Final Post for New Media

New media is using today’s digital technology like the internet and smart phones as a container to communicate and share ideas with those outside of the geographic sphere that you live in. From the angle that one will be defining New media its more along the lines of how it affects humans in situations of morality and ethics. New media itself and the containers that go along with them would not mean anything if humans didn’t give them meaning and shine a light on the emerging technologies of new media.

To begin my discussion about new media one feels it is important to understand Norbert Weiner, the pioneer of new media who discovered a condition in which human’s brain’s are hardwired for, that is worship and the search for knowledge, when that falls into play you have to analyze the situation of people constantly posting on social media or carrying their cellphones around with them like it is an extension of their own flesh or constantly streaming Youtube for the next TEDtalk or meme. From that point are you controlling the message or is the message controlling you? Are we just intaking large amounts of information and not being able to apply it to our lives in a positive way? This has every bit to do with new media because it’s humans who control the very devices that are supposed to be for our beneficiary or a source of “truth” to elevate intelligence, and perhaps even consciousness in the future.

Taking a look at new media today you could say it has indeed connected us, but in doing so it has also created a level playing field which you could call the “virtual class system” where many different people from the physical world from entrepreneurs and employees to game developers and government officials can be intertwined in the same community. This is important to new media because this is the very connection, that is the connection between the rich and poor and unknown that create a unique mix of “technological determinism and libertarian individualism” that will ultimately drive new media beyond the information age.

When discussing new media you have to acknowledge the issues of read-only vs read-write culture live in today. The issue of whether we just take in the information passively or do we interact with it and take action on or with the information we have been given? We as a culture obviously have our times where we do both; it’s not merely enough to give it a generalization, but Social media for example, has made humans a very interactive bunch in society and given even the smallest corners in the world a platform.

The human interaction with new media is the key to this whole thing I want to stress. While the Smart phones and social media platforms are a step in a direction of interacting with our technologies, that pales in comparison to the world in which you can overlay virtual reality into our current reality, Mixed reality entertains that idea. Even though Magic Leap doesn’t have a testing version, but with the billions of dollars being spent on this research one can only see the potential shift from the information age to singularity.

Moving to singularity with Bill Joy’s Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us, I think it is important to keep the human in mind while discussing this element of new media, but this agenda (I can’t even believe I had to say that) is being pushed farther off the table, or at least halfway when it comes to fusing of humans and robots together. I ask, “Who’s worried besides Bill Joy?” That is what new media has the potential of becoming over the coming decade as this picture has painted so vividly by Ray Kurzweil in his book The Age of Spiritual Machines. The picture of man being free from his container of bodily flesh, the internet having experiences accessible rather than just information about the experience, and the whole narrative of globalization and life itself we have written for us today. This is where new media is headed.

To conclude, I think it is important to remember that in our search for certain “truths” in technological advancements it’s not bad that we are searching for ways to bring longevity to mankind, but if we are only able to see part of the situation that lies ahead we must tread carefully, because we are in unchartered territory and there is no way of seeing the whole outcome until the leap of faith, or attempt has been made.

Justification for grade

My performance in the first half of the semester was lackluster and forgettable, but I know I turned it around when the second half of class came around. I started participating more consistently in class and contributing more to the discussion. It was the urge to understand this world of cyborgs and self-replicating nanotechnology where people want to see if they can play God that intrigued me the most if I could be quite frank. To see how we use new media right now at the moment, and talk about the very real possibility of implanting chips in brains or having intelligent AI makes all those ideas about the idealistic “future” science fiction movies seem within reach now.

I’ve posted the minimum requirements of post for this class, and have done my best to show how my posts relate to new media in my essay above as well as gotten better about my class attendance than I did in the first half. I honestly can say I have rebounded in this class to receive the minimum credit.

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Thinking in part and not whole

St. Augustine asked the question, in his detailed book Confessions of St. Augustine, “why, then, are you perverted and still following after your own flesh? Whatever you perceive by means of the flesh exist but in part, you do not know the whole of which these things are in part, but yet they give you delight” (Augustine 104). He was speaking, on one end, in terms of the human being and our limited intelligence, perspective, and ability to comprehend the bigger picture of life. The life God has for us, so instead we give in to what seems or feels good for the present time and will have many justifications for doing so. But I ask this question in regards to Bill Joy’s Why the future doesn’t need us, I ask are we ignoring the dangers certain new media technology brings because of our ability to only see the partial, present, and limited situation New Media brings?

While Joy speaks about making ethical decisions with going forward with Nanotechnology and robotics and Augustine speaks about the matters of having a godly, patient, and self-control attitude with decision making, one thing is certain both men touch on: we as human generally lack the ability to foreshadow because we only see what happens in part (we also live totally for the moment), not whole. To put this more in line with New Media I will to take this discussion to Snapchat. the Billion dollar company has generated much earned attention for the simple fact it is a unique social media platform (or at least it was before it began being copied) with its users being able to post pictures or videos that comprise of a “story” and it disappears in 24 hours.

