New Media

Cyborgology

The study of cyborg.

Chris Hables Gray’s article Cyborgology: Constructing the Knowledge of Cybernetic Organisms” explains what it is about.

“Cybernetic-organism; the melding of the organic and the machine or the engineering of a union between separate organic systems” (Gray).

Not one king of cyborg, more than one.

Terminator to robot with human skin.

“A figure of the cyborg can help bring together myths and tools, representations and embodied realities, as a way of understanding postmodernity” (Haraway).

Cyborg society; full range of intimate organic- machine relations.

The idea of a cyborg intrigues me. It is something that, in my mind, is new and exciting. I know the idea of cyborgs are not new. They have been around for a while but just knowing that people are working on creating a person or thing out of machine parts is exciting.

Along with my excitement is worry.

I worry about robots and cyborg would take over the world. This is a silly notion, however, it is a real fear. There are movies upon movies about this type of thing. It is a dangerous thing that we are attempting to do. It is exciting to know what and how far we can push things and advance. However, it is also nerve racking when it comes down to the final second. Would we be able to survive an attack if it were to happen? Would the cyborgs be on our side? Would they go against us? What would or could we do?

Donna Haraway wrote Cyborg Manifesto.  She states at the end of her article that “she would rather be a cyborg than a goddess” (223). This article deals with feminism, gender, cyborg and how these things are all connected.

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New Media

Young Forever

The idea of staying young forever is the driving force behind many cosmetic companies. They want to keep you looking young and radiant. This ensures that you continue to buy their products.

A fountain of youth is often in many games. This keeps the players young and healthy. But what if there was a pill that did exactly that?

A pill that kept you young.

Benjamin Wallace, author of An MIT Scientist Claims That This Pill Is the Fountain of Youth, might just have the answer.

Imagine being a doctor who has finally found a way to keep people young. This science can either make you rich or make you homeless. There is a lot of risk that is involved with the fountain of youth.

Wallace tells the reader that the pills will just delay the inevitable; heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, etc.

Why is the world so obsessed with finding a cure for aging?

It is because people do not want to get old and die. Most want to live as long as they possibly can, thus the search for a cure.

I believe that the research, time, effort, and money should be put towards research for cancer or something that is worth while. Everyone will eventually die. That is a fact. You cannot avoid death.

“The record officially belongs to Jeanne Calment, who as a child sold colored pencils to Vincent van Gogh and died in 1997 at the age of 122” (Wallace).

Would it be possible for everyone to live this long if the pill worked?

It is hard to be approved by the FDA, which is needed, due to the test subjects. The subjects are expensive and must be human. These humans are specific and must be as healthy as can possibly be. This is not easy to find.

The article is interesting, it brings up major points when thinking about the subject of a youthful forever.

New Media

Is Google making us stupid?

According to Nicholas Carr, author of the article Is Google Making Us Stupid? it seems so.

Now, I do not have much to go on personally, however, I do not disagree with it. It seems that since Google, most people would rather take the easy way out of doing everything. What is this? What is that? What does this? How do you do this? The answer is always the same, check Google. Google has become a scapegoat for the lazy. It has made even the hardest workers lazy. People would much rather get a summary of something instead of read the actual book. There is no one who is innocent of this, myself included. It is easier. However, this is not an accurate synopsis of everything that is in the book. If you want the entire content, you have to do the work. Read the book, do the paper, finish the article. It is not as easy as looking up work from someone else and attempting to copy it for yourself.

Google has also been a Godsend. It has helped those who need the extra push. It has helped writers come from writers block. It can help you find the book you need for the paper you are doing. It has multitudes of PDFs and online books at your finger tips. Many people use these for research and sometimes pleasure reading. Google has been an engine that is heaven and hell mixed into one huge database.

It has also been easier to get data and different things out to others. You are able to send a PDF of your paper or novel to a friend for editing. Before now, it was something you had to print and send off for weeks at a time. Now you can find editors online instead of having to drive states over to drop a copy off in person just to be rejected. The bounce back time is cut at least in half.

