|August 27, 2015|
|August 27, 2015|
|August 27, 2015|
|August 27, 2015|
What a class. I came in to this class thinking it’s going to be a breeze since I know so much about digital media and technology and I came out of the class being completely wrong, but learning so much. Without a doubt digital media structures our daily lives, but in this class I’ve learned how it all started. It started not so much by the typical way we describe technology but in a way that has to do more with people than products. Digital media and technology has always been a social tool that has transformed a lot over the past 70+ years.
From The Rad Lab and Cybernetics, the Merry Pranksters and the New Communalists and the New Left all the way to The WELL and the New Right, digital media and technology has changed how we interact with each other. Starting with The Rad Lab and how scientists, engineers and educators came together to help or country during war time technology transformed our society and how we interact and educate one another.
The past few chapters of Turner’s book “From Cyberculture to Counterculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism” was a tough read, without a doubt, but they also provided a wealth of history that I would have otherwise never learned. From Clark Kerr and Norbert Weiner to Steward Brand and Kevin Kelly seeing how society and digital media evolved brought to me new terms that has now expanded my way of thinking. Digital Media and technology is not all about gadgets, but about people and how we communicate.
Another part of the course I enjoyed was Astra Taylor’s book “The People’s Platform, specifically, her thoughts on copyright (and copyleft). As someone who worked in the music industry I certainly understand an artists’ right to ownership and the issues that are involved with piracy.
Overall, this class has been an eye-opener for me and I am glad that I took the course. Additionally, this hybrid course may have been the best one I have taken.
Taylor labeled chapter 6 “Drawing a Line” and there could not be a more fitting title. How much of our private life is actually private? Where do we draw the line? What adds to it is that the majority of the time, our information is being taken and we are absolutely oblivious. “In a multipart investigation, the Wall Street Journal found that after subjects visited the Web’s fifty most popular Web sites, a total of 3,180 tracking files were installed on its test computers” (Taylor, Loc 2882). This just proves how much of our information is being tracked for purposes of advertising. We think that if we use invisible or similar settings our information would be safe. I was not aware of the lengths that they went to get our information or the amount of money spent to do so. Unfortunately, there is no proof that what we view on our computer will not be accessible by others to sell it. “It’s getting to the point where we can’t do too much about it….For the foreseeable future, there is no foolproof way to ‘opt out’ except for staying off-line altogether” (Taylor, Loc 2919). One would assume that would be an easy task but considering most people bank, shop, and gain their education from the internet, it makes it almost impossible to disconnect. It has gotten to the point where we are offered options to pay in order to avoid advertising, despite the fact that our information is still being taken. It just now holds our credit information. That aside, the amount of devices that are not properly disposed of are contributing to the amount of e-waste that is already at an incredible high. The misconception is “what these devices deliver –has been peddled as cheap and disposable” (Taylor, Loc 2864). If only that were true and the amount of waste being produced was not as high as it is.The problem is the demand for higher quality and features only increases the amount of undisposable waste.
Walking into class the first day, I was expecting the course to be completely different. I had assumed it was going to be easy since I’m such an avid digital media user. However, from that first day and on I realized I was completely wrong. It felt as if I had to clear my head of what I knew digital media as and then learn about it all over again, in textbook style.
I look back and I feel as though this class was a real eye opener because it felt like I was learning a whole new concept of what digital media was. What everyone else in the class knew or had heard about already was all new to me. This made it difficult at times. There was so much I had to really look into to try to understand what the chapters were talking about. I didn’t know that so much background information on digital media existed.
What I enjoyed most was Astra Taylor’s book and learning about the New Communalists, New Left and everything with Stewart Brand. Taylor’s book was enjoyable to read because it laid everything out for me. Since I had to read it with an open mind, I feel as though I just took in all the information without really judging on her opinions. I especially enjoyed reading about copyrights and who actually owns what once its out in the cyber world. In Fred Turner’s book, what sticks with me is the New Communalists, New Left, and Stewart Brand. This may be because I had to do a lot of digging deeper and rereading for my presentation. Either way I think I enjoyed just leaning about the different opposing sides and what each side did for the Internet.
