MIT 1700 Notes.docx

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Media, Information and Technoculture
Course Code
Media, Information and Technoculture 2200F/G
Kane Faucher

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MIT 1700 Notes Problems with Google as info source - Advertisements - Search query fail for specific inquiries - Democratization of information - Fed by website info, not accurate info - Filter Failure o Anticipatory query fills based on top-trending topics: what does this say about what users are looking for and their top concerns? o Based on popularity o Suggests that everything we search for is logged by google - Corporate control and influence with search results Search Behaviour - Stages: o Desire/Lack of, The Search (and browsing), Retrieval, Verification, Application Google SUI (Search User Interface) 1. Fixed options 2. Editable search query 3. Personalizable features when signed in 4. Number of results 5. Specialized search 6. Monetizing search term 7. Content filtering (safe search) 8. Geo-specificty 9. Display options 10.Image display results 11.Suggested search results 12.Pagination control 13.Small Print Search Refinement - drop down menu - Sorting and Clustering Google-Slaves (Free Labour) - Analogy: Google as House o Neat, interesting people, well organized  people like to visit o BUT all visitors are producing the interesting stuff and are organizing it without their knowledge o They provide space, we do work Info Quadrant Recording: How does it write it down? INPUT Storage: Where do we keep it? Distribution: How is it transmitted? OUTPUT Access: How do we get at it? Info is NOT: Knowledge, Data, Opinion/Belief - It involves ALL of those things Information is Patterning - Benoit Mandelbrot - Has to produce surprise or have element of newness Information Triad Information Organization Control Swarms - tell us how information moves and behaves - we are contributing to collective intelligence in everything we do online 1700 Tutorial – January 11, 2012 Carr - Is Google Making us Stupid article - Deep Reading: nobody has time to analyze a single sentence anymore - Disinformation: information that isn’t useful to a person - Itemizing the day with clockwork/time - Internet makes us move away from deep thinking Class - January 16, 2012 GDI (General definition of information) - info must contain data - data must be structured o makes things seem less random - the structured data must have meaning o has semantic value o SYNTAX – the rules of how things come together Jorge Luis Borges Library of Babel - some books are jibberish - infinite structure - narrator doesn’t know overall meaning of this library - library is potentially infinite - library is composed of interlocking hexagons - each hexagon has 4 walls with shelves - 20 shelves/hexagon - 35 books/shelf (therefore 700 books/hexagon) - each book has 410 pages - …library CANNOT be infinite Rumplesiltskin - permutations - time it takes to count to one billion (one second at a time) = 31 years - therefore, to figure out his name might take you over 30x10 the power of 54 years Data is any break from uniformity of world - uniqueness within uniform Analog (store info that relates & responds to real world), Binary, and Digital  Primary, Secondary, Meta, Derivative, and Operational Analog - continuous - Single purpose - Operates in real time Digital - discrete - multi-purpose - operate in non-physical time Binary Data - encoded - interpreted - displayed - ex. Computer, place, light switch Primary Data - stored in a database - nothing has been done to it except for organizing it Secondary Data - interpreting the data Metadata - Operational Data - dynamic data that tells us about the system - ex: cell phone low batt signal, virus detection of laptop, passing out from low blood sugar Derivative Data - given data: “ZOMG! CUL8R!” - What we know, derivatively: o Communication was sent via personal electronic device o Due to idiom of communication and emoticon use, origin: after 1995 Data is split into Environmental and Semantic Environmental  Instructional  Physical Semantic  Factual  True or Untrue  True goes to knowledge, Untrue goes to misinformation or disinformation Environmental Data - ex. Geological strata, animal tracks, cloud movements, temperature, tree ring, etc. Semantic-Instructional Data - ex. Recipes, sheet music, email alert, road signs - provides instructional or factual information Factual Information Mis and Disinformation - misinformation is defined as false or inaccurate information without deliberate intention to deceive - disinformation is defined as false or innacurate information with a deliberate intention to deceive CLASS January 23 , 2012 MTC “Alphabet” (A) Input Channel (Device) Output Channel (B) Informer Informee Noise  Library has only so much space to carry books  Internet service can only allow so many mega bites  What determines what can be stored and how much, is the model above (developed in the 1940s)  It sets the ground work for the internet, for the information and retrieval  Alphabet- any system of communication by a setter of informer and informee  If the informee or informer are not human than it can be set by binary code  Ideal form of communication is one where the message sent is identical to the message being received  When we hear something we tend to distort that information or close a different meaning upon it without even knowing it  When information decays- losing it order it is called entropy: gradual loss of structured meaning and information  Entropy is everywhere  The mathematical theory of MTC revolutionized the way we think about technology  Unitary device: the all knowing information that can only produce one answer per question, not going to produce new information