Monday, March 2, 2015

Engineering The Future of Reading

It’s 2015 and the new year should bring a lot of excitement to book publishing.  But I can’t help think about what I recently read in Newsweek regarding how scientists may reengineer humans and have us conform to the environment we live in.  A story in the December 12 issue said:

“Or, perhaps, a reimagining of what it means to be human.  In a paper released in 2012, S. Matthew Liao, a philosopher and ethicist at New York University, and some colleagues proposed a series of human-engineering projects that could make our very existence less damaging to the Earth.  Among the proposals were a patch you can put on your skin that would make you averse to the flavor of meat (cattle farms and a notorious producer of the greenhouse gas methane), genetic engineering in utero to make humans grow shorter (smaller people means fewer resources used), technological reengineering of our eyeballs to make us better at seeing at night (better night vision means lower energy consumption), and the extremely simple plan of education more women (the higher a woman’s education the fewer children she is likely to have, and fewer children means less human impact on the globe)."

Does this mean we may one day change people to become better readers?  Could we just program humans to download a book in their brains?  Will ebooks somehow get consumed without even using a reader like the Kindle or Nook?  Anything is possible with science.

But for 2015 I’m not expecting anything to be radically different as to how books are created, promoted, sold, or read.  We should expect more of the same.  But as I pen this, someone is in a lab thinking of a revolutionary way to alter how we do things, including how we think, create, and write.

Certainly we should expect to see computer-enabled texts to be produced.  It’s not inconceivable that a computer program can be created to reveal a combination of words to fill the length of a book.  A lot of garbage will spew out but a team of editors can sift through the trillions of permutations to pull out the gems.  Maybe such a process already goes on – who knows?

Maybe technology will look to advance, enhance, or merely alter how we do things, including anything related to books, but what should not change is society’s quest to discover new ideas and knowledge, to want to write about, it and share it, and to spur on dialogues about how to make life better.


2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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