I’m now starting to get a feel for how the course structure can work for me and to home in on some of the core themes, after the initial excitement of getting to grips with this experimental format. At first, I found the sheer volume of interesting information and links that the relatively small number of students on this course manage to generate a little overwhelming. It wasn’t until the beginning of this week that I began to realise that it was OK not to read every linked article or watch every linked video. Firstly most of the linked content isn’t going anywhere and I can take it in at my own pace and secondly, I’m getting a feel for what will be most helpful to me and which links I need to follow and bring into this blog.
As well as, by inference (and possibly unintentionally), setting an expectation that the students on this course will have an “all singing, all dancing, expertly curated Lifestream” by the end of the course, Jeremy, our tutor, has helpfully summarised the key themes as:
- almost human
- divisions between technology and humanness
- the preservation of the authentic human
- the Utopia and dystopia of technological intervention
- centring of the desiring human subject
I think two of my more recent and longer blog post have clear links to a few of the above themes and I will look to expand my thinking in those areas in the final week of this block and over the remainder of the course.
Having arrived a week late to the course I’m re-designating half way through week two as the end of week one and summarising where I’ve got to so far.
I’m already finding the course content and the course format fascinating and though provoking. As well as interchanges with other course participants, it has also prompted numerous discussions outside of the course.
There are so many topics that interest me, from mass-participation problem solving, through artificial intelligence, the privileging of certain information through algorithms, and onward to more fundamental questions about what it means to be human or transhuman. The challenge is proving to be staying on one topic long enough to gain a useful level of understanding, as well remembering to keep in mind that it’s the educational aspects of these big questions that are most important, at least as regards this course.
I’m always looking for practical applications from this course and I can see parallels in my workplace. Recently we have been using iPads in our practices in a way that allows our people to learn about our products and services alongside our customers, for example through interactive demonstrations augmented by questions and explanations from the colleague. In this context, this human-machine combination provides an experience that could not be delivered as effectively by either alone.
Tomorrow is my first experience of the film festival. Having viewed the clips from the first ‘festival’ alone I’m looking forward to the shared experience and discussion.
*(Citation to be added)