From AC Grayling:
My final question is about the way we’re going to be reading, communicating and reflecting in the future. At the moment, we’re all very interested to know about the future in these respects. Not the future of the book specifically, although it has traditionally been one major focus for the reflective life – sustaining it, enabling communication between participants in it – because already we see the trend that there are different ways in which written content can be delivered to people who want it. Rather I mean the practice of reading, the practice of reflection, themselves; I mean the nature of what underlies our ability to be good conversationalists with one another, to be reflective and informed, to have a good knowledge of the classics, but also to be open to new ideas and new work across all the disciplines — history, the sciences, philosophy, and the literary arts. How are people going to relate to these things in the future, given that in the past this centrally involved reading and reflecting?
This is an interesting question because in the past our culture has been one that depends tremendously on the written word, on literature in all its forms. If the way that the written word gets to people changes in ways that make people use it less, and this is a phenomenon becoming more widespread now — formulating ideas and communicating them in very compressed forms, as in text messages for example — that kind of phenomenon might make a difference to our cultural sensibility.
This conversation covers a lot of ground from reflection, scientific progress, tabloid culture and civil liberties. Time to read and reflect.