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.
At the chapter 7 “Wired”, Turner argues that “a close look at Wired’s first and most influential five years suggests that the magazine’s vision of the digital horizon emerged in large part from its intellectual and interpersonal affiliations with Kevin Kelly and the Whole Earth network and, through them, from the New Communalist embrace of the politics of consciousness.” The magazine “Wired”, Turner argues, was as much a lifestyle magazine promoting social and cultural networks as much as a computer magazine promoting technical networks, “There are a lot of magazines about technology. Wired is not one of them. Wired is about the most powerful people on the planet today—the Digital Generation. These are the people who not only foresaw how the merger of computers, telecommunications and the media is transforming life at the cusp of the new millennium, they are making it happen”. Wired magazine was as an ideological consequence of the Whole Earth ideology. Turner argues that, contrary to conventional accounts that explain how Wired magazine developed out of a libertarian political philosophy, it actually had one foot in the Whole Earth ideology as well. I am sorry but I didn’t understand the chapter completely, it got me a little confuses. It is hard for me to answer the question.
In chapter 5 “Virtuality and Community on the WELL” Turner argues that Stewart Brand “lay down boundary conditions for a self-governing system”.
In this chapter, Turner talks about WELL (Whole Earth ’Lectronic Link). It was one of the most influential computer network, founded by Stewart Brand in 1985. The WELL was a “teleconferencing system within which subscribers could dial up a central computer and type messages to one another in either asynchronous or real-time conversation”. So basically it is similar what we use now in our every day routine on the Internet. Stewart Brand was serving to place boundary conditions for a self-governing system, “he was working to establish a forum in which individuals could express themselves and form an alternative community of kindred souls”. He assumed a self-governing system, which worked by been comprehensive. He thought that it would be great if people could share and discuss any type of information with one another and communicate a soon as they wanted too. At the end users had control of almost everything.
The Whole Earth Catalog became a model for WELL. WELL was more comfortable than Whole Earth Catalog which was published only a few times a year. And access to the information was much more easier that from Whole Earth Catalog. Participants or members of WELL were journalist and hacking community. “WELL became the place to exchange the information and build the social network on which their employment depended”.
Later on users had to pay money to be able to participate. Stewart Brand was worried that if WELL cost nothing than the rap dominators would be able to take over, so he invested a subscription fee. “As a result, he decided to charge users eight dollar subscription fee and two dollars per hour to log in – far less than the twenty five dollars per hour of use that other systems were charging at the time. Subscription was a model of pay for free seeing information that really worked. At that rate people could forget they were WELL members and not be stricken when they noticed their bill six months later. Often it would revive their interest in getting their money’s worth”.
In the beginning I would love to say that the chapter starts very interesting and unusual, not like everything we read before. The chapter begins with a little Stewart Brand’s biography.
In the chapter named “Stewart Brand Meets the Cybernetic Counterculture”, according to Fuller “Comprehensive Designer would not be another specialist, but would instead stand outside the halls of industry and science, processing the information they produced, observing the technologies they developed, and translating both into tools for human happiness”. Fuller believed that “Comprehensive Designer” would be the key and would be able to help with world’s problems. He believed that all those technologies should be used to help society and not bring distraction, he “attempted to visualize the world’s needs then and in the future, and then design technologies that would meet those needs”. Later “Comprehensive Designer would be aware of the system’s need for balance and the current deployment of its resources”. For Stewart Brand, Buckminster Fuller was inspiration. He inspired Brand about the comprehensive designer and his movements. Fuller knew how to use technology in a way to benefit from it; he used different ways to help develop technology. Stewart Brand shared the same vision as Buckminster Fuller. He believed that society depends on every person in it; he used technology, he worked on finding new ways to develop society and connect people. Also Native American played a big role in building Stewart Brand’s vision. Native American Indians were all about equal community.
