Week 13 Blog Post: Summation of My Semester In Advanced Media Issues:

I’d like to conclude this semester by looking at where I began. Upon being told to think critically I didn’t initially think it was something I would be able to do. Thinking critically was always a term I struggled with because I never knew how far thinking critically had to go. But after reading widely, listening to the thoughts and ideas of my peers and being able to discuss certain concepts and the impacts they have on real world scenarios, I not only felt inspired by certain topics but I found myself having an abundance of thoughts and ideas that trailed off from one thing to another to another. What one might call Rhizomatic thoughts.

I not only decided that thinking critically was the ability to think through ideas and concepts in a way I normally wouldn’t, but it was a combination of being able to discuss and engage as a group with ideas and concepts that together can change and alter the way we grow as a cohort and that have the power to bring together people from different walks of life because of the empowerment and the relationships formed that create new and life changing sensations. Along with this though I realized that thinking critically was something that I could actually do and I actually do, do without realizing.

And by coming to these conclusions I was able to change the initial uninformed perceptions I had of the course, of theory and of people I interacted with, which in part is an important part of maturing and progressing.

Having said that I think the trick in all this is that we have now as journalists established the skill, but learning how to apply it will be a challenge and one that will definitely keep life interesting.

One thing that I think links into these thoughts and that I haven’t really touched on is that of Swarm Politics. Swarm Politics, which can be identified as “the counter culture revolution”(Knife Party, Rayner, Roboson, 2010), “which saw the rhizomatic mesh work of loosely coordinated, loosely affiliated struggles of swarms of individuals. Their goals weren’t always complimentary but their struggles were aligned and together they staged a mass offensive to shatter the status quo” (Knife Party, Rayner, Roboson, 2010). As was mentioned in the video the “Coalition Of The Willing” the real lesson of the 60s was that a swarm offensive could transform cultures and change history in extraordinary ways (Knife Party, Rayner, Roboson, 2010).

I feel like in this way the ability to think critically as a group can really change the way we as a cohort make a difference, the way we are able to shatter the status quo with teachers and superiors and interact with superiors on a more sophisticated level, challenging them and really working with them to grow and develop. Additionally I feel like as a group we are more powerful then as one individual. As a group we have the opportunity to make history happen, we can change the way the Media Communications Course is received by outsiders, we can start the very first Media and Communications Society, we can change the way others think about us because together we can move and develop. Alone we are just on our own.

It just seems that the development of a Wikispace in one of our other media courses challenges what is normally thought of, of the Gen Y Cohort. What is normally thought of as the selfish self-indulgent generation, can now be thought of as the group that together works as a community to make a difference to everyone’s lives not just their own!

I feel like learning to think Critically and thinking about the power of Swarm Politics I have really progressed and transgressed to a place where I’m no longer only thinking about myself but I am thinking about others and learning to engage with everything and anything on a whole new level.

References:

  1. Knife Party and Rayner, Tim and Robson, Simon 2010 Coalition Of The Willing < http://coalitionofthewilling.org.uk/>
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Week 12 Blog Post: Robots Of Today A Blade In Technological Progression

What you just watched is a scene from Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Blade Runner is a science fiction film set in a futuristic Los Angeles in 2019. The film depicts genetically engineered organic robots – otherwise known as replicants – who are not only indistinguishable to humans but who actually begin to feel sensations of emotion that are normal to humans but not quite typical for robots.

This scene is the last scene of the movie, where the human hunter comes face to face with the last replicant he is set to kill. However what is clear from this scene is the emotion and human sensation felt by the replicants that doesn’t only make them alike but aligns them with the humans. The replicants are all fighting for life and the chance to have experiences, something innate to all humans. In this futuristic case there is no difference between them. They all love, they are all fearful and like humans there is always an end.

BUT in the article written by Alan Reiter “Synthetic Companions: Downloading Robot Personalities”, the creation of Robots seems almost awkward and unnecessary.

