Holographic Horror

•July 30, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Lanier is clearly leaping instead of taking a step-by-step approach in chapter 8. He discussed a rather interesting topic which he referred to as “telegigging”, which is essentially a digital projection of a live performance. I don’t think Lanier realizes the dimensions that his idea encompasses. To be quite honest, when I read the first couple lines I thought that he was going to encourage actors,musicians and the like to revamp human entertainment and to re-capture the attention of the “techy people”. Instead, he suggested something to add to the ever growing technological advancements.

Why take away the elements of a live performance? As a musician I refuse to accept Lanier’s proposal – he attributes his new proposal to the fact that this enhancement is a possible money making scheme. But so what? Money is not everything , how fun can it really be for a performer to tape performances of themselves ? If I hired a musician for a party I would appreciate his presence because I paid for it, I didn’t pay for colourful one-sided projections. How is a “telegig” in any way interactive? Live performances are supposed to be an experience for both the consumer as well as the performer, for instance a “live” comedy show… I would love to see a “telegig” version of that because performances as such requires improvisation, so my question to Lanier is: how can a holographic comedy show be created? Because you can’t have prior knowledge of what the crowd is going to be like, so how would one go about presenting something like this?

I must admit that there are advantages : the performance would be flawless, cost effective (since you wouldn’t have to pay for travel expenses etc) and the special effects would probably go beyond our brain capacity- all-in-all, a pretty good show. Nonetheless, I think to myself where’s the fun in all of this? Yes, initially there would be a huge impact, people are going to be astonished by the new technology but it will be a phase. People like live entertainment and I mean live in terms of seeing the real individual not a projection of them. There is no way I am going to pay for a concert where the person isn’t physically present because holographic images remind me of television images. Aren’t you tired of staring at screens and lights that are so bright, they hurt your eyes and impair your eye sight? Why does technology always have to be the answer? My prediction is that holograms will die out just like 3D…although this is the year of 3D movies and televisions- but the phase will soon die out if it hasn’t started already. What is the point of putting on shades to watch your own television? All you have to do is go outside, it really doesn’t get more 3D than that.

Unfortunately, I came across a short article/video that rivals almost everything that I wrote in this blog entry : http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2010/07/touchable_holograms.html . Apparently some university students in Tokyo are trying to create touchable holograms. It never stops.

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http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2010/07/touchable_holograms.html .

At Your Surf-ice!

•July 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

In chapter 6, Lanier discussed a very crucial and fairly expensive pitfall of the internet : Corruption. However, I would like to repeat his first statement that “corruption has always been possible without computers”. Now that we’ve established this I can discuss my views on the increased corruption caused by technology. Corruption is inevitable, people are sick and twisted and feel the need to cheat every system. I agree wholeheartedly that corruption has certainly enhanced because of the internet, from identity theft to credit card fraud to computer hacking and the list can go on.

However, in the end, I always go back to the fact that mankind created the internet, we are in this mess because of ourselves , we always go above and beyond when creating technological advancements and then we’re baffled when others pounce on the negatives. When inventing something you must consider all the possible pros and cons just in case it falls into destructible hands. I believe the same attitude should have been applied to the internet, we underestimated it…a whole new technological world has been created and it is now out of our control. People in the world are smarter than you think, if codes can be created that means it can also be broken, so isn’t it our fault that we didn’t think far ahead? Initially, I know that the internet was supposed to serve an informational purpose , whether it be educational or recreational, but too much information is readily available now, hence the increased levels of corruption.

I dare you to type anything in Google’s search engine and I promise you a response will be provided, not necessarily what you were originally looking for but still something relating to the subject matter. If you spend enough time and you type in the correct keywords there is a big chance of you finding some very interesting things. You can even search your family members, I’ve searched my name before and information about my facebook account and other details were promptly provided for the public’s perusal. I think it’s disturbing if you ask me, so can you imagine if someone devotes a couple hours a day to research someone, chances are they’ll come across personal information such as birth name and date, bank information, current location, pictures and maybe even a brief historical background. This is a result of private information that is connected to the internet. I came across this website : http://www.safeinternet.org/about/internet-corruption which provides information about all different types of online corruption and possible solutions for such problems. Basically they act as the police- simply making an honest attempt to make the internet a safe place for all of us.

Don’t put all your eggs in one Net

•July 26, 2010 • 1 Comment

Chapter 5 is all about music, money, fame and hope. Lanier made an attempt to state the truth-the truth about the internet not paving the way for many and just for a select few. I would have to agree with him with respect to his statement, because within the past few years we’ve put so many dreams and placed literally all our hopes on the internet somehow thinking that we’re all going to get “discovered”. It reminds me of the saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” which is what we’ve done. We’ve placed all our dreams, our hopes in the internet. The internet is our basket and we willingly placed our eggs there. When you really think about it, only a select few have benefited from the open culture..a couple inventors, some singers, comedians … the list can go on. But…where are they today? Yes, we established the fact that they got recognition and their 15 minutes of fame, but was that enough? I pretty much doubt that’s what they wanted, I’m sure they expected that fame to last for a life time- instead, they got mentioned on CNN or some other news channel…maybe some increased views on their YouTube video, but that’s pretty much it- the fun ends at some point.

