Symposium 5.1 – Protocols and Social Systems


This week’s symposium focused on the subject topic, ‘Protocols and Social Systems’, with members discussing the academic texts ‘Culture and Technology’ by Andrew Murphie and John Potts as well as ‘How Control Exists after Decentralization’.


Elliot opened the dialog between the symposium members and the classroom by gathering opinions as to what culture, technology and the term theory means. Elliot’s exercise exemplified how open-ended definitions on the mentioned topics can be and how we can go around in circles all day and still be puzzled by our supposed meanings.


Interestingly Elliot told, “The less applicable a theory will be, the more precise it is”.


Elliot proceeded to stimulate the class in proposing the question – is technology dependent? The conversation quickly altered to an in-depth discussion. Peers compared human behavior to how technology behaves – strikingly realizing strong similarities between our conduct. I shared my non-technodeterminist opinion with the class, stating that technology is not independent. My case being that technology is created and modified by human beings and that it wouldn’t exist without us. I gave a familiar example of technology and its dependency on humans by noting ‘Benders’ character in Futurama. Whilst Bender has his own quarters, has established friends and pretty much does whatever he feels like, generally in an obnoxious manner, Bender is ultimately controlled by his mother. This is notable on Mothers Day when Bender’s mother utilizes her remote control that she keeps in the bra and turns all her robot spawn evil.

Bender's momImage sourced from

Some thought-provoking ideas brought about in the dialog involved how humans are also somewhat programmed by institutions, regulations, customs, educational systems etc…

It was also spoken of how we can behave in certain ways due to our upbringing, disciplines and social values.

A class member eventfully speculated “Are we technology?!”.