10 Dreams of Technology

Yes I enjoyed this reading, it was reasonably straightforward and very interesting. Here are my notes, I didn’t want to write about all of them because that would be boring, but these ‘dreams’ were the most stand-out to me.

1. Dream of Symbiosis 

I had to Google this, and it means “Interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.” which in this context is the interaction between the brain or mind and technology. This is relevant to the iOS7 update I blogged about being Apple trying to make you and the iPhone as inseparable as the iPhone and it’s charger. The consumer is Apple’s biggest product. This article discusses how the interaction between humans and machines is believed in technology and scientific studies to allow each to learn from the interaction with the other, resulting in both evolving to higher levels of functioning. This is crazy i, Robot stuff which we should all start getting used to. We can learn so much from technology and it can learn from us; which is essentially the pinpoint of our technologically obsessed society and culture today.

3. Dream of Immersion

Artists since the invention of that particular art have been yearning to create works that will completely and utterly immerse the viewer. Whether it be a game, painting, audio documentary, song, movie, TV show or book, the point is to bring the audience into the world created and keep them there. Virtual reality is a “technological manifestation of this dream.” Meaning that virtuality is constantly striving to immerse the viewer whichever way it can and create a whole new universe for them to dive in and thrive in.

4. Dream of World Peace

This was an interesting one to me because you never picture the internet leading to the end of wars and destruction. This article states that that’s not the point; evil people will continue to live and destroy and kill and start wars, this is in the nature of the human race. What the internet and technology can do is create open communication channels and shared information throughout the entire globe. The net provided channels of exploration between races, religions and nations who were previously unable, due to geographic location, connect with one another. Creating, writing and sharing images or text or videos with someone on the other side of the globe has no doubt brought the world closer together; we’re not connected by land or bridge, we’re connected by the network.

10. Hacking the dream.

To end the article is the break out of the “Dream of…” rhythm with a somewhat humourous way of reminding us that this is the cold world of technology we’re dealing with. When there’s something to be mastered, there will be masters. And these masters may abuse their power and exploit the possibilities of the vast technologies we all have at hand. Hacking is essentially finding alternative purposes for what may be considered mainstream, so hackers are constantly finding harmful, playful, humorous or darkly powerful ways of manipulating the web and technologies.


A few clarifications

I really enjoy the readings that discuss the concept of ‘networks’. This one did this in quite a bit of depth (and length).

Firstly, it stated that it’s a mistake to give ‘the network’ a common meaning and assimilate it to the network of a train, tram or telephone ‘network’.

“Nothing is more intensely connected, more distant, more compulsory and more strategically organized than a computer network. “

The proximity point was interesting; it essentially said that one advantage with ‘the network’ is that something that is miles and miles away can be right next to you. Geographic location doesn’t even matter! This is true regarding with my post the other night about my friend whose in Paris at the moment! He’s on the other side of the globe but the network allows him to be closer to me than my sister sitting on the couch next to me.

No network is larger than the other, it can simply be longer or more intensely connected. The notion of a network dissolves the small and large scale distinctions. It also allows us to get rid of a ‘third spatial dimension’ –> the inside/outside distinctions.  A network is all boundary without inside and outside.

Those are the main points that I was able to comprehend and really engage with!

Murphie and Potts

Here’s a short summary of this reading:

The definition technology has undergone significant changes since its origins in Ancient Greek, Latin and the early 17th century. It can refer to either the study of complex machinery and industrial systems, or this apparatus itself. It’s dominant definition has come to describe “the overall system of machine or processes”, although it remains an expansive and elaborate term. Technique refers to the direct operational skills (physical techniques) and means of appropriate thinking (associated techniques of thought) required to interact with technology to achieve certain things. There’s an intimate involvement between technology and technique; both which are crucial to understanding the complex concept of ‘culture’.

Sorry this is a bit brief. I did really enjoy this reading, it was straight-forward, interesting and relevant, but I’m not very writing-y at the moment!

