web and technology
In the film and in our readings one theme kept reappearing, the quest for greater transparency in the exchange of information. Each new form of communication comes with the promise of less filtering through experts and greater access to aggregate data and facts. The internet seems to fulfill that promise. We disassemble the world around us into disconnected facts and images and make them searchable. But ultimately, to sift through the amount of information, to make meaning of it, we must rely on new filters. New filters would include individual search criteria, a primary site that gathers and presents you with information it thinks you want, or another person's summary.
In Hayes' article "How We Read: Close, Hyper, Machine", there is much discussion of two points that seem contradictory to me:
When I think of historical and contemporary examples of technology that have significantly impacted the human race, the first things that come to mind are computers, cell phones, mp3 players, cameras, radios, cars, and airplanes. While looking at this list I noticed an interesting pattern. Most of these “pieces” of technology somehow directly relate to the idea of communication. Human beings are social creatures, and it is no wonder that our attitudes toward technology reflect this.
This is an amazing video that seems tailor made for this class
After we talked about gender categories in class, I found myself thinking about this interesting speculation on the nature of computer programs used to store information about marriages.
Whether or not we are favorable to categories, they are so fixed and basic to our culture and every day lives that we treat them as immutable facts. And maybe the need for categories is something basic to humans as a way to make sense of the world. But the categories themselves and their implications and applications are of our own making. If this is the case, then maybe the question shouldn’t be, are categories good? But why these categories? We will never live in a gender neutral world, just like we have never and will never live in a world (biologically speaking) of binary genders. Maybe if these categories held less sway and were as fluid as the people they collect, we would come to rely less on gender as an indicator of traits and potential.
When I first started to read Clark's piece I was skeptical of the notion of being a 'natural-born cyborg'. It seemed like a ridiculous notion. However, as I began to understand his argument it began to make sense. The mere act of writing on paper has become a mnemonic tool for me. My thoughts seem very delicate and unclear to me until I write them down; the act alone allowing me to remember ideas even without consulting my notes. While few animals besides humans use tools, it seems that for us they are a necessity.