In the chapter “The shifting Politics of the Computational Metaphor” Fred Turner writes that “For both the New Left and the New Communalists, technological bureaucracy threatened a drab, psychologically distressing adulthood at a minimum and, beyond that, perhaps even the extinction of the human race. For the New Left, movement politics offered a way to tear down that bureaucracy and simultaneously to experience the intimacy of shared commitment and the possibility of an emotionally committed adulthood. For the New Communalists, in contrast, and for much of the broader counter-culture, cybernetics and systems theory offered an ideological alternative.” The New Left and The New Communalists are two different social movements but at the same time they have something in common. The New Left movement is a political movement. How I understood they was trying to change government. The New Left activists were against the war and thinking that they can use politics as the foundation. The New Communalists movement was trying to make their own society, the idea to make a society were they would leave. They were not that political, they turned away from politics and didn’t trust politicians. The New Communalist considers more peaceful. They believed that the main reason to changes is their mind.
In her essay “Whatever Blogging,” Jodi Dean (2013:169) articulates the “new modes of community and new forms of personality anticipated by the dissolution of inscriptions of identity through citizenship, ethnicity, and other modern markers of belonging.” There are a few examples given by Dean that elaborate on her notion of the “whatever being” throughout the article. One prime example is the use of the word whatever. The word whatever in English and in the United States is used as a way of dismissing ones feelings and words spoken as seen in the article “I’m George W. Bush, leader of the free world. I want to bomb Iraq. And when the says, “no!” I say, “whatever!” Saddam has started to meet our demands. Yeah, Whatever.” In the current state of our society we feel confortable to shove aside even the direst of situations with simple puns and words as if to belittle them in order to diminish the affect of important current events. From small children, to adults, to those holding important positions within our nations capital, we have all accepted the evasive meaning of the word whatever “ it acknowledges communicativity through deflection of the communicative effort.” There are many words and phrases used in the English language mainly in the U.S that are used as a form of control for the masses. There are also many mainstream forms of consumption that have altered the advancement of certain minority groups within our society. As Dean explains in the article, one major way of controlling and selling dreams to the masses has been the cinemas and the movies and dreams that they have sold through imagery “Monumental stars, awesome production numbers (Busby Berkeley) and special effects (King Kong), and luxurious lifestyles captivated Depression-era audiences and attempted to channel their desire toward fantasies of consumption.” Hollywood has used the media to try and change the face and meaning of many different aspects of our culture. Using movies to in an attempt to brighten and make light of the struggle of the everyday person and worker. Media consumption has been in heavy use in our country to make certain individuals forget about important current events. Take for example our current problem with police brutality and gun control. Important current events currently thrown into the “whatever being” state of mind with downplayed words coming from the media. It is not only the news channels but also every other form of media thrown in the mix in an attempt to dilute a main agenda.
The connection Ahyan Aytes are trying to make between Amazon.com’s new digital labot market Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT) and chess-playing machine is a human brainpower.
Humans are the ones who created technology. Amazon Mechanical Turk was made after failure of the program of finding matching product pages on retail website. After that the project engineers turned “to humans to work behind computers within a streamlined web-based system”, later it was available for “privet contractors” in return for some profit.
Chess played automaton was created and presented in 1770 by Wolfgan von Kempelen at the court of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. After the Automaton Chess Player was exhibited for 84 years in Europe and the Americas. The idea of chess-playing machine was completed by IBM’s Deep Blue computer in 1997. In the beginning the idea was to give an expression that “the pipe-smoking Turk mannequin” can play a chess against human being by been controlled by a complicated mechanism. But in the reality it was a person (Kempelen’s chess master assistant) who was just hidden form everyone under the mechanism.
The connection between this two mechanist is very interwoven. When we are in process of doing something, we think that we are dialing with some programs, in Amazon Mechanical Turk example, but in the reality it is just a human who works behind the scene and helps us to accomplish our goal. And in chess playing machine it is the same technic, when we play we thing we are playing against “sophisticated mechanism”, when in reality we are playing against human being. At the end everything have been controlled my human’s power.
