Reading and Writing Are Doomed

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doomedBy Alan Kilpatrick

Written language plays a central role in the world.  It enables communication, learning, and business to take place between individuals and countries.  Literacy permeates the fabric of life on the planet.  It is difficult to picture any Western society or civilization without reading and writing.  However, Michael Ridley, Chief Librarian at the University of Guelph, asserts that reading and writing will eventually disappear in his new online ebook called Beyond Literacy.

Michael Ridley and his editorial team state that Beyond Literacy is a thought experiment “about the demise of literacy and the rise of other capabilities, capacities or tools that will effectively and advantageously displace reading and writing.”  Beyond Literacy is a “book-like-thing [that] explores the possibility of a post-literate future. That is, a future in which literacy (reading and writing; visible language) has been displaced, replaced, or exceeded by a new or evolved capacity, capability or tool.”

How will lawyers practice law in a post-literature future?  How will the law be affected by the disappearance of written language?

The ebook suggests that the disappearance of reading and writing will not harken a new dark age, “but rather the beginning of an era of advanced human capability and connection.”  Check out the ebook here!

Let us know what you think about this?  Are reading and writing doomed?



One thought on “Reading and Writing Are Doomed

    ken11fox said:
    May 14, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    I find Ridley’s thought experiment long-winded & extremely vague. What is going to maybe happen to literacy? After scanning through several pages of this stuff I can’t tell – there seems to be a suggestion that technology is going in the direction of some kind of post-literacy, but that idea seems like more of a knee-jerk zeitgeist reaction than a theory.based on observation. From what I can see the born-digital generation is more literate than previous ones, not less. They read more, write more, and invent more new forms of verbal communication – that’s why we have so many new spellings & verbal short-cuts. Hyper-literacy, not post-literacy. My 3 cents.


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