In such an era when the pace of life is getting faster and faster, people have no time to read great works and thoughts – such comments are always heard, but is this really the case? British scholar Robert colville believes that more people are more likely to read more difficult philosophical and scientific books at present. Even the writing level of popular novels is much higher than that of the past. Even the much criticized bubble drama has more depth and density of knowledge than the previous similar works.
In Robert colville’s book The Great Acceleration, he pointed out that the impact of technological change on culture is quite profound: on the one hand, people are becoming more and more impatient; On the other hand, people are more likely to develop towards extremely subtle and complex products and more long-term and in-depth experiences, and are more willing to spend time to understand, appreciate and read. From a commercial point of view, the above impacts suggest that people should either completely conform to the trend and strive for the audience in the most eye-catching and convenient way. Either return to depth and make serious works more meticulous. As for those mediocre works, they are likely to lose the market in this era.
An interesting phenomenon is that in many countries, books with big heads or very obscure reading always appear at the top of the book sales list. In the manufacturing centers of Hollywood and other cultural products, resources are increasingly concentrated on the production of blockbusters with large star clusters or experimental works piled up with various cutting-edge concepts and technologies, while movies with general budget targets and outdated types are less likely to receive financial support than before.
Changes in technology and social psychology have led to polarization of cultural production in terms of taste, quality and freshness. This kind of environment is probably not good for the growth of artists, because it is difficult for an artist to withstand the long-term test of growth. During this period, there is probably no income, no fans’ attention and no capital to favor. This book points out that given the continuous improvement of computing power, artificial intelligence will greatly reduce the market occupied by mediocre works and even short, flat and fast popular works, further aggravating the above trend. In the end, the number of producers entering the cultural and artistic market is likely to decrease, leaving only room for authors and institutions that produce high-quality works.
The central point of this book is that we are in an era of great acceleration. Acceleration will inevitably bring impact, but it is also beneficial. As mentioned earlier, more readers and audiences actually read serious works and appreciate serious music than in the past. The author believes that great acceleration is the collective choice of human beings, and the advantages of great acceleration outweigh the disadvantages, although the occurrence of its disadvantages is more drastic.
The cultural content with faster and faster innovation and faster rhythm dazzles people, which intensifies the continuous operation of the nervous system, puts forward higher requirements on the nervous system’s ability to bear anxiety, and makes people more accustomed to indulge in shallow aesthetic appreciation. The author pointed out that we must realize that people’s thinking is not unchangeable, neural circuits are plastic and are adapting to the changes taking place.
In the process of adaptation, the first is the malpractice. For example, greater stress in life and fragmentation of attention have led to a decline in our health level, but scientists realize that technology itself also provides people with tools to adjust themselves so that people can maintain physical and mental health and achieve a balance between work and life while gaining the benefits of great acceleration.
When talking about the impact of online culture on social etiquette, the author points out that ” disintermediation” does induce many people to communicate online in a more direct way, but it should be noted that online culture especially favors tact and literary grace. Those who show their vulgar features online are superficial in nature. The book also talks about whether the traditional media in many countries and regions are facing survival difficulties in recent years, the production level of self-media information is declining, and whether the network news environment leads to bad debates. Obviously, the author does not agree with the pessimist’s judgment, because nowadays ” despite the existence of a large amount of dross, the output of good news is higher than at any time in history”. The author firmly believes that the works in newspapers, TV and other media gradually disappear from those mediocre works in the middle reaches, instead of ” truly great works” – good works, regardless of length, can now be shared on various platforms at an unprecedented speed.
The book describes in detail the impact of high-speed trading and high-frequency trading on financial markets under the background of increasing computing power. If supervision is not strengthened, the impact will likely cause financial and even broader economic sectors to collapse faster.