EDPX 2200 (CULTURES OF EDP) BLOG

 

 

 

Week 1

1. Introduction Video

This is my personal introduction for my Spring 2017 class, EDPX 2200 (Cultures of Emergent Digital Practices). I felt more nervous talking alone to my camera than to present in front of other people. So there will be a lot UMMs, looking away, thinking about the answers. Nice to meet you all.

2. Technocultural Anthropology / Digital Ethnography

Michael Wesch showed enormous culture shift and lifestyle of information era. From Web 2.0 to Social Media, all of these artifacts build new cultures, behaviors, and lifestyles.

  • The Web 2.0: The Machine Is Us/ing Us

The “Web 2.0: The Machine Is Us/ing Us” explain how we went from writing on books and papers to Web 2.0. It showed the changes in the way information are stored. The basic writing on paper only allows us to record information and data in a static form while the Web 2.0 have HyperLinking. Hyperlinking allows us to keep track of related information and topics so that we can trace back or forward on the particular set of subject. This allows more Interdisciplinary subjects to flourish as different subjects can be linked to one another. The "new" thing about this is that information are now connected more than ever and it also help connect people as we can link each other through social networking. In term of social media and Web, there are research surrounding semantic web which uses context to create different experience for individuals on the web. I believe some form of this semantic web is already here where we are surrounded by recommender algorithm and targeted advertisement. All of these uses data to build our likes and dislikes so the computer algorithm can recommend things we are or likely to be interested about. This changes linking data to a new level as we do not have to search for them but they are represented to us. Like Plato's fear of weakened memory skills, this semantic web and AI will weaken our analysis skills as the computer is doing analyzing data for us through multiple factors. I believe in the future when neural interface is available, the information we want will be instantly available in front of our eyes. If neural interfacing with computer is possible, we just need to think or even do not need have to think as the advanced AI could formulate what we like and dislike. This seems like the thinking capability of human will be at risk as we get enhanced by AI. However, it is how we use these AI that will keep these apocalyptic future from happening.

  • An anthropological introduction to YouTube

This video is about video sharing and community forming through virality. It discuss the issue of cultural inversion where we become more lonely while we crave for connection. YouTube success is sometime based on the increase need to connect through long distances. This platform allows us to be self reflective while sharing that reflection to the world. It also use to connect people through time and space. Once you upload a video, it is there forever and people can come and connect with you 10 years later . There is no barrier of time and space in this new video sharing website. However, YouTube is more personal as you would show yourself on camera or some form of moving pictures. YouTube also allows people to easily remix and steal content which created the remix culture. It allows more people to be creative through meshing and mixing two or more forms of content. I believe the experimentation that YouTube provide quickly advances the creative capacity of the world. Currently, Snapchat and Instagram Stories create a new experience where the content is only available for 24 hours which put the barrier time back on the medium. YouTube also have live streaming which could be future of medium. I believe in the future, there could be a way to livestream everything you are doing 24/7. Furthermore, VR and 360 videos is revolutionizing the story sharing aspect of YouTube. This could create a platform people to experience living as another person. The interactivity of 360 videos and VR open up the possibility of choices viewer can make on the video/game. This means the merging of video games and video sharing sites could become one. 

  • From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-Able

This video shows the changes in relationship with information. Students nowadays do not need to memorize or remember much of the contents as they are readily available. Michael suggested that we should create a society where we are able to analyze and find pattern in the information and not to memorize these information. Therefore it could improve the critical thinking and filtering out information. Since the Web provide too much information, we must teach ourselves to ignore these excess information. He make us consider the impact of these World Wide Web. With semantic web, we have targeted advertisement which could hurt our information analysis skill. Furthermore the advancement in AI and recommender algorithm, we are thinking less about what we like and letting the computer decide what we like. Again, it seems like the thinking capability of human will be at risk as we get more advanced AI. He is implying that we should be careful with how we use our sharing platform in order to mitigate the negative impact of these platforms. 

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Week 2

1. Connected Cultures

  1. What do you mostly do on the phone?
  2. What kind of apps do you have on your phone?
  3. Do you use your phone more than your laptop for the internet?
  4. What do you do when there is no internet?
  5. After reading Baym, do you feel that there is no private place on the internet?
  6. Do you use any type of add-ons or apps to prevent data tracking? (Adblocker or Incognito mode or search engine that doesn’t track your data)

2. Privacy & Browsing Data Dilemma

THE REALIST  (ಠ_ಠ)
Privacy is on the Realist’s mind but they’ll often choose convenience over any hard line principle. That’s not to say they wouldn’t like the choice to opt-out or have more control over their personal information but compromise is part of living in the digital age. While the Realist is uncomfortable with the NSA’s tactics, they also understand that security sometimes comes at a price. As for the tech industry, yeah, capitalism has its flaws but until someone comes up with a better system, it’s pretty darn good. 