Reiter writes that robots, in order to form emotional bonds, will be programmed to “store specific interactions with each person, who might believe the robot “remembers” him or her when they bring up past interactions” (Reiter, 2008)

He describes a possible example where the Robot might remember something from earlier in the day and states “remember at home when you said ‘we’re out of tea?’ It’s 5:30 and you’ll be leaving work in half an hour. Do you want to stop by the store to buy more tea, or should I order it from the Internet?” (Reiter, 2008).

Unlike Ridley Scotts futuristic replicants who behave and function just like humans, it seems that the real life proposed futuristic robots of our own era are only capable of performing menial tasks that they are programmed to perform.  Evolution has only progressed far enough to create robotic type figures that when inserted with specific chips can perform specific tasks.

But one must ask what is the point of a figure that cannot adapt to environments and that is unable to shift our ecologies of feeling, sensing, affecting and being affected? How can we be affected by any robot that has to be continuously updated, that needs different chips to react to different scenarios and that is unable to follow social cues on its own. In this way technology hasn’t gone far enough!

Felix Guattari’s description of the “ethico –aesthetic paradigm, by which he means the way in which practices and sensation/feeling and so on come together into forms of shifting community”, really makes us look critically at the way in which technology might not go quite far enough to create a situation where robots can really change the way we feel and come together because after all these robots are controlled by us so how can any sense of community or emotional attachment be formed to something we ourselves control?

The aesthetic ecologies formed in Blade Runner, are beautiful in their capabilities. The sensation’s of love, anger, sadness and fear which aligns them with humans allows both life forms to grow and change together. It allows them to shift and move like transversal lines in media and other technologies are able to. However this isn’t something that seems to be a viable outcome for the robots of our time. It feels like once created their ability to transvers to new realms and to change and grow like media and other mobile technologies are able to, and societies and cultures are able to becomes a slimmer and less likely possibility. So one must question has the technological revolution gone too far in the wrong direction? And has it gone too far away from the successful progressive tide it was on?

References:

  1. Blade Runner, 1982, Motion Picture, Warner Brothers, United States Of America: 16th of December 1982, Accessed on the 23rd of May 2011, online at < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuBToeQeeEU >
  2. Reiter, A 2008, ‘Synthetic Companions: Downloading Robot Personalities’, Internet Evolution, The 6th of May 2008, Accessed on the 23rd Of May 2011, From http://arts3091.newsouthblogs.org/.
  3. Felix Guattari , 20th Century Philosopher.
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Week 11 Blog Post: Infrastructure That Is Restructuring The Way We Think About Life

Here is a link to an article that I feel everyone reading my blog should read. This article for me was FANTASTIC. As every aspiring journalist will know, trying to maintain a readers attention to the end of an article is a grappling task and I promise you this, I didn’t want to tear my eyes away from this article, I was totally captivated by its contents.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/15/science/15scibks_excerpt.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&ref=science

Having said that and hopefully after you having read it you will be able to engage with my discussion of it.

Keller Easterling defines infrastructure as often evading “politics as we understand it, but infrastructure [he states] defines what happens, what is possible, what the social is (e.g. ‘free zones’ in China or Africa)”.

In the case of the “The World Wide Mind” the infrastructure is the skin and bone. As was stated in the article “For most people the body is in here and the computer is out there. In our technology-saturated lives, the only remaining computer – free zone is our own warm, wrinkly sacks of skin and bone”(Chorost, 2011). However it is contact of any kind, any penetration, “confers new powers and new vulnerabilities. A computer disconnected from the Internet is safe from viruses, but it is also nearly useless. A person not in a relationship is safe from viruses, but is also alone. To obtain the benefits of connection one also has to endure the risks” (Chorost, 2011).