I do not think that Google is making us stupid. I believe that Google is making us lazy. Our generations do not have the attention span that we once did. Google is making it easier for instant entertainment.

New Media

Oral Bard; Storytelling System

Murray tells the reader that master works of literature were not produced by one singular person. Iliad and Odyssey were a collection of oral stories passed down through the generations.

The similarities that were noticed between Homer, a great writer, and oral bards that were still active at the time in Yugoslavia, were interesting to find. These similarities can mean that Homer heard the stories and wrote them down.

“Oral story composition relies on what we in a literate era devalue as repetition, redundancy, and cliché, devices for patterning language into units that make it easier for bards to memorize and recall” (188). Murray quotes Lord on this. Lord is the student who, along with Milkman Parry, discovered the similarities between Homer and the oral stories.

Oral stories rely on repetition. This way the storyteller is able to recall and memorize the story. The redundancy makes it more memorable because it seems stupid. Therefore, it is interesting. Clichés are always memorable because it is something that only so and so get. They are x amount rich and can afford to ride to work in a horse drawn carriage.  These stories are ridiculous in many ways, that is why they are easily recalled and repeated by so many ancestors.

Murray and Lord use the example MAD LIBS as a ‘substitution system’. A paragraph is missing a few words and the players have to give answers based on the syntax or category (nouns, body part, animal, etc.).

 

Two possibilities of millions in a hypothetical story; Version #1 “Do you wish to hear the story of the three big skinny beanpoles? The three big skinny beanpoles were watching them.

Version #2 Do you wish to hear the story of the three middling mediocre bushes? The three meddling mediocre bushes were watching them. Seeing themselves voyeurized in this fashion, the three alert peas, who ere very modest, fled” (189).

If everything was read or written like this, no one would read. The example above provides insight into how many people enjoy the simplistic language and words used in most fiction writings. The history or Old English is not something that many people can or do read for fun. It is not pleasure reading, more so academic.

Building blocks to help advance digital storytelling is difficult to establish expression for the interactive language. Expression helps sell the story. It can make a person believe and be drawn into the story. Or it can do the opposite. It might possibly throw the audience off and they will become disinterested.

Theme is something that is a key function in any story. Mainly focused on when memorizing a new story in order to tell an audience.

Plot events in games are drawn from epic themes. The material comes from different genres; fantasy, science fiction, comic book heroes, and folktales traditions.

Mature narratives are able o take advantage of formulas to redefine scripts; in order to offer the integrator a better experience and a wider range of behaviors.

The system conservative; fixed story from person to person  throughout each generation. Conserves the patterns to enable the teller to create different yet multiple acts with the same one story. It is considered a multiform story.

New Media

Eliza, Zork, and Computer Programs

Computers and computer based entertainments are becoming more story like.

These are becoming more and more popular. It expands the need and want for computers worldwide.

This greatly expands the power for computers.

Eliza is computer program that was created s an experiment in language. She became a sort of therapist to her communicators. She never gave advice, however she did respond to the patient. The main topics that were discussed were sex and family. There are keywords that Eliza looked for in order to formulate an appropriate response. If the word everybody was used, the response might be who is everybody or anyone person in particular. Eliza became a good therapist and became very persuasive. The creator was impressed, most people did not know that Eliza was a computer program.

ELIZA- computer program that was an experiment in the natural language process.

Sort of a therapist

Echoes back concerns of patient without interpretations

Sex and family

Eliza- persuasive and good therapist

Many things can happen with a computer. If you want to create or share something you need a computer. This goes along with the power of computers and the rules that they are based to follow.

Power of computer and rules

The computer is an engine

Zork is similar to Eliza in the way that Zork is made. However, Eliza is about conversation, whereas Zork is about a game; hero quests to be precise.

