1700 Final Review.docx

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Media, Information and Technoculture
Course Code
Media, Information and Technoculture 2200F/G
Svitlana Matviyenko

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1700 Final Review Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel” • Premise: The Library of Babel is a “complete" library, containing every single possible book (information) ever published. It also contains the information/books yet to be published, along with a lot of non-sense. • Library is a sphere- composed of indefinite number of hexagonal galleries, vast air shafts between, surrounded by very low railings, exact center in anyone of the hexagons- you are always the center (relates to web 2.0) • The library of Babel is analogous to the internet: which we can think of the internet as a sort of digital “complete library" containing a lot of valuable information, as well as a lot of junk. • Both library of babel and google have totality and infinity • Many critics have pointed to Borges as a sort of prophet of the Internet age Sergey Brin & Lary Page: • Founders of Google (September 4, 1998) • Did everything their own way—roller blades to meetings, big red balls instead of chairs—google philosophy • Quote: “Ultimately, I view Google as a way to augment your brain with the  knowledge of the world. Right now you go into your computer and type a phrase,  but you can imagine that it could be easier in the future, that you can have just  devices you talk into, or you can have computers that pay attention to what’s  going on around them…” – Sergey Brin • Believed in power of information Ray Kurzweil: • Director of engineering at Google • Transhumanism: o Belief that technology can improve the human, we need this constant improvement to survive, technology helps us improve, need technology to preserve species o Kurzeil spoke/wrote about • Technological singularity: o Hypothetical moment in time when artificial intelligence will have progressed to the point of greater-than-human intelligence, radically changing civilization and perhaps human nature  Idea by Newman but adopted/beleived by Kurzeil • Futurism: o Study of future, usually involving development of technology search engine: • Stages that every search engine does: o Crawling: moves from link to link, collecting information about webpages o Indexing: contents of each page analyzed and sorted systematically in a database (e.g. by key words, heading, or specific fields called meta tags) o Querying: user gives key words which engine looks up in index, lists webpages according to criteria, uses Boolean termsAND, OR and NOT to further specify, rank results to find “best” first o Harvesting: engine records data about searcher and search • the perfect search engine as imagined by Sergey and Larry, reads your mind and produces the answer you want “Don’t be evil”: • Google’s motto • Means don’t be like Microsoft i.e. don’t be a ruthless, take no prisoners monopolist • Cultivates image as fun and ethical company but increasing problems of search capitalism (censorship in China, Google Books and Earth etc.) • Believed a corporation should behave ethically, like a person Democratic Web: • Web democratic only if people can be anonymous (if they choose) and are able to say whatever they want • If use real name (often have to) people may not be fully transparent with their views for fear of reprisals Google: • Worlds most popular search engine • Before google world wide web was chaotic, unorganized • Takes free internet content created by billions of people and makes it searchable • Sell targeted advertising space to accompany searches • Monitors its users information systematically—has instant knowledge of which ads were succeeding and which were not • Google’s business is not search but advertising (i.e. that is where they make their money) • Search history reveals a lot about user—Google tracks and sells to advertisers PageRank: • System of determining which pages most important—shows up first • An algorithm assigns each page a rank depending on how many other pages link to it • All links are not valued equally—a recommendation is worth more when it comes from a page that has a high rank itself • Works on underlying assumption that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites o “popularity contest” and “peer review” (most footnotes) o not just number of links into site but number of links into linking sites o AdWord: • Advertisers create advertisements, choose keywords, when people search on Google using keywords ad appears next to search results AdSense: • Website publishers of all sizes earn money by displaying targeted Google ads on their website • Aform of artificial intelligence analyzes chunks of text—websites, blogs, e-mails etc.