The man in the story is asked to partner up with a woman and is asked to feel the contours of her face, to then touch her hair, her shoulders, her sides, her legs. Such a task whilst risky in a new relationship and risky in a relationship that hasn’t developed past pleasantries has a lot of insight to offer. If as I said earlier the skin is a form of infrastructure and this infrastructure defines what is possible then it is possible that touch and feeling can change the way a person interacts, and the way social interaction is defined. As was stated in the article the human brain is “devoted to processing input from the skin. The skin is the body’s largest organ, extending over 19 square feet in the adult male…[explaining to us that] skin to skin touch has a life giving quality that nothing else – not heat, not machines, not medications, not therapy – can match” (Chorost, 2011).

Isn’t this intriguing that the one thing we didn’t realize was so powerful, our skin, is the infrastructure changing our lives. So much so that if you look at the newest technology, the iPhone, its main premises for working is that “you must be alive to use it” (Chorost, 2011). With the iPhone you cannot “use a stylus on its surface. It wouldn’t respond to that. On a cold day you had to take off a glove to work with it. To wake it up you had to stroke it across the surface, as if it was a pet…it knows you are holding it. If you turn it on its side the display rotates to stay right – side up. Its accelerometer makes it exquisitely sensitive…which makes it the sexiest, most erotic technology…ever seen” (Chorost, 2011). It’s fascinating to think that the most basic concept of what it is to be human is what is defining our technology. Our evolution is being catalogued in a technological devise. So maybe it’s fair to say that the technological revolution isn’t destroying human relationships but rather mimicking it and changing our understanding of it.

One more concept I want to explore with you is discussed in this video:

Jane McGonigal: Gaming Can Make A Better World

In this video Jane McGonigal discusses how the virtual world of gaming can not only tell us about our past and help connect the pieces of evolution but it can change the way we interact with infrastructure. Much like the skin can inform the way we behave, the way we interact, the way technology is used, gaming worlds can change what is possible in this world. McGonigal says that gaming worlds allow us to be a better person because of 4 major concepts: the fact that we are blissfully productive, the social Fabric with which we interact, the urgent optimism we have and the epic meaning it creates. If we can realize that the human touch is imperative to forming relationships and to the use of certain technologies, then why can we not apply these 4 major concepts to real life? Why can’t we have the optimism to win, in real life like we do in the virtual world?

Ill leave you on this note; we are always making connections between our evolution and our being with technology. We are constantly defying what is possible, constantly changing the nature of the world we live in, why can human beings not see how easy it is to apply concepts of the virtual world to the real world?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could be as optimistic at our jobs as we are about winning a level in the virtual world? Or try and make more epic meaning out of the currant lives we live like we do in the virtual world. The possibilities are endless if only we could make some transversals from the virtual world into the real world, just think of the social ramification that become possibilities and the potential that can be utilized?

References:

  1. Chorost, M 2011, ‘World Wide Mind’, The New York Times, Chapter 4, Accessed on the 17th of May 2011: < http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/15/science/15scibks_excerpt.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&ref=science >
  2. Jane McGonigal: Gaming Can Make A Better World, 2010, Ted Talks, Creative Commons, America, Recorded in February 2010.
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Week 10 Blog Post: Synthetic Life: Creaking Open The Doorway

Arguably to date the technological revolution is the most controversial topic to be debated into today’s society. Not just for the ramifications that it has on Media, but also for the ramifications it holds on scientific discovery and progress. In a blog I previously wrote I provided the quote by MacKenzie and Wajcman: “a new devise merely opens a door; it does not compel one to enter”(Murphie and Potts, 203).

Craig Venter seems to embrace entering the door that the technological revolution has provided having recently created “the worlds first synthetic life form in a landmark experiment that paves the way for designer organisms that are built rather then evolved”(Sample, 2010). Venter’s creation, which not only occupied over 20 scientists for more then 10 years but cost over $40m, was described as a “defining moment in biology” (Sample, 2010).

This invention which not only embraces the technological revolution “heralds a new era in which life is made to benefit humanity, starting with bacteria that churns out biofuels, soaks up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and even manufactures vaccines” (Sample, 2010). Venter steps through the doorway that the creation of new technologies open, he is as Julian Savulescu professor of practical ethics at Oxford University said “creaking open the most profound door in humanity’s history, potentially peeking into its destiny. He is not merely copying life artificially …or modifying it radically by genetic engineering. He is going towards the role of god, creating artificial life that could never have existed naturally” (Sample, 2010).