Readings I found most difficult were from Trebor Scholtz’s book. Most of the chapters just didn’t click with me and I think it may have been because most of the readings were so dense with information. Not only were they dense but also the language was a bit too complex for me to get into the book.
Digital media definitely structures a lot more of my life than I originally thought it did. I think it’s more structured because there’s so much more behind it that I didn’t think was associated like consumerism, privacy, and ownership. All of these take part in our lives and it’s good to now see where it all started and still continues.
I will take away quite a lot from this course. Before the first session I was unfamiliar with most of the individuals we have been reading and speaking about throughout the course. I had a minimal generic knowledge of the early days of the Internet but did not give much thought to the historical background of the digital technology we take for granted today or the players who were responsible for bringing it to life. I feel that we have covered a lot of territory in this class and it has significantly expanded my way of thinking about digital media. As for the readings, each of the authors brought something different to the discussion but some spoke to me more than others.
I enjoyed Astra Taylor’s writing quite a bit. My favorite chapters in “The People’s Platform” were “For Love or Money” and “The Double Anchor.” Since my presentation was on the “The Double Anchor,” I probably spent the most time with that chapter which may be a reason it has stayed with me. But I also found that he Copyright/Copyleft wars resonated with me because Taylor gave such simple examples, such as that of filmmaker Jem Cohen who speaks of mutual respect between the creator and the receiver and used the wonderful analogy about the farm stand collection box. I also appreciated Taylor’s use of her personal history and anecdotes from her experiences as a film-maker and writer.
I did not find Trebor Shulz’s “Digital Labor” as accessible, although I did enjoy the Ahyan Aytes piece, “Return to the Crowds” and the comparison between the Automaton “Mechanical Turk” and Amazon’s crowdsourcing platform. I agreed with some of the other students in the class that “Free Labor,” by Tiziana Terranova was the most difficult reading to absorb.
As for Fred Turner’s “From Cyberculture to Counter Culture,” I found the history of Stewart Brand, the New Communalists, The Merry Pranksters, the Whole Earth Catalog and The Well very illuminating and valuable in understanding the transformation of computer technology from the military/industrial world to that of counterculture and community. I admit I had never really thought about the link between the hippie culture and the internet and after Turner’s in-depth history of the progression, it all seems so clear that I don’t know how I missed it. While I did feel that Turner often repeated himself, I appreciated his attention to detail.
I really enjoyed this class overall, especially the format of having a different student presenter for each reading. I was not sure at first how that would be but after the first presentation I looked forward to that segment of class each week.
“Free Labor” Tiziana Terranova
How does Terranova characterize the relationship of subcultural movements to capitalism?
Unfortunately I was not able to come for this class. However, the article by Tiziana Terranova, “Free Labor”, starts outlining what is digital economy, which emerged in the late 1990’s, is a “specific mechanism of internal capture of larger pools of social and cultural knowledge”(52). Furthermore, she starts explaining how digital economy has been a form of subculture to have its capital gains. Subculture is a ramification of culture itself, meaning that this one forms a connection between what already producing capital gain.
Terranova explains that monetary value comes from knowledge rather than labor and that the Internet itself is a mechanism of late capitalism meaning that is part of the subculture. As an example, music blog where independents singers post their music and others can use it as a form of capitalism, because system can extract as much value as possible from them. The subculture is composed between the culture, the cultural industry and labor; for example, small designers and as mentioned before independent music labors.
Good evening everyone. My name is Shanna Williams and my post is in response to Turner’s essay on the shift of society’s view of technology in the 1990’s versus the 1960’s. The elaborate shift in this viewpoint can be explained by a variety reasons. The society of the 1960’s was vastly different from the society of the 1990’s. The 1960’s represented a time of extreme change and upheaval. The various movements and social tensions of the 1960’s gave way to an “anti-establishment” belief and this trickled down to the technological advances of the period. Technology was viewed as part of the problem; it stifled free speech, encouraged conformity and discouraged individuality . It became a symbol that was synonymous with the Vietnam war. Technology was the antithesis of 1960’s culture.