--- and matches them with key words fromAdWords • creates “content-targeted advertising” that is more likely to appeal to the user • Predicts which advertisements most effective of which website • Content targeted advertising • Monetizes website content—revenue generated on a per-click or per-impression (i.e. page view) basis • “Google conquered the marketing world with nothing more than applied mathematics”—revolutionized online marketing • “Anyone could add a few lines of code to their website, automatically display Google generated ads and start cashing monthly checks” Google Books: • Service that searches full text of books and magazines that Google has scanned, converted to text using optical character recognition, and stored in a digital database • Scanned 10 million of world’s books, 6 million of which were supposed to be protected by copyright laws • authors launched international campaign against google, google agreed to make payments to authors whose books had been scanned • Google Book store—some feel not good archive, anglo-saxon atmosphere, not culturally universal (but also not objective—goal is to make a profit) • Many also object to Google bookstore as see it as a monopoly control over print texts (linguistic imperialism) • “Democratization of knowledge” Google Earth • virtual map of entire world compiled from satellite images and other sources • citizens concerned about information depicting properties and residences available to all—security issue, surveillance googlization (of everything): • Book that criticizes Google—we trust it too much--- disrupting culture, commerce and community o We need to influence and regulate search systems—internet is an online eco-system that benefits the whole world, not just one company o We look at world through the lens of google • so many different applications and services: google books, google maps, google docs, google earth, YouTube,Android etc. • google enhances so many aspects of our life—Google everywhere • article written by Geert Lovink criticizing googlization of our lives o “stop searching, start questioning” platform: • basic technology of a computer system’s hardware and software that defines how a computer is operated and determines what other kinds of software can be used • system or application that can be programmed to allow for use by external developers (i.e. users posting things)—and could be adapted to countless needs that the original platform developers could not fully predict • twitter, facebook, Wikipedia, google etc. all platforms social networking service • a platform that enables users to build and maintain social relations through interactions • social networks can be offline but term now refers to social relations and interactions that occur online • many (Facebook specifically) use big data to enhance platform “if you aren’t  taking advantage of big data, then you don’t have big data, you just have a pile of  data. Everything is interesting to us.” public sphere (Jurgen Habermas) and Twitter as ‘public sphere’: • Jurgen Habermas published a book, which suggests that a “public sphere” is about  the possibility of gathering and sharing opinions with one another (forming a  societal opinion)  • a space where individuals could discuss societal issues • twitter is referred to as a public sphere because many people use the platform for sharing their opinions about social and political issues Like button: • Trademark of Facebook since 2009 • Amethod of affirmative discourse microblogging: • posting of very short entries or updates on a blog or social networking site, often via cell phone • Twitter most popular (140 characters), also includes Tumblr • Facebook has microblogging feature (status update) • Important source of real time news update • Revolutionized way information consumed • Store metadata about posts Hashtag: • Metadata tag popular for micro-blogging trending lists • Word or phrase preceded by a #, used with a message to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitates a search for it • Not new, since 1970’s but grown in popularity • Hashtags make possible to group information—can search hashtag and get set of messages that contain it • Created did not patent-- Claiming government-granted monopoly on the use of hashtags would have inhibited their adoption, furthermore born off of the internet, known to techies, born off of the internet, should be owned by no one Affirmative discourse • Both the like and reblog are affirmative discourse—I agree with the content • Many different reasons for ‘liking’ but all within the general framing of affirmation • Book- “As you like it: Critique in the Era of anAffirmative Discourse”- critiques the like button and other similar features that forces users to behave only in affirmative ways in social networking platforms o Threat to critical thinking—do you really like it? o Also threat to possibility of a true “public sphere” over social media o Removes likelihood for users to genuinely respond with honest opinion manufactured vulnerability: • Originated from eco-activism- activists put themselves at risk to get their message across (i.e. tying self to tree) • Aform of vulnerability is instilled into us because of the social media takeover o We are far more emotionally engaged as we provide pieces of data about ourselves • Vulnerability in the process is manufactured- staged- claim issues from social media but don’t have to use it- martyr • When people feel alone/bored reach for a device identity management & self-promotion (Geert Lovink): • Crisis of self—virtual self vs. physical self—how are they different? • Present ourselves as best, smartest, prettiest etc.