Now the short term gain for both Snapchat and its users block or significantly limit their ability to see in whole what is going to occur from this experience. The inventors enjoy financial gain and prestige while the users enjoy all the endorphins released into their brains from posting their carefully curated and fragmented persona or “stories” on Snapchat. While both parties seem to benefit in some fashion (one more than the other), they only see in part. We as the masses don’t recognize the effects of self-consumption that are occurring in people, because we are indeed the latter. The energy that is needed to sustain you and create an intensity of focused concentration to create a meaningful peace of work or product (a product much like Snapchat), diminishes.

The inventors and such don’t see the effects or choose not too because, as langdon winner puts it in his writing “Mythinformation” from the New media reader, “they are  busy pursuing their own ends: profits, handsome salaries, market share, the intrinsic joy of invention, the intellectual rewards of programming, and the pleasures of owning and using powerful machines” (NMR 590). In other words the rat race is not only a great way to describe what blinds the inventors and employees of Snapchat, but describes what blinds the users as well. As one group runs for a vain reward of “cheese” so does the other group.

“How Bill Joy’s sadness relates to those who partake in social media”

In Bill Joy’s ,Why the future doesn’t need us, he regards to his professional work on “improving the reliability of software” (Joy 47), he says “I have always believed that making software more reliable, given its uses, will make the world a better and safer place; If I were to come to believe the opposite, I’d be morally obligated to stop this work. I can now imagine such a day may come” (Joy 47). If you devoted your life to a cause and made it your purpose, only to come to a realization that if you continue to do so, you could have a hand in destroying the human race. You’d be a little with melancholic too.

The same goes with our elevating of globalization, social media, and the internet itself…what have we come to find out recently? We’ve come to understand these tools in which we are supposed to help make life for us easier actually makes life harder because it keeps us distracted from creating or focusing our energies on our own individual tasks at hand. New media has us more lethargic and simplistic in our approach to daily tasks. We’d rather take pictures and  look at them on Instagram than write our 500 word essay due in class on Monday our class because we are used to the “rewards” we get from this activity.

Will mixed reality help change us for the better or worse?

Mixed reality by definition is virtual reality overlaid on the real world. It’s way more difficult to achieve than VR, where all you see are synthetic images. One could see this potential technology as a quite wonderful experience and yet even more of an excuse for human beings to detach themselves from further engaging in reality with other human beings and their circumstances around them. Who could blame someone for wanting to escape this world sometimes right? If I can speak in layman’s terms it sucks trying to figure out what to do with yourself and your time, but is life not meant to be shared? I am not saying this device will or will not have an abrupt impact on how we have been doing things in life.

As a matter of fact The company, Magic Leap, who is vested in this venture and backed by giants like Google doesn’t even have a Beta version for this mixed reality yet. But with 1.4 billion dollars funneled in by Apple, Samsung, and company you can bet something will pop up within the coming years. But just food for thought; It was said by the CEO of Magic Leap that “to appreciate it you have to see it”, those words right there relay power in one’s opinion because VR/MR is coming. When it does how much more will this augmented reality spruce up life just like movies, ads, social media, and phones do? Will it be for good or bad? Both? Only time will tell.

Way too much skin in the game to just be a Read-only culutre

In Lawrence Lessig’s Ted-talk  he lets us know in the 20th century, we moved from read-write to a read only culture, but is that so? In terms of consumerism it appears to be, but our culture’s core of activity, that being the social media apps and new electronic advancements with phones and gaming systems; I beg to differ. By Lessig’s definition of Read-only culture it is a “one-way process. Media is consumed rather passively and the content is provided from a professional source like traditional media.” But we don’t allow media to be consumed passively any longer. For example the terrorist attacks in Paris, France on November 13, 2015 tell a story of live amateur journalism that updated the world from situation to situation.

A tweet from German Johannes Muller, one of the first to write about the explosions, wrote directly to the German national team (who was playing France in the stadium near the explosion at the time) asking them if there had indeed been an explosion.“was it a bomb or was it harmless?” he tweeted. Minutes later the situation switches to Twitter user @Pierre75010 proceeding a live tweet outside a restaurant he was at throughout the whole night; while he was doing that a gunman opened fire across the road on Cambodian restaurant Le Petit Cambodge.

