Do we need to redefine literacy?

stack of books in black and whiteI retweeted this tidbit from @steveumstead HA! Very interesting take: Most Citizens of the Star Wars Galaxy are Probably Totally Illiterate | Tor.com ow.ly/ep8PX and it got me thinking. In the future will reading words be the definition of literacy? I know the word means that now, but….

Today we are literate if we…

read and understand the written word. Whether that’s on paper or on screen or on a wall somewhere, it’s all about the words and letters.

Tomorrow what will literacy mean?

I suggest that literacy will come to mean able to functionally communicate. That could mean being able to understand icons on a screen, or runes or, a computer coded language.

We see illiteracy as a barrier to making the most out of your life. I think that’s mainly true in our first world environment. People who can’t read, or can’t read well, face barriers because we survive on words.

Movies and television don’t require reading skills – well, unless you are a Jeopardy home champ! You don’t need to be able to read music to enjoy it. Audio books are sometimes more enjoyable than reading the work yourself. Even though entertainment comes in many forms, underlying the experience are words. You can enjoy the product without reading, but it doesn’t get produced without reading.

As an author, I work in words, so literacy is important to me.

 As an x-wing fighter, can I be illiterate?

I think by the time we get into space in a meaningful way, words will take a back seat to more efficient and faster communication tools; icons, colored lights, spoken instruction, and even things we can’t imagine at our current technological stage.

 What do you think?

Do you think we’ll evolve the idea of literacy into something other than just words?