DIGITAL AMERICA

Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Power of Gaming: Virtual Reality Simulation & PTSD

// Posted by Piper on 03/31/2014 (10:39 AM)

Throughout our class discussions this semester, we have been grappling with the question as to how digital technologies change the way we live. One of the most interesting evaluations that I have encountered thus far is presented… Read more

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Throughout our class discussions this semester, we have been grappling with the question as to how digital technologies change the way we live. One of the most interesting evaluations that I have encountered thus far is presented in Rushkoff’s book, “Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now.” In chapter 1, Rushkoff discusses how games invite our ongoing participation and therefore allow us to avert present shock altogether, as we, the players, become the story and can act it out in real time. The power of gaming is seen in the fact that virtual reality has now become a useful new therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, especially with war veterans. While Rushkoff was initially inclined to write off the treatment as a way that technology is breaking the human contact between therapists and their patients, he quickly changed his viewpoint after he participated in psychologist Skip’s virtual reality simulation. Rushkoff said the simulation made him feel like something was resolved about the incident, and, the fact that that Skip was experiencing the simulation with him the whole time was comforting. In this way, technology actually united Rushkoff and Skip.

While we as a class have been quick to find faults in all technology—as entities that separate us from our “true” selves, from our relationships, from face-to-face conversations, etc.—I think it is refreshing to realize that technologies can enhance our relations with ourselves and others as well.

As we discussed in class, nowadays our online lives are no longer virtual, but are considered part of our reality. The virtual reality simulation, therefore, is very much real for the vets suffering PTSD—the smells, sounds, sights, etc. in the simulation incur similar reactions that occurred in the original incident. The simulations can help treat PTSD because the re-creation allows the patient to relive the incident but from the safety and distance of a computer simulation without facing any real danger. While it might seem counterintuitive to re-create the past in order to live in the present, it appears to be an effective tool for people to isolate the old memories and reactions that are repressing their present lives.

This YouTube video shows the process that occurs in a virtual-reality-based treatment. In addition to having the patient experience a virtual reality simulation, Skip also has him talk to a virtual therapist. Interestingly, the patient was at ease talking to the therapist and even admitted that it was comforting because he knew the virtual therapist wouldn’t judge him. I was not surprised he felt that way, but am struggling with understanding if a virtual therapist can fully replace a real human. This concept of technology replacing humans is one that Sherry Turkle describes as “haunting” in her article “The Flight from Conversation.” We humans are starting to doubt our abilities to connect and comfort others and instead pass off those duties to technology, like a baby seal robot: “We expect more from technology and less from one another and seem increasingly drawn to technologies that provide the illusion of companionship without the demands of relationship” While perhaps there are benefits to a virtual therapist, I would find it frustrating to “talk” to someone who had no experience in human life and who could not relate to my feelings. The virtual-reality simulation, however, seems to be able to balance the relation between technology and human contact by using technology to help the therapist connect with the patient through re-creation. What do you think?


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No Time Like the Present

// Posted by Cora on 03/30/2014 (8:13 PM)

According to Douglas Rushkoff, a media theorist and author of Present Shock, everything happens now.  So, what does that really mean?  In the first two chapters of Rushkoff’s novel, we are introduced to the meaning of “present shock”.  Rushkoff argues… Read more

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According to Douglas Rushkoff, a media theorist and author of Present Shock, everything happens now.  So, what does that really mean?  In the first two chapters of Rushkoff’s novel, we are introduced to the meaning of “present shock”.  Rushkoff argues that individuals have lost their capacity to take in the traditional narrative because the future has become “now” and we are constantly adapting to the new and unpredictable challenges it presents.  As a result, he continues, we have developed a new relationship with time on a fundamental level.  We are so preoccupied with living in the technological now, which is always active and changing constantly, that individuals are increasingly losing their sense of direction, personal goals, and future altogether.

This idea of a widespread narrative collapse is a significant aspect in the idea of present shock.  The traditional use of linear stories to attract viewers through a sort of shared journey has been replaced with unintelligent reality programming and TV shows.  I think Rushkoff’s argument is a completely accurate one.  In my generation, individuals have lost their ability to fully absorb information through this kind of story / narrative form.  We constantly feel the urge for a change, a new piece of information, a distraction.  Although it is easy to relate this to our current and most popular social media networks, we can perhaps look at something a bit different.  Take music for instance.  Even a decade ago, the process of purchasing and listening to an album or CD was an experience in itself.  You waited for the release of this album, maybe even in line at a local music shop.  After, you might go home and listen to this album with friends or alone and listen to it from beginning to end.  When is the last time you did this? You saw a friend do this? You witnessed anyone doing this?  This imagined visual might even seem abnormal or even weird in our current world.  I believe this is why mashups were created and became so popular within the last decade.  Why would you listen to one song when can get pieces of a few of your favorites within only 2 and a half minutes?  Digital technology is responsible for this ongoing change among individuals attention span and ability to be present in a moment.  In our generation, there is a sort of tangible anxiety and impatience among us that is only perpetuated by digital technology.  Think about how many people you see daily, scrolling through their Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter every few minutes waiting, almost yearning for something to grab their attention or excite them. This never-ending digital feed has caused a lack of appreciation for quality over quantity.  In turn, it depreciates our ability to focus and separate our real lives from our digital ones.

With the creation of the Internet, it was largely assumed that individuals would have more time to themselves, not less.  People might be able to work from home, from their bed even, and complete tasks that they would normally have to go into work to take care of.  This assumption, however, was based on the idea that technology would conform to our lives when, in actuality, the exact opposite happened.  As Rushkoff suggests, human time has become the new modern commodity.  People can no longer extract themselves from our overpowering digital world—they are always at its beck and call.  Whether it is a buzz from a tweet, call, or text, the interruption of technology is a common and constant one.  In turn, face-to-face conversations and meaningful opportunities are diminishing.  These shared experiences are being replaced with the “shared” experience of being distracted by technology and our devotion to it.  This relates to Rushkoff’s coined term “Digiphrenia”: this idea that because technology allows us to be in more than one place, individuals are overwhelmed until they learn how to distinguish the difference between signal and noise information.  Again going back to this idea of quality vs. quantity, it seems as though we are starting to value quantity at an ever-increasing rate.   I found this idea of being able to live in two different worlds to be particularly interesting— not only are we able to dip into different worlds at any given time, but we are able to project a different “self” as well.  As we have previously discussed, individuals can create and advertise any sort of identity they choose to and shift worlds at any point in time.