Turner posits that the 1990’s ushered in a new perspective towards technology. The new wave of the internet was marketed as a tool that would unite the masses; the internet would form a great digital utopia that would unite the masses and accept everyone regardless of the differences that existed. It gave birth to the rise of individualism. The mindset of 1990’s society diametrically opposed the mindset of the 1960’s and this is largely due to the different views and belief systems that changed over the course of 30 years.
Fractals in the Fred Turner book, fractals in nature, fractals in math and science! A great PBS Nova documentary to explain fractals:
Triumph of the Nerds, a 1996 BBC documentary features many of the people we have read about over the semester. Features the photo spread of Bill Gates’ debut in Teen Beat Magazine!
I have really enjoyed learning more about the history of digital technology. As much as I have complained about Fred Turner’s glut of details, I really value that he has written such an intricate portrait of Stewart Brand’s projects and the ripple effect that those projects (Whole Earth Catalog and the WeLL) set in motion. These are histories that have been obscured from public reception, okay, maybe not obscured but the average social network and digital media user is surely unaware of the chain of players and innovations that issued from the New Communalist reception of cybernetic ideals and systems theory. I think I have definitely taken for granted how the modern cyber landscape is truly dependent on all of these innovations and networks. To be honest, it is sort of scary to know that so much of what is in place is reflective of larger power structures that although were supposed to be the anti-thesis of bureaucratic order, ended up replicating that power dynamic. I am not surprised by this but maybe just disheartened – especially after reading in depth breakdowns of how these powered dynamics function, a la the essays in Trebor Schulz’s such as Mechanical Turk or my personal favorite, the essay I presented on, Fandom as Free Labor, by Abigail De Kosnik. I think the difficulty I had with a number of essays in the Schultz anthology was mainly due to my novice level understanding of the fundamentals of Marxist analysis, specifically the definitions of various kinds of labor and how these explications shift in ways that are complex to map in the digital age – I’m thinking of dead labor and some of the other shades of waged / unwaged labor. I wish I would have had a firmer grasp on these concepts but I definitely feel excited about having opened up this modes of thought and look forward to learning more as the scholarship will indubitably continue to move forward, perhaps matching the pace at which digital media and technological innovation seems to operate at.
I think the most important takeaway for me from this class was figuring out how to put my finger on some of the problematic attributes of digital media. When I first came to CWE, I was an unabashed techno-optimist. I was about two years removed from having procured my first iPhone and became convinced that easy access to these apps and services was going to lead to exactly the kind of linked consciousness Stewart Brand and some of his allies proffered. I remember being asked by my professor at the time to “take a position” on what I thought it all meant and I groped for something obvious; a critique of how the integration of digital technology into built environments had unintended consequences and could in some very particular (almost straw man) cases enable injustice. Over the next few semesters, my techno-optimism started to wane as I became reattuned to real world injustices and saw the tech community’s responses to them, which often seemed hopelessly shallow if not culturally insensitive. This made me start to sour on the tech community as a community, but I put their insularity down to their having ascended from privilege and having been infected by capitalist notions of profiteering above all else. Much of Taylor’s work helped to reinforce this notion, but took it a step further by discussing the cultural impact of capitalist ideals inherent to the digital “revolution” and what we were losing in the name of this supposed gain.
Scholz’s book was the coup de grace as it introduced me to a totally new concept in thinking of cultural production as labor. Terranova’s parsing of the autonomist notion of the social factory, Jodi Dean’s (somewhat disagreeable) characterization of the blogosphere, De Kosnik on fandom as free labor and Scholz’s own introduction to the concept of “playbor” made me downright queasy in thinking about how I’ve spent my time online, whiling away the hours in support of products and services all in the name of community. Turner’s book on where the association between these communitarian philosophies and the online experience came from just made the experience all the more disturbing, no matter how neat it is. Too many things in the book spoke directly to me and what attracted me to digital “culture” in the first place.
So when faced on the role digital media plays in my life, or rather, the relationship I want to have with it going forward, I think I would say that it’s still all important. Like Taylor, I believe the platform can be given back to the people, but only through deliberate usage of it to bring about the end of capital rather than reification of systems of exploitation that are virtually baked into the code. I would like to devote my life, at least in part, to retaking this crucial platform or at least designing empowering systems outside of it.
