Leading Discuss Final Week of Class

We decided to look at what is next after the Information Age during the last week of class. Mike Wadhera’s “The Information Age is over; welcome to the experience age” fit perfectly into showing the transformation of peoples’ relationship with technology. It argues that we are in a phase of wanting stories to be told visually and receive more direct attention from one another. Snapchat was mentioned frequently in the article as a perfect example of the “Experience Age”. Wadhera stated, “The main input being visual and the dominant feedback being attention” describing Snapchat. I for one am skeptical about this trend. It can lead to more of a desire for visuals through platforms like Snapchat opposed to focusing what is happening in front of you. An experience should not be kept to yourself at all times for that I agree. It is enjoyable to see a loved one post a video or picture of an event seeing their joy but there is a line. Having to share your whole experience through platforms takes away from the point of actually doing something exciting or new. The phrase “Let me put that on my Snapchat story” is cringe worthy to me. Why? To let people know we are at Chipotle? Living in the moment in my opinion seems like such a better alternative or simply having a conversation while eating burritos opposed to documenting the event. I also feel entering an “Experience Age” implies that you must have a greater experience than another person. It creates a competition of who recorded a live concert better. That is why sharing everything you do visually does not create a true experience or truly show yours. You can not recreate somethings experienced or felt in reality. I do having platforms like Snapchat but do not let having such social media platforms become the center of my experience. Nor do I let trying to capture a moment affect another persons experience. The “Experience Age” Wadhera describes to be seems like a superficial experience to me. (“Experience Age” = VR of True Experiences)

Thoughts on Final Project

Cole and I decided to make a documentary for our final project. We asked a series of questions about the Information Age to friends of ours. They were all upperclassmen with varying majors. Three questions I found particularly interesting pertained to memes, favorite social media platforms, and pop culture representations of the Information Age. The trend in memes tended to be focused around simple funny images. Whether it was Spongebob Squarepants or a small animal in a funny pose, political memes were not amongst the popular answers. I wanted to know if any of my peers found political memes to be one of their favorites. Almost all answered with the fact political memes are amusing but at a high rate in volume. You can check Instagram or Twitter for a brief time and most likely come across a portrayal of Trump in various meme formats. The novelty of the memes lose their appeal with repetitive use in my opinion and could be a reason why political memes did not fair well in the survey. However, I was not surprised about the answers pertaining to what social media platform was favorites of the participants. The popular answers were Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. I think the reason for this can be explained for two reasons. First being the age of participants. All were betweens 20-22 and the popular answers of social media preference mentioned in this survey tend to be used by younger people. Facebook was referenced by some as only useful for connecting with family members or old friends. Facebook also has an older consumer population compared to Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat. Using one of the popular answers of social media preference is therefore not surprising because their peers are on the same platforms. Second off, this can be evidence of an “Experience Age” forming as discussed in class. That perhaps people prefer visuals and less for content in some cases. I think an “Experience Age” is occurring today. Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram all are platforms with extensive visuals. They provide an opportunity for people to feel as if they were with an individual attending a concert sharing their experience. My last takeaway from the documentary focuses on the pop culture representations people answered with. As people are aware, I love Black Mirror. I figured Black Mirror would be answered several times in the process of interviewing people. Unfortunately, only one participant answered with Black Mirror. Most answered were centered around satirical shows about events of today such as Family Guy or Saturday Night Live. The greatly differ from Black Mirror. I believe Black Mirror represents the worst case scenario of what can become of humanity with increasing technological innovations. The Information Age has been able to expand due to technology but the likelihood technology causes people to become uncivilized can not be ignored. One can argue that has already started to happen.

Week 13 Discussion

Marc Bain’s article “Nike’s Kaepernick ad is what happens when capitalism and activism collide” discussed the magnitude of influence corporations have over society. Until recently corporations tended to stay away from political or social movements, but that era has come to an end. Nike used Colin Kaepernick in their 30th anniversary ad of the slogan “Just Do it” and took a calculated risk. Kaepernick began to kneel during the US national anthem to bring attention to unarmed African Americans being killed by police. Although the ad does not explicitly comment on why Kaepernick chose to kneel during the anthem it stated, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” The ad generated both public backlash and support. Whether Nike included Kaepernick for public awareness of inequality present within the United States or an opportunity to increases profits remains open to interpretation. A pessimistic view of the situation would lead an individual to conclude the move was entirely business related. Nike has a generally younger consumer population and align with figures such as Kaepernick standing up for what he believes in. An additional problem arises with the sincerity of the political movement in commercializing the topic with a brand. On the other hand, one could argue Nike wanted to take a stand on social inequality and Kaepernick served as an outlet. Organizations such as BlackLives Matter commented on the ability of a large corporation such as Nike to use a controversial figure like Kaepernick and bring to light a political issue. I believe the motivations of Nike were for personal gain and an attempt to have the public be more aware of injustices taking place in America. A corporations main goal is to maximize profits and Kapernick helped Nike increase theirs. If the ad did not produce economic growth or Nike’s consumer population primarily be older, does Nike stop running the ad? Kaepernick would have been the party more significantly affected and Nike would have simply found someone else to replace him in the ad. However, even if Nike did stop running the ad, the message would have already been delivered. The ad allowed people to develop or expand upon their own political stance on the matter and commercializing the movement may not be as negative one is let on to believe. Capitalism has been and will continue to be an essential part of American peoples’ lives. A young girl or boy can see the Nike ad of Kaepernick and begin to wonder what is his story. I think future generations encountering political movements early on is crucial. Nike’s ad should not finalize ones beliefs, but at the minimum inspire people to want to know more. There is not a clear answer whether corporations should voice their opinions on political or social movements. Nonetheless I foresee practices of activism and capitalism colliding more over time. Nike’s Kaepernick ad set the precedent in the field. One thing for certain is the general public now will be a little more socially aware of political unrest with this trend.

