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fgilbertwoodscwe has 14 post(s)

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It seems to me that in order to be Comprehensive Designer the entity would not only be have to be neither nor, but also that she would also have to have some sort of power derived from the very existence of the universe he oversees.  The social implications that are merged with this idea of governance via technology which applied at the time postulated that the rigors of performing life’s tasks under the technocaracy breaks down the psyche of the bureaucrat is a bold statement.  I think here it means that bureaucracy creates so much of a burden of labor, paperwork, policies and procedures that too much focus is lost by the bureaucrat on what is supposed to be the point of his office:  the oversite of “States and industries.”  It also bemoans the fact that most of the resources created by advances in technology and research should not be earmarked for military purposes.

The comprehensive designer favored collaboration to the end that data and research and ideas all be combined towards a goal without any “heircharies”, or government interference.  It also calls for balance.  This notion of balance would have to be different from traditional notions of balance in a system because of the absence of hierarchy.   In a hierarchy, all needs are assessed from the top down which inherently causes imbalance as there is no flexibility to assess needs fairly cases where needs originate at lesser points.  At odds here in my mind is the question of where this designer will get his powers of self sufficientcy.  By whose authority would his notions of balance be measured.

Fuller was an inspiration to Brand as their thoughts were similar regarding using technology for social change.  Like the Native American culture of which Brand was so fond, they believed that balance should be applied in all things and that through networking the resources to achieve balance lie.  They both wanted to use technology and art to help people and connect them through shared ideas.   He believed that it is only through the expression of ideas that people could experience shared consciousness.   The governmental system he felt is divisive to this process.

 

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I take away impressions of the differences between traditional class – room structure compared to the hybrid form.  I leave with an increased sense of dread at the way technology allows so few to exploit so many.  The course reaffirms America’s love for its history and heritage, and is relevant because it accurately describes the culture backdrop against which digital natives must live their lives until the digital age evolves into ages to come.

The structure of this hybrid class is better than one I took in 2007 at Brooklyn College.  First of all because it was hosted by Cuny-Blackboard, the previous course was difficult to access both because of the fact that Blackboard is very difficult to navigate, and that the system is subject to what I consider to be excessive down time.  WordPress however, seems to have been designed in a way that is more appropriate for hosting a college course, and its security protocols are not overly aggressive like other companies- FireFox is one- can be.  But still, I don’t think the efficacy in learning of the in class peer to peer experience can ever be replaced.  This course has led me to believe that a classroom full of people should not ever be replaced completely by an online class format.

I learned early in the course that the internet is different from the World Wide Web many tricks of the trade internet moguls use to exploit this fact.  For example, I’m now aware that although Apps may be free, using them may be very expensive.  Some Apps like FB only run on 4G networks.  Most carriers offer “unlimited talk text and Web”, but the Web is only unlimited up to a capped amount of high-speed data per month.  That means that if one exceeds the data allotted in their monthly plan, they must purchase additional data to use the free App.  That is very counter-intuitive and amounts to the hiding of fees by not clearly disclosing the nature of the relationship between the freedom of the internet and the way various platforms will charge us to use that freedom.  As the old saying goes, “Freedom is never free.” ; Although the internet promised to be a medium that distributed power in more egalitarian ways as the readings say, it does seem that the internet is more fair to some, than it is to others.

Finally I was shocked that even though today’s technology is way more advanced than it was in the time of the new communalists, those who study the history of technology still give sway to historical figures way back in the ‘60’s.  In that regard, the course reminds us that wherever we wind up as a group or as individuals, our achievements are built on those of the ones who have gone before us.  From that I’ve realized that even those old Atari 400 game systems even decades after it has been relegated to the deepest recesses of my closet (I’ll throw it away some day, I keep saying), is still a very important part of the history of modern day technology, and that there is truly nothing new under the Sun.

