Blog Response #5 – Will Parks

1. In this chapter from Lovink’s book Networks Without A Cause, he outlines the dynamic shift in social interaction online in the move from Web 1.0 to 2.0 that relies on “user generated content”. What do you envision Web 3.0 to be and what is the next level of user empowerment?

In Lovink’s book, he discusses the focus on social media interaction with Web 2.o, along with the introduction of industry and business to the internet, where companies latched onto internet technology to sell products. As Web 2.o disappears and Web 3.o begins, I think that the internet will be integrated into daily life much further. In the last 3 years, the video game industry has focused on the creation of “second-screen experiences”, where players use their phones, hooked up to the Xbox Live or Sony accounts, to interact with the game they are playing on their console. The mobile apps attached to these games may be a simple inventory interface, or a full on game mode a la Battlefield 4, where players can assume a commander role and call in helicopters and air strikes during a battle. This year, at E3 2015, Bethesda introduced Fallout 4, and the PipBoy second screen experience that users can fiddle with to manage their inventory, quests, and leveling in the actual game that they are playing on their Xbox One, Playstation 4, or PC. Now imagine if this technology was taken out of the massive industry that is game development, and applied more to real life. We’re already seeing this happen, with iPhones and smart watches tracking your exercise regimen and comparing it to other users across the net. Of course this revolution relies heavily on hardware development, such as the rise of devices such as Google Glass, but the web is an integral part of this development which software designers will use to make these concepts work. The web can be used by these technologies to give an air of competition or community to otherwise mundane tasks. I would love to see a music recommendation program such as Last.FM or Songza integrated into mobile devices, smart-watches, and Google Glass tech so that I can constantly be fed new music on the go, by a community of music enthusiasts who are plugged in just as much as I am. As the future moves forward, I think we will see web tech integrated into our lives outside the computer more and more.

2. Throughout the article, Lovink argues for a form of criticism that is specific to the Internet—one that looks at theories about culture and society through the lens of networked technologies. Do you also believe that this is necessary to study as we move forward? Why or why not?

Although I believe that the study of theories about culture and society through the lens of networked technologies is important, I think it could also be argued that studying culture and theories surrounding cultures outside of that lens is just as, if not more important. How much of the planet is hooked up to the internet right now? Do people in third world countries have the internet access that we in North America do? I don’t think so. Certainly as we move forward in history these areas undeveloped in network technology will grow and gain new devices, but there will always be places without the internet. Consider the Buddhist monks of Tibet and Southeast Asia. These monks often ignore networked technology, in fact most technology in general, seeing it as a distraction from their studies. These monks practice movement and breathing exercises, meditation, and prayer. Obviously there is much to be learned about their culture and way of life even at this point in history, and there will continue to be cultures like this throughout history, that exist outside of the realm of internet technology. These cultures need to be discussed, since they have practices and theories just as important and interesting as those from the internet, despite their apparent lack of interest in technology.

Reading Response 4 | Celina Laurette

If I were to give a speech about the state of computer technology today that would be read by someone 25 years from now I think the first issue I would talk about would be online privacy. I would discuss the recent changes that have taken place and their implications and the effect they had on changing the way my generation views social media, the Internet, and government security. For the first time, my generation is experiencing a (although microscopic, but still surprising given the popularity and socializing aspects of such platforms) migration from Facebook and other social media sites and apps. The people were outraged when they found out that Facebook owns the rights to the photos you post. They were horrified to learn that the fine print of the Facebook messenger user terms of agreement included unauthorized use of one’s microphone and phone camera. Employers have started to hire and fire based on the shit that you put and say online, the horror!



Ironically, we use computer technology to get to know someone just as much as we do to judge them. Take Tinder, for example, or any other dating/coitus app/website/service in existence. There are even websites that exist exclusively to help families in India arrange marriages. I predict this trend of using computer technology as a counter-productive crutch for social interaction will only continue to flourish over the next 25 years.


Generating matches ?

I would also add that the nature of online art is relatively free of policing and regulation, for the most part, at least in Canada. I predict that this current state of freedom of posting will no longer be so in 25 years time. Lately, Instagram has been controversially censoring and removing photos from users accounts at an alarming rate and with increasingly inconsistent standard of photos which are and are not fit for the Instagram world. I predict that more and more sites and technologies will be built to automatically censor and delete files, posts, and works that fail to meet “community guidelines”.



Online art will certainly look very different in 25 years time from now.


Reading Response 4 — Alysia Lisanti

1.  After reading Neil Postman’s “Informing Ourselves to Death” speech, I do not think I would address the computer age with such negativity, but I would definitely expand on some of his points.

