Pocket cinema: Digital Nation – Life on the Virtual Frontier by Douglas Rushkoff

April 5, 2010

Digital Nation – Life on the Virtual Frontier (2009 – 2010) is a documentary film by Douglas Rushkoff that thematizes the media issues in the context of our virtual lives, tech development, networking and multitasking.

This documentary is not made for infinite or final answers but to open a wider debate on the influence of technology and the internet on our lives.


Douglas Rushkoff  is an American media theorist, writer, columnist, lecturer, graphic novelist and documentarian. He is best known for his association with the early cyberpunk culture, and his advocacy of open source solutions to social problems.

Rushkoff is most frequently regarded as a media theorist, and known for coining terms and concepts including viral media (or media virus), digital native, and social currency. He has written ten books on media, technology, and culture. Rushkoff currently teaches in the Media Studies department at The New School University in Manhattan. (bio taken from wiki)

Within a single generation, digital media and the World Wide Web have transformed virtually every aspect of modern culture, from the way we learn and work to the ways in which we socialize and even conduct war. But is the technology moving faster than we can adapt to it? And is our 24/7 wired world causing us to lose as much as we’ve gained?


Chapter 1: Distracted by everything. M.I.T. students are among the world’s smartest and most wired. They constantly multitask with their tech tools.
Chapter 2: What’s it doing to their brains. Tests given Stanford’s multitaskers yield troubling discoveries. Other research into Net use and the brain raises more questions.
Chapter 3: South Korea’s gaming craze. Some cautionary lessons from a country where Internet addiction has become a health crisis.
Chapter 4: Teaching with technology. Teachers are embracing digital media–’it keeps students engaged; new skills are needed for a new age.’ But is there a catch?
Chapter 5: The dumbest generation? The debate has just begun on whether we are losing as much as we’re gaining in 24/7 wired world.
Chapter 6: Relationships. Millions of people are inhabiting the Net as it were a real place, satisfying the urge to connect to others in online games, virtual worlds.
Chapter 7: Virtual worlds. Second life offers a totally new reality for humans, says it’s creator–and IBM has begun shifting it’s meetings into this virtual space.
Chapter 8: Can virtual experience change us? The U.S. military is using virtual spaces for PTSD therapy and for flying drones in Iraq while based in a room in Nevada.
Chapter 9: Where are we headed? A school is organized around learning through video games–may be it’s students are getting something we aren’t yet able to measure or recognize.

Digital Nation – Life on the Virtual Frontier

Read the full debate after the screening here

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