after you read it  Binary device: can give multiple responses  Magic 8ball- 20 possible responses (10 affirmative, 5 negative, 5 neutral) -72 tries to get all 20  With any information We need to counter act something called noise: Redundancy- information is copied and repeated in the event the message is intercepted by noise  Noise is the enemy of information that gets in the way of your information transcript (ex. In the game telephone noise is interfering- the noise is coming from you and the noise in our head)  Repeating the information is redundancy to ensure that the person on the other end understands what you are saying- one way to counteract noise  Noise may equal freedom but not fidelity Two forms of entropy  Complete uniformity of information- ex. Refrigerator: the noise it makes is constant, you do not notice it but its there  Complete disorder: nothing connects ex. When you repeat a word so much it loses meaning, begins to sound weird Cybernetics  Norbert Wiener  Founder of cybernetics  “Information wants to be free”  Negative feedback stalls entropy  Bodies and machines operate similarly  Information that restricts choice, reduces uncertainty  Machines can be the extension of the human body Feedback  The purpose of feedback is to improve: it is a corrective  Thermostat example: the thermostat adjusts it temperature based on feedback  Our bodies do the same thing, when its hot outside we sweat, when its cold we shiver in order to generate heat  We are constantly at feedback with the environment Maxwell's Demon  No escape from entropy, because of laws of physics  The way we handle our memory is by simplifying  We simplify information to make meaning When data is meaningful we call it Semantic  It deals with the truth or falsity of statements  Symbolic logic helps us frame our information according to formal language Quantum information  Far more security in all of our information correspondence  We know that no thing can be in two places at once- with quantum information we know that it can be possible Physical Information  Information is the substance of all existence  If we had all the information we can predict the future  Includes all matter, everything is information, maybe everything can be known, be able to predict the future  The world is deterministic, know the location and velocity of all atoms  All living organisms have this genetic code that was passed down by heredity, this information from the environment is then processed by the brain-> on the basis on the information you make a choice-> action Attributive vs. Predicative  Attributive information= information ABOUT something  Predicative information= info that expresses the thing, used in its function (ex. Genetic code itself) Confusion  Physical information (i.e genetics) is not the proper basis for the factual information, and therefore cannot be the basis of knowledge claims  Physical information is “morality resistant” i.e cannot be said to be inherently good or evil- it simply is  Examples of bad genetic “science” o Physiognomy (coincidental correlation of animal resemblance in humans as dictating assumptions on behaviour of person in relation to particular animal) o Phrenology (study of cranial size and shape as means of determining or predicting human behaviour) o Eugenics (belief that behavioral traits entirely innate and heredity, not socially constructed) The Brain  The brain is a complex network of electrochemical connections that facilitate the storage and retrieval of memories, the ability to process information by association and hierarchization of that information  The brain has a natural ability to structure and organize information on the basis of relevance  Memory is reinforced by redundancy  Debunking the multitasking myth: the brain operates through a binary logic of choice. The only “multitasking” that occurs is in the coordination of different functions Black Sheep?  What is missing in the information family is “cultural” information  All information is culturally embedded and interpreted TUTORIAL January 25 , 2012th ** first assignment due in class before it starts - position paper - must take a side Entropy: gradual loss of information, decline into disorder - can’t escape from it - redundancy slows it down - chaos Noise: enemy of information - can be cleared up by repetition of info - acts as interruption for information being send from one source to another - distraction Physical Information: substance of information - always has a true state Semantic Info - deals with true or false - finding meaning in information - no uncertainty Cybernetics: the study of communication and feedback and how various systems respond to their environment. - Weiner: feedback, analysis, adaptation CLASS – Jan 30 th Information Overload - term initially coined by Alvin Toffler (1970) - info asphyxiation threatens our processing efficiency - David Shenks IO symptoms: increased stress, strained vision, confusion, frustration, impaired judgement, impatience/hostility in online/offline interaction in response to unput glut - Perpetually plugged-in??? o No oil = no internet, phones, etc 1 exabyte = 1 billion gigabytes 98% of total info production was produced after 1989 Info Facts - population of world est. 7 billion (2011) - average production of digital info per person in 2002 = 800 MB - 800 MB = 25 volumes of an encyclopedia - Information overload?? o YES! o Internet has found new ways to answer question of too much inf Personal Information Production - increase due to media rich content on the information 427.2 average amount of mouse clicks per person a day 12 hours in front of a screen per day Instrumentalist view says that we have power over our technology - our society makes them expectations st TUTORIAL February 1 Week 1 Definition of Information - interpreted data, meaning, has to be new Google - Carr - Manipulater searches, monitoring Lovink - lack of critical thinking Week 2 - Library of Babel - Analog & Digital o Analog: continuous, real time o Digital: discreet, multi-purpose - Info Family Tree o Environmental: observed, locational. ex. Geological strata, animal tracks, cloud movements, etc.  