Wired News recently featured an article titled “Comfortably Numb Relationships” by Regina Lynn. The article is a review of Christine Rosen’s paper “The Age of Egocasting“. Basically, one of Rosen’s key idea is that we are entering a time in which “we are willfully withdrawing from public spaces to wallow in a shallow, self-centered existence where we consciously avoid ideas, sounds and images that we don’t agree with or don’t enjoy.” Both authors seem to agree that our exposure and use of technologies such as Tivo and the iPod cause many to regress to a significantly isolated form of existence.
“… iPod users are accused of a similar withdrawal from the world at large. They might be enjoying their unique life soundtrack, but they are also practicing ‘absent presence’ in public spaces,”
This is certainly an interesting hypothesis in a time where social software is so prevalent. I would certainly disagree that isolated existence will be the norm in this culture, but as with society in general, there are those individuals that will always find this more comfortable.
It does remind me of the old quote by Max Frish, however. “Technology, the knack of so arranging the world so we don’t have to experience it.”