It its always a human behind all this, because at the of the day, human knowledge the one made all this happened. Human knowledge helped technology to develop.
The article “Free labor: Producing culture for the digital economy” by Tiziana Terronova was not the easy one for me. May be the reason is a language barrier but the article left me a little bit confused.
In the beginning I would like to try to explain what subculture is. Subculture is a culture originated from another culture with it is own unique style. One or other way we all belong to different subculture, it all depends on our interests. For example if we can take dance culture, there are a lot of different subculture like hip-hop, tango, samba, foxtrot, cha-cha, rumba and many others.
Capitalism and subculture movement plaited between each other. It is impossible for subculture and capitalism work individually. Capitalism suckles from subculture movements.
The example I can think of is a comedy show. I have a comedy guy whose fan I was since late teenager’s years. I was always going on his stand ups and concerts. Since I moved to New York 2009 he have had his concerts here every year. When I went on this concert for the first time in New York City the ticket was 40 dollars. Last time he was here in the begging of this year and I bought my ticket for little bit over a 100 dollars. Before he was not famous and lots of people didn’t know him especially in New York City (may be only Russian community). To be able to find out that he is coming to your city or about his new concerts you would have to go on Russian version of Facebook. Time pass and now he is more popular, people know him and of course as the result of it the prices for tickets went up. But when I went last time, the concert hall was full, so the price doesn’t stop people to come and buy tickets, it feels that with every year more and more people come. Now his advertisements are everywhere.
It shows that subculture movements and capitalism always exist together.
In this chapter Ross talks about feminization of labor. Free internships are very popular now our days and it is growing very fast. Internship gives you big opportunities in life but it doesn’t give you any guarantee for your future. Ross talks about how free labor and women are connected. The majority of the unpaid internships are women. Most not paying or law paying jobs and internships belong to women. What people want from free internships is to get a job they like but you have to be very lucky to be able to move into some stable job. I feel like females open to do different types of jobs when men you usually see in finance area: The difficulty for women: “While less than 10% of registered apprentices are female, women tend to dominate the most precarious sectors of white-collar and no-collar employment, and it is no surprise that they are assigned the majority of unpaid internships – 77% according to one survey”. Internship labor “blurs the line between task and contrast, between duty and opportunity and between affective and instrumental work. Women are disproportionately burdened when these kinds of boundaries are eliminated”.
This is very sad but it is a reality. I know a lot of people who have good diplomas from different collages, who did internships but still don’t have jobs. Unfortunately they have to work as waitress and in different clothing stores until they will get lucky and find what they have been looking for, the paid job.
This article talks about discounted labor. Ross considers discounted labor as the result of digital media. One of the examples that stood out for me is white collar/no collar interns. This is close to me because it is what I am dealing with right now. If you have internship it is the same as having a job. Internship requires lots of hours. You do everything, you do around 30 hours per week but you don’t get pay for it. Free internships are growing very fast, 50% of U.S. internships are unpaid or below minimum wage. The main point of the free internship is the employer, but of course it happens very rare; “An unpaid internship might help build a resume and win a foot in the door, or leg up in the skilled labor market”. All this internships were made to help the students in their future. The purpose is to give them a hand and a lot of experience. But at the end it benefit only corporations who uses free labor. Personally in my situation I cannot afford having an internship because I don’t have family here to support me, so some how I need to pay my bills and school.
Another example is reality TV shows. TV starts using free labor also. “The production costs of these shows are a fraction of what producers pay for conventional, scripted drama, while the rating and profits have been mercurial. Indeed, they are so cheap to make the virtually all the production costs are earned back from the first network showing: syndicated or overseas sales are pure profit”. Why would they pay lots of money for the professional actor if they can have people who can do it for free. Their payment will be their faces on TV, chance to show yourself and may be become famous.