Visual literacy is not a term that many people are used to hearing but it's one of the most significant phrases of this century. It describes our ability to see and recognize represented objects. Visual literacy today is far more advanced than it was just 50 years ago; or even 20 years ago.
Through the use of technology we've vastly improved our ability to experience new things visually. We can look at an entire photo gallery online in under 2 minutes and have at least a basic understanding of what we saw and how it affected us. An image that would have taken 10 or 20 seconds to fully understand in the past can be recognized in less than a second now.
Examples of this in effect can be seen in the film industry: Older films will have a lot of establishing shots and scenes that seem to go on forever to us these days. It actually took longer for people to comprehend what was going on because the medium was new and no one had grown up with it. Cuts were longer and mostly flat.
Because many of us today have grown up with not only film but computers and other technology, we've been programmed from an early age what to expect. Today's movies are filled action; the cuts are dynamic and fast.
Given the current trend of technology, there's no telling what advances we'll see in the future. Visual literacy maybe something that's eventually inherited, not learned.