The realms that Taylor speaks of factual statements that there’s no real creativity in people in the world anymore. Everyone thinks that their good at something so they put it out there for us to witness or hear. There’s no significance behind the projects that most people do today. For example, artists (back in the day), music and art had a meaning to it. A person who consider themselves as an artist would really think about what they would want their fans to see or hear. Something so special where as you see or hear it, you could say yes I feel the emotions or the sentimental value behind this work of art. As for artist now a days, they don’t think before they put their work out for their fans. They come up with ideas that do not have any meaning behind them. We as humans gravitate towards these ideas, not realizing that there’s no creativity in their work. They also produce, and we like it because someone else also considered liking it. We basically jump on the band wagon.
This concept goes for teachers, activist and others who think they are doing the public good. There’s no creativeness behind anything we as humans do anymore. It’s just a handful of us that still use the little bit of creativeness that we have inside. We don’t think for ourselves. It’s like our minds are program to just follow what everyone else is doing. We do not have the capability to break free from the control that our minds are in to just think about what it is that we really want to do.
Before the common core came about, teachers were able to be creative with their lesson plans and their classrooms. Every teacher had their own way and concept of making their students understand the curriculum that they were doing. Now that the common core is out, both the teachers and the students are having a harder time understanding the curriculum. Teachers are no longer able to use creativity they once had because they have to stick to this new system, which doesn’t allow them to use their minds.
Digital Media and Society
December 15, 2015
This class has shed light onto many aspects of digital media that I was oblivious to before. My views on digital media and networked technology were very much one-sided. I saw the Internet as an open platform available to everyone, a place where the free flow and exchange of information served an egalitarian purpose and, for the creative types like myself, a platform on which we could discuss new ideas and be inspired by other people’s work. I came in as a “new media thinker” and believed that any restriction on the free flow of information was an assault on culture. Today, while I still hold on to some of those ideas, my opinions are a little more critical having been exposed to the real costs that having a “free” networking platform comes with
One of the major pieces of knowledge I’m taking away from this course is that the Internet is not free in so many ways I hadn’t thought of before. Just because we don’t get charged for every “like”, or post, or every time we check our e-mails, does not mean that the Internet is free. As users we are paying with our personal data, collected from us unknowingly by data brokers, in this way, the Internet ceases to be an egalitarian platform because money is being exchange while not all the participating parties are seeing the profits. These same data brokers have a hold on the content we are exposed to online, and so while we the users, believe we have the power over what we choose to read online, in reality “advertorials” have taken over online news platforms creating their content based on popular searches and keywords And so as far as the free flow of information goes, this occurrence reflects quite the opposite, a flow of information that is not as transparent as I once thought it was.
Furthermore, and I would say most importantly, one fact that made me re-think my opinions was how networked technology affects the work life and working conditions of different demographics around the globe. We are told of the benefits of working from home, “it’s like being your own boss”, yet through our lesson and discussion on “the Mechanical Turk” the inequality that this perpetuates was exposed. For many people living in third world countries that are not protected by any labor regulations, “working from home” means working indefinite hours. No minimum wage regulations set in place means settling for whatever compensation a recruiter is willing to give you, no matter how time-consuming the task is. Meanwhile, corporations are benefiting from the extended working hours, and operating on a 24 hour day, at the cost of others, on a platform that is believed to even the playing field for all the players.
This class was nothing like I expected it to be. At times it felt like an Economics class, at others a Political Science class and because so much previous knowledge was required to understand the material, it felt at times like a really big catching up game. However I feel that our efforts were validated in class, whether it was by Prof. Bullock patiently braking down the readings for us, or by the discussions started among my classmates. I feel like I leave this class having a new and valuable perspective on digital media, and grateful that I was exposed to a reality that I would’ve probably never stumble upon outside of this class.
