There have been several recurring themes for me during the first week of #mscedc:
The need for diversity
While setting up IFTTT, Twitter conversation jumped to algorithmic cultures and the ‘filter bubble’ (Pariser, 2011). Starting with boyd’s (2017) ideas of self-segregation, talk turned to motives for such segregation and the need for diversity in networks to support democratic process. The call for diversity was echoed in posts about Ghosts in the Shell, within which characters suggest similarity weakens the group, and difference is the foundation of life.
The short film Memory 2.0, as well as Eter9 (which promises an eternal digital life), caused discomfort connected to memories being recreated potentially without the consent or presence of those involved. Similarly, encounters with extropianism through Dahls’ William & Mary (1961) and a comic (‘transhumanism gift cards’) raised questions about the ownership of disembodied minds (including memory data) and potential changes in the terms and conditions of service by corporate ‘body’ or ‘eternity’ providers. Memory was also considered in connection to identity in discussion of Robot & Frank (2012) and the character Motoko in Ghost in the Shell.
Lack of clarity about the ‘natural’ human
This arose from readings of the body as a site of cultural activity and quest for social distinction (Bourdieu, 1984; Williams & Bendelow, 1998), as well as recognition of the difficulty in defining ‘natural’ human effort in sport.
Technology’s influence on culture
From the impact of changed affirmation practices on self-segregation to questions of whether being assessed changes participation and musings about the affordances of print vs film, I was repeatedly drawn to the idea of technology not just as tool but as co-creator of culture.
Further to the article which suggested that the future of record-breaking in sport may lie in editing of the human genome, this article asks: ‘With technology and pharmaceuticals dominating our reality, how do we define “natural” human effort in sports?’ The author, David Epstein, highlights the the arbitrariness of some of the decisions that have been made about what constitutes fairness, and the inconsistencies between sports. ‘When technology replaces training or supplements biology, the lines that limn what is fair will be a bit like Schrödinger’s cat: Our collective gaze will create them.’
from Diigo http://ift.tt/2ayExJN
Article suggests that the future of record-breaking may lie in genome editing – but that traditional doping will continue as new biological and chemical enhancements stay ahead of detection/policing bodies.
from Diigo http://ift.tt/2jEC1pA
Apparently Eter9 uses artificial intelligence to learn to mimic individuals so that it can post in their absence, giving them ‘digital immortality’.
I find this creepy on multiple levels. It doesn’t promise immortality, just the illusion of immortality for others (not the person immortalised) – why? What value does it add, for whom, and in who’s interest?
In the same way that Memory 2.0 felt ‘wrong’ to me (though, I’m still not sure I truly ‘got’ the full intended meaning), for me Eter9 raises questions about data ownership. Clearly those signing-up agree to donate data, but surely it would be naive to assume permanence within the terms and conditions of service? Users no doubt will not be able to withdraw their consent posthumously! And.. what about the right to be forgotten and.. the right not to be reminded?
Came across this infograph – think it helps with identifying ways in which we already use ambient intelligence:
Ambient intelligence is an emerging technology that brings together three contemporary fields of information technology:
1 Ubiquitous computing, in which increasingly small microprocessors are inserted into everyday objects such as clothes, vehicles or furniture to make them more interactive or responsive to user needs. 2 Ubiquitous communication achieved to ever more robust wireless networking technology.
3 Intelligent or adaptive user interfaces, which allow humans and computers to interact in more natural or personalised ways.
Gagglioli et al., 2003 cited in Miller, 2011, p. 222
Miller, V. (2011). Understanding Digital Culture. London: Sage
Comparing this to Williams & Bendelow’s (1998) assertion that bodies have become increasingly plastic‘, bionic‘, communal or interchangeable, interchangeable across species and virtual or hyperreal (pp. 79-85).. and Gray et al.’s identification of ‘restorative tools’, ‘normalising technologies’, ‘enhancing technologies’ and ‘reconfiguring technologies’ (cited in Miller, 2011, p. 212). Additions in the infograph appear to be ‘altering’ (i.e. genome editing) and lifestyle adjusting. The latter point is taken up in Williams and Bendelow (1998, p. 69), with the suggestion that ‘a new conception of “fitness” is being forged’, with ever-greater importance being placed on appearance and body presentation and the state of the body assumed indicative of character and mind:
“Today, the firm, well-toned and muscled body has become a symbol of ‘correct attitude’; ‘it means that one “cares” about oneself and how one appears to others, suggesting willpower, energy, control over infantile impulse, the ability to “make something” of oneself’ (Bordo 1990:94–5).” (Williams & Bendelow, 1998, p. 74).