80/20 Dr. P-dog’s Principle

I completely agree with Lauren on this reading. It started off making sense and being quite clear, then got all sciencey and physicsy and stuff (there’s a reason I’m doing Media, not BioMed…………..)

HOWEVER, the points of the reading that didn’t completely fly over my head were quite interesting. It really helped me wrap my head around the concept of ‘nodes’ and further my understanding of hypertexts.

I did Business Management in year 11 and 12 and I remember learning about the 80/20 rule in terms of business. The rule applied in a number of different factions across management such as 80% of profits come from 20% of customers, 80% of sales are from 20% of your products and 80% of sales come from 20% of your sales staff. Essentially, in any situation, 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. Some examples used in the reading in regards to the network are that 80% of links on the Web point to only 15% of Webpages and 80% of citations go to only 38% of scientists.

Only a small number of ‘nodes’ in the network (I’m assuming this is referring to webpages) have an extraordinarily large number of links and a massive number only have a few links.

A highway road map and an airline map both contain ‘hubs’ and ‘nodes’ but are quite different. They can help demonstrate the structural differences between a random network and one using a power-law degree distribution. In a highway road map, there are many cities or ‘nodes’ and the highways connecting them are the ‘links’. This is a fairly uniform network; each city has a link to the highway system and there are no cities that are served by hundreds of highways. Contrasting this is a airplane map whereby there are some major hubs that have hundreds of links, and many many small airport ‘hubs’ that have barely any links.

This has really helped me understand how the concept of a hypertext works in terms of the network; with its many different links, hubs and nodes that work under either a ‘random’ unstructured network or one using a power-law degree distribution (a more structured one) to connect everything together.

The Long Tail

There were a few points that particularly stuck out to me in this reading, so in risk of making another thesis-post, I’ll just discuss them.

Amazon.com was brought up again. Blood Amazon and it’s revolutionary mass communication practices. “Recommendations” according to what you’ve previously bought – sounds so simple but is relatively new; and completely changed the way that consumers shop online. Suddenly, it wasn’t about mainstream tastes, best sellers lists or general marketing practices, it was about the interest and profile of the individual consumer based on algorithm-fuelled technology.

By having an unlimited selection of music, books, movies and TV shows, we’re no longer classed as a mass market obsessed with blockbusters and cringe-worthy summer pop hits; we’re no longer seen as a giant wave of humans who want and need the same things. This was a result of poor supply-and-demand matching – a market response to inefficient distributions of media in a hit-driven culture. We’re now being broken down into groups of consumers with niche tastes who have unlimited access to all the media we could possibly be interested in.

” For consumers, the improved signal-to-noise ratio that comes from following a good recommendation encourages exploration and can reawaken a passion for music and film, potentially creating a far larger entertainment market overall.”

Entertainment is now widely available to us over the internet, Netflix, iTunes, Amazon etc. This has changed the market.

That’s essentially my reading of the article.


Reading – The Computer, Hypertext and the History of Writing.

This reading really reminded me of a Communications History and Technologies reading, as it was about the history, logistics, economics and technology behind communication. I found it quire interesting as I’m a massive history buff so it was like gazing into the past of the writing and printing techniques, which we, in the 21st century, really take for granted.

The first page had some really great points about writing; it’s about preserving and passing on human experience, social organisation (as it provides a culture with fixed laws, history, literary tradition) and is the preserver and extender of other technologies.

The computer truly changed the notion of ‘machine’ as it produced information, not power. Bolter argues, “It’s hard to think of a marginal technology in the history of writing that the computer cannot imitate”, meaning that it provides electronic writing, which has borrowed and utilised all the best aspects of previous writing technologies. It’s awesome to think about this because people always think the computer just popped up as a new shiny toy; not an update of anything else, but really, it’s a combination of the successful elements of a number of different machines in different fields. The computer allowed for cleaner and clearer writing space. The push towards further mechanization thus pushed away from the need for human muscle and control over the printing process.

