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Miroir noir

02/05/2013 - par Mark Tungate (tungateinparis@hotmail.com)

I'm back in Paris now - but some of the things I learned on my trip to Madrid last week are still knocking around my head. Most of these "learnings", as Americans like to say, came from the students I met at Villanueva University. After my boring speech, I was able to sit down and chat to them about the role of media and technology in their lives. Their views were not at all those that an oldster like me might expect. For instance, many of them were fearful about the potential disappearance of books, denying that digital readers could replace them. For these 20-year-olds, books were as adorable as vinyl discs are to music fans. In fact, they expressed concern about becoming overwhelmed by digital devices. "It's ridiculous to sit in a café opposite somebody who's always looking at his phone", one of them said. "We need to create new rules about how to be polite with technology." It was like listening to somebody complain about inconsiderate smokers a few years back.
One of them mentioned the British TV series Black Mirror, written by journalist Charlie Brooker, which offers disturbing visions of a future in which technology has run amok. The black mirror is the screen on your phone, in your home, all around you. These young people spend an inordinate amount time gazing in black mirrors. And some of them are beginning to dislike what they see.

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