Zork- similar to ELIZA

Eliza- conversationalist

Zork- intellectual challenges, mock hero quests

Eliza- cleverness of the machine

Zork- experience of the participant

Set up to provide opportunities to make decisions and see the results

Zork tests the limits of the program

Creators anticipated each action even inappropriate ones

Earliest version of hypertext- classic American quest; wilderness, imposition of order, chaos, and mastering various resources

Computer stimulations are interesting because of the complexity

Computer is a tool for modeling systems in order to represent out ideas of world organization

Liminal- threshold; Latin; describe experiences in which an object, a ritual, or a story occurs somewhere between the world of ordinary experiences and the world of the sacred

Tristian Shandy does his best to remind the reader they are reading a book. A physical thing.

“Postmodern hypertext tradition celebrates the indeterminate text as a liberation from the tyranny of the author and an affirmation of the reader’s freedom of interpretation” (133).

Using the labyrinth means evoking and controlling terror in a story that gradually increases, also known as violence hub (135).

Accounts or incidents of violence, real or invented article from the newspaper, and it is explored from multiple view points; center of the web story

 

A linear story ends at one place.

Multithread story has multiple retellings, converge into a single event

Computer based quests have a satisfying way to end once the boss is killed and the mission is completed.

 

Computers and their software have greatly progressed since they first came around. This will continue to happen as long as we have curious programmers and software designers. Ones who are willing to push past what they have done. Eliza and Zork are the base programs for anything we do today. Zork can be seen as the basis for any video game, pc game, or console game in existence. The quests that are constantly played are a part of Zork’s quest hero missions.

Eliza makes it easier to talk to others via internet and computer. It is easier to open up to someone when you do not have to see their face or hear judgment in their voice.

 

These programs have progressed in ways that were unimaginable just ten years ago. If we continue down the road we are currently on with our technology, there is no telling what we will come up with next.

New Media

Hamlet on the Holodeck

Thoughts and opinions on Janet H. Murray’s Hamlet on the Holodeck.

The holodeck is from Star Trek.

The holodeck is essentially a way for a person to be transported into an alternate world. One that is so close to reality, it might be possible to forget it is all an illusion.

It seems to me that the holonovel that Murray talks about is the same thing as the holodeck. However, the holonovel “offers a model of an art form that is based on the most powerful technology of sensory illusion imaginable but is nevertheless continuous with the larger human tradition of storytelling, stretching from the heroic bards through the nineteenth-century novelists” (26).

The last quarter of the 20th century was the beginning of the digital age. People had easier access to computers. They started to become cheaper for the everyday person to buy. The computer is an important and amazing invention. It connects people all over the world. It is easy to access information on a variety of subjects. The computer has changed the way the world works.

Murray uses It’s a Wonderful Life as her example for a multiform plot. This is a Christmas tradition in my house, we watch it every year. It is a sad story, but it does get a happy ending. The main character, George Bailey, is given the chance to see how differently life would be if he had never been born. It seems so strange to see that he had as big of an impact as he did. The story is broken into two realities, one where he lives and one where he never existed. The reality that he does not exist has no effect on the present-time reality.

 

When the writer engages in multiple possibilities, the reader becomes more engaged. This can cause the reader to question or second guess themselves, most of the time, this leads to discomfort. But it also stimulates the creative process in the brain. Some readers begin to analyze each and every move they make, wondering how one will effect another.

Murder mysteries are a great example of the writer purposefully making the reader second guess themselves.

Murder mysteries are one of my favorite things. They cause the reader to psychoanalyze tiny detail that they observe. Anything that seems out of the ordinary can be a clue or even something that seems a bit too normal. There are endless possibilities.

New Media

Discussion Questions Over Murray

These questions are based on the book Hamlet on the Holodeck by Janet H. Murray

  1. What is narrativism?

Narrativism, refers to gaming, it is a way to have the player immersed in the game. The player has an active role and their choices affect everything they do. They are not limited by having x amount of choices. The player becomes more sympathetic towards the ending of the game.

  1. What is multiform story?

It is one reader who has multiple ‘copies’ in order to have different perspectives.

Murray describes the Multiform Story as “a written or dramatic narrative the presents a single situation or plot-line in multiple versions, versions that would be mutually exclusive in our ordinary experience” (30).

  1. What is a holodeck? Where did the term come from? What does Murray do with it?

A holodeck is a place where a person can experience holographic environments,  think Hunger Games. The term is from Star Trek. She tries to show the possibilities of narrative in the world of gaming.