In my opinion, technology has caused us to be increasingly absent from the real “now” in order to be present in the digital ever-exisiting one.  We are collectively sharing a moment of “not sharing” that is deemed acceptable under the guise of  technology.   In turn, individuals’ ability to be completely present, mentally and physically, in any environment or situation is becoming increasingly rare.  Rather than experiencing what is happening in the moment, we find ourselves wondering what is going on in another moments, moments somewhere else with different people.  This “present sock” syndrome is only propelling feelings of constant anxiety, impatience, and seemingly unattainable satisfaction in our world, especially among my generation.  We are letting technology dictate our lives and consume our real and valuable time in exchange for mere seconds of shallow excitement, gossip, or news.

 


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Rushkoff’s Present Shock

// Posted by Eliza on 03/30/2014 (8:11 PM)

Douglas Rushkoff’s new novel, “Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now,” describes his feelings towards the digital age and the way he views our society as a whole. He believes that in our world, it is impossible to multitask. You are… Read more

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Douglas Rushkoff’s new novel, “Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now,” describes his feelings towards the digital age and the way he views our society as a whole. He believes that in our world, it is impossible to multitask. You are totally invested in one thing, that you are unable to hear or do the other. Rushkoff introduces this term, “present shock,” simply meaning that we have do not have the ability to cope with the present. When you collapse the narrative that were used to having, that is when you become stuck in present shock. Rushkoff also talks about our real vs. online lives, and the difference between them. He believes that you are not the same in both, and thus you are living two opposing lives. However, I disagree with him. In the digital world that we live in today, our real lives and online ones are combined. When you post pictures on Facebook or upload videos on youtube from a concert you recently attended, those images are your real life expressed online, not two totally different lives. Rushkoff believes our online lives are taking over. If I made the argument that when you attend a concert and spend most of your time videoing it, you are still mentally present at the concert, Rushkoff would disagree. He would say that you are so engrossed in your mobile device that you are missing out on the actual show.

Although it annoys me people on their mobile devices or iPads at concerts, I still do believe you are retaining the concert and living within the moments of it. I would argue that we are able to multitask depending on the situation. Just as Turkel has explained in her articles, the society we are living in is too invested in their phones. I completely agree with this view point. If we all took a second out of our day to just stop what were doing and look around, you’d be amazed at what you would notice, and how many people you’d see on their phones. My phone recently got stolen the other day and I will admit not having it for a couple hours made me on edge. At first it was nice, however playing a division one sport in college and receiving text updates regarding practice, etc. I needed a phone. It angered me a little that I had to instantly rush to the AT&T store to activate an old phone of mine. The idea of going a couple days without one was nice, but one that I couldn’t do. Its unbelievable how digitally tuned in we all are. However, at this point I think it is impossible to change it. Is it possible for our society and the one that we have grown accustomed to, to change their usage of technology?


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It’s Just a “Boyish Hoax” Ladies, Relax!

// Posted by Cora on 03/24/2014 (6:53 PM)

After our class discussions last week, I wanted to continue to focus on the topic of women and the Internet.  After reading Amanda Hess’ article, Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet, it became just how important this issue truly… Read more

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After our class discussions last week, I wanted to continue to focus on the topic of women and the Internet.  After reading Amanda Hess’ article, Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet, it became just how important this issue truly is in our current society.  In our digital age, it is far more likely for individuals to feel comfortable expressing themselves more freely than they normally would in face-to-face conversation.  This is, simply put, because we are able to hide behind a screen.  We do not feel the direct affect our words have on others, have control over who sees what we post, and do not have to take the risking our confidence.  Although this ability for open expression does yield various positive results, it is also poses very serious threats to individuals’ emotional and physical safety.  Where do we draw the line?  When is a threat made online taken as seriously as one made in person?  Whose responsible for this content and what shall be the repercussions for it?

One set of statistics in Hess’ article really stood out to me: Feminine usernames incurred an average of 100 sexually explicit or threatening messages a day while Masculine names received 3.7.  Similarly, she references a survey that Pew conducted gathering data from 2000 to  2005 which showed the percentage of internet users who participated in online chats and discussion groups.  Participants dropped from 28 percent to 17 percent, “‘entirely because of women’s fall off in participation’” (Hess).  After receiving both morbid death and terrifying rape threats, it is understandable why a woman would turn away from the Internet- delete her Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.  Should women really be so uncomfortable to the point where they have to do so?  Where they feel there is no other option than to “digitally disappear”?  This position women often face does not seem fair to me.  The use of the internet will only continue to expand and women should not have to choose between using the Internet and feeling safe.  The Internet is a crucial resource for work and social communication between family and friends.

A big part of this dilemma is the lack of law enforcement in regards to digital threats.  Hess discusses the experiences of numerous women who had been continuously threatened on the Internet.  Even after consulting the police, however, the situations largely remained unresolved.  As Hess asserts, “the Internet is a global network, but when you pick up the phone to report an online threat, you end up face-to-face with a cop who patrols a comparatively puny jurisdiction” (Hess).  With police dismissing online threats as non-immediate and therefore not serious, women are left alone with no real resolution or justice.  With this common pattern of police response, it seems as though they are suggesting that women should take online threats lightly.  Obviously, a woman can experience harassment anywhere, not just on the Internet, however, as our society continues to increasingly depend on the Internet, it is no longer something we can overlook.  Today, harassers are able to remain anonymous and target women for no reason whatsoever.  Who is to tell women that their fear and anxiety is not real?  Why is the seemly discrete message seen to be, just forget about it and move on?  Something is fundamentally wrong with this picture…

The Internet is not a safe place, and even less safe of one for women.  Although there have been various efforts to prevent online harassment and bullying, there are no laws that allow women to bring claims against individuals.  This is because the Internet is not an official workplace, but a never-ending universe that lacks individual accountability.  Even if multiple users attack an individual, there is no way to group them into one and take action.  The Internet allows a sense of mobility and liberation that causes—even encourages— individuals to say whatever they want to without any repercussions.  Although I understand the challenges of holding anonymous screen names accountable for their words, I think that it is something that needs more focus as it will only continue to have an effects on our society, on an individual level and on a larger scale.  The Internet has become real life and we need to start treating it accordingly.


