Week 4: Cyberspace, Cyberpunk & Timelines

Blade Runner, is a cyberpunk movie about a retired detective named Deckard and his mission is to find replicants on earth and kill them. Deckard eventually falls in love with a replicant named Rachel, unveiling the possible connection between a human and a robot. Is this possible in the future? Can robots eventually rule the world?

bladerunner

Rachel & Deckard Source: Blade Runner

“The power of computer users to simulate environments is central to much cyberpunk, with the computer user jacking into this virtual environment or cyberspace by some means: through spine, through eye sockets, through a chip in the head” (Butler, 2001).

With the creation of chips for humans now available in Australia, we could be moving towards a society in which we cannot differentiate between humans and cyborgs. To understand this further it is important to define Cybernetics, which is ‘a study of communication, command and control in living organisms, machines and organisations’ (Egan, 2016).

Lister (2009) states that the idea of cyborgs is not new, however it has different technological stages of development. He also suggests that life and technology has continuously converged and diverged, meaning that it will not disappear (Lister, 2009). It is here to stay. Although these concepts are quite difficult to come to terms with, it definitely is intriguing.

I understood that technology is forever developing and is part of my everyday life. I thought about Siri on my phone who can be witty, and even emotionally supportive. How is this even possible and how far can this go? It’s quite scary when I think of it.

I decided to look at the history of my iPhones over the years. Below I have a timeline of the advances Apple has made. The phones were fed to us slowly, with little improvements year by year. I accepted every technological development and didn’t think twice about Siri, and why she knows so much.

http://www.timetoast.com/flash/TimelineViewer.swf?passedTimelines=1322612

This was a very enlightening week and I now have a list of Cyber Punk movies to see over the holidays.

Reference List

Butler, AM 2001, Cyberpunk, Pocket Essentials, Harpenden, GB. Available from: ProQuest library. [ 28 August 2016].

Egan, Elizabeth 2016, ‘Week 4 Lecture ‘Cyber Space & Cyber Punk’, Griffith University, Brisbane, Semester 2, 2016.

Lister, M., Dovey, J., Giddings, S., Grant, Ian., Kelly, Kieran., 2009, New Media: a critical introduction, London: Routledge, 237-42, 281-3

 

 

 

Week 2 & 3: History of Communication to Mind Control

Egan (2016) gave a history of computing from ancient times in Week 2. The history of communication reveals the existence of the Kish tablet originating from the ancient Sumerian city of Kish containing inscriptions considered by some to be the oldest forms of writing known to mankind (Nguyen, 2016). Similarly, Williams McGaughey (2011) marks the Sumerians as the first inventors of writing. Unlike Nguyen (2016) who only discusses communication until the 20th century, McGaughey (2011) covers the history of communication until the Apple iPad launch in 2008. This was a great backdrop to my own pondering of communication and what it has become today.

Today, I have been using the iPhone since it was launched in 2008. My community’s behavior, more specifically my family and friends’ use of Apple devices has established my loyalty to them too. The ease of iPhone free messaging to other Apple users and the interconnectedness of all devices has reinforced my desire to use it over other offerings.

I do worry about privacy issues as I am aware Google and Apple are tech giants who are in the business of information collection and analysis. However, the trust Google and Apple have instilled allows myself and others to share personal details easily through their applications and services. Halpern (2011) describes Google as “an algorithm, in essence, an editor, pulling up what it deems important, based on someone else’s understanding of what is important.” That is very far from what I believe an innocent search engine does. Google seemed like an intelligent tool that was created to serve humans. However as Halpern (2011) suggests, searches personalized and we are served Google believes is best for us. The idea of mind control and use of data to target advertisements towards consumers is very real when this knowledge is obtained. It no longer seems far fetched that humans may well be cyborgs soon and a thought may create an action one day; that’s if it hasn’t occurred already. I looked into some recent inventions and the handy Cicret Bracelet seems to be very useful. Again, it seems like I would be the consumer that will turn into a cyborg!

Reference List:

Egan, Elizabeth 2016, ‘Week 2 Lecture Brief History of Computing’, Griffith University, Brisbane, Semester 2, 2016.

Nguyen, Tuan, 2016, The Early History of Communication, online, Inventors.about.com, Available at: http://inventors.about.com/od/timelines/fl/The-Early-History-of-Communication.htm [Accessed 14 Aug. 2016]

McGaughey, Williams 2011, Some Dates in the History of Communication Technologies, online, Worldhistorysite.com, Available at: http://worldhistorysite.com/culttech.html [Accessed 16 Aug. 2016]

Halpern, Sue, 2011, Mind Control & the Internet, online, The New York Review of Books. Available at: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2011/06/23/mind-control-and-internet/ [Accessed 18 Aug. 2016]