The ‘second nature’ point was interesting; like a musician playing their instrument or a surgeon using tools, a writer may become so familiar with their technology or equipment that they can do it without conscious or labored effort. That’s exactly what is happening right now, as I type this I’m staring at a dog through the window of the café I’m in, contemplating what soy milk they use here and whether or not it’s worth getting a gluten free banana bread, not even looking at the keyboard.  I’m truly a creature of my generation’s complex creations, as Bolton states on p37.

The history of writing sections were also interesting, but I feel like I conceptually engaged more with the above points, so decided to unpack them.

This was quite an interesting reading as I love history and love the concepts around communication.

As We May Think – Wk3 Reading

This article seemed to jump around for me a bit; it started talking about the fascinations of science and technology, then went to talk about the reception or lack thereof of great research papers and struggles in producing ideas, then began speaking of great ideas for photography and filmography.

However I think the general gist, which involved the jumping around was to discuss how scientists should make more accessible the “bewildering store of knowledge” available, using examples from the past and future to demonstrate this.

Here are some of my notes I picked up:

  • Science has contributed to significant developments for humankind; increased control over material environments, increased security, improved good, clothes and shelter, offered freedom from disease and an increased life span and given us swift communication between individuals
  • However, there are endless amounts of research out there, with thousands of conclusions, research papers, findings and scholarly works. This article suggests that the time spent creating these amazing things is sometimes not proportionate to its reception in the world or the time spent reading/studying them.
  • There is significant work out there, that despite its potential to revolutionise a certain field, becomes lost in the “mass of the inconsequential” which is quite sad
  • Past examples à the calculating machine that had the economies of the situation against it; labour costs and unreliability outweighed its usefulness and innovation. Babbage’s arithmetical machine suffered a similar fate; the construction and maintenance costs were too heavy
  • Machines these days can be constructed with great economy of effort, that is, the time and labour spent constructing it is beaten by its success and significance.

The second part of the article about the Walnut-cam slightly confused me, however I believe it was a future example of how innovation in a field should be grasped and worked towards, not turned away because of complicated logistics.

Bruce Sterling on Design Fictions.

This article, Bruce Sterling on Design Fictions (this week’s reading) was very interesting to me. I read it literally two hours after having an interesting discussion with a friend over coffee regarding the development of technology. We pondered how in the 2000’s when each “new” equipment came out; Motorola flip phones, Limewire, portable laptops, USB’s, iPods etc., people were so blown away by how futuristic and life-changing they would be, however soon enough all those technologies became completely redundant with faster, smaller, thinner and better technology.

By this natural progression of technological advancement, does this mean that one day the iPhone will be redundant? A macbook air? Utorrent? Will there be a time where people look back on it as nostalgically and fondly as I do to the first iPod, floppy disks, myspace and Gameboy advance? It spooks and baffles me, however it does make me excited to see what the future will hold; how we could possibly improve from the iPhone!! This course has really made me start thinking about how much we take our incredible communication technologies for granted. They didn’t just appear out of nowhere, they’re intricately and cleverly designed wonders of technology created by absolute geniuses (or magic). However our culture has adapted around them so dependently that they’re no longer technological marvels but just parts of everyday life that we can’t live without.

This article was really interesting because it made me think further into this concept but with more of a logical understanding; that there are people who dedicate their time to Design Fiction; the process of imagining, designing and pseudo-creating (i.e. showing through a video) brand new technology. Each bit of design technology is like a look into the possibilities of the future, “giving futurism a second wave” particularly in the minds of cynics like me who think we’ve officially beaten technology with the iPhone and there’s no possible improvements to it.

This article was great because it included videos that demonstrated the concept clearly; the Glass Technology video was incredible and honestly I could see something like that happening in the near future. It’s linked to the iPhone technology of on-the-go easy access to information and communication through screens, but went above and beyond a tiny screen on your iPhone to showing how this idea could spread to every glass surface whether it be a tabletop or a mirror. It totally blew my mind.