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Violence in the Real and Online World

// Posted by Alexandra on 03/24/2014 (1:48 PM)

After our classroom discussion, I was really struck by the concept of “online life” and “real life”. In the beginning of the semester we talked a little about the disconnect between the two and at the time I truly… Read more

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After our classroom discussion, I was really struck by the concept of “online life” and “real life”. In the beginning of the semester we talked a little about the disconnect between the two and at the time I truly believed that certain aspects of online behavior only mattered in the online world and could remain there. After reading an article series by Quinn Norton about women on the Internet and the responses they often receive, I started to think differently about the idea of separate lives online and in real life. The main portion of the Hess article that struck me was when she was describing a situation in which she called the police to report death threats that people had been commenting on her twitter account. The police officer that responded to the call was hesitant to take action against the threats due to the potential infidelity of the situation. He raised the point that these threats could be coming from anywhere in the world and therefore could actually not be an imminent threat.

While it is true that this threat could be coming from thousands of miles away, should that matter? Is tangle nature of the threat the most important issue? I believe that this situation blurs the ability to separate the real world from the online world. While the threat could be impossible to physically happen, the real issue is the treatment of women in ALL arenas of life, both online and in person. This situation brings light to greater issue of why people, men particularly act aggressive and violent towards women. Violence towards women is a large issue supported by many different organizations throughout the world. Online is the next frontier for tackling this issue. I believe that the divide between online life and real life is what is causing online violence towards women to be devalued. It is imperative for our society to view violence towards women as one homogenous issue, not one that can be split into two different worlds. Online threats are just as damaging to the physical and emotional bodies of women as threats in person.

These issues open up questions of where our legal system will. As new technologies develop, our legal system must try it’s hardest to keep up in order to protect our citizens. The Internet and its global capabilities pose new threats to our legal system. The idea of humans as “netizens” raises the question how to regulate people in a realm without borders and clear lines of the authority. Despite the ambiguity of authority online, there is a obvious problem that needs a solution. Violent language and threats made to women, regardless of in person or online, are a dark side of communication and need to be prevented. As we move forward into a world that blends both in person and online interactions, how we will enforce law and order?


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Jaron Lanier and The Disappearance of the Middle Class

// Posted by Piper on 03/23/2014 (11:56 PM)

Timberg’s article “Jaron Lanier: The Internet destroyed the middle class,” includes a very interesting interview between Timberg and Lanier about his book, “Who Owns the Future?”, and the… Read more

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Timberg’s article “Jaron Lanier: The Internet destroyed the middle class,” includes a very interesting interview between Timberg and Lanier about his book, “Who Owns the Future?”, and the problems that arise when the concentration of wealth and power is in the hands of very few people.

One of Web 2.0 intellectual Jaron Lanier’s main arguments in his book, “Who Owns the Future?”, is that “free” information on the Internet is leading to the disappearance of the middle class. Lanier criticizes big Web entities, such as Facebook and Google, and their business model. One of the examples he gives in the interview is that Kodak (now bankrupt) employed more than 140,000 people, while Instagram employs 13. Where did all those jobs disappear? This concentration of wealth leads to an intense concentration of formal benefits.

Many of his arguments are also highlighted on The Colbert Report, where Lanier suggested the concentration of wealth is “unhealthy,” because “real wealth” is dependent on everyone else’s wealth– a community of wealth. If there is a concentration of wealth, then that is not real wealth, it is “fake, brittle, phony, it falls apart.” Open economy is a new development, and it is not sustainable.

Lanier argues that we have talked ourselves into a weird double-economy—if material things are what’s being distributed, then we believe in material markets, but if it is information, creativity, the work of comedians and journalists etc., we think it should be shared and open. But, there is danger in that, as this shift from a formal economy to an informal economy puts all the information and workers into one area, so regular people are not getting credited for their information and value their work provides. In the formal economy, people who make contributions to the system receive formal benefits such as salary and pensions. Therefore, Lanier’s proposed solution is that those people involved in the informal economy facilitated by the Internet be “rewarded in micropayments when their data enriches a digital network.” An example Lanier continues to highlight is the issue of online translators. The algorithms that make up the online translators take away people’s jobs, as these corporations “mine” peoples’ skills without crediting them.

Lanier does not completely discredit the development of the informal economy. He believes that there is beauty in the trust that these systems work on, but in a world that is still in most ways a formal economy, one cannot rely on informal benefits, such as cultural capital, to pay for rent or raise kids, etc., “it is not biologically real.”

In Lanier’s view, the benefits of reinstating the middle class distribution of wealth and power are huge—“democracy is destabilized if there isn’t a broad distribution of wealth.” This idea of democracy and the Internet is one we have been grappling with throughout the whole course, and is one that continues to be questioned as we explore further.


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Is the internet too large?

// Posted by Eliza on 03/23/2014 (6:47 PM)

In Ron Rosenbaum’s article, “What Turned Jason Lanier Against the Web?” he talks about Jason Lanier and his beliefs that the internet is becoming to vast. Lanier helped create Web 2.0 and was one of the inventors of our current… Read more

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In Ron Rosenbaum’s article, “What Turned Jason Lanier Against the Web?” he talks about Jason Lanier and his beliefs that the internet is becoming to vast. Lanier helped create Web 2.0 and was one of the inventors of our current digital reality. He used to be a large supporter of the internet however he now wants to “subvert the “hive mind,” as the web world’s been called, before it engulfs us all, destroys political discourse, economic stability, the dignity of personhood and leads to “social catastrophe.” Lanier views the internet as this database that everyone and their mom wants to be a part of and socially locked in.

Everyone today is on the internet. No matter what form, we are all digitally dialed in. It is the way our world works now, but do you think the internet is becoming too large? Is it so big that we cannot control it anymore? Lanier believes that if the internet continues to expand the repercussions could be catastrophic. He fears that social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. are expanding at too fast of a rate. I agree with Lanier. I believe that the Web is getting out of control and if the internet is not given restrictions the results could be incredibly harmful.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/aug/16/facebook-riot-calls-men-jailed

After doing some research, I came across an article about a riot that was first constructed on Facebook. Two men, ages 20 and 22 were both sentenced to four years in prison due to the casualties of the riots. It is an example like this that justifies Lanier’s reasoning that the internet is becoming too large. People are using the Web to create more violence. But what step needs to be taken to prevent future crimes? I think Facebook needs to somehow create a code that can read your post before it is uploaded. If there is any sort of violent language in the post or comment than it cannot be uploaded. I do not know how that would be created but I think it could prevent many more hateful crimes. Do you agree with Lanier and his argument or do you think the internet should continue to expand? Even if we tried to control the internet, is it just too late?