Favorite TV shows: Homeland, The Good Wife, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Silicon Valley, Louis CK, Black-ish, House of Cards

Favorite podcasts: On the Media, WTF, Snap Judgment, Recode Decode, Freakonomics

Likely privacy steps taken: The Realist can’t give up Google Docs or Instagram but sometimes thinks about deleting the Facebook Messenger app. The Realist has also been know to go on *unsubscribe me* binges and feels conflicted when they use an adblocker on a site they love. And yes, they absolutely have a pass code on their phone.  Come on, they’re not a Luddite! 

Has admiration for: Barack Obama, Michael Bloomberg, Goop. 

Probably posts on social media: The Realist has some regrets about all the personal photos they used to post online. They also are irritated (pun intended) by all the ads they got for skin salves after complaining on Facebook about rough winter skin. The Realist ignores the ads anyway and would NEVER click on them. 

I think these personality findings accurately pinpoint my online behavior. I know and understand that many Internet Company have access to my data through cookies, caches, and other tracking system. Furthermore, I know that they can even quantify where your mouse is located and build a heat map to see where you are likely to click. Since I am interested in UX design, I know that these techniques are used to help Facebook, Google, Amazon, and other big internet corporations bring the best User Interface for us. It can also be used to put the advertisement based on where you are most likely to look or click. In additions to tracking what you like and do, they can also track what you are typing. As a realist, we need to see that, in a capitalist world, we cannot expect free products or services. If Facebook or Google put a paywall for us to use if they do not track data, would anyone be likely to pay that $10 / month subscription fee to improve their privacy. I believe that would drastically reduce the number of users. The data being track to help Internet companies monetize their services is the price we pay for using “free services.” Though I believe privacy is a important matter, it is hard finding a business model that could help monetize “free” services like Google. I know that if we really want our privacy protected, we would use VPN (Virtual Private Network), FireFox Private Browsing (feature Anti Tracking Features), DuckDuckGo (Google Alternative that doesn’t track data), Ello (Ad Free Social Network) and other alternatives. It seems that we are our worst enemy and we are also hypocrite when we complain about Businesses tracking their data but know that Businesses doesn’t run on money that grow out of tree. I believe if you want to support these smaller services which have more lean data tracking practices, you are free to do it.

The ISPs being allow to sell our data is another case and I do not agree they should have the ability to sell our data. ISP industry is an oligopoly market structure where there are only few competitors and the switching cost tends to be high. Furthermore, it is hard to find more than on ISPs in every city or state. When I was in Buffalo, NY, I could only subscribe to Time Warner with their “shitty” services and high price. Though the speed of the internet was good, they could treat customer badly because there are no alternatives that were available in the area. Imagine the power they would have with all data they can sell from browsing history and other algorithmic form data to the advertisers. Furthermore, it would be harder for us to switch to alternative services because we are usually locked in for 12 months. If I do not like Google tracking policy, I would use DuckDuckGo which do not track my data. I think the potential to switch and the switching cost give ISPs so much power.

In term of the class, I believe each student should have to right to post on blog or email our responses to the professor. If students are uncomfortable sharing their thoughts through the blog, they can use email or even writing in paper to turn in their biweekly blog. Since I am using both SquareSpace Analytics and Google Analytics for my website, I know that they are tracking everyone that is coming into my blog. I think since it is bigger corporation that have the data of my users, the security should be on par with the current best practices. I track data because I would like to know my users and visitors so I could improve my overall web experience for my resume website. I think it is important that we respect the privacy limit of an individual. We should be able to do what we are comfortable with and some people do not want their information online so we must make sure that there are other methods to submitted the work for the class.

I think we could have multiple method to share our thoughts about our biweekly blog. For example, we could use email, writing on paper, or Word Documents as an alternative to the online blog. Those who are concern about posting online could use more traditional methods so their data and privacy are protected online. I know that once you are online, it is hard to get your data out of the internet. However, if people want to post online, they should also have the choice to put their thoughts online. I believe it is the matter of personal preference and it truly align with the realist viewpoint of my online personality. We could also provide alternative media as a suggestion to those who want to share less data with the big corporation. [Examples: VPN (Virtual Private Network), FireFox Private Browsing (feature Anti Tracking Features), DuckDuckGo (Google Alternative that doesn’t track data), Ello (Ad Free Social Network)]

3. Media / Remediation / Convergence Culture

  • McLuhan's Understanding Media

I believe when he said, “the medium is the message” is meant the limitation or constraint of the medium develop a certain practice that are common to the medium and that these practices and actions become the message itself for the medium. The limitation of medium restricts the methods of sending and receiving information by the confine of the law of the medium, therefore, the limitation send a message of how it could be used or will be used.
He talks about how all media are also messages because “the “content” of any medium is always another medium.” This means that the content is derived from another medium. For example, movies as the medium, get the content, from writing and scripts. It can go further down into thoughts being a medium and content for another medium such as writing.  I think that this way of thinking create a deeper understanding of how media evolves and how to trace back on the development of different media. Furthermore, it can help us predict how the next media is going to send and receive information. 

