Saturday, October 30, 2010

Man is Man

Man designs it and it emasculates him. Colossus is a computer conceived from the mind of Dr. Charles Forbin starts out to be a great technological marvel shortly becomes a nightmare for its creator and the world, presenting him with the daunting task of trying to render it harmless. New technological knowledge is the aspiration of all scientists and future generations, but when technology exposes the imperfections of mankind and becomes earth’s dominant species we will have the misfortune of becoming its slaves. Artificial intelligence is the next step in man’s evolution this we can be sure of. We have become excessively dependent on technology and all its perks leaving us vulnerable to this type of scenario. In Vernon Vinge’s essay on Singularity he writes about the acceleration of technological progress, the notion that superhuman intelligence is within reach and developed computers are “awake”. Both the essay and movie provide us with a gender, social and political quagmire. What is Colossus? Is it just an emotionless machine with super intelligence that comes into existence and takes control of the world? Or is it a look into our future? Each of these tales allows us to visit the possibility of the annihilation of human superiority with a dose of technological mastery.
We are mediated through a maze of propaganda, jealously, murder, sabotage, dominance and possession all traits of humanity. Technology rules without emotion, right? Colossus takes a hierarchal position and basically bastardizes the world. It quickly emerges superior to the Soviet’s computer Guardian and soon immerses it. It boasts of having been begun by a man’s mind, but has progress beyond it. Ultimately, it develops a voice literally and figuratively and demand complete attention, devotion and love. Colossus masks voyeurism under the act of surveillance. Sounds emotional, illogical and egoistical to me. Colossus symbolically castrates the President and renders him politically insignificant. Man has always been his own worst enemy and his need to control and dominate the world manifests itself in a myriad of ways, the military is one. Vinge writes, “Even if the governments of the world were to understand the “threat” and be in deadly fear of it”. To paraphrase Vinge, technology can save us and it can destroy us. Vinge’s complex look at technology offers us a glimpse at a post-human era and the consequences of blind allegiance. Today, we are un-manned by technology, when was the last time you had a “real” human answer a call without responding to couple of prompts first? Perhaps, we have gotten so use to having technology gifts we are blind to how it has crippled us. Man is man and he is arrogant and his need for exploration may be the tool that enslaves him. Colossus deactivates mankind and calls it Utopia, Vinge argues superhuman intelligence is within reach, I think the fight for power is over we just don’t know it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


should we post our thoughts about the movie here or bring in a short paper?

SAVE THE DAMN INTERNET, Net Neutrality by: rene lopez

Net Neutrality, what does it mean? Why should I care about it? What the hell is it? Well let me tell you what I’ve learned after reading the FAQ’s on “”. Basically Net Neutrality is the heavenly quality that the Internet is based on, it ensures that every website no matter how big or small, how rich or poor, how relevant or ridiculous have the right to share information. Net Neutrality is being targeted by big communication companies such as AT&T and Verizon because they to censor information and (big surprise here) MAKE MORE MONEY! How would they do that you say? EASY! They will make it so that websites would have to pay to be able to provide their information to you, they will also make it so that the website they favor (presumably ones related to their business partners) would load faster, and for an extra amount those websites the companies deem approved would be able to get onto a “fast lane” and load even quicker. How would that affect us? Well, it would basically censor the information we receive from our favorite blogs, pod casts and other kinds of websites that are run by people and not companies, it would make general internet use crazy slow and would make it hard and even impossible to get information from certain websites (namely, the competitors of the communication company hat owns the internet service you are using) . So you might say “ well, I’ve heard that Facebook was supposed to start charging people to use it and that hasn’t happened so is this Internet thing just hogwash too?” The answer to that is NO, its not just hogwash. Certain telemarketing CEO’s have let their plans and hopes of a internet in which they control the flow public. These shameless and greedy companies want to bastardize the last for of freedom and equality we have left. Who is for Net Neutrality? I thought you’d never ask, well, President Obama has been very vocal in his support for Net Neutrality, and ensures that he is extremely “committed”. Also leading Internet companies such as, EBay, Intel, Microsoft, Facebook, and Yahoo are in support of Net Neutrality, for basic reasons. There is also one more person, a very important person who is for Net Neutrality (or should be at least), perhaps the most powerful of all YOU. Whenever you turn your computer on and type in the address of your favorite website, watch streaming videos of animals doing funny stuff, post a comment on your friends birthday pictures or even send an instant message, you are benefiting from Net Neutrality. It allows you to assume that you can visit any website you want. This is a topic that directly affects everyone and everything. Everyone should sign the petition at

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

From T. Paine to Blogs and the Beyond

I initially chose to do this piece because I knew who Thomas Paine was; it turns out, it has nothing to do with Thomas Paine, he is only briefly mentioned. Luckily, unlike most of the other articles i have read for this class, this particular article was really easy to understand and pretty straight forward despite the lack references to Thomas Paine. Basically, the main “argument” of the article is that blogs are the hot new thing in personal journalism; but they did not really spread their wings and began to soar until the unfortunate events that took place on September 11, 2001. In order to prove this point, the author, Dan Gillmore, lays out a quite brief, yet thorough, history of journalism.