 

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Hybrid 11

Comprised of hackers and journalists the WELL operates as a self-governing system because it is its own community. Each member agrees to abide by the principles set forth by the Whole Earth catalogue which support an ideology of equality and fairness.  Also self-governing does not mean there is an absence of governance, it simply means in this case that the intervention of the United States Government and all its itinerant regulations are not necessary in this type of environment.

This is because in part that the WELL is made up of a group that is made up of kindred souls: people who all have similar needs and goals, education, income and skill level.  When this is the case among a group, I believe that the need for the presence of a larger governing body is reduced.  Inasmuch as the federal government is designed to govern a nation of more divergent groups, it employs at various times regulations upon social and business activities that allow the government to act as a sort of mediator.  For example, the way the Federal Trade Commission monitors businesses to ensure the consumer is protected, or right here in New York, that function as monitor is performed by The Office of The Public Advocate.

Such watch-dog activities are not necessary in an environment such as the well very often; that owing to the fact that each member is responsible their own behavior.  This can be seen in the principle of transparency, in the four principles of openness we studied; in order to survive in the information age, one must be able to govern themselves, and that with a certain level of ethics.

Thus taken as a collective, there is enough knowledge, education, diversity of field and good will among them that dwell in the WELL that any issues can be solved within the boundaries of their own community.  Also that Brand wanted that members be able to be the creators of their own topics, without being influenced by any outside pressures (the reason he didn’t want to publish the Whole Earth Catalogue) is indicative of the fact that freedom of expression and flexibility of cultural forms was most important to the WELL’s operation.

Also the notion of self sufficiency works on the theory that since all members freely support each other in any and all ideas or projects proposed, self-governance is achieved by team-work.  As American citizens, we need a government because as a collective, we are not a team.  We’re a melting pot of people from various places with various values, cultures languages and standards of living. As such we need the government to help ensure that the laws reflect the needs of all.  Not so with the Whole Earthers, because they are, at least ideologically, already united in purpose.

 

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KELLY BROUGHT WITH HIM a certain amount of clout.  The people he knew, and the knowledge he has of the libertarian tradition.  He has the knowledge and experience to apply new communalist ideals to practical application.  To wit,   Kelly helped turn Wired “[…into network forum where writers used the computational metaphors and rhetoric of cybernetics to depict New Right politicians, telecommunications CEO’s, information pundits, and members of the WELL and other Whole Earth organizations…]” By this time we all know very well what is meant by the phrase “Whole Earth Organizations”, so I will digress on that point.  Kelly considers himself a “Convener of interesting ideas.”

However the interview in 1995 depicts Wired as the platform upon which Gingrich, Wired magazine, and Esther Dyson engaged in what the article calls self- legitimation.  That is to say that as speaker of the house Newt Gingrich, who is if I use the term correctly a New right thinker represents vested power; as the Rep of Georgia’s 6th district, and later becoming speaker of the house, his word effects the leanings of the tens of thousands of people that comprise the ranks of the republican party.  Thus Kelly using his particular talents, was very instrumental in the very idea of uniting Gingrich with Esther Dyson. Dyson is a super- rich philanthropist and an expert on how emerging technologies effect economies.  Her areas of expertise focus on breakthrough efficacy in healthcare, government transparency and biotechnology.  Her knowledge experience and money make her a key figure on a global scale.

The common ground She, Kelly the Rosetto’s and Newt Gingrich and Ester Dyson hold together is rooted in their dislike of hierarchy oriented impediments to efficacy in business.  The article says the Republican right, the Whole Earth Network (in this case, synonymous with the name K. Kelly) and the computer industry began to meet.  Also that Wired serves at the site where members of each group could confer their endorsements on each other, “…the highly visible Gingrich could declare the technical community to be central to the national interest…and the countercultural industry…including Kelly, worked to legitimate the rising forces of technology and New Right Politics…”  The 1995 interview was a part of this process.