When he used the word “extension”, it meant that we are also media as our thoughts and oral communication are used as a medium to send and receive information. Our body and mind are media that we rarely think of as it is second nature to us. The word “extension” is important because when we think of media, we think of nonliving technology but the root of media is our thought which makes media an extension of our body and mind. It is important to distinguish the scope of how we think of media and the “content” of the media as our body are the most natural media that we use consciously and subconsciously (body language). 

McLuhan distinguished “hot” and “cold” media according to the amount of users’/viewers’ interactivity and participation that can occur in the medium. Since “hot” media tend to be high definition, the viewer input then to be lower and vice versa. I still have trouble distinguishing between “hot” and “cold” media as he categorized TV as “cold” media while radio as “hot” media. I feel like the opposite should be true or even both should be listed as “hot” media for both TV and radio as both have limited participation and interactivity. He also listed the movie as “hot” media which I think is not much different from TV as I believe they should align quite well. 

  • Bolter & Grusin's Remediation

Bolter & Grusin mentioned a lot multiplying its media and erasing traces of mediation (immediacy and hypermediacy of media). They talk about how the medium should not interfere with the "content" and that is the act of erasing the traces of mediation. The example of this could be Virtual Reality where we are immersed in term of our sight and sound. Media like these helps erase the sense of mediation as we are fully immersed in the medium and provide immediacy. I believe both immediacy and hypermediacy steal from one another as some form of immediacy requires hypermediacy and hypermediacy need some aspect of immediacy to create interesting forms and feeling. However, I do believe there is medium that has element of both immediacy and hypermediacy such as Virtual Reality. Virtual Reality's immediacy element is that we lost the sense of feeling that we are wearing the virtual headset but the hypermediacy element is the layout and interface for control in the Virtual Reality. Hence, VR borrows both hypermediacy element to help create an immersive world. 

  • Jenkin's Participatory Culture

Jenkin's TED video is mainly about creating and embracing participatory culture. He talks about games and other social media platforms that engages the current generation through play in order to help them learn "global" skills that were not rare before the World Wide Web. He encourages everyone not to undermine this new connected culture that seems to only encourage play without "real skills." The main concept of embracing the Web 2.0 culture and also to look forward to more integrated culture is the main message behind Jenkin's TED Talk. He gave examples of how online participatory culture creates global movements, develops cross-cultural communication skills (more cultural sensitive), and brings global changes. The skills to use the World Wide Web is essential for the future and the current generation is leading the way through games, online communities, and online practices. The skills to bring "changes" in a global context is embrace in the Internet participatory culture. Since the regulation of the World Wide Web is less tight and the behavior on the Internet are harder to control, we can use the platform to fight social injustice, protest on a global scale. The "virality" aspect of the World Wide Web also help spreads information to the world which could help process, analyze, and find solutions to  problems at "instant speed" through collective collaboration. 

  • Main Points

One of the biggest main point of the 3 readings is that all media derived from previous media, in other word remediation, and the future of the media tends to be converging into one hypermedia to create the effect of immediacy and hypermediacy. I would like to study more about how remediation could help create the "media" of the future by converging all media into one through hypermediacy. The consequences that the "singular medium" could have on communication, existence, and lifestyle. Would singular medium be too powerful as it display all information while providing no "real" information. Could neural interface be the future of singular medium as we would not need other form of "flawed" media to communicate complex thought and expression? With the neural interface, we could essentially send information just by thinking about them. This could help solve misunderstanding that is created by many media and could increase efficiency. 

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Week 3

1. Life After New Media

Vitality, according to Sarah Kember and Joanna Zylinska, in relation to media is the life cycle of media and the connection between the old and new media through remediation and emerging technology. This means that they are talking about the lifespan of the media, how it forms, and how it will produce future media. Process in this case is the creation, destruction, and transformation new and old media in order form "newer" media. All of the above shows that media are not isolated cases and they are relational to biology (body), culture, society, and technology. Sarah and Joanna mentioned that, in order to do accurate studies of media, we must change of overly simplified perspective of media (duality) and create new way of seeing media in relationship with evolution of human culture and society. I believe since it is a incredibly complicated subject, it would be easier to study media in a small and separated sections. However, it is essential that we do not ignore the "black-boxed" perspective that is cause by this. Hence, I believe performing scholarly studies in media required a more interdisciplinary approach that input multiple theories and practices into action. Since media itself is not detached from human biology, culture and society, we must consider the biological, cultural, and societal aspect of media study.

2. Note to Self (Is my phone eavesdropping on me?)

1) the agency of objects: In Note to Self, the agency of objects was not discussed but I believe that Amazon Echo listening to you at all time is kind of agency of objects. Currently, there are no AI in a lot of these objects that would make them disobey or have real agency at all. There might be malfunction or false calculation that could create situation like this. For example, Amazon's recommending algorithm could falsely recommend you things that you are not interested in because algorithm is not 100% accurate. In Note to Self, they show that these algorithm kind of giving some agency to the machine to help recommend things that they think are related, however, I still believe because human control the algorithm, we can always change or shut down the agency by changing the algorithm. The real agency would come when there is a human level artificial intelligence that could have consciousness.