Venter said that making such a discovery “certainly changed my views of definitions of life and how life works” (Sample, 2010). It seems that such groundbreaking discoveries that deem an individual a god can only further what McLuhan was trying to say about technological determinism. When McLuhan states, “Technological determinism usually refers to the present projected onto the future, as expressed in claims that we have no choice but to adopt this technology” (Murphie and Potts, 203). – you cant help but make the same statement about Synthetic life – we have no choice but to adopt this new life form, especially when its projections for the future provide great gain!

Lastly Deleuze and Guattari question: “Do the ‘natural’ and the ‘artificial’ converge or, to put this another way, which leads which in technological development?” (Murphie and Potts, 203). The only answer I can fain appropriate would be that we are totally and completely led through MacKenzie and Wajcman’s door by the artificial, the leader in the technological revolution and the one that makes life-changing altercations for religion. As was noted above synthetic life is the creation of an artificial life that naturally just couldn’t be achieved. One can only end on the suggestion that we are indeed compelled to enter that door especially when great things exist beyond it and great possibilities exist potentially in the future.

References:

  1. Murphie, Andrew and Potts, John (2003) ‘Theoretical Frameworks’ in Culture and Technology London: Palgrave Macmilan: 11-38.
  2. Sample, Ian (2010) ‘Craig Venter Create Synthetic Life Form’, The Guardian May 2, < http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/may/20/craig-venter-synthetic-life-form >
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Week 9 Blog Post: Frankenstein The Mirror Image of a Dynamic Network: The Exemplification of What Happens When Behaviors Cannot Be Controlled Or Predicted.

Having looked at this scene from Frankenstein, I’d like to explore the concept of the Monster Frankenstein and the reading “From Organisms to Multitudes” by Tiziana Terranova. In the article by Terranova, he writes, “For artificial life…all natural life can be understood in terms of the interactions of a large number of simple elements from levels below. The living organism is no longer mainly one single and complicated biochemical machine, but is now essentially the aggregate result of the interaction of a large population of relatively simple machines”(Terranova, 2004).

What has this got to do with Frankenstein you ask?

Well if we look at Frankenstein the “monster” we can understand the way artificial life can be different from real life. As Terranova states: “As a consequence, ‘to animate machines… it’s not to “bring” life to a machine; rather it is to organize a population of machines in such a way that their interactive dynamics is “alive”’”(Terranova, 2004). However the problem with creating a network in this way is similar to the creation of the Monster Frankenstein – they both can’t be controlled. Additionally like the monsters reactions and abilities to cope in given environments couldn’t have been stimulated or predicted. Nor can we control the way networks will behave and develop.

Terranova states that “you can observe and kill an individual entity, anatomize it, and you still wont find out what it is that will make it act in a certain way once it acts as an element within a population open to flows. You can collect as much data as you want about individual users, but this wont give you the dynamic of the overall network” (Terranova, 2004).

This is very similar to the monster. You can discover HOW to replicate the human body and you can create an artificial version of it BUT you cannot control how it will behave or how it will perceive any given reality. For example in the scene above – the creature initially interacted with the little girl like any other “child” would have (the word child is in inverted commas because ultimately Frankenstein is a child born in adult form) but in a given environment you can not foresee that he will then drown the girl (an act that an adult of right mind wouldn’t probably do but one that a child wouldn’t understand given that he has just witnessed the way the flowers can float and probably thinks it means the little girl will also float!)

This is much like a network, an aggregation of machines that all diverge and transcend to make new and larger populations and clusters. You can begin the network you can add components, you can help develop and extend the network but you cannot control the way the network will ultimately as a whole behave.

Id like to end on this: “Knowing what it is that is packed into an individual but that is not reducible to it is a matter of some importance considering how inherently unstable such systems are. A Multitude can always veer off somewhere unexpected under the spell of some strange attractor” (Terranova, 2004).