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Copyright in electronic dance music

// Posted by Sarah on 03/09/2014 (4:29 PM)

Throughout our discussion on Tuesday about copyright I couldn’t help but think about how copyright affects electronic dance music artists today.  Like Girl Talk, most EDM artists have used samples and pre-recorded sounds from other artists in their songs.… Read more

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Throughout our discussion on Tuesday about copyright I couldn’t help but think about how copyright affects electronic dance music artists today.  Like Girl Talk, most EDM artists have used samples and pre-recorded sounds from other artists in their songs.  Not only this, but they also play each other’s and other artist’s songs at their shows.  This industry filled me with many questions regarding copyright.  How do they go about producing a new song?  Do they get permission with each track?  What about when they play songs at their shows?  With EDM becoming a major music industry now, I can’t imagine every artist taking their chances like Girl Talk did by not getting the rights to each song.  So, how is copyright affecting this industry?

 

After searching for different articles, I came to the consensus that the artists will for the most part pay to clear the track they want to use and then in the future a certain percentage for royalties.  Artists may also buy a “sample library” which provides them with a collection of sounds and the licenses to these sounds.  This is easy for an established artist to cover as expenses however for many up and coming artists in the industry these payments may deter them and they often choose to release tracks without the clearance for those tracks.  This is what Girl Talk seemed to do in the video we watched–release songs with different samples and hope nothing would come from it.  Scott MacDonald outlines in his article that fair use does not apply very much to cases with sampling and remixing, although it is the only defense for a up and coming producer.  A producer could claim that they are not using a sampling for commercial use and that they distorted the sample enough to make it a new sound.  As for playing songs at a show, clubs often will have a blanket licensing payment which makes DJs able to play whatever songs they want.  This then allows DJs to be more creative with their samples at clubs because they won’t have to worry about copyright.

 

With electronic dance music on the rise these copyright laws are definitely being violated more and more by new artists who can’t afford to pay to clear a song.  Although this is risky we saw how with Girl Talk he was never punished for doing so.  The biggest DJ names out there clearly have the funds to pay for copyright for all their hits that come from sampling other’s work, however it leaves little opportunity for new artists trying to make a name for themselves.  This genre also creates a fuzzy line with artists remixing each others work everyday and making music that is very similar.

 

Just recently there was a case between two DJs in which Deadmau5 claimed that Wildstylez sampled the Deadmau5 song ‘Some Chords” in his new track.  Using the same chords across the two different genres of each artist, Deadmau5 proved to be correct and the other DJ took down his work.  There was a similar case where will.i.am and chris brown collaborated on a song that they ripped from two relatively unknown producers.   This is happening more and more in the electronic dance culture  due to the nature of the industry.  I’m just wondering if anything will be done within the industry to make these gray areas clearer, or licensing easier or cheaper with royalties growing once a song is profitable.


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Do Copyright Laws Protect Ideas or Limit the Sharing of Knowledge?

// Posted by Cassaundra on 03/06/2014 (5:26 PM)

I found our readings and discussions about copyright laws and infringement this week to be some of the most interesting and intricate material we have tackled to date in this class. I agree with many of the ideas set forth… Read more

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I found our readings and discussions about copyright laws and infringement this week to be some of the most interesting and intricate material we have tackled to date in this class. I agree with many of the ideas set forth in Rip: A Remix Manifesto. The first point of the manifesto, that the present always builds upon the past, can hardly be disputed. Everything we enjoy today can most likely be traced back to developments made over time on an original idea: types of clothing, types of houses, the way we read and conduct research, etc. After watching the documentary in its entirety and reading both the “GoldiBlox” and “Beauty and the Beast” case studies, points two and three of the manifesto (“the past always tries to control the future” and “our future is becoming less free”)  are also difficult to deny. Brett Gaylor’s main point in his documentary is that the intimidation factor imposed by large companies prevents many creative ideas from ever materializing as people are too afraid of getting sued and having to pay large sums of money in legal fees and copyright fees. While Girl Talk has not been arrested, he and his family live with a constant sense of nervousness that it could happen at any moment. Copyright laws were originally created with the good intention of protecting one’s ideas. However, it is my personal belief that the laws now impose too much control over the freedom and exchange of ideas, and while they should not be eliminated, there should definitely be some regulation. In the case of music, I do not believe that mash-ups such as the ones Girl Talk produces should be slammed for copyright infringement. While the songs he produces mix popular songs together, the song he makes is a completely original work and should therefore be considered to be his own. Furthermore, many mash-up artists and listeners do not hear a mash up and suddenly disregard the work of the original artists. During the documentary, Gaylor shows a Girl Talk concert without playing the music as his fair use argument had expired. He expresses how much he wishes the viewers could hear the show as Girl Talk “dropped ACDC in the middle of the Black-Eyed Peas. People were blogging about it for weeks.” Many people, myself included, clearly hear mash ups and still credit the work of the original artists while appreciating the originality of the mash up as well. This goes along with the way Girl Talk compares what he does to science. Copyrights, patents, and the like “hold back knowledge exchange” as they limit the ability of ideas to build off of each other. In science, this is particularly detrimental as collaboration is necessary to achieve discovery. A scientist might be close to developing a cure for cancer but cannot proceed if part of his or her idea is patented. In my opinion, copyright control to this degree is detrimental to our society.

There are cases, however, wherein it is right to impose copyright. One case of this might be when someone tries to take an idea that stands for a clear message and manipulate that same idea to represent something completely different. This happened in the case of Mickey Mouse, as discussed in the documentary. Walt Disney is considered to be brilliant because he “took work that was in the public domain and updated it, and made it relevant for our age.” His work “continued the conversation of a culture.” One of the most famous examples of this is the creation of Mickey Mouse, which stemmed from Steamboat Bill. Walt took the idea of Steamboat Bill, but made it completely different as a mouse played the main character, and Mickey soon became the symbol of Disney as a company that produced wholesome family fun. Because Mickey so clearly stood for a company with a wholesome message, it is not right for someone to take Mickey and try to turn him into a “drug dealing revolutionary” as a comment on society. While they had Mickey stand for something different than the original, using the exact same character to convey a quite opposite message than intended by the original is stealing a character. Looking at the case of GoldieBlox and the Beastie Boys presented in Wired, I believe the Beastie Boys are in the right due to the company’s overreaction and the original intent of the Beastie Boys. In their letter, the remaining Beastie Boys wrote that they

“were very impressed by the creativity and message behind your ad. We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering.” However, the letter continued, “your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads. When we tried to simply ask how and why our song ‘Girls’ had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US.”