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WWII causes researchers at MIT to be drawn away from the world of the Scientific and into the world of the Military because their efforts are needed for weapons research. Because of this scientists are thrust into a world of rigid hierarchy to which they are not accustomed. In this world they find a very rigidly embedded system of governmental operation known as the Military Industrial Complex. It is three-way interplay between the legislature the arms industry and the agencies that support them and supports the Cold War era thinking that will permeate American society from the end of the war through the 1980’s. The free speech movement and other elements of the counterculture takes note of the fact that in co opting University researchers for military purposes, the information the research yielded is funneled into a closed system only accessible to the military. This draws student protests who feel that in participating in the Military complex the University is become autocratic.
A corporate analogy also arises suggesting that students are treated by the University system as workers with the University being the employers. The feeling of loss of control over what choices one makes over one’s own life causes the emergence of a counter culture. This counterculture has two wings according to Turner, The New Left and the New Communalists. They both seek to dismantle the underpinnings of the Military Industrial Complex system, along with the power structure that it embodies. This counterculture however, as Turner points out has a strange relationship to the main stream cold war politics of the day.
The reality of the war brings about the need to maintain the tripartite union of academic and industrial resources under a military power structure. The New Left, while still participating in military related research activities out of necessity, still seeks to fight the power by “turning outward”, using activism and protest to get their points across denouncing the effect of Military thinking on society. The new communalists in contrast are seen as turning inward, forming communes where they will live in a world that is less autocratic and lends itself more to the exchange of ideas in all directions, not just from the top down. This ideation comes from the experiences and new types of thinking born of the research models of the era.
Knowing that hierarchal systems that place all the decision making and project managing powers in the hands of only people at the top of the power structure, and being pressed for results in the urgency of the threat of attack, researchers have created a new model of decision making, where power is shared equally across all boundaries within the research community. Any member of any team from any discipline can start a project and have the full support of every other member of every other team if he thinks it will help accomplish a common good; a pundit from one field is free to seek collaboration with one from any other, without having to seek the permission of those higher up in the power structure.
In this way a Doctor, Turner explains, can work on a computer program because although a computer expert has training in a different type of information than does a Doctor, both being trained to process information is seen as enough common ground for them to collaborate. This sort of thinking is foundational to the development of Cybernetics for it postulates that the human brain and the computer brain can both be modeled after each other on the basis that they both process information by running some sort of software and regulates itself by acting upon feedback from its environment. Between 1965 and 1970, the new communalists form numerous communes based upon this thinking.

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For one example, the  experiences of movie-goers under different sets of cultural circumstances are used to show how industrial capitalists use media to achieve the cooperation of the masses toward their own agendas.  It is shown that for Soviets , more “…glorified and intense scenes…” of revolutionary propaganda allowed the media to achieve the perception of , “…the idea of a unified people.. “, for the U.S. to achieve its goals required a different, more frivolous approach.  Although using different methods both governments accomplish their mass controlling agendas by treating masses as a group.

The article argues that in getting the attention of the masses it is not important whether they are occupied by trivia or matters or nobility.  Online our attention is captured for the benefit of advertising, commodification or data mining.  Blogs accomplish this goal in a very unique way.

Not meant for deep conversations blogs contain “…ever-accellerating circuits of fragments and feelings..” Vague partial ideas preceeded by shocking, sad, hilarious or in someother way  provoking curiosity, blogs communicate to an audience in a way that doesn’t require an answer as to the agreement with or the denouncement of the original message.

The “…new modes of community and new forms of personality anticipated by the dissolution of inscriptions …” -that is the use of images instead of words-  is held up as well. The article argues that by countering privacy and consumer concerns blogs make it easy for industrial capitalists to spy.  It gives the example of blogs offering “[…a fantasy of exposure without exposure to the mass of unique singularity..].

That reminds me of the fact that although my blog friends may “like” my posts, having them have clicked “like ” doesn’t mean they have read it, comprehended or really liked or disliked it at all.