Resources:

1. Terranova, Tiziana (2004) ‘From Organisms to Multitudes’ in Network Culture: Politics for the information Age London: Pluto: 101 – 106.

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Blog Post 3: The World As A Clock – Past, Present, Future, When Synthesized Relationships Become Real and Ghosts Come Into The Mix:

Lars Von Trier writes in Kunstforeningen 1996 “My biggest problem in life is control over chaos. I can become crazy for fear of not having control when I really want to have it. The happiest situation I can imagine is to accept this lack of control – but this is nearly a masochist thought for me. All the situations in which I begin to get anxious are where I loose control”(Trier, 1996). Loosing control seems to be the inevitable reality to a completely mediated reality where boundaries between the past, present and future become completely blurred and life is mediated through technologies and media forms.

For example Von Trier arranged for “video coverage of an ants nest in New Mexico. Images of the movements of the ants were sent live via satellite to a computer in a three-story gallery in the heart of Copenhagen. This gallery was filled with 53 actors and 19 different sets waiting for instructions. In a corner of each of the 19 sets was a row of four colored lights that sometimes flashed – flashed, that is, according to whether the ants had crossed certain grids marked out on the computer screen a certain number of times. The 53 actors improvised in part with a structure of moods that were determined by the flashing of the lights, and in part on the basis of given characters”(Murphie, 2004). The reality of the ants not only becomes highly mediated by satellites, computers, and sets BUT there is an added layer that the “reality” of the ants then becomes embellished and dramatized by the role playing done by the 53 actors who seek to interpret the flashing lights and use them as an indication of mood! And in addition to this there is the added question of whether the use of technologies are able to change whether the footage of the ants is in fact something that is happening in the present or if in fact by the time it reaches computers via satellite it is in fact considered an event of the past? Leaving one to question the currency of such an event?

It’s like what is said in the YouTube video “The Science of Ghosts – Derrida in Ghost Dance”. When Derrida is asked, “Do you believe in ghosts” he replies, “You’re asking a ghost whether he believes in ghosts”(McMullen, 1983). This kind of response is symptomatic of that fact that we are merely ghosts in a mediated world because what we think or feel is real: whether it is real acting, real speech, is merely a ghost. Ghosts are as Derrida says “part of the future” (McMullen, 1983) and they have “the ability to haunt us” (McMullen, 1983) because they exist everywhere tormenting us with the thought that what we are or what we do is a ghost not actually us. This chaos that becomes not only unavoidable also becomes the goal we need to interpret, as now we are stuck trying to decipher what is actually real. And to make things even more complicated one must ask the question: Is there really a future? Because our brains mediate everything .5 of a second before we actually respond, we have to ask ourselves did what actually happen, happen in the future or in the past? Is right now actually in the past? Are we merely ghosts?

These ideas can be exemplified further in the idea that “mood and ecologies rarely have neat borders in fact, as the concept of affective tone makes clear, mood registers the patterns across the borders of the networks involved. Thus, actors continued their role off stage and the famous but almost thin line between life and performance was often eroded. Actors who were supposed to be in love on set began off set relationships which fed back into the work”(Murphie, 2004). As you can see what should have been an ordered event of catching a scenario and trying to define past, present and future to create a linear depiction of life like things has become both a chaotic and blurred vision of what happens in reality when the past, present, future cant be adequately defined, when technologies come into play and when synthesized relationships become real relationships. What we think reality is is actually a mediated reality because to many things come to the mix and we can no longer define any given thing. Chaos reprimands us and we are placed into a state of confusion. As one actor states, “there are light changes which change lives”(Romney, 2000).