Bell and Cooper

In deciding what to pick for my contributions to the class timeline I wanted to pick two events that changed the world and Information Age. Without a doubt, Alexander Graham Bell and Martin Cooper accomplished both of these. Bell and Cooper revolutionized the idea of communication. The telephone helped people connect regardless of geographic location through a landline. While the cell phone brought the power to an individual’s pocket not having to rely on a landline and be mobile while using the product. In both the cases of Bell and Cooper, there were ways to communicate through technology already. For Bell the telegraph and Cooper a traditional telephone. The motivations of Bell and Cooper to push what was deemed normal forms of communication led to two historical moments that changed the basic forms of telecommunication. However, the telephone and cell phone today seem to be almost taken for granted. It is routine to check your cell phone during lunch or make a business telephone call from a corporate office. Most people do not think twice of the technological feats apart of their everyday lives. In this sense, society is spoiled with the riches of the cell phone and telephone because most do not know of life without one or the other. If the telephone or cell phone were not apart of the world today repercussions would be significant and people would not overlook having the power of either. The work of Cooper and Bell in the field of telecommunication helped create a better tomorrow and should constantly be viewed with gratitude.

The Dark Web

The World Wide Web (WWW) offers a way for people to explore topics of interest and connect with one another in a way that was not conceivable before 1991. With the wonders of the WWW came the ability of individuals to partake in illegal activity through use of the Dark Web. I learned more about the complexities of the Dark Web upon reading George Hurlburt’s “Shinning Light on the Dark Web”. Hurlburt elaborates on the accessibility of the Dark Web using software such as The Onion Router (OTR). OTR conceals an IP address thus allowing users to roam the WWW anonymously. Due to software like OTR legal action against those taking part in illegal drug activity, arms deals, child pornography, and other crimes tend to be challenging. Law enforcement officials across the globe must plan to act as one and these efforts are expensive. Hurlburt concluded his article calling for a re-design of the WWW to fight against cybercriminals around the world. Within the current set up of the WWW, the Dark Web can not be erased and only distorted with help of law enforcement. However, the Dark Web does not only act as a way to take part in illegal activity for users. It can be used as an outlet for those wanting to escape oppressive regimes or simply wanting to have an anonymous internet experience. Douglas Evan’s article “Unpicking the mythologies around the dark web” focused more about the lighter side of the Dark Web. The word that caught my attention in Evan’s description of the Dark Web was comparing the service to a “frontier”. A frontier can be seen as barbaric and a test of civilization, while also emphasizing the stress of individualism. The Dark Web reflects all three ideas. Those not using the Dark Web for the negative explore intellectual forums or mindless trivial facts about life. Evan’s noted the importance of newspaper providers like The New York Times and The Guardian having a Dark Web version of their websites. These are examples of the Dark Web actually promoting a public good for those unable to practice basic civil liberties such as freedom of speech. My perception of the Dark Web has been changed after this week’s discussion and readings. I only focused on the negative side of the Dark Web and never realized the positive benefits. The Dark Web is not a simple service, but rather allows humanity to show their dark or light side.

Pop Culture Representations of The Information Age

Similar to the Information Age, pop culture is constantly changing and not staying stagnant. A testament of that can be seen in Alex Baratti’s article “The 25 Most Memorable Tech Moments in Pop Culture History”. I could not help but connect to several of the references in the piece. Back to the Future made me want to purchase the Marty McFly “space age” shoes designed by Nike. Depending on the magnitude of a specific pop culture item or trend, the social demand can be great. It makes marketing rather simple when a well known character like a Marty McFly is at the disposal of manufacturers. The creation of the Playstation is also mentioned and I can assure you playing video games was a big part of my childhood. In elementary school the age of play dates began and an essential part of the plan more times or not involved some kind of video game platform. My best friend and I began our friendship nearly fifteen years ago playing Nintendo Gamecube after school. For my generation, particularly males, a bond over video games as a form of recreation frequently was used as a way to connect. The game we played the most happend to be Simpson’s Hit and Run. Prior to reading the article I was positive the Simpsons would be mentioned at least once. There are so many examples of the Simpsons referencing pop culture from the Beatles to Elvis Presley over the years. The show has acted as one of the best manners to comment on pop culture for nearly three decades. It has inspired shows such as American Dad, Family Guy, South Park and The Cleveland Show. However, this article was published six years ago and pre dates several cultural changes as well as technological advancements. I am curious to see what a more recent article would discuss as the new pop culture that mass media or technology influenced.

Alan Turing

The article about Alan Turing was an excellent read in my opinion. Turing during his lifetime accomplished several impress feats. He broke the German Enigma code during World War II, developed the Turing machine, and took on the philsophical dilemmna of if a computer can be sentient in creating the Turing test. Unfortunately, Turing took his own life in 1954 because of the reprocussions of being “grossly indecent”. The theme of a man or woman being judged through societal restrictions has occurred throughout readings in the course and Turing is no different. He was an openly gay man in a country which prohibited such behavior, but I applaud Turing in being true to himself. Turing did not hide his sexual orientation and when put on trial openly stated what he did was not wrong. The manner in which the British governemnt handled the situation was cruel. Turing to avoid jail time had to take estrogen injections and could not even advance in the scientifc field that he helped create. The death of Alan Turing can be blamed on the British government. Turing was a war hero and an intellectual innovator within the scientifc community, but simply being “different” did not resonate with the British government. It was only fair Turing was pardonned by Queen Elizabeth II in 2013. One can not escape the wonder of what Turing could have accomplished next if he did not commit suicide. He only was 42 at the time of his death and should always be remembered as one of the most influential human beings in the scientifc field.