The International Committee for the History of Technology 33rd Symposium Transforming Economies and Civilizations The Role of Technology Title of the Presentation

Robert Hauser
The fears and hopes in the history of media and their impacts on technology Since the 90s of the last century the global spreading of the Internet was accompanied by global changes of societies from industrialised societies to post-industrial, information based societies. This development was reflected intensively in the literature. In the following a wave of books and articles were published dealing with the relationship between new information and communication technologies (ICT's) and
more » ... (ICT's) and culture. This relationship is often particularly described as a transformation process of cultures caused by the Internet technology. At this stage-looking back to the 90s-it is clarified that a reciprocal process took place: The Internet not only influenced and transformed societies and cultures but also culture has-and still does-shaped the Internet. In this cultural shaping process, the hopes and fears which are connected with the potentials of the Internet are very important. The historical review shows that this is also true for other new media. With every new invention of media technology pessimistic and optimistic views existed contemporaneously regarding the cultural impacts of the new media technology. From Gutenberg's invention of the letterpress-and the possibility to print more and faster than before-to the Radio and Television to ARPA's development of the Internet not only media and media technology changed but also their impact on societies. Even though the use of a book differs significantly from the use of technologies like Radio or TV and even more from ICT's, the status of a new medium seemingly leads to certain-often exaggerated-hopes and fears among societies and their cultures. From a historical perspective it becomes apparent that 1