2) human-machine relations: Human-machine relations is not thoroughly discussed but the idea of what machine tends to be is changing as we often forget that we are talking to software algorithms and big computing servers in Arctic Circle (Facebook). Virtual assistant mentioned in the Note to Self are some example of how we create positive human-machine relations, however, when we know that a machine is listening all the time, we tends to become defensive. The idea of your phone listening 24/7 is a negative human-machine relations that we experience when we find out that the coincidence of target advertisement to what we talked about.

3) affective computing: Affective computing is still in its early state as there are only limited consumer product that have this. Though affective computing had been researched in academic for longer than this, we have not been able to commercialize it because of the fear and effect of "uncanny valley" theory. In Note to Self, the only relation to affective computing is the acknowledgement of conversational interfaces such as Google Now, Siri, and Amazon Alexa. The voice in these software are designed to create a personality for the software and furthermore, jokes and other mini games that these conversational interfaces create emotional response in human. Though currently, none of these conversational interfaces can read the emotion through your speech, it might be a possibility later. 

4) the intimacy of technology: Similar to the above mentioned example, virtual assistant tends to helps change our view of computer to become humanistic, hence intimacy forms through the humanistic voice. In another case, it seems that technology such as our smartphones and social media knows a lot about our personality, likes and dislikes. This create a strange intimacy with the technology as human bond with people/things that know about us.  

3. Note to Self: The Realities of Virtual Reality Forget Edibles: Getting High on Wearables

I believe the issues mentioned in both these podcast about the advancement of immersive technology will create new type of culture. The VR could allow us to lose ourselves in the world of unrealities especially if there were better body interface. For example, if we could immerse ourselves into a weightless pool and interact with VR, we could feel even more immerse into the world without limit boundary. In addition, new systems such as feedback suit and gloves could make VR extremely real to our senses. The consequences of this similar to when the TV came out, where people would rather be inside playing with their VR rather than go outside. If you can experience climbing mountain or just doing all these outdoor activities inside, chances are you rather do it inside as it is more efficient and timely. For Thync, I believe this form of new electro-pulse in the future would help different type of neurological diseases without invasive surgery. It could also boost our brain performance. The repercussion of this technology is currently in the center of the technology as we do not know what impact to expect. Furthermore, since it is dealing with brain, one of our most important organ, we tends to be more careful about experimenting on it. 

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Week 4

1. Participatory Culture

Participatory Panopticon

In the article about, the participatory panopticon, it highlights the various issue that we will be facing when we effectively transform into a sousveillance state with little or no privacy and where everyone is given the power of recording. The technology for this to happen is not far away, maybe a decade. Participatory Panopticon, I believe in a way these two words are contradictory because participatory suggest it consents and voluntary while the word panopticon is used to described the building that reduces power by always being recorded or watched. I believe this is not participatory at all as it is not voluntary and there is no way to opt out of this. The article talks about how we will have to have reciprocal accountability which means to be a responsible and honest citizen for the betterment of the society. Overall, I believe this 24/7 recording by everyone will create a new type of self-consciousness and awareness at all time. It will be a state full of ingenuine citizen where they pretend to fit in to create a better version of themselves that is not true to themselves. In the article, it mentioned that we will be returning to the village culture where everyone is known and their places (reputation) is also known. The reputation calculation should, in this case, depends on the overall impact to the society, not on the individual level where human tend to be biased. This could help people strived to be a better citizen as their reputation (a form of currency) is at stake. Another issue, they mentioned was the editing of the footage through some software which could alter the truth. However, if the participatory panopticon is omnipresent and recording from multiple viewpoints, I believe it will be extremely hard to edit all these footages to alter the truth. I believe this should not be a big issue if we set up a centralized system with extreme security and advanced artificial intelligence.

Corrupt Personalization

I am not sure if I fully agree with these “speculation” about like recycling and “organic” content recycling. The fear the Facebook have your data is reasonable however I do not believe if I liked the post from my friend about McDonald, that Facebook will fake my like for the McDonald page. Maybe this was the case years ago, however, I do not see this being the case now. I do agree if you like a content with a Vice magazine link, you are more likely to get sponsored content from them and related sources. For the “organic” content, I do not believe the example was reliable because if you clicked the shared link, the tracking algorithm from Amazon know that you browse through that item. Therefore, they will receive the sponsored advertisement for the same product. The author mentioned that his post stayed in the feeds for 14 days, I believe this could be because of the algorithm which depends on the popularity of the past posts and a number of activities that current post creates. I believe personalization hurts democracy because the information is filtered to give you what you like. Therefore we also have to like the opposing information so that we can be informed from all side. This could make the algorithm faculty as you do not really like the opposition but you want to be informed in their viewpoint.

