The Impact of New Digital Media
More and more new digital gadgets—ranging from mind control devices to digital tattoos—are being announced in the mainstream media. These gadgets are often talked about long before they are available for purchase or use. In a sense, digital media are invented, adopted and even celebrated before society is able to understand their impact on lives, culture, art and social practices. Dr. Isabel Pedersen, Canada Research Chair in Digital Life, Media and Culture, is studying the rhetoric of digital media, or how the public is prepared for new media inventions. Pedersen is focusing on computer media that are worn on the body and those that strive to augment people’s realities. As well, she is exploring how digital media frame parts of our humanity and alter the course of technological invention and creativity. Pedersen is also studying the humanizing and dehumanizing aspects of digital media on society. In doing so, she is building upon a body of work that questions the way technology affects human identity. She is collecting and analyzing inventors’ writings, as well as popular artifacts like films, novels, videos, art installations and social media texts, to understand the persuasive tactics involved in new media adoption. Pedersen’s research will provide greater understanding of the impact of new digital media and their social, political, artistic and media contexts.