It’s still early days. There were 70 years between Gutenberg printing a book and Luther posting his theses. We haven’t even begun to see the real impact of our printing press—the socially mediated, globally connected smartphone; but we’d best get ready for a world in which it engulfs everything. Will the solution be to reinforce institutions that created the world we know, or will it evolve past those moribund institutions to some new way of mediating our communication? A recent Pew study showed that youngsters are better at distinguishing fact from opinion than the olds. Perhaps the new generation, born into a world where global connectivity is a given—but the commanding position of Wired or The New York Times is not—will cobble together some way to maintain institutions like democracy while ones like newspaper editors expire. The survival of the civilization we’ve built since inked letter blocks first hit paper will depend on it.
The point on younger generations being able to better reason out fact v fiction is fascinating.