 

Theoretically one could ask “I see you read my post. Did u really like it?” The argument the article makes is that since we are all so overloaded with blogged non-informational information, very often a friend could well respond, “whatever” to such a question and not mean any harm at all, save that because of the nature of blogs ones full attention may purposely be diverted the very moment the industrial capitalists notice that it has been captured.

 

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Gilbert Woods hybrid Assignment07

AMT’s business model works by getting large groups of people to perform  activities associated with traditionally non financial cultural production that eventually produce capital, while alienating the workers from the end product of those labors. The cooperation of people to do these activities is achieved by contrived methods. For example different attitudes toward the workers who perform cognitive tasks “turking”, exist the article points out. Some go along with the process because of, “the novelty of the experience”, perhaps being attracted to the ability to work from home or some other perk of the job. As compared to the original experiment, the Oriental Turk accomplished this novelty by using an Oriental figure from a culture whose exotic preoccupation with the idea of disembodied intelligence got the audience’s attention.  Driven by a simple interest in ideas from other cultures, in this case the alienated laborer doesn’t care about the end product of her labor.  But such is not always the case as some seek AMT as an income source.  In those cases cooperation is achieved by sourcing labor from countries in which wages paid for labor is substantially lower than in the United States. Workers in places with less robust economies like India may well know their work is undervalued but will do it for their interest in having an income.

When a need for information to support a project is identified, AMT breaks down the labor required to obtain such information into HITS.  Perhaps comparable to the reasoning required to reach each individual decision to make a move the human player hidden in the TURK apparatus made, Hits are actually short tasks given to individuals that will be aggregated later into an amount of labor that yields profitable results.  Although the original Turk’s cognitive work led to the consideration of the mechanization of cognitive function, the idea received more attention than the Human who had done the work.  And so it is now with AMT: once the fragmented work of thousands of individuals is aggregated on network platforms the hidden sources of cognitive labor do not receive proper credit for their contribution, nor may even know the end purpose thereof. This process is aided further by the operation of projects across time zones as well, which accelerates the labor process by creating 24-hour business cycles- a virtual labor force that, much like the wooden Turk mannequin in the illustration, never sleeps.  What we see modern-day is analogous to having untold millions of human beings hidden inside this giant Turk apparatus doing work behind the scenes for those who will eventually exploit it openly.

 

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Hybrid #6

A subculture is usually defined as a “cultural group within a larger culture, often having beliefs or interests at variance with those of the larger culture.” (Oxford English Dictionary)  Within that definition, the larger culture in the United States is Capitalism.  Any other enterprise, organization, institution etc, that is not based upon making money is a subculture.  Certain aspects of the internet seem to counteract the Marxist notion that Industrialists seek to gain the knowledge of its workers for the purpose of learning how to control that labor through such knowledge;  some argue that since there is no control of knowledge on the internet, that it is open to all, the “controllers of the means of production” that Marx refers to do not exist;  and it would seem that in the social sphere of  cultural activities such considerations would not exist at all naturally because the commodity of culture has been that of intelligence, a quality which  traditionally has neither been one which was sought to be monetized, nor whose participation therein has been considered Labor, but rather leisure activity.

What can and is being monetized however is the value of the Labor that knowledge workers create when they participate in leisure activities to socialize online.  This sub- culture of free laborers consists of file-sharers from all strata of academia, and together they-we- have compiled the greatest database of encyclopedic knowledge the world has ever known.  This information is free for all to use, although only a very small percentage of its users make a profit from it.  The article uses AOL as an example because hundreds of people volunteered to “work” on AOL as chat hosts, “…just for fun…”the article says, and then when AOL adopted a business model that made it ultra-profitable, it did not attempt to acknowledge the contribution to their success the volunteers had made, even though a large percentage of the value of AOL consisted of the work they had done for free.  This clearly is a case of a company deriving its value not on venture capital from the otside, but upon the monetizing of information collected and willingly submitted to them from within.

