It’s hard to believe that Block 1 of the course is drawing to a close already. Looking back on my blogging activity over the last three weeks it’s incredible to consider what I have learned from the readings, tutorial sessions, Togethertube sessions and interacting with the blogs of others.
This week I enjoyed the group tutorial on Google Hangouts. It was good to put some faces to names and to discuss the course with my peers. It was handy to have the opportunity to discuss the visual artefact as it had been playing on my mind for a while.
Nevertheless, when it came down to it I really enjoyed creating my artefact. I guess the main reason that I was struggling was over the decision of what theme to cover. I mentioned during the tutorial that my head is full of new and interesting issues about cybercultures and it was difficult to filter through my thoughts to focus on one theme.
In the end I decided on the themes of cyborgs and the influence that cybernetics currently has over the human race and where pogress could take us in the future. My decision was inspired by the contents of an earlier blog post where I touched on the idea of collaborative thinking.
I had been reluctant to consider the possibility of technology penetrating the mind. But as we slowly turn into human/machine hybrids then perhaps we may start to behave more machine like – networked and efficient.
I reviewed my Lifestream content over the past few weeks and noticed that cyborgs and technological intervention seems to be a topic that has been of particular interest to me. So too has the impact of cybernetics on our lives and how the human race has evolved because of it. Therefore my artefact is a blend of the two themes. I have tried to add a timeline overlay to give a feel of where we are now and where we may go in the future
Note: the sound on the video is a little quiet. I would suggest listening with headphones.
In recent a recent post I tried to explain my thinking between mechanical and virtual intervention on the human body and noted that it was difficult for me to imagine machinery penetrating the mind.
Today I stand corrected.
Having read Hamzelou’s (2016) contribution to New Scientist’s article entitled ‘We will soon be able to read minds and share our thoughts‘ I was fascinated by the possibility of collaborative thinking by mapping brain activity. Initially I found the idea really exciting and imagined a new generation of cybernetics where multiple people could contribute to a task without as much as opening their eyes.
However as I referred to in my previous post, I am of the belief that our minds and souls are what make humans unique and different one from another. I therefore began wondering what life would be like and how things such as global politics, the economy or even relationships would withstand a population functioning from unfiltered thoughts taken directly from the brain. I imagine it to be very different indeed.
I also found some irony in the suggestion that the thoughts of multiple human beings could be extracted and stored on a single device – typical of a client/server relationship. Perhaps we are heading towards a network of minds?
If this comes to fruition then the opportunities – in particular for education- could be very exciting indeed. As C.S Lewis once said “Two heads are better than one, not because either is infallible, but because they are unlikely to go wrong in the same direction”
Hamzelou, J. (2016). We will soon be able to read minds and share our thoughts. Retrieved: 4 February 2017. https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23231044-200-we-will-soon-be-able-to-read-minds-and-share-our-thoughts/
Joe Walsh’s song ‘Analogue Man‘ can loosely be related to Sterne’s ‘Histiography of Cyberculture’ and the shift from analog to digital that he describes.
The lyrics of this song tell of a man who is struggling keeping up with the pace of the digital world in which he finds himself. The inspiration for the lyrics were derived from the artist, Joe Walsh, who noticed a significant change in technology between recording his previous album in the late 1980’s and releasing this song in 2012.
The artist is quoted as saying “”There’s a whole new world now that’s digital, and a whole new technology I’ve really had to pay attention to recording this album. “It’s my first real shot at trying to do it all digital. I just say that it’s a whole new world, and it’s virtual, which means it doesn’t really exist. It’s an illusion that’s computer-generated, and it seems to me that we are all spending more and more time in there, while our bodies sit in chairs, waiting for our minds to come back. It’s great.”
“I’m not saying analog’s better,” he continued. “I’m just saying those of us who did the bulk of our recording and songwriting in the analog world have had to make some adjustments, and I’m not sure really if it’s working for us or if we’re working for it. Technology is going so fast. I do know that it ate the record business, and I know that it ate intellectual property. I hope it doesn’t eat me!
Songfacts.com. (2012). Analog Man. Retrieved: 31 January 2017. http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=26420
During the second informal Togethertube session, my peers and I were discussing whether or not machines programmed with compassion and manners can have a positive influence on people they engage with. Therefore I can’t say that I was surprised to read about the possibility of robots being introduced to the social care setting.
Nor was I surprised to read of Japanese influence in this project considering there has been a reported surge in robotic companionship from Japan’s technology manufacturers.