One of the features of a free society that seems fundamental is the free press. Whether the free press will survive the era of the iPhone and the like is however open to serious question. Most daily newspapers in the UK are downloadable to mobile phones and tablets though in my view reading a newspaper on an app is nowhere near as satisfying as reading the hard printed copy.
Even with real printed newspapers, one tends to skim some pages which do not reflect personal interest. Thus in my case I would pass over the snooker reports and fashion pages as a matter of course. On the other hand where the news is unpleasant or difficult to comprehend, the relevant news articles may be read in full though often with sadness or even anguish.
The passing over to internet only of the Independent Newspaper is mentioned elsewhere in this blog eg at: Last days of the Indy
However readership numbers of the other main daily UK newspapers have been falling to the extent that I wonder if any of them are profitable.
Reading news electronically through apps, iPhones tablets or computers, tends to cause the reader to skim far more, than hard copy reading does. If that is correct the risk will be that knowledge about world events coupled with comment and analysis of the same, will as a consequence be rather more superficial in the future than perhaps has been the case until recently.
Another point appears to be that when simply walking local streets from the station or to the shops, more and more people seem to be concentrating intently on their hand held electronic gadgets so hardly notice others on the same streets with the result that passing the time of day with people generally other than close friends, may be diminishing.
Possibly the modern tendency caused in part by huge and let it be said, in many ways marvelous electronic developments results more and more in a world peopled by those of one's own age and interests. If so, a sad outcome is that strangers who we might come across as part of normal life, are not greeted even with the "good morning" of old but are passed by almost like ships in the night.
If the above points are correct, the risks from fascinating electronic developments in C21 include both an increase in superficiality of knowledge by ordinary people eg as regards absorbing news and its implications and a decrease in what used to be normal human acknowledgement of and occasionally even interaction with, passing strangers.
In other words are we in danger of knowing less about the world around us despite the ease of learning that the computer age is bringing, through for example brilliant search engines, and of restricting our communications more and more to those chosen to join our internet social groupings?