Monthly Archives: January 2017

Will I be flattened? Week 1 weekly thoughts

My first post on this blog was a tweet:

My posts, tweets, images, audio, links, curated artefacts, comments (many of these not yet appeared!) are intended to build up a complex picture (literal and metaphorical) of my engagement with the themes of the course. Will this give me a useful perspective on this one aspect of my digital life (learning, course-participation)? To make it useful to me I have to be a little selective about what I post to avoid chaotic over-abundance. I have to make some decisions about categorisation and tagging so that I can better analyse my experience and the blog. I have to choose the technologies I use and why, and consider if they can be automated. Do I let a technology (ifttt) govern my choice of types of post?

The “challenge … to create and manage a coherent presence from a “mashup” of sources” (Course Handbook) has not been met coherently this week. This may be because the course has just started and it has taken a while to set the blog up, get the iftt automation working (twice!) and strike a balance between wanting it to look pleasing and not getting too preoccupied with time-consuming aesthetics. A very busy week outside the course has meant that I have fallen behind with reading and posting and this has induced some panic. My logical self says that this will be inevitable at times and that absence itself is meaningful, but my emotional self tends to predominate. Is this what makes me human?

My posts this week have mainly been ifttt tests, some not-so-relevant tweets and some brief thoughts and finds. My aim for the coming week is to write more considered posts to reflect what I’m learning and how.


Hard not to be interested in the boundaries between humans and artificial intelligence,

Our machines are disturbingly lively

(Haraway, 2007)

I found a website which challenges you to read a poem and vote on whether it was written by a bot or a human. I voted correctly the first time, but then incorrectly about four times. Some of the poems were translated from other languages so at times it was difficult to decide. My second correct vote for Written by a human felt unmistakable though. A way-in to investigating computer-generated poetry and exploring the boundaries between humans and robots.

Humans and human-coded robots?

Haraway, Donna (2007) A cyborg manifesto from Bell, David; Kennedy, Barbara M (eds),  The cybercultures reader pp.34-65, London: Routledge.

Not streaming but waving

Not streaming but waving

I had a blog breakdown yesterday when my ifttt applets stopped working. I started to panic a bit, thinking I would get left behind and leave no evidence of any digital life for days. Some dismal time was spent testing, not reading.

Then I decided to turn things around, thinking that silence and absence are meaningful anyway. A pause in my lifestream blog would signify something – illness, existential crisis, network problems, emergency at work … and probably nobody else would even notice 🙂

I’m quite used to technology going ‘wrong’ and trying to find the logical reason for why things aren’t working as they should, but yesterday was a classic example of letting my human-ness (emotions) get in the way of calmly working things out. It would’ve been better if I could have switched over to Replicant mode!

Only through the administration of a subtle verbal cognitive test is one able to separate humans from Replicants (Miller, 2011)

Miller, V. (2011) Chapter 9: The Body and Information Technology, in Understanding Digital Culture. London: Sage.