Good evening class my name is Karen and our group discussion was on the Trebor Scholz’s Digital Labor. Our group came to the conclusion that sites like Facebook are using our information to benefit big companies. Our like, search history and our status updates are all being use to sell us products we might or might not need. The differences between work and leisure is simple we get pay for one and we pay for the other. In today’s media obsess society the line between work and leisure seems to get blur. Scholz writes, “Harry Potters fans produce fan fiction and give their creative work away for free in exchange for being ignored by the corporation.” In this case the product that the Harry Potter fans are producing is being created at their leisure. The point that Scholz makes reminds me of how social media is working to benefit big companies. We are consistently using our free time to advertise without getting paying. This is where things get complicated because we can’t ask companies to pay us for doing something they didn’t ask for. Unless you become a social media sensation we the customer will be over looked and will be use as free advertisement if we keep posting and liking. It’s a complicated relationship because while some of us aren’t getting pay for our “work” others are getting pay for posting and liking. Such as, Youtube stars what was once a site for funny cat videos and how to videos it is now a tool that companies are using to sell their products. People who were once like us liking and posting on their own are selling us these products. Unless you’re a social media sensation you will not get pay for advertising on a companies behave.
As I reflect on this course starting from the first day where we wrote a list of digital media and how much of it we use in our day to day lives, I definitely feel like I can see how digital media evolved. While I thought this class was going to discuss digital media and society as we use it currently, I did appreciate the historical dynamic that the class gave. As I previously mentioned, I was not raised in the U.S. so for me there are many histories that I am unaware of. I enjoyed learning about the counterculture and how that movement became responsible for the growth in technology. I also enjoyed reading about the various players who fought to make the internet a platform to be used by all. For me, Astra Taylor’s book was the simplest and most straightforward to read. I encountered a lot of difficulty with the book by Trebor Scholz, but I must say that the chapter on “Free Labor” was the most interesting for me. The most difficult reading I encountered was the one I presented on;”Digititality and the Media of Dispossession.” I’m honestly still not completely sure of the point the writer was trying to make.
Fred Turner’s book definitely shed the most light on the counterculture’s contribution to cyber culture, however there were some chapters that were difficult to get through due to its long winded, philosophical language. The most disappointing part of the class was learning that the rise of digital media was really a means of fighting against bureaucracy and realizing that these counter-culturalists basically followed in the same footsteps of the bureaucracies they were fighting against. I did enjoy learning that there were online communities (the WELL) that existed so long ago, because I honestly believed that AOL, MSN, MySpace and Facebook was where online communities first began to flourish.
If I were asked again how digital media structures our daily lives, I would say that where we are today is really the result of a seed that was planted decades ago, the result of people wanting to create a collective consciousness. I would say that I believe through my observations of our current society and after reading the history of how it all began, that human beings are more alike than we think, and we all desire to connect in ways that digital media has been able to facilitate.
I really enjoyed the class. Hybrid class was very interesting experience for me. I learned a lot of new about digital technology. To be honest I didn’t expect this class to be that interesting. It opened my eyes on the world around me and on digital technology in a way that I never thought how technology plays a big role in our lives. I was surprised by realizing that when we are online, that everything what we are looking and searching for is remembered and than popping up in random time. It is crazy how Internet and social media know everything about us.
What I enjoyed the most is the reading of the book Astra Taylor “The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age”, 2014. It was easy and interesting to read. Other readings gave me harder time. My favorite chapters were “The Double Anchor” and “Love or Money”. It was interesting discussion about copyrights and how tricky it can be. Chapter “Love or Money” helped me to realize what creativity means now, in our time.
Also the chapter what caught my attention is Ahyan Aytes “Return of the Crowds: Mechanical Turk and Neoliberal States of Exception”. The idea of chess-playing machine and the history was informative. It was unexpected for me to find connection between a chess-playing machine and Amazon’s new platform.
Also what was amusing for me is debate about WELL as one of the most influential computer network.
The tuff part in this class for me was presentation, I know it is a very good experience for the future but it was stressful. It is not that easy to speak in front of lots of people and may be for me it was extra stressful because English is not my first language and I was nervous if I would forget anything or if people will not understand me because of my accent.
What about the readings, the confusing one for me was the article “Free labor: Producing culture for the digital economy” by Tiziana Terronova. That article made me read it lots of times but still was hart for me to put everything in my heat on the right spot.
The class was very useful. I learnt lots of new and valuable information. It made me think and confused me few times but was interesting as well.