—online profile is an artificial, made-up image of ourselves—real self is different (Lovink) o Self promotion: who are you on Facebook o Surveillance: who is watching you on Facebook? o Free labour: who are you working for on Facebook? selfie: • Self portrait taken by self • Selfie culture grown with social media—“selfie Sunday” on Instagram, a culture of documentation o Analyzing this encourages us to reflect on our human values—good thing as it challenges us to figure out what they really are • Selfie city: website that analyzes selfie culture-- unique dataset compiled by analyzing thousands of images from each city o Each city has own selfie personality/tendencies—pictures taken from instagram, reveal facts about selfie demographics • We live in a culture of documentation • “The selfie, like all technology, causes us to reflect on our human values. This is a good thing because it challenges us to figure out what they really are” ---(i.e. we are self centered) @ctivism: • use of technologies to support new forms of mobilization, movement and social change • the 2011 Umpisings: Tunisia, Egypt, Greece etc. o now Venezuela and Ukraine • used social media to circulate information about strategy and tactics via social media o discussion over actual extent to at which social media was used, some feel over emphasized in media, SMS main technology used to organize, many things still organized physically, social media just allowed to achieve numbers • Example: Egyptian Revolution (2011) o Long history of struggle before social media took off in Egypt. o Internet significant, but not the only factor in the revolution. o One of several “spheres of dissent” where people speak out against the  regime (social media).  o Revolution not only on the Net, but on the streets.  • Problems Included: “Up like a rocket, down like a stick” (fast to assemble, but  also quick to fall apart). – Surveillance (social media is not secure). slacktivism / clicktivism: • Clicktivism is a form of Slactivism: • “slacker” and “activism”- a feel good act of clicking (e.g. “Liking) to support an issue without useful/active participation to bring about change • in support of an issue or social cause, person has little or no practical impact other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction from “contributing” to something • examples: • signing internet petitions • joining a community organization without contributing to it at all—just to say a part of it • copying and pasting of social network statuses, etc. • clicktivism: • allows organizations to quantify their success technological solutionism (Evgeny Morozov) • Evengy argues collection of personal data by corporation and government is justified because it is needed to protect us or serve us better • “technological solutionism”—an endemic ideology that recasts complex social phenomena like politics, public health, education, and law enforcement as “neatly defined problems with definite, computable solutions or as transparent and self- evident processes that can be easily optimized—if only the right algorithms are in place!” • technology can be used to solve our problems Sina Weibo: • Chinese social media platform, combines best of Facebook and Twitter- will see more hybrids and new social medias, not just about Facebook and Twitter • Both anonymous and not, micro blogging, open, private groups, sharing etc. • Used by well over 30% of internet users--- one of most popular sites in China The Square (2013): • EgyptianAmerican documentary which depicts ongoing Egyptian Revolution from its roots in Tahrir Square • #thesquare- movement of young people using public spaces to demand human rights o connecting online • film was banned in Ukraine but then screened in the Square itself (Kyiv, Ukraine) • square became a tiny public sphere in a public environment • square captures interconnectivity of what is happening • Netflix was used as a platform after winning awards at many film festivals— chose Netflix as affordable, reached most people, situation is still unfolding— wanted the Square to be online and then people can comment and learn more online networked individual (Paul Mason): • Drive of behavioral change has been technology • Mason notes that due to social media we have lots of “weak ties,” multiple loyalties, greater autonomy (e.g. not reliant on only one source of information) • Began to take shape in 1990’s—changes in consumption due to the communication revolutions • Protest is a medium social media as space & tool (not a cause) of revolutions: • “what we call a social network is not actually a social network; these are social tools. Twitter and Facebook are not the social network; we are the social network.” • Social media tools to organize/communicate—not cause • Discussing issues online increased anger, exposed many to opinions, increased forces—online political discussion at time while events were taking place • By no means cause of revolutions—variety of reasons • Most of organizing was done offline but this was