Lifestream, Tweets

I suspect this might be my last, or near to last, post before the final summary as it’s Friday afternoon, I’ll work on the summary tomorrow, and Sunday (the due date for the Lifestream) is always a crazy day at work for me. It feels really lovely to return to the beginning – back to cyber culture’s questions about what it means to be human, and at the same time to make connections to community (loosely) and to algorithms.

In the video, Ishiguro says that he started the project, building a robot, in order to learn about humans. He asks what it really means to be human – which things that we do are automated? Which things could someone impersonating us do? When are we truly being ourselves, being creative? Erica (the robot) suggests that through the automation of the uninteresting and tedious aspects of life, robots can help us to focus on the creative aspects, and other parts where we are truly ourselves. With AI being essentially the work of algorithms this ties our first block (cyber cultures) to our third (algorithmic culture). Can algorithms allow us to be more human?

In the video it is also asked, what is the structure that underlies human interaction? We can identify many ‘ingredients’ that play a role, but what does it take for a human to interact with a robot and feel that they are interacting with a being? This is from where my – albeit loose – connections to community are drawn. Last week Antigonish 2.0 told 4-word stories about what community means (#Antigonish2 #4wordstory – there were over 700 responses). How will robots understand all these diverse and valuable ways of being together? Maybe they don’t need to – maybe we can – in the spirit of Shinto – accept them as having their own type of ‘soul’, and accept automation of the mundane.. if our economic system allows for and values our very *human* contributions.

Bring on Keynesian theory and the short working week..


Lifestream, Pocket, ‘Future Visions’ anthology brings together science fiction – and science fact


To the casual observer, the kind of technological breakthroughs Microsoft researchers make may seem to be out of this world.

via Pocket

I came across this collection of short science fiction stories from Microsoft. I hate that I like it (I still haven’t forgiven Gates for 1995’s shenanigans with Netscape and others – & for, well, breaking the ethos of the Internet), but it seems like a ‘page turner’. I’ve only read half the first story, mind, as it is not available to me in iTunes locally and Amazon is suggesting it does not deliver to my region despite it being an e-book. I could use a shop and ship address, but it’s kind of annoying that it isn’t just available as a PDF – combined with my & Bill’s ‘history’, it was enough to put me off for now.

One thing I did think about from the first half of the first story, in which translation and natural language programming has reached the point of being able to translate signing into spoken language and spoken language to text in real time, is that while we herald the benefits of technology for differently abled people, we also ignore what it could mean for communities like the Deaf community, and cultures like Deaf culture. I’m not really qualified to speak on it myself, but I’d be interested in hearing the perspectives of people from within the Deaf community.

Lifestream, Comment on Block 1 Visual Artefact by Renee Furner

This was really well executed, Nigel, thank you. For me, one aspect which stands out is that you are ‘business as usual’ at your screens, complete with business attire, as the post-apocalyptic scene plays out outside. It’s as though we have already entered the post-apocalyptic age, but life continues.. which is not something I’d disagree with.

from Comments for Nigel’s EDC blog

Lifestream, Comment on Visual artefact by hwalker

Renee – what lovely feedback: thank you. Like you, I struggled with it though: I couldn’t quite find the right medium to be able to express what I wanted to. And I think your artefact is brilliantly executed!

I couldn’t agree more with your observation about how datafication can impact on relationships. Do you have experience of this yourself?

from Comments for Helen’s EDC blog

Lifestream, Comment on Visual artefact by Renee Furner

I was really impressed by your work, Helen. Although I didn’t really realise it until I tried to produce an artefact, I think I struggled to understand what the assignment even meant, in terms of ‘getting’ what the real aim was (i.e. not your work, but producing work visually, since I’m not yet confident with either my own visual representation skills or the array of tools available to help). Your visual artefact makes it very plain: you do an excellent job of making complex ideas simple through your visual representations. This was especially poignant with the comparison of old and ‘new’ classrooms, which I felt was done with a great deal of finesse.
Like Chenée, I also appreciated the notion of the datafication of children (through education) producing cyborg-like (machine-like) vessels. In my mind it doesn’t just dehumanize students – I think it works to dis-establish genuine relationships between students and teachers (I’m thinking primary school, but maybe it can be extended to other educational levels).
Thank you for such a well-constructed and insightful presentation.

from Comments for Helen’s EDC blog

Lifestream, Comment on Digital artefact: Post-human classroom by Renee Furner

Unfamiliar with thinglink, and in a (geographical) zone where it took quite a long time for the (circular) links to load, I spent quite a while interpreting the image without commentary. From the outset it was facsinating though, and it felt quite macabre; the image has a disturbing quality to it. On second viewing I could access the links – this was a really clever use of visual and audio mediums – both illustrative and thought-provoking. Thank you 🙂

from Comments for Chenée’s Education & Digital Culture blog

Week 3 Summary

Week 3 of Education and Digital Cultures has been difficult for me to manage as I have been without my usual Internet and device access, and my routine has been broken by being away from home, having more demands on my time than usual, and a solid dose of jet lag. The digital environment enables study at a distance, and flexibly alongside other commitments, but the same time it is relentless: we’re connected and able to continue our participation even when doing so creates stress and interferes with other priorities.

The week saw the passing of Toro Iwatani, the creator of Pac-Man, and, combined with reading Sterne’s (2006) chapter on the historiography of cyberculture, this led me to examine the parameters I set when I periodize cyberculture, and how these parameters affect what I include and exclude. It seems that, for me, community culture is significant, despite my tendency to focus on transhuman notions from within cyberpunk. This was also apparent through my reference to Bowie’s webcast in 1999.

Another key theme was the two-way relationship between technology and social practice, which grew out of reading Bayne’s (2015) paper, What’s the Matter with ‘Technology Enhanced Learning’?This focus provided a link to the third block of the course, algorithmic culture, with readings on the internet of toys and the datafication of childhood, which suggested digital technologies are normalising surveillance within social practice, and an analysis of factors affecting adolescents’ news consumption, which suggested that social practices of parents affect adolescent media and device choices. The first two readings prompted thinking on the ethics of human/machine ethics, which I look forward to exploring further in future posts.

Finally, my posts this week explored a tension between ‘enabling’ and ‘enhancing’ medical technologies. The former was represented by a titanium chest implant, the latter a quest to achieve mind-uploading, and a bionic arm with additional features crossed the boundary, both enabling and enhancing. My explorations revealed a persistent discomfort regarding cyborg adaptations that question what it is that it means to be ‘human’, and what we value as ‘human’ performance, and perhaps call for increased ‘posthuman’ thinking on my part.







Lifestream, Tweets

As part of the course, we were asked to produce an online representation of the themes covered, using visual methods only. The course guide suggested that the artefact should be:

– of high quality in terms of analysis and creativity;

  • – scholarly and imaginatively presented.

I found it incredibly difficult to demonstrate critical engagement visually, and if it is possible, I will attempt to do so again when I have developed a better understanding of how to do so (before the end of the course). The difficulty was heightened by the number and complexity of themes that arose out of the cyberculture block.

I’m interested to hear more from others – either through explanation or through links to examples – about what it is that makes visual representation ‘scholarly’/about how to present analysis visually. Looking forward to the examples (and to seeing the work of my peers on the same task!).


Attempt 1 at a visual artefact for the cyberculture block