Under the fair use clause, it is alright to use copyrighted material in the name of exercising free speech to make a point. The song is used in the ad as background music clearly trying to appeal to a generation of adults who listened to the Beastie Boys as teenagers, who now likely have young children. As this is an appeal rather than an argument, it would not be considered fair use. The main area where I agree with the Beastie Boys over GoldieBlox is when they state that they agreed to never permit their music to be used in product ads. As the original creators of the song, it is their right to include that provision and it should not be violated. GoldieBlox overreacted by suing the Beastie Boys in response to their innocent question.

What do you think about these cases and copyright regulation? In our group, we discussed artists only having to pay fees if they begin turning a profit from something that incorporates someone else’s work. Do you think this is plausible? Or are copyright laws succeeding at keeping ideas safe?


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Too Many Ambiguities

// Posted by Emily on 03/05/2014 (9:28 PM)

The two articles for Thursday posed some really interesting questions and. First, I want to point out a few things in the story about Aaron Schwartz. As mentioned in the article, Aaron’s family declared publicly that the government’s pursuit of… Read more

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The two articles for Thursday posed some really interesting questions and. First, I want to point out a few things in the story about Aaron Schwartz. As mentioned in the article, Aaron’s family declared publicly that the government’s pursuit of Aaron’s arrest contributed to his suicide. Is it really fair to say that? We have debated back and forth so much throughout class that the government either is doing too much or too little when it comes to safety, protection, prosecution, etc. on the internet. We seem to not be able to decide the exact role the government should play. We say by spying the government is exerting too much power and invading too much privacy. When talking about all the hackings, riots as a result of social media, etc. we say that the government is not doing enough to prevent social catastrophes. So where is the line drawn? I am also confused about who and why the government decides to pursue in these situations. Obviously after all of the information we’ve learned thus far through articles and class, partaking in the risky business of the internet has become a pastime for a lot of people in our country. I don’t think it is necessarily fair for the few who are actually targeted and then prosecuted. I think it is taking it too far as to say the government played a role in Schwartz’s death. It also makes me question to what extent is something illegal or even wrong? This question is further analyzed in a quote from the genius himself– “Is sharing a video on BitTorrent like shoplifting from a movie store, or is it like loaning a videotape to a friend?” This is obviously an extremely gray area as typically this cannot be addressed unless the situation actually occurs. However, in terms of justice and establishing a finer line between the two, I think this idea needs to be addressed and a clear decision needs to be made. It will make virtual and real life much easier. I think one of the main problems is that people don’t necessarily know what they are doing is wrong. For example, the maid of honor who sings her speech to love story by taylor swift, only changing some of the words and completely keeping the tune, probably doesn’t realize that is technically illegal. But should that really be illegal? I don’t think so.

As for the Lanier article, he makes some pretty harsh claims. Coming from the inside out though, he is hard to completely ignore. He believes the massive use of the internet is shrinking the economy, exemplified in programs such as Facbeook and Google Translator. On this point, I disagree. How can Google translator, something that allows us to connect with other languages and cultures in a more efficient way, be shrinking our economy? Facebook has made billions of dollars (maybe not so ethically), creating jobs, innovating new ideas, and has expanded the world to be a much more connected place.

 

 

What would happen to suicide rates if the Internet did not exist the way it does? That is, no social media sites existed, etc. I would like to think rates wouldn’t be so high, but I don’t think that would be the case. I think that bullying has been in existence for decades, it just appears to be on the rise because we are now able to document it, publish it, and publicize it– The way we hurt each other has evolved. (Keep in mind that suicide is ranked as one of the top three causes of death in the 15-44 age group). This also feeds into another point Lanier makes, which is that anonymity is a “poison seed.” –the way it doesn’t hide, but brandishes the ugliness of human nature beneath the anonymous screen-name masks. Do you think the world would be a happier place without the mayhem of the Internet? I honestly do.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00v8lnq/The_Report_Suicide_and_the_Internet/

A podcast discussing the severity of suicide and the internet.

http://www.submitthedocumentary.com/screenings/

the trailer for a cyberbullying documentary


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Copyrights… Where Do We Draw The Line?

// Posted by Kevin on 03/05/2014 (5:05 PM)

We’ve been discussing the concept of copyrights and how they function in regards to music and film.  In many respects, I believe that copyrights are necessary because they protect the rights of the artist.  However, many people believe that… Read more

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We’ve been discussing the concept of copyrights and how they function in regards to music and film.  In many respects, I believe that copyrights are necessary because they protect the rights of the artist.  However, many people believe that changes need to be made to how they exist and function in modern society.  In most cases, it does not appear that people believe that we should truly eliminate copyright services.  Obviously most individuals still acknowledge that artists deserve some protection over their material, but I think for most it is a matter of changing policies to fit better with our modern, tech-based society.  For example, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was placed into action in 1996.  I think we all can agree that the term “digital” has changed greatly since that period of time.  Thus, does it not seem that we should make some efforts to better equate ourselves with the tech-culture of 2014?  There is certainly evidence that certain actions need to take place, given that lines for copyright policies are very vague, and the way that we draw these lines seems to depend entirely on the individuals involved in the dispute.

Consider, for example, the situation with Goldieblox versus the Beastie Boys (http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/11/goldieblox-beastie-boys-girls-removed/), where initially the Beastie Boys insisted a Goldieblox commercial be removed because it too closely resembled their song “Girls.”  The lyrics had been altered, yet the beat was the same and anyone who was familiar with the original Beastie Boys song could recognize its origin.  However, Goldieblox fought back by presenting the Beastie Boys with a lawsuit for insisting the commercial be taken down.  At first glance, it seemed absurd to place the Beastie Boys with a lawsuit, yet in the end, Goldieblox won because their song was different enough that it did not violate the Beastie Boys’ rights as artists.