Breaking the Black Box

The Black Box video series could be informative to the public who do not have an idea about what their data are being used to do. The series did not mention anything new or technical in term of machine learning, data collection, and AI. The variable pricing algorithm, the Facebook “segmentation”, machine learning algorithm and artificial intelligence are a feed of the 21st century. Some form of these always has been there since Google was created. I believe the personalization factor create extremely blind filtering which is bad for individuals. Variable pricing and extreme personalization are not good for the consumer but it is great for the corporation. While machine learning and AI are depending on how they are used as it could be used for good. OpenAI is a nonprofit that explore the ethical implication of AI that Elon Musk cofounded. Its mission is “Discovering and enacting the path to safe artificial general intelligence.” 

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Week 5

Embodied Culture

  • Exit Meat: Digital Bodies in a Virtual World

Mischa Peters's exit meat classified the body into 4 different level of integration with technology: Natural Body, Modified Body, Enhanced Body, and CyberBody. Each of these body have a different identity and relationship with technology. The natural body form a separate identity between the technology and the subject. The modified and enhanced body identified the technology as part of their body. This means that the technology help form the identity of the subject (for example, a wheelchair could be part of a person identity). Lastly, the Cyberbody is have boundary between technology and subjectivity as they are one and all. Furthermore, this also bring up a philosophical question of what is real? and is living virtual world real? (virtual world require a material component [computer]). The idea of ignoring the "meat" or the body is contradictory as the virtual world still in large require a physical material like computer for us to exist in. In the era of posthumanism, the idea of not needing a body is far reaching as the computer make out of material and we need the computer or some sort of material to exist in the virtual world. Hence, the notion of "beat the meat" is not 100% true as we live in material world and materiality is usually consider the basis of existence. 

  • Post Cinematic Affect

The concept in both reading and the music video analysis is challenging the conventional notion of what is meant to be "me" and the identity of self. Jones's identity in the Corporate Cannibal reach to the level of cyberbody as in the reading it said the Jones is represented as a electronic digital video that is being "modulated." This meant that the distinction between material self and virtual self is not there. The cyberbody also allows for flexibility, adaptability, and versatility which create the control society, as Gilles Deleuze call it. The control society allows extreme modularity where it defy the Fordist industrialization and create extreme personalization in the economy. This will eventually create a personal bubble where people will not be exposed to things outside their dislike which could create segregated culture where people with similar interest stay in their group. Though the control society will increase the product variety as people can modulate the specification of things to their liking, the overall heterogenous culture will create homogenous groups. Hence, homogeneousness of the particular group create a similar isolated culture where they only interact with people in their circle. Though many of the modulation mentioned in the reading tends to point toward heterogeneousness, it will eventually become homogeneous. The neoliberalism make this worse as it follows the capitalist approach where heterogeneousness is only encourage toward marketing to further increase or "devour" capital for more capital. In another word, the heterogeneousness is just an illusion of choice as there is a homogenous underlying control of power. The move towards posthumanism will create illusion of choice for the people through the use of modularity and modulation. However, the underlying control of the control society will put us in the state of extreme surveillance or sousveillance. This meant that the personalization and modularity are just for show for capital gain while we are given little to no privacy as the technology that we embodied take access our information in biological and psychological level. Hence, the embodied of these cyberbody will require much thought for a system that would give agency to the user rather than institution, company, and government. 

  • Note to Self: Revealing Selfies. Not Like That

The metadata tracking discussed in this podcast were not surprising to me as I know that every photo have excessive amount of data especially when using smartphone camera. I believe we should be aware that we are actively participating in these giving out our data as soon as we buy the mobile technology. As a common civilian, we cannot write code or disable these to the full extent but there are features in the setting that allows one to turn off the locations services for different application. If you are extremely conscious about your privacy, you should learn more about these options in order to protect yourself. I am more surprised by the shoe tracking and location categorization software that Andreas Weigend mentioned. I believe these tracking technologies could exist but was not sure how the current security camera or software could track shoes or the way someone walk. I am baffled the advancement we made in these tracking algorithm and I feel that if we are not too careful with these artifacts, we could end up using them for the worse. Like Weigend mentioned, we need to make sure that data are for the people and that they are use for the benefit of the society. In a sense, I think he is mentioning about giving agency to the citizen/civilian and not to the corporation (they use data for profit) or government (they use data to control and manipulate). 

