I had to laugh when the January issue of School Library Journal landed in my box, with an interesting article by John Green on the future of reading. The magazine’s cover image reminded me a lot of a sketch Harry Lerner drew many years ago as his idea for how, with new technology, information could go straight from content to the brain. He called it the bypass machine, and he discussed it in his book Tenacity Well Directed. Here’s the excerpt:
“Audio books have always been popular. First they were on records, then eight-track devices, then cassettes, and now disks. They can be downloaded to iPods. Audio books are particularly popular with drivers who travel long distances. Listeners can get their favorite authors and stories delivered right to their ears without reading a word.
But what if you could bypass the ears and go directly to the brain? Just imagine students and everyone else directly absorbing knowledge. You could do this while sleeping. You’d wake up with far more knowledge than you had before going to bed. Sounds futuristic? Maybe not.
I think the “reading and listening bypass machine” will someday come into being. Wouldn’t this be something!”
BTW, I still have the sketch, in Harry’s perennial favorite red ink.