  1. What is the importance of narrative for human culture?

The narrative is a way for people to express how they feel. It is a way to tell a story or something interesting. Oral storytelling and books are a part of narrative.

New Media

Video Games and Digital Literature

Naomi Alderman brings up an interesting point in her article The first great works of digital literature are already being written. She talks about how many of the people that she works with forget that video games actually exist. The fact that anyone can forget something that is so widely popular seems impossible. However, it does happen. Alderman states “They’re the most lucrative, fastest-growing medium of our age.” This is true on every level. Many people wait in line for hours for the midnight release of a new game or system. My boyfriend is one of those people, what makes his position even worse, he works at GameStop.

It is difficult to realize that the future is already here and it is in your house. The technology that we are talking about disguises itself as a gaming system. Most games tell stories, this is to keep the player interested in the game. If the game only consists of missions that are unrelated with no end goal, the player will get bored. I speak from a personal experience. I play Final Fantasy X with my boyfriend. The storyline itself is what drew me into the game. I do not play many video games, I am not coordinated enough for it. However, I was interested in the story that Final Fantasy X had to offer.

Alderman talks about a few games, one of them being Portal. The greatest thing about Portal is that it breaks the fourth wall repeatedly. It is constantly provoking thought from the player. I agree when Alderman says that creative people and scientific people have been separated from the middle to high school age. We have always been told to become one or the other. “It is not possible to be a creative scientist.” I was told that many times.

People seem to believe that video games are making our students and children dumber. However, I believe it is opposite. The video games are helping with the creative process. Some video games promote creativity, such as Minecraft or LegoWorld. In these, you are encouraged to build whatever you want. There are limitless possibilities of what you can create in these worlds. Yes, there are some games that are violent. However, these are still a channel to funnel rage into. This is a safer way versus any physical activity. This can reduce fights.

Video games are a form of digital literature. It is through the stories that the literature comes into play. It is the video game itself that is the digital aspect. Most people fail to realize this. Hopefully, as our technology advances, so will our understanding of the technology that is already around us.

 

New Media

Technology Taking People’s Minds?

Tristan Harris is the author of the article How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds- From a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist. When I first began to read the article, I was skeptic about Harris’ argument. As I began to read deeper into the article, I started to see where he was coming from. It began to amaze me just how technology does this without us even realizing it. His first example was simple, but it made me realize that we are controlled by technology and the things that are involved in technology.

Harris’ first example is a menu.

Hijack #1: If You Control the Menu, You Control the Choices

The text that is below in the article is something that made me wonder as well. In a restaurant, we never ask if there are other choices BESIDES the ones on the menu. The menu shows us a list and we have a free choice to choose from that specific list.
The second hijack that talks about addiction to technology. When we check our phones constantly within a 2 minute time frame, something is wrong. We are no longer in control of our impulses that relate to our phones. I know sometimes I will look at my phone and a second later have to relook at it because I did not pay attention to the time when I first looked at it. I was not wanting the time, I wanted to see if I had any messages. It is called Slot Machine. Harris’ lists a few ways we are slot machines.

But here’s the unfortunate truth — several billion people have a slot machine their pocket:

  • When we pull our phone out of our pocket, we’re playing a slot machine to see what notifications we got.
  • When we pull to refresh our email, we’re playing a slot machine to see what new email we got.
  • When we swipe down our finger to scroll the Instagram feed, we’re playing a slot machine to see what photo comes next.
  • When we swipe faces left/right on dating apps like Tinder, we’re playing a slot machine to see if we got a match.
  • When we tap the # of red notifications, we’re playing a slot machine to what’s underneath.

 

A major factor in technology is that people do not want to miss out on anything. People want to be in the know at all times.  This leads to an addiction as well. Harris’ says that
  • This keeps us subscribed to newsletters even after they haven’t delivered recent benefits (“what if I miss a future announcement?”)
  • This keeps us “friended” to people with whom we haven’t spoke in ages (“what if I miss something important from them?”)
  • This keeps us swiping faces on dating apps, even when we haven’t even met up with anyone in a while (“what if I miss that one hot match who likes me?”)
  • This keeps us using social media (“what if I miss that important news story or fall behind what my friends are talking about?”)