  • Donna Haraway: A Cyborg Manifesto

Donna Haraway linked Cyborg to feminism, socialism, and materialism by eloborating three main boundary breakdown that had been occuring during the past decade: Human & Animal, Living thing & Machine, Physical & Non-physical. These boundaries are being challenges as technology progresses to provide interfacing between human and machine. The combination of human and machine is what Donna Haraway define as Cyborg, "a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction." I believe this progress towards "enhancing" human experience and ability are already here. I believe VR and AR are really close form of this technology where the vision and hearing are augmented to that point that we do not know which object we see and hear are real. Donna Haraway also mentioned with Cyborg, we are likely to enter postgender society where man and women are truly equal with the use of machine augmentation. By using machine to augment the body, both women and men will not be physically limited to their gender as they could replace the human part with machine. She believe the fight towards society of Cyborg is a fight for feminism and socialism. Socialism could be achieved as equity of knowledge and learning will be formed through the use of Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI). BCI will enhance our brain capacity and unlock many features that is currently unknown to us. This will definitely level the playing ground to some point and create a more collaborative and socialist society. Before this level playing ground happen, there will be great inequity, because the initial phases of new technology will be only available for the wealthy as they will be only able to afford it. During this time, they could essential use these technology that could block progress towards a socialist society. With the Physical & Non-Physical boundary, Haraway mentioned the raise of mobile screen technology further breakdown the boundary of Physical & Non-Physical as we can stick towards augmented reality through our screen. This is extremely true as we are entering the commercialization VR and AR where the distance between screen and users are closer than ever, and our peripheral vision are being constantly augment. Though this is not about the Ethics of Cyborg society, I believe we are still a few decades away from many of these realities. 

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Week 6

Piracy

The Piracy section from the Free Culture book put a new perspective for the development of technology and its relationship with piracy. It shows that most of the technological advancement were in conflict with the copyright law. It challenges the copyright law by creating new media and distribution channel that pirate old media. In my opinion, Piracy boundary is not really established and confusing. From fair uses to exceptions, the grey area in the copyright law create more confusing situation. The case I of physically or virtually "stealing" content and then reselling them in the same form is definitely violating copyright law. Though more often than not, the cases tend to be more in the gray area. The case of Napster and the Search Engine developed by college students were just platform and they were not "stealing" or promoting "stealing" in any case. Though these p2p platforms were used to "steal" or share contents, the blame on the platform developers is hindering the development of future technology. The p2p sharing allows fast dissemination of contents and knowledge. We have to overlook the minor "stealing" for the greater benefit for the society through this newer form of media. We could also find another way to solve this issue by having algorithm that block copyright material like it is on YouTube. YouTube use an algorithm to check the music used on video and alert the copyright owner so that they can take action. When the YouTube video is not making money or have a lot of view, the copyright owner usually tends to ignore it. Similar to how cable network only paid a set amount of money for content, lawmaker can put the cap on the amount of money the copyright owner can claim. For example, only charging the amount they actually "stole." Furthermore, they should not go after the p2p platform as they are only the natural progress of technology. All in all, I believe the law should make it so that the amount ask for by the copyright owner are not outrageous. 

Ripped / Remixed / Mashed-up Culture

I believe the difference between Situationist methods of détournement and act of culture jamming by Tactical Media artists lies in the scale and message of the act. Détournement in a way seems more anarchic and deeper as it search for an alternative philosophical view of living in the society. It actively want to revolutionized the system, I would it is actively delegitimizing the current form of living. While culture jamming is just shaking things up to form a revised version of the society. Détournement by SI (Situationist International) group turn the world view totally upside down and into the impossible, unthinkable and anti-ideological. The use of "anti-" capitalism, ideology, authoritarian, and celebrity are very prominent in the writing of/about détournement. In a way, détournement as a method want us to think totally the opposite from the current world view. Culture jamming on the other hand, seems to only want to modified the current version of society into a more progressive society (smaller step). You could say culture jamming is a step towards détournement. Both détournement and culture jamming opposes the current world view where capitalistic and neoliberalistic are the hegemonic world view. Since détournement come from SI, the view tends to coincide with communistic view which is the opposing force of the capitalistic world view. Both détournement and culture jamming encourages remixing, DIY-ing, appropriating old works for the new works. Remixing and appropriating have always been there for the advancement of art, culture, and technology. Inventions get remix to create better and more advanced inventions. For example, iPhone is the remix of phone, television, radio, calendar, calculator, computer, and other countless apps that uses previous technology. However, iPhone will not be sued for remixing these. The case of the Grey Album by DJ Danger Mouse is very upsetting as he is not plagiarising but "quoting", "commenting", and "comparing" two different music in order to form a new type of expression. The only reason he was sue is because he was gaining popularity and capitalist tends to see this a wasted opportunity to make some banks. As a marketing major, I see a lot of these happening in the today world where the big corporations take advantage of sharing culture of the internet but does not give back to the internet community. For example, many news provider allows users to submit reports and findings which is a sort of taking and remixing but we are not allow to use the "professional" songs to create our own remixing. 

