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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The myth of the Digital Earth between fragmentation and wholeness

  • Author(s): Ballatore, Andrea
  • et al.

Daring predictions of the proximate future can establish shared discursive frameworks, mobilize capital, and steer complex processes. Among the prophetic visions that encouraged and accompanied the development of new communication technologies was the “Digital Earth,” described in a 1998 speech by Al Gore as a high-resolution representation of the planet to share and analyze detailed information about its state. This article traces a genealogy of the Digital Earth as a techno-scientific myth, locating it in a constellation of media futures, arguing that a common subtext of these envisionments consists of a dream of wholeness, an afflatus to overcome perceived fragmentation among humans, and between humans and the Earth.

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