The Internet is a Loaded Gun: Ray Bradbury’s Prophetic View of Digital Literacy
Keywords:Ray Bradbury, Digital Literacy, Information Literacy, Information-Seeking, Misinformation, Over-Dependence
In addition to being a bestselling author, Ray Bradbury was also a voracious reader and lifelong advocate of libraries and literacy. His books, including his most famous work, Fahrenheit 451, include themes of anti-censorship, the importance of literacy, and warnings of over-reliance on technology. Bradbury’s attitude towards technology was always more concern than hatred—concern for society’s over-dependence on technology. Recent years of digital culture have proven that Bradbury was correct to be concerned about dependence on the internet for constant visual stimulus. However, his optimism, in regard to what the internet could offer, was also well-founded. The internet, simply put, is a tool designed by humans for humans to communicate and enhance the public accessibility of information. Without proper instruction in information literacy, the general public cannot always distinguish between information, misinformation, and disinformation. Bradbury’s view of technology, as evidenced in several of his works—including, Fahrenheit 451, The Illustrated Man, and episodes of The Ray Bradbury Theater—warns of how overreliance on technology can lead to a belief in misinformation and a decline in information literacy skills.
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