References:

  1. McMullen, K. 1983 ‘The Science of Ghosts – Derrida in Ghost Dance’ On Youtube, Accessed 29th of March 2011, < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nmu3uwqzbI&feature=player_embedded >.
  2. Murphie, A. 2004 ‘The World’s Clock: The Network Society and Experimental Ecologies’, Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, 11, Spring.
  3. Romney, J. 2000. ‘Ants Misbehavin’, The Guardian, 23 August, Accessed at < http://www.guardian.co.uk/edinburgh2000/article/0,2763,357467,00.html >.
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Blog Post 2: Memory And Active Externalism

Last week I explored Marshal McLuhan’s concept of “technologies as extensions of human capacities”. This week I would like to explore the ideas of Andy Clark and David Chalmers. Clark and Chalmers explore this idea of “active externalism (similar to semantic or ‘content’ externalism), in which objects within the environment function as part of the mind”(Clark and Chalmers, 2010). The two theorists go on to argue further that “it is arbitrary to say that the mind is contained only within the boundaries of the skull…[they believe] that external objects play a significant role in aiding cognitive processes, the mind and the environment act as [they term] a ‘coupled system’” (Clark and Chalmers, 2010). Lets look at an example that Clark and Charmers provide. Otto they tell us has Alzheimer’s disease and so as not to forget some simple directions, he has written it down in a notebook. But Inga they tell us is able to recall the internal directions within her memory. The difference between the two, Clark and Chalmers site, is that “Inga’s memory is being internally processed by the brain, while Otto’s memory is being served by the notebook” (Clark and Chalmers, 2010).

We can take this notion one step further and say that if technology is a product of culture then culture is the concept that keeps fueling our memory and making sure we are able to keep cognitive processes alive. As Alva Noe states in the article Does Thinking Happen In The Brain, “the Brain is necessary for our life, but it is hardly sufficient. A human being, like every living being, is a locus of densely interwoven coupling with the world around us. We make consciousness dynamically, in our exchange with the world around us. Ultimately, if we want to understand consciousness, we need to go out of our heads and look at the way we are embodied and also bound to and embedded in the world around us”(Noe, 2010). What Noe is talking about is this idea that culture has the ability to affect our memory in two ways. The first is that it is able to trigger “natural memory”. For example you have a computer and it automatically turns off, when you turn it back on and open the same program it triggers something in the computer to recover any written materials lost. The same way as a cultural event is able to trigger a memory within the human brain. The second way culture effects memory is by its violation of the “natural memory” and its creation of tools and techniques, which are able to assist memory. For example the creation of a mobile phone, which holds phone numbers, conversations, and written documents – the brain no longer has to find ways to store numbers or feelings because you can just look at the technical device, which has already stored them digitally for you. All you have to do is open the phone and the numbers will be there already saved for you in this external memory drive. All you have to do is open the conversations and all your memories and emotions that were wrapped up in that interaction will be there for you to relive. If you thought that you weren’t cultured then think again! Because your whole life and your whole way of being and functioning is wrapped up in culture. Culture is what makes your world go round! Culture is either the trigger for your memories or the aid to your memory.

It’s almost ironic how much culture and technology can affect our brain and our ability to function who would have thought that so much of how the brain and cognition works would exist outside of the skull!!!

Figure 1.

Figure 2.

Figure 3.

Figure 4.

Figure 5.

The first two images I felt reflected the way in which outside technologies founded by culture interacted and engaged with the brain on an external level. The second three images I felt conveyed this notion of culture and the way it affects the brain.

References:

  1. Google Images:
    Figure 1: http://www.scientificamerican.com/media/inline/E25FBA86-AC61-F2F8-1D0BFBD2C1EFD994_1.jpg
    Figure 2: http://www.virtualworldlets.net/Worlds/Listings/Neuro/Neuro.jpg
    Figure 3: http://neuroanthropology.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/sivartha-1.jpg?w=272&h=400
    Figure 4: http://www.engagemarketing.com.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/left-brain-right-brain.jpg
    Figure 5: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tMefD8CwDpc/R_ws6-KvNHI/AAAAAAAAAKg/dvEjHptnTsA/S220/Head%2B(tree).jpg
  2. Noe, A. 2010, ‘Does thinking happen in the brain?’, 13:7 Cosmos and Culture < http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2010/12/10/131945848/does-thinking-happen-in-the-brain >
  3. Notes on Memory Time and Perception from The University Of New South Wales in Advanced Media Issues: New Media, Cultural and Social Change Study Kit.
  4. The Extended Mind, 2011, < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extended_Mind >