I don’t blame the internet or its creators, because in life we have choices. Everyone had a choice if they wanted to actively take part in the open culture movement or not, the internet does not force anyone to use it as their sole medium. You have to willingly participate and thus take risks. Moreover, let’s not forget that it is an effective medium, although some people did not receive the recognition they desired, it still provides a source of good advertising because it reaches out to masses of people all over the world. Even though e-commerce businesses such as Amazon and Netflix are just a few that made it but look at EBAY’s services, virtually anyone can become a sales person on the internet, so all is not lost. I wouldn’t advise anyone to invest all their time into establishing themselves on the internet, that makes absolutely no sense, I would advise people to use all possible options don’t just put all your hopes on one thing alone because what if it fails? Which means that all your time and effort would have gone down the drain. The internet does not guarantee anything, it’s simply an option, an inexpensive one. But use it at your own risk, prepare for possible downfalls or failed operations, do not depend on it solely. Like anything else, the internet too can fail.

Today I would like to end my blog with this video from YouTube, the guy in this video (Tay Zonday) made a song called “Chocolate Rain” and he made it pretty far, although I have no clue what his intentions were he seemed to make it on the list of internet phenomena, which shows that anyone has a chance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NattlyH0IeM

Humanoids

•June 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

In chapter 4, Lanier makes an attempt to tap into the economical challenges of technological change. One particular subject matter that stood out to me was his point about industrialization. It is true that technology upgraded people from slave status to skilled-workers and even though industrialization promised the possibility of less utilization of human labour it still fulfilled its prophecy at the time. Like anything else cons will always exist, they are inevitable. I understand why people were worried though, the creation of machines which only required an oil change or a periodical “tune up” must have been extremely intimidating for those who encountered technological advancements in earlier times. Luckily, everything worked itself out and humans are not obsolete…yet. At least we’re still needed to do any fine tuning or work at help desks for IT departments. Robots on the other hand, is an entire different ball game, I mean..they are replications of us. They are built to do exactly what we do except they don’t really need to sleep,eat or emote. Therefore once they are infiltrated into the workplace then we are certainly going to become obsolete because you don’t need to pay them they don’t have families to sustain and they certainly don’t get tired. All they need is fine tuning and that’s about it. When you really put a lot of thought into it, robots are quite capable of mastering anything. Lanier claims that they already achieved excellence in areas such as surgery and fabricating products. Robots can eradicate human error, and that isn’t such a bad idea…yes some may run out of a few jobs but the quality of production would increase.

Nonetheless, some people tend to disagree with the notion of robots possibly taking over eventually. This New York Times article : http://www.nytimes.com/2000/09/12/science/12ROBO.html?pagewanted=1?pagewanted=1 sort of proved Lanier and myself wrong, and their argument relies on the fact that robots can’t reproduce themselves but I have no clue why that is a challenge because we have scientists all over the world willingly producing them, and what about machines that build robots? It very possible, except it’s not going to be human nature and all that birds and the bees stuff.

I personally don’t have a problem with robots because they seem very useful to any growing economy, my problem is the creation of “humanoid robots”, yes, the ones that are given synthetic skin to make them not only look, but feel like humans. That actually scares me more than anything, because with technological advancements which are growing at a fast rate- who’s going to know robot from human?. Soon we’ll be walking side by side with gadgets that look like us. Take a good look at the pic posted in this blog…can you identify the robot from human?

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You’re Such An Ugly Troll

•May 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Chapter 3 of Lanier’s book caught me by surprise. In this chapter he presented the internet in ways that I have never thought about before, and being a constant internet user, you would think my mind ran across such subject matters at least once.

I have never heard the term “troll” before, I didn’t even know a term existed for bullies on the net. I didn’t know the human mind would actually listen and believe occupants in cyberspace. I was appalled upon discovering the “inner troll” and I felt particularly guilty when I realized that I too participated in such actions. I am a frequent user of youtube,I have my own account but I’ve never posted videos, in fear of ridicule of not just myself but of anything I could possibly post – so I avoid putting up videos altogether. However, for some strange,twisted reason I gain pleasure ridiculing others, that same ridicule I am afraid of. To me, commenting on a video anonymously is one of the best feeling ever, telling off someone and not worrying about them finding me is a personal vice of mine. Therefore my “inner troll” is wide awake within me, yet a few days ago I didn’t even know it existed. Funnily enough I stumbled upon a site that provided a series of guidelines that helps one to detect a troll : http://www.flayme.com/troll/. Therefore I have a question … is the internet encouraging a second personality within us?- Think about it, most of these “trolls” will never disrespect another human being like that during face-to-face confrontation, so I’m thinking maybe , just maybe the internet fuels a bitter ,angry side of us .