Situation-Remix? For a Performative Art Practice by Mathieu O'Neil have a great lesson in creating changes in the current society. He believe the performative art could create real change through an act. His example of current so called radical media tends to still be bounded by the limitation of medium. The medium of game is bounded by the confined of what the developers want the player to have control of. The four dominant paradigms: aesthetic (mixing), concept (interactivity), structure (network), practice (play) are the main ideologies of the tactical media/détournement. We need to embrace these ideologies in order to push against the main hegemonic world view. In a way, we need to use these ideologies to reinvent the notion of how to function in this hyper-connected society. O'Neil talks about the illusion of choice and agency created by the limitation of medium and the narration of author. He used the example of interactive art where the audience also become the "author" or the "creator", however, this is not true as they narration of the art is not control by the audience but by the artist as he program it a certain way. Though interactive art changes the form when user interact with it, the overlaying system is still in the artist control. He used this to explain how our current society is given illusion of agency and choice, and the corporation are using personalization as illusion to create these illusions. I agree with this statement because we are essential stuck in the system developed by the copyright law and advocate that prevent us from showing that history is not forgotten and "stealing" from previous artists. These act all correlate with détournement and culture jamming which embraces anti-commercial practices, DIY, self-sustain ideals, and remixing culture. The socialistic values are formed in these act as we share, recycle, and reuse each other ideas to form new meanings and ideas. The movement of DIY and hacking is one of the biggest renaissance of the détournement in the information era. When O'Neil talked about Hacker role as paradoxical, he meant that hackers help improve the society which also help the corporations through informal research and product testing, and negative marketing advertising. Furthermore, the idea of hacking which relate to intruding had also cause government to increase their surveillance and tracking on the citizen which is not good for the society. All of these make hacking seems like it is actually not promoting détournement but rather work against it, hence the paradoxical role. I believe these revolutionary idea can only be applied when everyone act in favor of it. The act of recycling, remixing, recreating, and rethinking the whole system could create a better society for everyone. His idea not just fighting for the ideology for the ideological sake but instead living and acting these ideological view bring more changes by the face of the change.

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Week 7

Program Culture

Rushkoff said that society as a whole is usually one generation of technology behind the most advanced technology available. He mentioned that when books were invented, people learn to read, not write. When computer was invented people learn to express and write but does not know how to program these computer/platform. Only few of the elites know how to actually do these technologically advanced tasks. In a way this is how media is being controlled. With such "complicated" and mystical appearance of how computer works, people tends to be against putting up time to learn the medium. This is especially true in the third world country, Burma, where I was born. The digital divide and censorship put us even further behind in term of learning to use and understand these computer technology. I believe without knowledge of programming we hinder our expression and power as we could not control the medium and platform.

Rushkoff urged us to follow his ten commandment of digital age to be a proactive user rather than a passive user. He said computer do not follow time or does not operate in time. However, this is not 100% true as computer does operate in time and there are limitation to time as they occupy both time and space. What he meant to say was that, the time in calculating basic everyday task tends to be almost instant but there is time being passed that human would not able to recognize. He is telling us that with the enormous power of computer, time is almost instant so it has ability to be asynchronous and synchronous medium. It is asynchronous because computer can store data and synchronous because we can have real time calculation and communication. He urge us to use asynchronous benefits of computer because there are few mediums that does that instantly. Email is asynchronous but it is also synchronous and instant. He believe our behavior should not be programmed by the computer ability but rather we should program and use the computer ability with our natural behavior. He also mentioned that the human element of having a higher purpose and ethical radar is beneficial for us as computer cannot make these just yet. So we should be careful what we create next. Many researchers in Machine Learning and Deep Learning are now trying to create softwares that could possible understand how these neural networks work and prevent blackbox situation. He want us to understand programming and use them to create more humanistic software and less industrial and robotics ones. 

Like Rushkoff mentioned we are one generation of technology behind and I see that it is always about the control of medium instead of the message. This is because medium can limit the message and control the message in an indirect way. For example, if you are only given a textbox, you can only write, but if you are given a textbox and photobox, you can use both photo and text as your expression. We will not be able to control the medium if we do not know how to program in this digital age. If you can code a website, you can control every elements of it but if you cannot, you will be stuck with the template that is available. The programmers are the actual control of the medium, they control what we read and see through tracking our social media. Facebook's privacy law is one of the biggest example of how technology and elites programmers that hinder our freedom and expression. All in all, they control our identity and society. Understanding programming will allow us to further the remixed and free culture of our world. Lessig mentioned how we all steal from previous content and medium and it help us advanced by society much more quickly. With this, we could fight against the institutional authority and promote a revolution freedom and expression and also fight against consumeristic urges. Like the SI (Situationist International), we could program and remix the medium for the humanity benefits.

Vapor / Meme Culture

The very essence of vapor / meme culture is related to remixed and mashed-up culture. However, the content is used to create nostalgic experience so we can live in this virtual time loop forever. Though the articles talk about how vaporwave is political and critical, I believe the softness nature of it does not make that point. Hardvapor also criticized vaporwave for its soft nature. In a sense, vaporwave only transport us to the generation before, to live in this fairy tales and myth of the yesteryear. It is in a way make us want to go back to the past rather than critically thinking about the future. Compare to the SI, they were creating movement for the future instead of looking back in the past and trying to relive the " better" past. This make vaporwave less effective as an criticism to the current consumeristic world. Vapor culture in a way is trying to go back to less consumer driven world and not trying to eliminate it. The SI had a more revolutionary thinking and tendencies through its anarchist views. The used of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese culture in vaporwave shows some form of globalist value like the SI. However, Vapor culture seems like it is just longing for the past and complaining about the present without really acting to create better future. 