I registered for this course because I am very interested to learn about how digital media had changed, how they are changing, and in what other ways they will continue to change and structure our daily lives and our society. I was curious to know how they affect our behavior, practices, and culture as we use them. On the first day of class, we were asked to make a list of when and how we use digital media. My list included the use of digital media for communication and social purposes (email, Facebook, Instagram, Skype), information (news, research), entertainment (music, Netflix, Youtube), and online shopping. Back then, I was not aware of what happens after my every click. All I was thinking was how great it is to have access to digital media that allows me to search for information, buy something online, watch movies or listen to music, and keep in touch with my family who is thousands of miles away from me whenever I want to. And that it’s free. (Or so I thought.)
After reading the chapters and listening to classroom discussions, I am aware, and I have a better understanding of how digital media really works. It is great and very helpful to learn about digital media’s history, its evolution, and the people behind it. One of the most important things that I will take away from this class is learning how the access and use of digital media is not really “free.” The users’ every click means access and selling of user data, which results to profits for the giant companies and advertisers.
It was interesting to learn about digital media and labor. I understand more about the blurring of line between work and leisure when it comes to using digital media. Another topic that I was interested in was the issue on digital media’s ownership/copyright issues. I really enjoyed reading the Astra Taylor’s “For the Love or Money” and “Unequal Uptake, where she discussed the topics I mentioned above. I also found Andrew Ross’s “In Search of the Lost Paycheck” and Abigail De Kosnik’s “Fandom as Free Labor” very informative and helpful in discussing more about the issue of free labor. I found Terranova’s chapter challenging to read.
I learned so much in this course that helped me understand better how digital media started, how it works, how it affects us and our society, and how the giant companies behind it make profits through users’ clicks, likes, and data,
Hybrid Assignment 13
When I first read the description of this course, I immediately wanted to sign up because I truly believed that our history will soon be surrounded with digital media and I was hoping to learn more about it. Now that we are winding down to the last day of our class, not only did I learned about digital media and the continuous improvements through time, but also the history of how we created this new era, and all the contributions made for us to be where we are at now as a society, and I can only imagine how much more technology will grow.
Each week I also enjoyed listening to the presentations done by the students in our class because it became a learning experience as a class to speak about what we learned, the challenges, similarities on what we found interesting or disliked, and simply picking up on knowledge that I interpreted differently. This class was particularly more interesting because the classroom felt more like a community and it seemed as though everyone respectfully made comments that were relatable to each other, which was another way that I learned in class.
I have to admit that some of the readings were a little challenging for me, where at times I had to read the same page over and over again, but overall, through the discussions in class, I was able to have a better understanding on the week’s reading. For example, Terranova’s week and a few chapters on From Cyberculture to Counterculture were a little bit of a challenge. As challenging as it was, I learned Terranova’s explanation on how subculture and capitalism are intertwined, but a big lesson learned for me. In our modern society, we believe that our thoughts and freedom can become a creation but due to capitalism, however we are still restricted in today’s culture. But I really enjoyed reading Taylor Astra’s Book, as well as Jodi Dean’s essay on Whatever Blogging.
Overall, I learned so much through this course and I am able to leave CWE with a new perspective on digital media, now and then, and I feel both excited and nervous on how much more change is coming our way. Thank you everyone for a great class!
I wanted to know if you are all willing to bring a little something for our last class so we can share in ringing in the end of the semester, celebrate this amazing class, as well as, the holidays. Feel free to bring desserts, savory, or chips…basically whatever you’d like! 🙂
see you all tomorrow.
The similarity between Von Kempelen’s machine and Amazon’s new platform is that there’s a human power behind it. Von Kempelen’s machine didn’t perform magic by playing chess on its own, his assistant was inside the machine making the moves. Amazon’s platform also has a human power behind it, it’s by the humans, Turks. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk was developed due to the failure of the artificial intelligence. Technology is great, it helps with everyday life move faster,though I believe it often creates more problems than solving it, but at most the technology does help. It doesn’t run on its own neither it was created on its own, there’s a millions of hours of human brain power behind it; to creat it, run it and fix it.
