Q+A Douglas Ferguson

How will we consume media in five and 10 years’ time?
When everything is digitized and libraries offer materials, we will have access to anything and everything whenever we choose, at a trivial long-tail price.

Will people ever consent to having communications devices implanted?
Gradually. Thirty years ago, the only people with tattoos were sailors, gang members, bikers, and circus people. Piercing was even less popular. The tipping point on permanent body changes was reached years ago, and I predict implantation will catch on among young people and diffuse slowly into the general population. It matters not at all how repulsive we find the idea today, any more than it mattered thirty years ago with tattoos and body piercing.

How will the process of education change?
As distance education has become more commonplace, 18-year-olds have begun to recognize the benefits of attending class virtually. When the tipping point is reached, likely in fewer than 15 years, brick-and-mortar education will be as popular as video stores.
Students can attend classes via their cell phones. Historically, campuses were situated around massive hardcopy libraries and conclaves of flesh-and-blood scholars; when libraries digitized and technology allowed telecommuting, the location of a campus and its scholars became much less important. As for the social education that makes going college seem desirable, the experience of living independently in youth-dominated communities can be achieved more cheaply with a year-long summer camp or internship.
Douglas Ferguson, a former television station manager and programming executive, is the program director for communications at the College of Charleston.
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