If you happened to watch the video, I was suppose it is different enough from the regular song that maybe it seems passable that the commercial remain on air.  However, the video, and situation as a whole, raises a lot of questions regarding where we should draw the line on what is “different” enough that it does not violate a copyright policy.  Could you possibly just change a couple words in the refrain and consider it a completely different piece of intellectual property? Could someone rip the beat from a song, create their own lyrics, and then sell the similarly produced song for a profit?  Our current copyright policies make these questions very difficult to answer.  In fact, in the film, Rip: A Remix Manifesto, mash-up artist, Girl Talk, showed the U.S. Register of Copyrights, Marybeth Peters, how exactly he mixes a song to create one of his mash-ups.  Throughout the process, Marybeth looked very intrigued and impressed by Girl Talk’s work.  However, when they finally asked if his work would be violating any copyrights regulations, she responded that it “depends.”  Essentially, it depended on who exactly using the song would offend and to what level they would be offended.  I find it very troubling that even someone in a position like Marybeth cannot make a determination regarding the law until someone brings it to her attention.  In the cases of most other laws, there is a clear right and wrong, which does not need to be interpreted so closely.  For example, if someone steals a car from another individual, that is against the law, and it does not take the explicit consent from the person who was stolen from in order to deem it a crime.  Thus, why is it so different with copyright laws?  Especially as we get deeper into the digital age, it seems necessary that we develop more clear depictions of copyright policy, so people can know what they can and cannot do with other individuals artistic creations.

A copyright law from 1996 just is not going to cut it in this day and age.  I believe that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act should be replaced by a completely new act that governs over the realm of copyrights.  The definition of digital has changed to such a large degree that it is unreasonable to assume we should still be held to the same standards.  Especially considering that artists get to maintain copyrights of their songs for up to 75 years, it seems that only the rights of the artists are being protected.  In this day and age, it seems about time that we take some steps to protect the consumer, or at least make the consumer fully aware of what they are legally able to do with other artists’ works.  In fact, we even discussed in class how covering an artist’s song on YouTube can even be considered a copyright crime, yet we were all stunned because there are so many placed online.  It really does seem to come down to exactly who gets upset, and to what degree, that determines whether someone is actually in violation of copyright law.  Moving forward, as music and video becomes increasingly web-based, some degree of copyright reform appears necessary.  It’s 2014, and we should develop some clear standards on where to draw the line with copyrights.


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Computers in the classroom: Problematic or progressive?

// Posted by Molly on 03/03/2014 (12:22 AM)

 

Before reading the article “The digital Divide Is Still Leaving Americans Behind”, I always thought of the digital divide more so as a distinction between age gaps and computer literacy, not so much by socioeconomic status.  The numbers speak… Read more

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Before reading the article “The digital Divide Is Still Leaving Americans Behind”, I always thought of the digital divide more so as a distinction between age gaps and computer literacy, not so much by socioeconomic status.  The numbers speak to the fact that America is indeed a nation digitized.  What is most concerning is the impact internet availability and usage is having on the political and social side of America.  Interestingly, the initial concept of the internet was created as a medium of unity, free of any hierarchy, however today it is now only further perpetuating the very things it intended not to, including a nation deeply separated according to socioeconomic standings. With jobs and college applications almost exclusively available online, homework assignments, news mediums and even healthcare, the need to be plugged seems to be more important now then ever. Susan Crawford telecommunications expert and former white house official even goes as far as to saying that fast and reliable internet is a basic human right. The digitization of America and this new dichotomy seems to only further disadvantage the ones who need help the most.  Do you think  the Internet should be considered a basic human right? Or do you think this is going to far? Do you think this is a “poor persons” problem? The markets problem? or rather a problem for society as a whole?

 

I also found it alarming that some middle and high school teens didn’t know what Times New Roman font was or how to save a word document, but can still maneuver their way through twitter and other social media sites. By giving students “smart phones” in hopes that it will be used to further education may sound good in theory, however I think can be problematic then anticipated.  Incorporating too much technology into education is a slippery slope, especially into social media, technology obsessed generations. I find it interesting that our generation specifically is targeted for being technology “junkies” and often criticized for being glued to our devices, but what do people expect, when we are basically required to be plugged in to function in society? I realize that incorporating technology into the classroom is just the evolution of education, attempting to adapt to the times, however I think it is beginning to take on to large of a role.  Ipads have replaced notebooks, “smartboards” have replaced blackboard and chalk, and “blogging” and other online resources are often required aspects of our curriculum, posing the question is society trying to keep up with us or are we trying to keep up with society? I think it is incredibly important to have technology play a role in education, but I do think it we are getting further and further away from some of the fundamentals of education, creating a whole new playing field, at the expense of poor, lower class Americans. Do you think technology has too large a role in education? Do you think this a good thing or a bad thing?

 


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Dating in the Digital World

// Posted by Mia on 03/02/2014 (11:45 PM)

By: Caroline Andryc, Eliza Breed, Piper Brighton, Allie Deering and Mia Webber

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9zNvamo5z4

http://youtu.be/Y9zNvamo5z4

For our group project, we decided to focus on the impact of digital culture on romantic relationships.  As seen in the video, social media… Read more

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By: Caroline Andryc, Eliza Breed, Piper Brighton, Allie Deering and Mia Webber

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9zNvamo5z4

http://youtu.be/Y9zNvamo5z4

For our group project, we decided to focus on the impact of digital culture on romantic relationships.  As seen in the video, social media and technology are very present forces in our society and seemingly necessary for a relationship to function.  In order to explore this complex topic, we looked into the ways in which social media and technology both negatively and positively affect relationships. Advances in technology have allowed people to connect and communicate in new and incredible ways.  Applications such as Facetime, Skype, Twitter, and Instagram provide people with the opportunity to communicate 24/7,  regardless each individual’s environment.  According to Pew Research Center’s article  Couples, the Internet, and Social Media, young adults are more likely to report feeling closer to their spouse or partner thanks to technology.  According to their survey, 41% of 18-29 year olds in serious relationships have felt closer to their partner due to online or text message conversations and 23% of 18-29 year olds in serious relationships report resolving an argument using technology that they were having trouble resolving in person.  At the same time, young adults are more likely to report tension in their relationships over technology use, as 42% of cell phone-owning 18-29 year olds in serious relationships say their partner has been distracted by their mobile phone while they were together.  It is evident that digital culture can affect romantic relationships in multiple ways.  The aim of our project is to investigate its various influences while taking into account the recent Pew survey on how American couples use digital technology to manage life, logistics, and emotional intimacy within their relationships (Pew).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnuwjeTSksw

The following skit illustrates the positive impact of technology on relationships. The beneficial effects of digital communication are particularly apparent in long-distance relationships, as it allows the couple to connect regardless of their individual environment.  Through the mainstream digital networks such as: Facetime, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, couples are able to maintain a constant connection. These technologies have allowed couples to breakaway from the impersonal and monotonous phone calls to the face-to-face emotional video conferencing calls. Especially present in long-distance relationships, couples now have the ability to electronically see each other everyday, which can contribute to a stronger relationship. Technology only continues to grow exponentially, as subscribers to the new iPhone 5 have witnessed, people can now use Facetime without WiFi, a feature that was only recently released. This has allowed couples to communicate via video conferencing even more and be a part of each others lives no matter where they may be. Current technology helps with the logistics and communication of a relationship, making it easier to strengthen the bond between two people.

As the Huffington Post declared in the article, “Long Distance Relationships May Benefit From ‘Hug Shirts,’ Other Technologies,” romantic relationships are now not as challenging as they used to be due to the abilities of mainstream social media: “As communication technology has improved over time, it’s helped long-distance couples stay in real-time contact and enjoy conversations almost as if they were sitting face to face.” With applications like, FaceTime and Skype which now have the capacity to work wherever the individual may be, relationships no matter the distance have the opportunity to evolve and become even more closely-knit. Without the assistance of video technology, couples would not be as eager and enthusiastic about long-distance relationships. USA Today’s article “More young couples try long-distance relationships,” supports this statement, as Sharon Jayson discusses how common and popular long-distance relationships are becoming. She interviews a couple, Rachel Goldstein and Ben Kuryk who met in college and have now decided to continue their relationship no matter the distance between their new post-graduate jobs. The 1,055 miles between Goldstein and Kuryk does not seem so far while they’re communicating via FaceTime and Skype three to four times a day. As Goldstein declares, “”We’re professionals at this.”” A recent study in the journal Communication Research discovered that “as many as half of college students are in long-distance relationships, and up to 75% will be at some point.” Due to the vast capabilities of technology, couples no longer have to put their relationships on pause. Goldstein and Kuryk have been together for six and half years and in more than four different cities. Their relationship has lasted and ceased to perish solely because of the innovation of technology and the vast opportunities presented within social media. As seen in the USA Today article, it has proven that couples can withhold the long and grueling weeks and months of being apart, because of technology. Without the remarkable aptitude of technology, couples like Goldstein and Kuryk would not have the ability to maintain their relationship and ultimately see what direction it takes in the future.

It is obvious that without technology many relationships, long distance or not, would not last as long as they do today.  Social media and technology places that connection with one’s significant other in the palm of their hand, literally.  In our current society, it is beyond just phone calls.  The visual elements that modern technology incorporates, such as facetime and skype, allow couples to communicate face-to-face, which arguably fosters a deeper connection.  Conceivably, one could be in a long-distance relationship in which they are always “with” their partner.  I say “with” in quotations because although facetime offers far more connectivity than a mere phone call, the relationship without physical contact is limited.  Still, with apps like Facetime you could technically sleep, eat, dance, watch tv, and engage in sexual foreplay.  This type of relationship is not for everyone, but for those that adhere to the cultural norms of the use of technology in relationships, a long-distance relationship would be much easier to maintain.  It is not surprising that long distance relationships are on the rise, our generation is accustomed to being able to communicate with their significant other whenever, wherever.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP56OBQ6yiA

http://youtu.be/VP56OBQ6yiA

In this scenario, the two girls are demonstrating the anxiety that technology can create in a relationship. Texting enables fast and instant connections between people, therefore, we expect quick responses: “As we ramp up the volume and velocity of online connections, we start to expect faster answers” (Turkle, Flight From Conversation). Our lack of patience in this matter can cause issues, as anxieties can amount if one sees that the message has been read, but a response has not followed fast enough. Additionally, texting allows us to “edit” what we want to say and consequently hide our feelings and true expressions to “present the self we want to be.” (Turkle). Social Media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have enabled people to “connect” with others indirectly; to gather “sips” of information about others that might not tell the whole story.

Zuckerberg claims Facebook was built to “accomplish a social mission — to make the world more open and connected,” however, “connection” should not replace conversation (Techcrunch; Turkle). With Facebook’s mission in mind, we take what we see on social media to be the true representation of peoples’ lives. In this scenario, access to Peter’s Facebook allowed the girls to make judgements and perceptions about his life and relationships, that might or might not have been accurate, which can lead to unnecessary anxieties as trust can become questioned.

Trusting social media as the primary source of information can become dangerous, as catfishing has become more prevalent. A catfish is someone who creates a false online identity, usually with the intention of getting someone to fall in love with you or to scam people into giving you money, credit, or other gains. Just recently, Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o claims he was a victim of a catfishing scam. Even more terrifying is the idea that catfishing is not exactly against the law. While some states can criminalize those that impersonate an actual person, there are currently no laws that punish those that create a fictitious person (Merritt Web). The ability of social media to enhance relationships is evident, as we discussed earlier, which makes it much more emotionally difficult for one to realize that they’ve been duped by a catfish considering the amount of time and effort that was probably invested into the online relationship.

The videos that we created showed people using social media to connect with others, either to enhance a long-distance relationship or to decode someone’s actions. But, because we rely on social media to connect with others, we can choose who we connect with. For example, if a relationship ends between two people, one can “digitally delete” that other person from their lives by de-friending them on Facebook, unfollowing them on Twitter and Instagram, and deleting them off your Snapchat friend list. Additionally, the act of breaking up with someone or ending a friendship can be made easier by texting and messaging that person instead of dealing with messy, emotional, face-to-face conversations; Turkle argues this point as well: “Human relationships are rich; they’re messy and demanding. We have learned the habit of cleaning them up with technology.”

