Friday, April 11, 2008

technological convergence

Sorry this post is so late.

I'm going to focus on the Jenkins article. I found it interesting to think about the ideas of cultural convergence and technological convergence. He talks about technological convergence and what he calls The Black Box Fallacy: how many people claim that "all media content is going to flow through a single black box into our living rooms." (14) He says that there never will be a single black box like this and that there are increasing numbers of black boxes: people carry around tons of different devices that they use for many different functions and to channel different media. I think I see his point but I don't agree with it completely. It seems to me that we are getting closer to a single black box in some ways. Obviously there are all these different technologies out there but I wouldn't completely rule out the possibility of many of them combining and combining until there is one (or at least less than there are now). Jenkins uses his living room as an example of the ever increasing variety of black boxes: "There are my VCR, my digital cable box, my DVD player, my digital recorder, my sound system, and my two game systems, not to mention a huge mound of videotapes, DVDs and CDs, game cartridges and controllers, sitting a top, laying alongside, toppling over the edge of my television system." (15) He says American homes will see more and more of these devices. I think it's going the other direction. Many of these technologies are already being combined, such as game systems that also play DVDs and have internet access. Additionally, some of the older technologies he names, such as videotapes and CDs, are being phased out. He also uses the example of seeing MIT students with their various portable black boxes: "their laptops, their cells, their ipods, their Game Boys, their BlackBerrys...." (15) Again, these devices seem to already be combining into newer technologies like the iphone. I think the article is definitely interesting and I thought it was good that he distinguishes technological convergence from cultural convergence in such a clear way, but I don't think he has to say one is happening and the other is not. I think they're both happening to some extent.

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