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Lecture 2

Socy 284 week 2

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SOCY 284
Ryan Martin

September 18, 2013 Technological Revolutions  Here is an enormous incalculable force… let loose suddenly upon mankind; exercising all sorts of influences, social, moral and political; precipitating upon us novel problems which demand immediate solution; banishing the old before the new is half matured to replace it…not many of those who fondly believe they can control it ever stop to think of it as the most tremendous and far-reaching engine of social change which has ever blesses or cursed mankind – Charles Francis Adams Jr. concerning transcontinental railways  Particular ages of society tend to be named by the developed technology of the time  This quotation could be said about the web not a days, we feel the same way about new technologies now as we always have  Does it not mean the breakdown of artificial national barriers and the welding of humanity into one composite whole? Does it not mean that each is given a chance to comprehend the significance of national and international affairs, and that all the evils of jealousy and hatred being thus displayed before the world will no longer fester, but be cleansed by the antiseptic of common understating and common sense? – Lewis  The same could be said about the web, people thought it would completely change the way people communicate with each other and people around them Technology  Society Technology  Society Technology  Society  People change based on what happens in technology, we change the way we walk and more, and interact  Others say technology changes based on society, and that society and the social interest is what shapes technology usually having to do with money and military  There is a mutual shaping of technology and society; it is very hard to determine which shapes what Brief History of the Net  Five Key Developments 1. Computers are re-conceptualized as communication devices rather than calculating matching 2. The task of networking becomes the dominant purpose of computing 3. Computers are standardized, individualized and personalized 4. Software and hardware are differentiates, with software applications becoming an end in themselves 5. Hardware becomes mobile, software become everywhere: cyberspace turns inside out Etymology of computing  Computare (Latin)- to reckon up; to count one’s fingers; in conjunction with numerare  Calculare- counting of numbers with beads (calculi); calculus; computation; calculation  Middle ages: used to describe the problems of calculating the date of Easter; wider use in astronomy; general us the abacus  17 century: computation=specific types of calendar; computer-those who perform time calculations; satirist Swift in Gulliver’s Travels-‘a computer’ would enable one to master all the arts and science development of machines that calculate- the mechanization of logarithms and slides; computers still refers to humans rather than non-humans  19 century onwards: increasing use of calculations for navigation, production of instruments; taxation and so on th  20 century: World wars the connect on the development of calculating machines, often operated by women, increasing popularity of calculators as commodities; the professionalization of the computers leads to the delegating work to machines; digital technologies allow for portable machines to emerge—calculator not refers to a machine; computing machine simply become computer 1945 humans now called operators in order to distinguish them from machines Culture and Politics of Computing: from Calculation to communication  1957 – Sputnik Launched; panic in the US  ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency); initially a military agency; space/weapons to NASA; military out, computing/ psychology in  Computers as ‘interactive machines’; the ‘merging’ of humans and computers  In due course (the computer) will be part of the formulation of problems; …it will mediate communication between human beings (Licklider, 1960, in Greenberger, 1962: 205)  Thinking of a global brain, where computers have all the knowledge in the world and we would be able to get at it  ARPANET – the first computer network?  This is the first idea of what the web were to look like  This is about sharing information with each other  It become a university network funded by the military  If you want to distributed a network it has to start at a station, and distribute Unintended Uses  Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs): used for sharing information among the academic and governmental community  Computer hobbyist ‘piggybacking’ the system  USENET (1979): alternative informal networks of ‘newsgroups’  The WELL (1984): First online communities  The Internet ‘transformed by it everyday uses’ (Abbate 1999) From the military to domestic technologies: how did computer become friendly?  ENIAC: calculating machine; speed and efficiency  UNIVAC: computing systems; accessorizing; first signs of commercializing in businesses  Home Computer: second generation of computers between 1977 and 1981; explicit attempts by Apple to reframe computers as consumer technologies; but still associated with ‘work’  Personalization: IBM names its latest computer a PC; gaming as central rout or normalization; rapid innovation; shrinking; seed and appearance  Proliferation: multiple computer; work; education and leisure; communication now the key cultural value of computing: what if the machine could communicate with each other?  1997: First PC modem  The Internet is the process of everything; it was what allows us to find things  If you could find the address (URL) you could find everything The World Wide Web  The web has brought a kindness and gentleness for users, a confidence in technology, which is a balm for IT departments everywhere. It had brought new hope… It will help us see where among the millions of other people and theirs. It can help us work together more effectively, remove misunderstanding, and bring about peace and harmony on a global scale  Hypertext: provides every piece of information with an address  The actual location of the information become unimportant  The Web allows for commercialization one rapid scale: user-friendliness, a face for the Internet 1990’s: Commerce, News and Friends 1990s: key developments 1994 Netscape enables you to navigate the Web 1995; Echo Bay; Secure Sockets Layer 1996 Hotmail – webmail accessible anywhere 1997 weblogs (‘blogs’ from 1999) 1998 ‘comments’ used on Open Diary 1999 Lewinsky story broken online; Google…and the term ‘friend’ used in Live Journal, plus Friends Reunited Web 2.0: dispersed, ubiquitous, and mobile media  What is no know as Web 2.0 involves faster connectivity, content –generating web pages, immediacy, real-time interactivity, and so on  We can use things now without actually needed to know how it actually works  Platform: from networked communication to the coding of sociality  Because the platform is configured in a particular way, it actually changes the way we think and use our bodies Cyberspace: a key metaphor in social theory  A consensual hallucination experience daily by billion of legitimate operators, in every nation, but children being taught mathematical concepts... A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system... Unthinkable complexity… Clusters and constellations of data  Conceptualizing information as space  Informational space constitutes a place: hence surfing, travelling in cyberspace, and colonizing cyberspace  You can inhabit this place: hence cyerbauts, Netizens, cybercitizens  Cyber: from cybernetics  From the Greek- kubernetes, meaning pilot a self-reliant and independent thinker  Ancient Rome, kubernetes becomes gubernetes—meaning to govern  Greek pilot  Latin steersman- this is usually taken as the official meaning  Cyber-space then, a space to be navigated or regulated without maps? Theorizing Cyber-Space  Cyber space: a novel space to be governed by whom?  Information Superhighway: orderly, governed system  World-Brain: will cyber space develop its own consciousness?  Every ware: from an external space or place to the very fabric of everyday life? Social Science  Cyber space as Utop
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