I started thinking like this when I read about the various suicide incidents. It freaked me out, I didn’t know the internet was so powerful, influential and seemingly dangerous.  Does the internet cause us to act bitter and hurtful to others because of anonymity or because we are capable of creating a fake identity? How can a mother (regardless of how protective she is) devise such a wicked plan to gain some kind of sick revenge on a young soul by planning in advance to trick and win a little girl’s heart. Send her hate messages and bully her via cyber space- I am still shocked. A poor girl is gone because of this, I really had no clue how detrimental the internet can be, it appears to be an uncontrollable monster that is beyond humankind and to me, that is petrifying.

On a lighter note, Lanier’s comment about the internet forming one huge single book is still a little far-fetched for me. I understand his point of view though, because I am aware that sites such as Google post books online etc and he fears that authentication and authorship would go down the drain. I would have to disagree because sites such as Google and the like ensure that full credit is given to which ever books they post and by this I mean the cover page, author and pretty much all the works. We shouldn’t worry too much about forming a single book, quite frankly I am elated that books and articles are posted on the internet because it saves me a boring trip to the library. Why go to the library and search through dusty shelves when the material is readily available on the internet. I understand his metaphorical reference though, he said the internet would become the Bible, which is supposedly our “go to” book, I don’t think we should be worried though because the informational aspect of the internet is more useful than harmful.

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A Huge Mind and No Body

•May 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Chapter two of Lanier’s book took a completely different turn for me. In the first chapter I agreed with almost everything that he said with respect to technology playing a huge role in our lives. However, this chapter presented technology in a completely different light, he suggested that the internet and computer software would one day be able to rise above an conquer us all.

Immediately,I thought that his ideas were extremely bizarre and farfetched, I wouldn’t rule it out completely but I personally do not believe that technology would be so advanced that it would be able to create better representations of themselves and by extension, several generations. It’s good that he is thinking ahead and providing his readers with all the technological negatives that we may encounter in years to come but it does not mean that human nature would have lost control completely and would simply sit back and allow a team of robots to feast on the earth.

Interestingly, I found a review on the book that disagreed with some of Lanier’s main ideas about technology consuming the earth. According to the author of this review (Knopf) (http://www.openlettersmonthly.com/rapture-crash/), he claims that Lanier describes the brain as a very simplistic object but it is not, unlike a computer it is not absolute. Knopf gave an excellent example of the ways in which a program functions, something as easy as trying to open an icon by double clicking which turns on the algorithm that causes the program to start, additionally, to close the program you simply click the right hand corner of the program box to turn on the algorithm which closes the program. However, if the computer encountered any kind of confusion it would crash, but humans aren’t like that because we can adjust.

Basically Knopf’s point illustrates that none of these processes could take place without the physical presence of a human being. Therefore technology needs us, I don’t think it can survive without us, so how can we become obsolete? We are the ones that created the software, in the end it is the human mind that is the mastermind behind all of this. I cant see the internet forming one mind at all, I don’t believe that humans would die and will some how live on in the virtual world. Consciousness needs the soul and when we die , it is taken away from us. How can we exist in a virtual world? Who controls our actions and makes decisions for us? That one superhuman-brain that “supposedly” would one day control us all? – No, I don’t think so.

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Technology has control issues too.

•May 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

In the very first sub-heading at the very first page of Lanier’s book : You Are Not A Gadget gave the impression of Lanier’s outlook on technology. As soon as I read the words “missing persons” I pretty much knew what I was getting into. Clearly it was a subtle indication that implied the distance between humans and the fast growing, uncontrollable pace of the technology around us.

Before the 21st century, Lanier appreciated the initial purpose of technological advances such as the internet commonly known as the “World Wide Web” which was intended for sharing information with the world. But after the 21st century the existence of “open culture” took over. The term “open culture” refers to blogs, facebook, twitter or any other forum that allows the world to communicate in a somewhat controlled environment. Lanier believes that these forums caused interpersonal communication between humans which is clearly not normal. I agree with this point of view because many people prefer to sit behind their computers for hours rather than socialize in the outside world and we fail to acknowledge the fact that the fast growing pace of technology and the internet only harbors and nurtures this interpersonal habit. We have lost touch with the world, everything is now technological, from our cell phones to ipods to laptops, we fail to realize how much we depend on technology. In fact, a site I visited: www.globeandmail.com summarized the book by stating that Lanier identified the totalitarian effect that technology is having on the human race.

According to Lanier he believes that technology has the ability to change people, the example he provided about avatars and how they act as a digitized representation of ourselves illustrated his belief. For instance, Lanier’s example with respect to increasing the height of an avatar , which would in turn automatically transform one’s self-esteem and self-perception, I can relate to this example. Although I am not a lover of computer games, at the same time I am not a complete novice since I engaged in a popular game called The Sims which involved creating avatars and basically trying to live and survive in a computerized world. I found myself creating an avatar that represented ideally how I wanted to be in terms of looks, life style and ways of living and quite frankly it made me happy.

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