It is virtually impossible in this day and age to find an example of a relationship exempt from the influence of digital culture. Because it has become such a widespread and mainstream mode of communication, it can be implied that the use of technology is inherently good, otherwise it would not be in constant use. Couples can use technology to keep in contact on a fast and consistent basis, which can lead to a deeper emotional connection. Technology gives couples in long distance relationships the opportunity and the choice to maintain the relationship they are in, and continue to see how it goes in the future. Yet the huge influence of digital culture on romantic relationships does not come without its downfalls. While technology can be a huge help in the search for a relationship and the maintenance of a relationship, it is not the sole factor that makes a relationship work. Websites such as Match.com and OKcupid may facilitate the search, but it still takes human initiative and eventual personal contact for a relationship to develop. And while constant communication may aid in maintaining a relationship, it can also set individuals up for unrealistic expectations on response times or the openness of their partner. Social media adds another layer of sharing to a relationship that can either facilitate the relationship or cause anxiety or a feeling of exclusion for one’s significant other based on what one shares with one’s friends on social media. While technology is a huge factor in modern relationships, its use and outcome is still greatly rooted in how an individual uses it. Technology may help with the nuts and bolts of a relationship, but it cannot create in-person chemistry and it cannot act as a substitute for emotional love.

Works Cited:

1. Dodson, Lauren, “Catfish and the Law.”

http://www.merrittwebb.com/b2-catfish-and-the-law/

2. Turkle, Sherry, “Flight from Conversation.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/opinion/sunday/the-flight-from-conversation.html?pagewanted=all

3. Shaw, Lisa. “What is Catfishing and Why You Should Care.”

http://parentingtodayskids.com/article/what-is-catfishing-and-why-should-you-care/

4. Constine, Josh, “Facebook’s S-1 Letter From Zuckerberg Urges Understanding Before Investment.”

http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/01/facebook-ipo-letter/

5. Couples, the Internet, and Social Media

http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/02/11/couples-the-internet-and-social-media/

6. Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/12/long-distance-relationshi_n_1271210.html

7. USA Today:

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/yourlife/health/medical/mentalhealth/2010-09-09-longdistance09_ST_N.htm


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Case Studies in Power Concentration and Being President Snow

// Posted by Rachel on 03/02/2014 (3:01 PM)

A lot of this week’s reading, and a lot of the ideas we’ve touched on, have to do with concentrations of power, and how digitization, the Internet, and processes like high-frequency trading allow greater concentrations of power in the hands… Read more

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A lot of this week’s reading, and a lot of the ideas we’ve touched on, have to do with concentrations of power, and how digitization, the Internet, and processes like high-frequency trading allow greater concentrations of power in the hands of those who, probably, already had a decent amount of power to begin with.

The Internet and network technologies seem to reinforce existing power dynamics as they relate to our understandings of education (formal over informal knowledge), or allow for further concentrations of wealth in the hands of the wealthy, while a growing portion of the population can’t afford the devices and data/broadband necessary to access the Internet or learn basic computer literacy skills.

This all got me thinking about a video I’d seen a few months back.  The video, “I am President Snow,” talks about how in a world that has massive inequality, while many people instinctively point to inequality as the result of greed or bad people, the fact is that our world does have massive amounts of inequality, but that it is less the result of greedy people doing bad things than the simple fact that the system supports, through no fault of anyone’s, a world in which those with access to resources can use those to get further and further ahead.  The idea is not that inequality happens because of bad people doing bad things, but that it happens because it’s the path of least resistance for most people.

The video is available here: I Am President Snow

I’d love to hear what you all think.


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Are Cellphones a Good Solution for the Digital Divide?

// Posted by Claire on 03/01/2014 (5:06 PM)

As college students we use technology in almost every aspect of our studying throughout the day. We type our papers on our laptops, read our textbooks on our ipads, and are in constant communication with our professors via email on… Read more

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As college students we use technology in almost every aspect of our studying throughout the day. We type our papers on our laptops, read our textbooks on our ipads, and are in constant communication with our professors via email on our smart phones. It seems unimaginable to think of coming to college and not having the basic knowledge of how to use Microsoft Word or even how to send an email. However in the article “The Digital Divide Is Still Leaving Americans Behind” it highlights a significant portion of our population that is still growing up illiterate on the computer. Reflecting back on my experiences not only enrolling in college but also registering in the beginning, not having access to technology and in particular computers would have put me at a significant disadvantage.

The article focuses on whether or not it was a human or civil right for students to have access to technology that is crucial in this day and age. Before learning more about this subject and having a discussion in class I would have never considered providing students with computers or Internet access a human right. However the more and more I think about it, the more I see it disadvantaging the students. It’s similar to not teaching lower income student’s math and then throwing them into a subject in college where math is the lining for all course material. While learning how to send an email is seemingly easier to learn than 12 years of algebra it still creates a huge gap between students. I have yet to encounter someone at the University of Richmond who is not literate on the computer. Is this because those underprivileged students couldn’t attend Richmond because of the lack of access of technology to apply or is it next to impossible to excel at school without the use of a computer.

 

One of the ways that some people were attempting to combat the lack of access to computers and Internet connection was with the introduction of smart phones. In a New York Times article “Industry Makes Pitch That Smartphones Belong in Classroom” it talks about an experiment that gave smartphones to students without computer access and they saw a significant increase in the quality of the students performance. It is important to note though that the study was funding by Qualcomm a maker of cell phone chips for smartphones and who wants to break into to education market. The study also discussed how the students were heavily monitored on their use of smartphones and the scope with which they were allowed to use their phones. Cell phones have always been seen as a huge distraction and I feel this isn’t going to change anytime soon. The New York Times article talked about how 10 states have school wide bans of cell phones for this very reason I feel like cell phones would be significantly harder to monitor without access to the phones activity directly. I also feel it may be frustrating sometimes to do a large amount of schoolwork on my phone. I couldn’t imagine typing out a long research paper on such a small screen and a small keyboard.

 

Whether cell phones are the right answer to weakening the digital divide or making sure every high school student is literate in computers before heading off to college something does need to change in the public education system in regards to access to technology. If we allow this divide to keep growing bigger it is only going to strengthen the income gap between classes because it is impossible to advance in the world today without a basic level of computer knowledge. Whether or not it is a human right or a civil right is still unclear and might remain unclear for years to come but the right to learn should be available to everyone no matter what.

Articles:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/16/technology/16phone.html?_r=2&

http://mashable.com/2013/08/18/digital-divide/


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