Continued reading >

Reading Response 4- Sophia Oppel

I feel as though Neil Postman’s damning critique of technology is perhaps slightly one sided. Rather than blaming technology and information distribution for the distanced human self, perhaps we should re-evaluate what we actually deem to be “valuable” parts of the human experience, and really ask ourselves if those things can be translated into a computerized realm.

While I think it is incredibly interesting that corporate, advertising and social media vernacular become an increasingly prevalent framework for physical identity, I wonder if this can have limiting effects. I think this question begins to delve into the conversation around the validity of “real” rather than augmented experience. I think we need to start asking some fundamental questions about what is truly valuable in human experience, and whether mass media and “low” culture have just as valid a presence in the global agenda as a real face to face communication.

The conversation around the deconstruction of the physical art object and the increasingly prevalent production of amateur web based artwork based heavily on pastiche, fan culture and re-contextualization is very relevant and will likely continue to grow more so in future years as the art market’s valuation based on an original declines further.

I think technology has become valuable in forcing humans to reconsider physical and community oriented experiences and enumerate their worth in relation to a digital experience. What is this “authentic” human experience everyone is yearning for, and can it be translated digitally? If a digital experience can illicit a visceral or mental reaction that is just as poignant to the participant as something experienced in the flesh, is that a less valuable experience? Is a constructed digital persona more dishonest that ones physical self, if both are concerned with appearances, peer validation and creating a façade?

In many ways the internet simply becomes a larger and more worldwide perpetuation of the same community based values; we still participate on forums and read user reviews over going to a corporate service or qualified information distribution cite to get our facts on certain things.

I think the problem of willful blindness and mediation as expressed in Neil Postman’s address have always been apart of the human condition, dating back far before the time of the computer; humans have always put distractions in place that perhaps cause a blindness from our lacking spiritual understanding or fundamental purpose. The same is true of mediated communication or Stuart Hall’s notion of encoding and decoding media messages; our communication has never been immediate since the beginning of a codified language system, implemented to regulate, (and potentially limit), interpersonal discourse.

I would predict that media literacy will continue to expand until a potentially immersive and total user experience is possible online. I think human dialogue will likely become increasingly reliant on the vernacular of corporations, advertisements, emojis and other computer based communication tools until they are synonymous with spoken word.

Some essays I found to be indexical and relevant now:  – written in the 1970s and still very relevant today

Nora mahdi / blog post / 4


I think it’s quite interesting how Neil Postman refers to the age of information-overload. I’ve never thought of it this way, that our accessibility to major amount of information provided to us by the computers can even be a bad thing. It makes sense, although the lack of information can be dangerous but at the same time too much information can lead to people not appreciating it anymore and therefore become meaningless. This had definitely happened, we are so used to our easy accessibility to the information that we take it from granted and therefore it would become harder for us to distinguish valuable information for that is not.

I believe that even though this is a clear problem, we have developed ways in which we can limit ourselves with the amount of information that we get. The new Internet age has developed search engines that can help us distil down into useful information. Like Google, amazon or even Facebook. Google helps you find exactly what you are looking for and websites like Facebook suggests you people you already know as friends. So everything is more connected. The overwhelming amount of information is obviously is there and is growing rapidly from Facebook status updates, tweets and so on.

It is hard to imagine exactly how the world will turn out to be as technology advances but we can surly predict the direction it’s heading based of our rapid technology advancement. In the past we have seen people use movies to create things that are unimaginable and years later someone makes the thing exist. With this new technology era and video editing skills I’m sure people will keep developing ideas further that will definitely inspire the technology in the future.



Reading Response 4 – Montana

In the speech Informing Ourselves to Death given by Neil Postman, Postman states some very clear problems surrounding the growth of technology and how it affects society as a whole. In many ways, I agree with what is being said, mainly how today we (as a whole), making a generalization, are more naive than society in the middle ages.

In “today’s” society, information is basically being shoved down our throats no matter where “we” go, whether it be what the weather is, which celebrity’s birthday it is, what war is happening, gas prices, etc. “We” are flooded with information, and for the most part, society just accepts things as how they are. Without thinking a second of it, as they are more preoccupied with personal matters. And in a way, this is why what Postman was stating about society being more naive, is because society is more selective to what kind of information someone wants to hear. This being that, unless it effects a person personally, everything else is just a murmur. I like to believe that people use information as a practical tool, but not as a learning method. What I mean is that, there is a whole data base on the internet about teaching people about learning other languages, but if a certain person does not “need” to know another language, then they immediate opt out of the idea.

However, that being said, I do agree to the fact that society just believes information that is given to them. An example of this is the use of the phrase “here let me Google it”. Search engines allow people to gather “any” kind of information like a virtual library, and therefore, we don’t really question what kind of results we are getting, especially when someone has now clue of the topic they are searching. It’s almost this idea of learned helplessness; where there are cases where some people don’t think for themselves. Whatever is on Google must be true. This arguably, is due to the amount of information that can be easily accessed. Kinda like the weather, arguably, when someone is checking for the weather, they will immediately check Google before checking outside.

