some of the most powerful companies in the world.