The End of Reading and Writing?

Lessig reads his column aloud to introduce himself to podcasting. I just got my March copy of Wired, and I’ll probably skip that column and listen to the live version. This is part of the broader movement to record and playback the human voice. Hard drives, microphones (think cell phones), and compressed audio formats are their way to becoming as common as pens and pads of paper. What’s to stop the recorded word from taking over where the digitized word left off?
There’s no doubt that both technologies have their benefits, but the benefits of text – permanent, clear, asynchronous, searchable, small – are quickly being absorbed into audio media. Meanwhile, the benefits of audio are only being enhanced. I was never able to get my reading ability past the point where I translate text into mentally audible words (in other words, to go straight from print to mental idea). Thus, for me, reading merely adds a cognitive step that slows me down. I’m not sure why I read anything that’s available in audio form.
Writing (word processing?) is another story. The ability to work at a random pace, retrace, and rearrange gives the written word a benefit that audio just doesn’t have: it can be revised before publication. For this reason, I think Lessig’s choice to start podcasting gives a pleasant result. We get the best of both worlds: the perfection of the written and the expression of the spoken.