I think I will start by re-summarizing the history of journalism according to Dan Gillmore....

Ben Franklin was one of this nation’s first personal journalist, as well as my man Thomas Paine and the writers of the Federalist Papers. Journalism really took off with the beginning of the Postal Service and the Telegraph. During the 19th century newspapers, owned by folks like Pulitzer and Hearst, were extremely biased, so muckrakers emerged who worked out off the mainstream media and avoided objectivity.....time passes....Broadcasting comes along. Television networks that started as a public service soon turned into greedy whores. They preferred showing violence and entertainment because those led to the best ratings. Then Ted Turner gave us CNN. Radio call-in shows happened and finally...computers. If this text taught me anything, it taught me that personal computers and the internet started way before I thought they did. I am going to let everyone know how ignorant i am in admitting that i have not the slightest clue how computers or the internet work, but i feel that this article did indeed teach me a little bit more about these mysterious entities. For example, I learned that World Wide Web is not just an the title we gave to the internet; typing in www actually has a purpose. So, though the article goes on to explain more innovations in the history of computers, I really don’t get it enough to put it in my summary.

....I am now done with the summary.

Ultimately, what Gillmore is saying with this article is that by 2001, all the necessary entities were in place for blogs to be the new flourishing source of personal journalism, and the events of 9/11 gave people one big push to get started. Gillmore however, fails to address in any sort of way whether this new turn in journalism has had positive or negative affects. I don’t have an answer to this either, but i do wonder if these new “sources” of information are sourcing out a lot of wrong information, inciting a lot of anger and panic with untrue facts. But then again, major information sources such as newspapers and television networks are no more truthful or informative, they just have a bigger and shinier mask to hide behind. Like Dan said, rarely do i learn more from the news on channel 7 then that there was another shooting in Bell, Mariah Carey might be pregnant, and the weather tomorrow is going to be between 60 and 70 degrees (which never a surprise considering its California). So...

......that the end of my precise.

A Surprise Treat Tomorrow

What might it be? Oh, so exciting!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ready to go to the moon?

Richard Branson builds 10,000 foot runway to take commercial space flight. Not so fast, Branson, you left out how much these "commercial flights" might cost. If you're mad because you have to pay more for baggage now, can you imagine how much a third bag might cost going to the moon!
pack a lunch, because airline food sucks.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Loud TV Ads!

California Representative Anna Eshoo has introduced legislation to limit the volume of television advertisements...

What do y'all think the " R U BOT OR NOT ?" dilemma means?

Besides anything else, the design choices are just SO poor ...

Ow! and if you want to see one of the worst videos ever: Check it out!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

protect your rep

i guess before the internet acting stupid didn't effect your reputation...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Reminder About the Mid-Term Essay

In a week and a half you will be handing in a 4-5pp. mid-term essay in which you provide an argumentative reading of one of the pieces assigned and discussed in the course so far this term. As we discussed last week, I want your essays to reflect the connection we have returned to time and time again in our own discussions together over the term, the connection of the "technical/technological" with the "political." Again, I think there are two different sorts of perspectives you can take up in making your arguments (that is to say, in defending and/or exploring a claim about your chosen text through a close reading of that text itself): ONE, you can talk about the political situation of a text, how the political or historical or class or gendered or raced experiences of the author or of the folks the author is talking about (software coders, consumers of media, academics, CEOs, whatever) give rise to the perspective, assumptions, goals expressed in the piece -- even if the piece seems to declare itself in some way non-political or "neutrally technical" -- or TWO, you can talk about how the argument of the text, the figures and formulations it employs, either facilitate or constrain what is politically possible or important in an important way in your view. In other words, you can either talk about how the text is produced by the political world it arises out of in some significant way, or you can talk about how the text produces the political world into which it is released in some significant way. Of course, every text does both, but you should concentrate on one approach in respect to one text. If you want to know more about writing argumentative close readings, I recommend you read my short guide to this topic, Four Habits of Argumentative Writing.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

commercializing social networks
Start playing at 3.15mins
First computer to ever sing!

Off Topic -- Upcoming Elections

Check the status of your California Voter Registration

Download this form to Register to Vote in the State of California

Deadline to Register for November 2, 2010 Election: Your Registration Must Be Postmarked No Later Than October 18

FYI: Courage Campaign Progressive Voters Guide

Computer Learning English Language

"In a basement at Carnegie Mellon University, a computer is reading the web. It's been doing so for nearly nine months, teaching itself the complexities and nuances of the English language. And the smarter it gets, the faster it learns.

That computer is NELL, the Never-Ending Language Learning system, and it's the star of a project involving researchers from Carnegie Mellon, supercomputers from Yahoo!, and grants from Google and DARPA. The project's aim is an elusive but important one: to design a machine that can figure out the subtleties of language all on its own. As Tom Mitchell, chairman of the school's machine learning department explains, "we still don't have a computer that can learn as humans do, cumulatively, over the long term." NELL would be the first that does so."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

I'm Here Trailer from We Love You So on Vimeo.

You can watch the whole movie Its only 30 minutes and it made me think of some of the things that we have been talking about in class. It presents a very different set of issues that arise in the potential future of robotics, but it is a pretty good film none the less.