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Hybrid Assignment #05
Post 1
The attention economy is used to describe the system by which advertisers and websites conspire to keep user’s attention spans as short as possible. By the web 2.0 paradigm, profits are made by how many times a user-or users- can be made to click in advertisements, or some other product based offering that is related to the user’s profile. Ads are placed into the periphery of users, they flash, blink in a frantic attempt to get our attention away from the current page and onto some other page on a related subject; Google to research a particular make and model of car and rest assured, a car insurance ad, or one for an auto body shop, or perhaps some bank offering 0% financing will also appear. The goal of such measures is to catch the consumer while they are online and looking at the screen. Traditionally an advertiser had to advertise and hope that their customer base would happen upon whatever medium the ad appears in. However now, with the accuracy of data-miners and the tireless categorization efforts of Google, advertisers can be assured that the customer they are trying to reach will see their ad: it then becomes a matter of getting their attention. This also means that the content that appears in search results must be bland enough not to captivate the reader’s attention to the point where they are riveted to the page; in the attention economy, writing Pulitzer prize winning ads is not the goal. The goal is rather to get the user to click on a subject, and before they realize it, quickly get their attention diverted to some product or service, rather than letting them focus on the information they were researching in the first place.
Post 2
Crowd sourcing is an arrangement whereby what Ross calls “cognitive labor” – or the brain power of individuals – is harnessed by corporations towards profitable uses, without offering them any of the tangible benefits that are derived from their participation in a particular activity. In one archaic example he describes the process as resulting in the “…mechanization of industrial labor through the division of cognitive labor…” The result and purpose of the division of labor by corporations is to break down huge complicated labor processes into very small uncomplicated ones that could be more easily controlled by management. This is shown by his example of the world’s first chess playing automation, which was created by one man who had his assistant behind the scenes operating it so that it seemed that the machine had a mechanical brain: the assistant did all the work while the creator got all the glory. He then compares this technique to how people are treated as crowds on digital networks, each individual user being like a mannequin, posting, tweeting etc. with limited rewards, while the owners of the digital networks reap massive profits by monetizing the presence of its users with amazing liminality, occupying all positions where profit may be made. Another segment of the population that has been exploited are Fans, of whom Ross says, “…Online fan productions constitute unauthorized marketing for a wide variety of commodities—almost every kind of product has attracted a
Fandome of some kind…” (2013:55) He notes that although fan-clubs of  pre- internet days were of very little esteem in the eyes of economists, the ability of the internet by its instantaneous networking ability to match up fans with companies who offer products and services that may cater to their interests (matching an NFL fan who may participate innocently in a fan blog with a fantasy football league for example). Whereas in former days fan clubs were local and had numbers too insignificant to matter today a fan club on the internet may well include fans from all over the world in one place at one time during an important event, making them sitting ducks for advertising campaigns designed to make profit.

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Hybrid assignment04

Formerly in advertising industry this was concept know as circulation- the number readers who will see any particular ad in any particular medium. Considerations were the size of the advertisement, whether it would be in black and white or color, and its proximity to other competing ads offering similar products. Certain colors stand out more so an ad printed in color would theoretically catch a reader’s eye more quickly than a competitor’s ad printed in black and white; larger ads are more noticeable than small ads: the goal of successful advertising is to not only catch a reader’s eye, but to make that reader a customer. Traditionally advertising companies made their money based on how well advertisements in their media translated into customers for their clients. Google’s model of free internet applications and services in exchange for the right to collect user data has distorted the process in that now instead of individuals, people can be considered to be tinier bits of persons, not so much person as information, and be sold as such. On one side, technological advances attract users with constant upgrades of hardware- cell phone models, new laptops, tablets and display screen types; once a digital device becomes obsolete and is replaced by an upgrade, this causes what is called e-waste: the massive amounts of environmentally unfriendly electronic waste that pops up in our landfills. Another distortion, is that now collected data are so specific that people can even be targeted in advertising strategies Similar to older stereotypical ways that almost boarder being unethical- that of reputation silos, which, using factors such as income, race, gender certain segments of the population can receive a different quality of advertising than other segments.