Design Fiction is honestly something I will look into deeper, as it really interested me to see where creative minds envision the future being in a few years time (even film and TV makers when they use “futuristic” technology in their works). This article has really made me start thinking about the future and what amazing inventions I use in my everyday life that were once just a bizarre sci-fi dream in someone’s head.

Single, double, triple loop-de-loop with a cherry on top.

This week’s reading was based on Chris Argyris’ theories and exploration about learning and the ways humans react to certain situations. It confused me a tad, I found it to be a bit complex in a bizarre way. I found myself re-reading almost every sentence trying to wrap my head around certain concepts, but honestly found them dripping out of my left ear like water. Educational water though I guess… I still managed to connect to some of the key concepts and found some of it quite interesting and conceptual.

Here is essentially what I picked up:

  • What we try to convince others or ourselves is our normal behaviour can be called espoused theory. Basically it is how we think we would react in a certain situation and what action we would take, whether it is based on past experiences or not. I may be completely off, but I pictured a 30-something year old dude with tatts telling his mates over a jug of beer that if confronted with a grizzly bear, he would take the sucker down with a body slam and wear his claws as gloves for the next few days. (it’s been a long day…)
  • However, what actually governs our actions and behaviour is known as this theory-in-use. So, in my completely ridiculous example, it’s this tough dude running so fast and far away and crying like a child. Right?? Probably not. It kinda made me think of the “gap” between what I say I do and what I actually do. How big is that gap?
  • Single-loop learning is a matter of detecting and correcting error. For example, as I’m writing this and noticing a little red line under a word then fixing up its spelling is considered single-loop learning. I’ve detected an error, and by fixing it, I’ve learned the proper way to spell that word.
  • If the individual or organisation in question does not have to sacrifice or stretch their “governing strategies”, that is their present policies, objectives etc., this is single loop learning.
  • Double loop learning is a matter of questioning these governing variables and work outside of them; an alternative and more critical way of learning. To detect and correct the error, double-loop learning involves modifying your underlying norms, policies and objectives.

Anyway those are the key points over the first few pages, I really felt towards the end of the reading that I was being asked to consider my learning style, critically think about how and why I react in certain situations and why I should be questioning all this instead of sitting idly by while my brain spins like a hamster wheel.

Grizzly bears and hamster wheels. I should definitely go to sleep.

Goodnight, blog world!

Reading 1: What is Networked Media?

Adrian’s description of Networked Media really astounded and excited me. It gave me an interesting insight into what this semester and this course will be like. The passage is abstract and metaphoric, quite open to interpretation and poetic. This itself hints towards the nature of the course; something conceptual, speculative, spontaneous and unique. I feel that it will be self-governing and independent, which is a learning style I react really well to!

This is roughly how I read the metaphor of the boat and the ocean:
The concept of being in a boat in the middle of the ocean ocean is akin to the feeling of being lost and surrounded by something vast and unknown. I guess that this could represent how being in the creative strand of education or even in the creative industry, it’s so easy to feel lost and swarmed in a mass of ideas, thoughts and opinions. There are literally endless options when writing a script, a story, starting a new project, making a film etc. To be written as such really made sense to me as I have felt very overwhelmed since I started this course, as though there are millions of opportunities and ideas but I can’t quite grasp onto any, almost as though they have the consistency of water.

Bringing in a boat to the metaphor makes me feel more secure and calm within the mass of unexplored territory. It would keep me afloat in such an intimidating and overwhelming situation so it would be the key to not (literally and figuratively) drowning! The fact that Networked Media has been compared to being in a boat in a vast dark ocean translates in my head as a way to collect, collate and take advantage of the millions of ideas floating around, ensuring we don’t drown in them! It makes me picture my ideas rippling around my safety haven of a boat and see where my creativity takes me.

This poetic description of the course has really has made me excited to dive right into it! No pun intended…