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Week 8

Speculative Culture

  • Timestamps

Playtest 38:50 - The difference between reality and virtuality only lies within our brain and our senses. The Brain Computer Interface (BCI) in this episode show a great amount of power in mimicking and altering the reality by messing with our senses and perception. This will force us to question what is real and what is not real? Furthermore, the person who could control our “reality” or perception will have great power so we need to ask the question of who get access to our reality or should we even be able to change our reality?

Man Against Fire 50:52 - This shows the importance of Bioinformatics where we can see every trait, personality, and physiology being linked back to the DNA (Bio Data). The biodata should be one of the most important information that we must protect as privacy issue will start to become a thing in this field. The BCI in this episode also will force us to ask who get access to our brain which is the largest storage of our bioinformatics and data. Similar to playlets, we should ask ourselves who should have access to our brain because right now we are the only one. We should ask ourselves should we alter our experience by hacking our brain?

  • General Speculative Ethics

Like I mentioned above, the BCI is really powerful and this is because it is a centralized overarching medium that control our perception and reality. It is the medium of all media because it holds our perception of all media. With BCI we can control reality and even alter reality by controlling all our senses. Human make sense of the world through these senses so when they are altered, the world view of the person will be alter. We need to consider the ramification of the this technology if we ever develop it to the full extent. Like Elon Musk said, we might be living in a simulation and with BCI, this could be infinitely true as we can be dead but live forever through the microchip. Another big issue with BCI is that we can now erase memories and truth that happen so people can live in a lie. Lying in order to create happiness for the general public. The control and privacy of BCI will be most important when it is invented as it will be able to access our memories, dreams, and lives in both biological and philosophical sense.  

In term of biology, our biodata will become extremely precious as we can start to alter our genes to create "superhuman." In addition to this, the ability to biocrack and biohack will be important. This will raise issue of privacy and control again. Do we own our biodata? Are we allow to alter our biodata so we can become superhuman? If everyone become superhuman, would this homogeneity cause problem in the world? 

The advancement of invasive medium should be carefully thought out because it can have big societal ramification. I believe BCI and AI fits into this territory as we are starting to mess with out consciousness and reality. Furthermore, with the rapid progress in genetic engineering and VR, we can start to control evolution and reality itself. With genetic engineering, we can code ourselves to become smart, healthy, and stop aging. With VR, we can start to live in the virtual world without feeling the consequences of the physical world. In this case, I am talking about advanced VR which upload our mind into the computer to stimulate the real world. I believe in the future, we will use both genetic engineering and VR to extend our life.

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Week 9

Group Presentations

The range of topics discussed in the group presentations were great as they were eye opening. From drones to gaming, these medium are being used to create new forms of art. As technology progresses, there will be convergence of art forms through new media. The convergence of these medium will occur when artist from different disciplines start to collaborate in order to produce new multimedia art. For example, game as an art need multiple form of medium such as graphic art, animation, interaction design, story (writer) and other forms of media require to accomplish the game art. This convergence support Jenkins idea of Converging media and culture. In addition to collaboration, artist are more likely to be interdisciplinary rather than single disciplinary. The emergence of multimedia art also put pressed on artist to be knowledgable in multiple media. I believe this is both positive and negative. It is positive because the interdisciplinary approach to art will bring endless number of new multimedia art. However, it is negative because there is lower appeal to achieve mastery in single medium or older form of art such as painting. Though mastery is not necessary in every case because understanding the fundamental behind the technology and medium could create sufficient art piece to make a point. 

The formal limitation of 20 slides 20 seconds was especially challenging for me as I was not able to say everything I wanted to per slide. Furthermore, the time constraint create limitation on the speech whether your part was shorter or longer than 20 seconds. In addition, if mistake was made, it was harder to recovered as the time could not be recovered. However, the challenges provided by the time limitation and slide limitation help us practice the formal way to do presentation. A lot of people relies on heavy text to get the point across and stayed in the slide too long. This rules challenges both the text format and time format to create a more faster pace and engaging presentation. When I used PowerPoint for presentation, a lot of time, I have 2 or 3 times more slides than my peers but I go through each slide in about 20 - 30 seconds. Usually, the slide limitation is the biggest issue I have for many of the projects I had done. I do not like having a lot of texts but rather more graphics and picture to help guide audience through the presentation. In another view, this 20 slides 20 seconds enforces our fast pace lifestyle of the 21st century. We are only following this rule to create engaging presentation as most people nowadays tend to lose their focus of the slide after awhile. Though this rule help engage the audience, I believe it also enforces the stereotype of our generation that cannot keep focus on one task. Referencing back to the converging art, it also make us learn the fundamental too quickly which reinforces this behavior to not focus on one thing but to multitask. 

 

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Week 10