The connection between Automaton chess player and Amazon’s platform, Ayets was making, I believe, is that no matter how much technology advances, it will always need some sort of human work behind it. It may be possible in the future to have/create technology that will no longer need human brain power, but as of now, it can’t be possible and frankly speaking, I don’t think I want to live in that time where the world is run by machines and not humans.
In reflection of this course, I can’t say that I found this subject to be of much benefit or interest to me. As an IAS – Communications major, I initially signed up for another course on digital media, with the understanding that, the course would be about and emphasize effectively using digital media. I was not prepared for what this course turned out to be. I felt lost through most of the course because of the emphasis on history (most of which, I was not knowledgeable about) with a distinct point of view and theory that did not lend itself to addressing my needs for/purpose in taking a course on the subject matter. In my personal opinion, this course did not offer me useful material to help me with my professional goals as I had expected.
With that being said, I did come to understand a bit more about the origins of the modern Internet, World Wide Web & the infrastructure that makes it all possible. I have also come to see the use of technology has greatly impacted every aspect of our lives and society, in a lot of cases, in ways that was not apparent before. I was never one passionate about technology, but rather, appreciative of the seeming benefits without being aware of the costs with which those benefits came. I am now much more aware of how we, as a society, have been commodified to make a very small minority very rich. It has also made me aware of the many dangers that could potentially be unleashed with wide spread deregulation. We cannot blindly support technological advances without thinking about and addressing the the ways in which technology is and will be used.
The initial ideas of people like Brand and others, may have been to create a new technology that is for the betterment of human kind and give humanity tools by which all people can share resources and information for our collective greater good, but common sense regulation has not kept pace with technological advancements, to the point that, laws and understanding about technology is woefully inadequate for our needs today, let alone as we continue to move forward in the future. The philosophy of the New Communialist about totally cutting government out and allowing technology to develop unrestricted or unregulated is not only unrealistic, but irresponsible and dangerous. Not all people, or technologies for that matter, are about the betterment of humanity. Therefore, we must be smart and give serious thought to the ways and purposes of the technologies that we create are used. More people need to be aware of the real impact technology, and the people behind it, can/does have on our lives and the direction of our collective society.
As I reflect on the semester; I have to say – Thank God it’s over!
It has been a tough semester for me because I walked in the phone booth and thought I was able to but on my Superwoman suit, and fly out, and conquer a 16-credit course semester, prepare for the LSAT, stay actively involved in student activities at CWE, work a full-time job, and create (3) Lifetime Experience Portfolios in a matter of 4- months. But, when I couldn’t find the phone booth, I realized that I wasn’t Superwoman!
I registered for this Media and Society course last Spring, and I sat in Professor Karen Gregory’s class and thought to myself, how exciting the course will be with Professor Gregory, because it will help to satisfy my concentration in Literary, Media and Visual Arts, and it sounds like a lesson in media formats through a demonstration of all things pop culture. But to my surprise, I walked into class about 4 months ago, to learn that Professor Gregory had left the campus, and that the course was totally different than what I expected. Nonetheless, Professor Elizabeth Bullock came in with a quiet demeanor, and reserved style of teaching, and she calmed my nerves when I sat in her office almost at my breaking point, a few months later. As a new professor to the campus, she had big shoes to fill by taking over for Professor Gregory, and she did so with an attention-grabbing course with interesting topics that delved deep into the origin of the computer, internet, and the meanings behind how and why we are in an information age today.
For me, the course was enlightening and……is the real reason I am in college today; to rid myself of ignorance and gain the knowledge of life experience that I may not have already learned. However, I found the course to be a schema of cognitive anthropology, because it taught us how the human mind worked in the beginning of a technological world. Therefore, I thought it should have been labeled an “Anthropology” course instead. From Astra Taylor’s, “The People’s Platform” and her explanation of a rearrangement of the Digital Age; to Fred Turner’s teachings of Stewart Brand’s mark in history and the transition from the Industrial Age to the Information Age. The class took me by surprise, and yes, it helped to heighten my anxieties, because it was NOT easy. However, it was informative and fascinating. Thanks Professor Bullock for being fair and for understanding the demanding life of Students like myself, knee deep in Worker Education.
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