What one is trying to show through these moment to moment tweets is that our culture is not on the sidelines viewing, we are many times right in the thick of whatever is going on, and so when it comes to the read-write culture @Pierre75010 and Johannes Muller recognized what was going on and posted content for everyone in the world to view, and these people that viewed most likely were not just reading or viewing; they were commenting back on the live feed or posts sent out, and starting posts of their own. There may have even been in the aftermath fundraisers to help those victims of this tragedy in need. In one’s opinion we are much more than a read only culture. We’ve got way too much skin in this game of life to just sit back and be a read-only culture.

 

 

 

Virtual class emergence “The banquet you and I attend with no excuses”

If it is one thing the World Wide Web has done it’s unify, whether it be for the negative or positive. There has been a partaking in global connection among the rich and famous and the poor and unknown alike. More specifically the California Ideology pinpoints how the strange mix of “technological determinism and libertarian individualism” (http://www.imaginaryfutures.net/2007/04/17/the-californian-ideology-2/) brought forth the information age as we know it today. This convicts one to go back to a verse found in The Gospel of Luke in the New Testament that aligns with the equality and inseparable reality the virtual class has to offer.

Jesus said in Luke chapter 14, verse 13, “but when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the lame, the crippled, the blind.” When Jesus was speaking (he taught in parables by the way) about the latter his whole point in this was to help those at the dinner table around him, especially the Pharisees, understand that the means of greatness in God’s eyes is not exalting yourself, but humbling yourself before others so that you might be exalted at the proper time. And the whole explanation was a metaphor of how God’s heavenly kingdom works and how humbling and emptying yourself as a servant to others here on earth can gain you favor as well. How this has significance to the virtual class: The web today is “The banquet thrown by a certain man who invites many guests”(Luke 14:16) and those guests are the largely populated unknown masses who try to unfortunately at times go against Jesus’ teachings and force their own exaltation for their “15 min. of fame”, what happens to them is a roll of the dice, but usually as described in Luke 14:8-9 they get about 2 minutes and that is it.

Now on the other side of this story is an interesting contrast between the Luke 14 and the virtual class. Since Jesus speaks of the banquet as a metaphor for God’s kingdom he also reports some who were invited made excuses for not coming (Luke 14:18-24), but with the World Wide Web in today’s society we see no thing such. From the hi-tech entrepreneurs to engineers to computer scientists we see them all flock to the internet, they are the guests who’s seat is seemingly supposed to be reserved, but because of the level-playing field you have many “lame and poor”, hastily trying to exalt themselves and sometimes winning out their case for exaltation, even if for a moment (when Social media trolls get the attention of a celeb or an social activist movement gets a large following).

I will say in closing that under the umbrella of the Internet, the virtual class of hipsters, captains of industry, specialists, and just normal citizens of the nations are truly all connected and it’s a quite wonderful and awesome thing to see from an optimistic point of view, sort of like a virtual heavenly kingdom in terms of the power to connect to people. Nobody is untouchable at this banquet just like at the banquet Jesus was at and the banquet that is God’s Kingdom he describes.

Lunix+Opensource=running the race of endurance

What’s better? Short-term gain or long-term gain? While many of us in society today would say long-term with our lips our heart is far removed from that idea. Because of today’s society obliterating the concept of delayed gratification through developments in technology over the past 45 years (Siri, Fast food drive thru, the text message read receipt, social media). That however is not the case for Open source software programs like Linux who believe in staying away from short-term gain profit or praise that proprietary companies such as Apple or Microsoft relish, for the long-term gain of approval and the respect of the consumers/users/developers that enjoy their product.

The real life application in how Lunix has went from “strength to strength” (http://www.catb.org/esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/cathedral-bazaar/ar01s02.html) in accordance to keeping with the long-term point of view takes one again to the Holy Library of Scriptures. In the book of Hebrews, chapter 12 verse 1, the Apostle Paul writes “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” While Paul is writing this in the context of how (1)the early christian community at the time [and now] should not fret or be discouraged because of the many great examples of faithful servants and testimonies to God’s grace and (2) that the Christian walk is not a sprint, but rather a marathon that requires a humbling commitment to Jesus as your savior and Lord, dying to self daily, and servitude of others; this Verse can be used in the context of Opensource like this: Lunix had decided to step-out outside of the ordinary, that is to say to a degree to step out in faith, and committed themselves as a company to running that race of endurance. Their race may not have been as clean-cut and structured at the beginning  as a proprietary, and definitely not bringing in as much profit as a proprietary (at the beginning at least), but they stuck to the race of endurance that was set before them. 

They stuck to their uniqueness in which the consumer today has now laid a type of  software “crown of righteousness” upon the head of Linus Torvalds’s head. It seems Lunis knew, to a certain degree what self-centered proprietary companies didn’t know, didn’t grasp, or purely forgot: when you as a leader/business owner give an individual consumer a proper platform to shine, they (individual/consumer) illuminate you (business owner/leader) in the process!