I recently posted a topic on how libraries may be developing a market niche based on an outdated business model. I found two interesting works related to that. The first is The Age of Spiritual Machines
by Ray Kurzweil, the second is a presentation by Richard Baranniuk. Both authors are well renowned in their fields. Kurzweil is a researcher on the progression of technology, and a futurist, while Baraniuk is an electrical engineering professor at Rice. Kurzweil discusses the impending demise of the book, while Baraniuk discusses the failures of the publishing industry.
In his book, Kurzweil outlines the stages of technology, which are: precursor, invention, development, maturity, pretenders, and obsolescence, and antiquity (p. 19). He gave the following example:
"Another example is the print book, a rather mature technology today. It is now in the stage of the pretender. Lacking resolution, contrast, lack of flicker, and other visual qualities of paper and ink, the current generation of virtual books does not have the capability of displacing paper based publications. Yet this victory...will be short lived as future generations of computer displays succeed in providing a fully satisfactory alternative to paper."(p. 20)
Dr. Baraniuk gave a presentation at TED entitled Good Bye, Textbooks, Hello Open Source Learning
(By the way, I highly recommend going through this site. The speakers are A++). Towards the end of his speech, he basically said that the publishing industry is outdated and the biggest impediment to the dissemination of knowledge.
I think Baraniuk's presentation has immediate relevance, while Kurzweil is more of a 20-30 year thinker. Despite their differences, both authors posit interesting theories. It would be interesting to continue our previous discussion keeping in mind what they have said, and perhaps find some rebuttals to flesh out our arguments a bit more.