Simon Cook and the Digital World Essay
Industrialization and the Digital
A contemporary, Simon Cook, argues that the origins of the digital world can be traced to the times of Late-Victorian thought. Though he provides a compelling history of the visual, the digital world on a whole does not derive from the Late-Victorian pictorial diagrams from such logicians as Venn, Carroll, or Marshall as Cook contends. My argument throughout the rest of this paper will use the work of three economists— Adam Smith, Charles Babbage, and Alfred Marshall— to show that the origins of Cook’s visual interface in Late-Victorian times do not coincide with the foundation of the digital; rather, the establishment of modern digital processes can be seen thirty …show more content…
A clear example of the proliferation of information technologies is the growth of the computer industry over the past decade. For Cook, the computer screen is evidence of the latest form of modern vision—moving from Late Victorian, to modernist, to digital. While it is true that the computer, in conjunction with the Internet, allows for greater media opportunities than any of its visual predecessors, the computer is first and foremost an information processing and distribution hub: utilizing software and processing power to create databases, manipulate numbers, and formulate predictions. These digital methods of information organization, while technologically innovative, simply represent a modern extension of the mechanical practices born during Industrialization.
The roles of information processing and publication, common in the present digital era, first bear significance during the Industrial Revolution of the early nineteenth century. Within a span of one hundred years, from 1770 to 1870, the Industrial origins of the digital world become fully recognizable; the three economic theories of the period