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Blog Post 1: Theoretical Frameworks:

Theoretical frameworks, in Culture and Technology by Andrew Murphie and John Potts, whilst basic in the concepts it covers, delves into some very questionable areas and some profound thoughts of theorists such as McLuhan, Baudrillard, Deleuze and Guattari.

The first concept that really struck a nerve with me was this idea of Technological Determinism – the idea that technology is the driving force of social change. The article then goes on further to state “Technological determinism usually refers to the present, projected onto the future, as expressed in claims that ‘we have no choice but to adopt this technology’” (Murphie and Potts, 2003) – for example in a completely mobile world we have no choice but to accept having a mobile phone so that we can stay in touch with other individuals. Or we have no choice but to own a computer if we want to stay up to date with this current media and communications course that is virtually all online. Just like ancient civilizations had no choice but to adopt the mechanics of writing so that their histories lived on long after their ancestors who verbally told the stories did. So in this way can we say that technology mandates the culture or society we live in? To a degree yes!

McLuhan takes this idea one step further when he writes, “technologies are extensions of human capacities. Tools and implements are extensions of manual skills; the computer is an extension of the brain… the cultural significance of media lies not in the content, but in the way they alter our perception of the world. The impact of any technology is in ‘the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human life’” (Murphie and Potts, 2003).  By understanding the way technologies act as “tools and extensions” (Murphie and Potts, 2003) of ourselves we can understand culture. For example you look at the video example given in the lecture of the African American telling the story of the way Europeans “infected” African’s. The invention of military invasion is an extension of a man’s desire to conquer territory and in effect the taking over of another territory be it Africa in this example, is the way in which a culture or maybe in this case a subculture is created. In this way the world, society and cultures are constantly evolving as our desire to implement the use of new tools or technologies drives the way in which we as humans act. It seems to be cyclical in a sense because we are constantly seeking the new and the more advanced and as we find it we need to implement it and once we implement it we are changing the face of that society or that culture. And then once that culture adapts our desire to improve that kicks in and we start the cycle again!

And with man constantly trying to better and advance technologies and in effect societies we reach as McLuhan puts it a “cultural implosion, in which people [are] more aware of the world…and begin to think mythically once again, throwing off the straightjackets” (Murphie and Potts, 2003). This in turn affects the way we behave. For example our desire to be connected is managed by the creation of a computer, which connects us to vast networks around the world. Once we have achieved this we then desire to be connected on the go and there is the rise of the iPhone! Technology makes media far more accessible to people of all ages resulting in what Meyrowitz describes as the blurring of boundaries between the public and private sectors as the “private lives of individuals become public property” (Murphie and Potts, 2003) and thus we have to understand that behavior is directly related to technological advancement which impinges and change the way society and culture are formed. Take this example for instance: “the radio created Hitler in Germany and the Teenager in the United States” (Murphie and Potts, 2003) – without the creation of the radio we wouldn’t have had Hitler and his propaganda that fooled the world into a fake sense of security and we wouldn’t have had the world that erupted out of the politics of all of this.

I’d like to end with the statement “a new devise merely opens a door; it does not compel one to enter” (Murphie and Potts, 2003) – so why do we feel so compelled to enter? It seems if you don’t enter your only option is to get left behind and in a constantly evolving world getting left behind really would be a travesty!!!

References:

  1. Murphie, Andrew and Potts, John (2003) ‘Theoretical Frameworks’ in Culture and Technology London: Palgrave Macmilan: 11-38.
  2. Marimba Ani ‘Culture is a peoples’ immune system’
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Hello world!

Hey this is my blog, take a look, and enjoy 🙂

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