Mainly what I believe, which is what has already been said about technology many times in the past, is this lose of reality and humanity. Like I said before, people would probably check their phones for the weather instead of looking at the actual environment. Almost like the GPS, though it helps us to not get lost, getting lost is how people discovered interesting places. Tangent aside, the overwhelming involvement of technology and computers has created a more cold society, where no one really wants to interact with strangers unless it’s on the internet. That being, like relationships, many are created over Facebook, Tinder etc. I believe that in the future, we will lose “how we first met stories”. When kids ask their parents how they met, “through tinder” or “online”. The means of interactions has almost become obsolete.

Reading Response 4 – Stephanie Blazevic

Although this speech was given 25 years ago at the advent of the Internet, many of Postman’s concerns and insights around technology and the role of the computer in defining contemporary life ring true today. If you were to give a speech about the state of computer technology today that would be read by someone 25 years from now, what issues would you address and what predictions for the future would you make?


I think the most important part of computer culture today to mention would be the sheer quantity of technology that has become so readily available to us, and how new that is for this time. It is truly a revolutionary aspect of todays culture, one that people 25 years from now should know about. In my lifetime I’ve gone from knowing a laptop the size and width of what would have been my torso at the time of it being in my house, to one that you could probably fit in the pocket of a pair of men’s cargo pants. Not to mention the fact that we carry even smaller versions of computers around with us at all hours of the day.


Another slightly comical aspect I’d want to bring up is the size of cell phones throughout the years. They started enormous, the size of a brief case I’m pretty sure, and eventually they shrunk down to the size of your palm. After this everyone seemed to notice how inconvenient this was, and now they’ve been slowly making bigger and bigger phones once again – although they will never go back to the size of a brief case I’m sure.


I can remember a scene in a show, unfortunately I believe it was Supernatural, where a character comes from the past. The main characters nonchalantly mention that they will look something up on the computer, and the character who came from the past shakes this off as a joke saying “As if you could fit a computer in this room.” When really, it’s a typical laptop that is often used today. I would hope to touch on this evolution of technology if I were ever to give such a speech. I believe I heard at one point that when the computer was originally built, they guessed they would only ever need 5 in the world. Now, it’s not uncommon to hear of people basically having about 3 or 4 forms of computers – with the variety being laptops, desktops, personal and work phones, and tablets. This will no doubt increase once again as technology progresses. It could be said that the new Apple watch is a form of a computer, so already we are finding newer ways to introduce more, smaller technology in our lives.

Blog Response 4 — Colin Rosati

If I were to make a speech about the state of technology today and the direction it is headed I feel Neil Postman’s speech raises some good points.

Subjectivity of media is becoming more malleable, and the internet provides a medium to fulfill subjective answers any sort of questions that someone might have. I feel that the internet is not the only actor in this flattening of subjectivity- postmodernity is a result of many global issues. The “losers” that Postman speaks about will be granted a voice, venue and community to be apart of. Not, only the “losers” but anyone that has access to the internet is able to transcend there geographical limits and create new communities. Communities and culture will be sprouting up everywhere, localized information like memes, fan fiction and user generated content will be a competitor to cultural insititutions like universities and hollywood. The collapsing of cultural producers and identities is also a changing factor. Jeremy Bailey’s project The Master Slave Invigilator is telling of how an artist/celebrity can be a host for their audience. Taking this a few steps further we can see how anybody will implanted camera’s could live stream their POV to any audience members. The audience will then be able to consume multiple identities. With the increasing invisibility of technology I see in the near future a fully integrated tech system with our bodies. We are hurtling toward the stretching of our senses into a new exciting place where communities can organize information for themselves and really generate their realities.

Looking at this flattening and fluidity of identity I see corporation and government spying to become an even more prevalent part of how we conduct ourselves. I have an idea for a sic-fi plot where a corporation is creating AI and uses someones social media platforms as the education to make a more human AI machine. In this plot the AI machine is an evil entity that tries to replace the real you. It is really important to recognized the privatized ownership of these technological tools we use because they really shape us in the end. I often ask very technological deterministic questions as a way of getting to know how these tools reflect and shape us. Like how is Facebook changing your relationships, and interactions.

In the digital archiving world many people are preparing for a post-google time because the amount of information google is constantly pulling will be so large that it won’t be functional in a useful way. I see individuals starting to create their own distribution systems or mini archives. In this way the achieve of information becomes more subjective to the archivist but also decentralized outside of corporations like Google.


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