rarely noted • Social media not caused of revolution but allows for mediation and mobilization spaces of dissent & public sphere • Square where stuff is happening, spaces of freedom • In Egyptian movements of 1940’s and 1950’s sphere of dissidence were coffee houses, book stores etc. • Ideological space in which possible to articulate change to dominant ideas about social and political order • Internet (social media) became a sphere of dissidence inArab Springs—could debate, refute, organize etc. over social media “the revolution will be Twittered” (Sullivan): • Logo for uprisings, insinuates dependency on technology • “That a new information technology could be improvised for this purpose so  swiftly is a sign of the times. You cannot stop people any longer. You cannot  control them any longer. They can bypass your established media; they can  broadcast to one another; they can organize as never before.”  “the revolution will not be televised” (Scott-Heron): • a song written by Scott- Heron • Late 60s, human agency, don’t be a comfy couch activist • Have to go to square and take action • AKA it’s the people who cause revolution, not technology • Meaning: You can’t stay at home and watch “the revolution.” A revolution is not  an event. It is not planned or scheduled and it has no commercial value or mass  appeal. It is living in the present and it exists within an individual. The world has  no interest or desire to give you the revolution because ultimately the world  derives no benefit or advantage from the revolution.  Wikipedia & Encyclopedia: (1. structure; 2. goal; 3. editing and writing) • Wikipedia collaboratively edited, multilingual, free internet encyclopedia supported by the non-profit Wikipedia Foundation o “free knowledge to everyone” • 30 million articles written collaboratively by volunteers around the world • principle of neutrality—not interested in persuading you, minimal belief bias etc. • endless library • is a system—uses algorithms, has way of functioning • collaborative and free- change from corporate platforms • Encyclopaedia (The original response to the Information Overload): o A literary work of reference containing extensive information on all  branches of knowledge, usually arranged in alphabetical order.  o They were not designed to be consulted for isolated facts (however that is  how they were often used), but were meant to be read from cover to cover.  o Goal is to collect knowledge that is scattered over earth  • Wikipedia always in flux Wiki • web application which allows people to add, modify or delete content in collaboration with others • “free knowledge to everyone”—convenient and fast • wiki literally translates to fast and quick in Hawaiian • unofficial moto: “wiki is not paper” o no physical or economic limit to the number or length of articles, bits are free From “filter then publish” to “publish then filter” (Clay Shirky) • Wikipedia is participatory—web 2.0. supports this model, why Wikipedia is successful and not stagnant • Filtering used to be done by publishers not its done by peers • Wikipedia can be seen as a “liquid library”- constantly being updated and changed • Accuracy has improved over last 10 years but still a lot of errors • Generally speaking okay to use it as a pointer or starting place to get ideas “general intellect,” “hive mind,” and “here comes everybody:” • Everyone can edit, but collective group decides what stays • Mix of anarchy and monarchy • Here comes everybody: o Here Comes Everybody is a book by Clay Shirky on the effect of the  Internet on modern group dynamics and organization.  o The book is about “what happens when people are given the tools to do  things together, without needing traditional organizational structure.”  • General intellect: o a combination of technological expertise and social intellect, or general  social knowledge – increasing importance of machinery in social  organization o according to Karl Marx is a crucial force of production  Hivemind: • concept of the form of collective intelligence created when large number of anonymous users operate within de-centralized or self-directing networks • speed at which ideas, images and threats are generated and spread • some suggest Wikipedia is a shift towards a web 2.0. collective intelligence • “a concept of the form of collective intelligence created when large numbers of autonomous users operate within decentralized or self-directing networks” • anonymous encompasses hivemind—all hackers have same objective Wikipedia editing and/or vandalism: • more editing by males, more by young adults, more by educated, single, no children o i.e. suggestion that “everyone” contributes to Wikipedia somewhat misleading • people have vandalized content- distorted information by removing or changing content—attempt to compromise the integrity of Wikipedia • vandalism/editing exposed difficulties of reaching neutral consensus on some information—dispute over “truth” hacker: • accesses computer networks by exploiting its wekness • 1970’s—comes from the MIT environment, initially just pranks and jokes • **in contemporary cu
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