Instructional:  Physical o Semantic  Factual  True o Knowledge  Untrue o Misinformation o Disinformation - James Grimmelman Week 3 - Entropy: decay of info, descent into chaos - Noise - Alphabet o A) Input Channel (Informer) o Device  Noise o B) Output Channel (Informee) - Cybernetics o Norbert Wiener - Maxwell’s Demon o Proof that entropy is inevitable o Fast and slow moving particles Week 4 - Information Overload - CNN video o Scientific data shows that information overload does exist th February 6 , 2012 Information Revolutions - Printing Press (~1450) - Scientific (~1500) - Religious (~1500) - Industrial (~1750) - Darwin (1860s) - Freud (1920s) - Information (First wave: 1940s) Media Attributes Print - books, newspapers, pamphlets - portable - can be costly - requires literacy and abstract reasoning - easy to ignore Cinema - theatres - easy to understand, attention getting - use of sound, motion, vision - requires going to location, not portable Radio - radio transmitter/receiver - use of voice, can be enjoyed privately in home - one time purchase for infinite content - alck of visual stimulus - requires listeners to construct own images Television - tv set - same as cinema and radio pro’s combined - content fixed in time (prior to on-demand) Internet - comp or electronic device Foundation of all Knowledge - Aristotle - Scripture o Addressed, at the time, only 10% of population (that was literate) o Made people rely on word of priest o Only the wealthy church could afford to purchase books  Before 1450 o Written in bellum, and bound in leather? o Handwritten Scribal Labour - hobbyists writing books by hand - people hired for hand-copying - risk of mistakes - difficult to read original text to copy, results in more mistakes - every copy risks mistakes - if a scribe made a mistake in scripture or important documents, could result in death Marginalia - notes in margins commenting on book - NOW o Ass contributors in comment culture, we provide billions of comments to blogs, new sites, reviews of books and movies, etc. (considered marginalia) o Digital margins are infinite o Does this make valid info harder to locate? Pictorial Information - church had monopoly over info - stained glass windows and other imagery are info - the privileged have control over info - wasn’t until the end of 1400’s that they tried to translate so general population could access & understand Clay Shirky - printing press revolutionized how books were available, first printed many bibles - then books that nobody had read before - printer decides what to print, minimize risk, what should be printed? o Same today, what should be on tv, movies, etc. Gutenberg - 1439 developed movable type concept - 1450 produced first book by printing press Advantages of print - information could be transmitted faster o info and ideas could be reproduced easily and in multiple identical copies - more people could gain access to info - more discussion of ideas and increased literacy - more discussions of ideas means increase in general knowledge and potential criticism of ruling elite - authors became important, beginning the idea of authorship whereas before it was unimportant who the author was, to the extent that many pre-printing press books went without any acknowledgement of the author - authors could express own ideas and not just copy old info - authors could become poplar because their work could reach more people - spelling and the alphabet across languages could be standardized and not just guess-work - due to higher production with an easier method, this meant costs would come down, which would mean that more people could afford books, which thus compelled more of them to become literate - and most importantly, it meant that the church no longer had a monopoly over printed knowledge The Scientific Revolution - result of printing press Galileo Galilei - facing roman Inquisition - invented telescope Philotheoparoptessism Which method to knowledge of natural world - faith vs reason (observation and experiment) - wealth of info thanks to printing press resulted in expansion of knowledge and questioning what we know Inductive Method - based on observation and experiment - from specific to general - can be repeated through testing - revises old assumptions - privileges the senses - Observation  Pattern  Tentative Hypothesis  Theory Sense-Extenders - microscope by Leeuwenhoek - telescope by Galileo - both reveal the hitherto unseen world - changes view of environment and ourselves The Reformation Martin Luther - reformation made possible by printing press o circulation of ideas - people wanted to govern their own lands without church interference - polarized much of Europe - supporting the democratization of info - wanted to democratize the bible o he thought that all one needs is a bible and their conscience - translated bible into German Humanism - Desiderius Erasmus o Wrote “In Praise of Folly”  Best seller at the time  Satirical jab against catholic church  Suggests decadence of church  Scholasticism - We are endowed with a mind, we can think for ourselves and read what we choose Industrial Revolution o Transformation from being subject of crown to being citizen o Sharing thoughts and ideas to organize o Reduce costs, increase demand o Cultivation of steam power - Guillotine o Means to mechanic
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