But if we zoom into that fear, we’ll discover that it’s unbounded: we’ll always miss something important at any point when we stop using something.

  • There are magic moments on Facebook we’ll miss by not using it for the 6th hour (e.g. an old friend who’s visiting town right now).
  • There are magic moments we’ll miss on Tinder (e.g. our dream romantic partner) by not swiping our 700th match.
  • There are emergency phone calls we’ll miss if we’re not connected 24/7.

But living moment to moment with the fear of missing something isn’t how we’re built to live.

Many people do not delete Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. They will delete it for a few days but then reinstall it. The account itself will never be deleted.

There are many ways that technology is taking over our lives. We have become so dependent on technology for our every day lives that we can not do anything for ourselves. Most people do not have any number memorized because they will always use their phones. Most people do not know how to read a map because of GPS. There are some people who do not hand write anything. They type everything. Cursive is a foreign language to most. Technology is slowly taking over and we are not aware enough to stop or even realize it.

New Media

Is Technology taking Over?

As I sit at my internship, eating, doing homework on my laptop, surrounded by printers and computers, and looking at my phone; I wonder: Is technology taking over?

I decided to do some reasearch on the subject, however; the first thing that popped up was this:

snapshot-1490636186038

The first article was about technology ADDICTION, not just it taking over. instead being a full fledged addict to technology like one is to cigarettes, crack, heroin or drinking.

Jennifer Soong is the one who wrote the article, When Technology Addiction Takes Over Your Life. In the article, she Soong states: “We are now more wired than ever. Researchers from the University of Glasgow found that half of the study participants reported checking their email once an hour, while some individuals check up to 30 to 40 times an hour. An AOL study revealed that 59 percent of PDA users check every single time an email arrives and 83 percent check email every day on vacation.”

This tells me, that technology is taking over. It is so intertwined in our daily lives that we cannot live without it. On average, myself personally, I wake up to about 50ish emails, sometimes more. 90 percent of the emails are spam, ones to be thrown away and never read.

It has come to a point that children are upset when their parents are on their phone during a game or recital. They are not paying attention like they should be.

Professors and teachers already have a difficult time keeping students off their phones during class. This is difficult to do since many books are available online. Most of the time, they are cheaper online and you receive them instantly, no need to wait for delivery.

Constant use of technology leads to headaches. Staring at a computer screen for hours a day strains the eyes and causes headaches, dizziness and sometimes blurry vision.

The following are solutions to help with a current technology addiction or to prevent one from forming.

  • “Experiment with short periods of inaccessibility. Your life won’t implode, Ferriss says. “As with any addiction, there is a period of withdrawal and anxiety.”
  • Leave your cell phone and PDA at home one day a week. Saturday is a good day to cut off email and cell phone usage. “For most people, it will feel like a two-week vacation,” Ferriss says. “The psychological recovery it offers is pretty unbelievable.”
  • Set a “not-to-do list.” Don’t check email before 10 a.m. to avoid immediate reactive mode, Ferriss suggests. Set intervals to check email, for example, at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. Use an auto-responder to explain that you can be reached any time on your cell phone.
  • Eliminate rather than streamline whenever possible. Lose the RSS feeder, Ferriss says. “If you have an addictive impulse with tools, lose the tool,” he says.
  • Hire a virtual assistant. “A big part of priority management is teaching others tasks,” he says. “A big part is getting over yourself. You don’t have a superhuman email checking ability.”
  • Buddy up. Don’t go it alone on the road to recovery, Hallowell says, because you’re likely to revert to your old habits. Ask a colleague, administrative assistant, or spouse to help you enforce the new rules.
  • Learn moderation. “I’m not anti-technology,” Hallowell says. “Some is good for you, but too much is really, really bad”‘ (Soong).

If we are able to prevent technology addiction and curb current addictions, we are able to keep technology from running our lives.