If today’s technology had not already encompassed Licklider’s speculations for interaction between humans and electronic computers, I would not have been able to process some of the ideas in his article, Man-Computer Symbiosis. It is interesting to think of the respective roles of each part of this symbiotic relationship. Licklider makes an very valid point, one that remains today; he says “instructions directed to computers specify courses; instructions directed to human beings specify goals” – the key words being “courses” and “goals.” Humans for the most part have full control over what they find on computers, especially through the utilization of the handy-dandy search bar (which relates back to the associational way we think, discussed last class). The search bar, among other technical processes which I have yet to understand completely, provides the “courses” through which we reach our “goals.” Humans rely so heavily on computers today for the “clerical” activities Licklider describes. Think about how many times we use our calculators to do simple math; most of us do not even trust our own mental math today. The fact that our heavy reliance on computers has not compromised our control of them represents the sheer success of this symbiotic relationship.
On a side note, something I found kind of paradoxical for today’s time was the statement that established books as a “functionally important” component “with-in the context of man-computer symbiosis.” With dependence on computers increasing exponentially, it seems that libraries become more and more futile everyday. This is a major theme in news today and it shows how much our values have changed, all because of this successful symbiosis. It’s kind of bittersweet if you think about it. Current technological innovations, like the Kindle, the Nook, and the many assortment of smart-phones, cause the phasing out of a centuries old information source, the book. What’s the old saying? When one door closes, another one opens?
After taking the time to read through the reading assignment in The New Media Reader my interest in the From Memex to Youtube course grew even more. I took a particular interest Janet H. Murray’s Inventing the Medium. I suppose my generation has become so accustomed to the presence of digital media such as televisions, cameras, CDs, cell phones, and of course the INTERNET that we have taken for granted the importance of this relatively new form of representation. The Internet is transforming the way we do, see, and think about things but we do not even realize it until we consider where we have come from. The convenience of the Internet continues to encompass any amount of knowledge a library could provide. Murray compares this transformation of media to the emergence of print 500 years ago which makes me excited to be a part of such a large-scale shift. I can’t recall if they referred to this idea in the reading but this new way of organizing our thoughts is a movement, similar to the Age of Enlightenment or even the Industrial Revolution. Both pioneered innovative ideas and technologies, marking major turning points in their respective century; maybe Dr. C is right, maybe we really can “change the face of education” as we explore these advancing technologies.
This intense and sincere dedication to the mere union of the worlds’ information truly intrigues me. The Web seems to defy many natural characteristics of human beings – it exists purely because people want to SHARE! It exists across country lines, and even more, it exists for more than just financial motivation. Although my revelation is slightly delayed, I think we have a good thing going here folks. I am no longer of the impression that the Internet generates more negative than positive outcomes. Now if only the supporters of SOPA and PIPA could be forced to start reading The New Media Reader…
I am having flashbacks of Xanga and Myspace right now. Maybe I am not so new to the concept of blogging…hopefully this time around my attempt at participating in popular social media will be more interesting than my previous documentations of daily activities. Either way, life here in the hustle and bustle of Blacksburg is exponentially more interesting than my days spent as a middle school-er in good ol’ Dillsburg, PA.
Since I don’t know what to blog about quite yet, I will begin with my recent obsession with optical illusions. I spend nearly every free second I have scrolling through archives of optical illusions and trying to look at them in different ways to see different things. Most of them are illustrations such as the Rubin Vase…you know, the famous “vase or two face” illusion that used to be on the back of cereal boxes.
There are definitely an abundance of classics but I recently came across someone who is more dedicated to optical illusions that I am. This person painted rooms in a fashion that made them appear three dimensional. The indoor optical illusions are out of this world until you see the outdoor ones. The outdoor images show tape that spans across a vast area to mimic laser beams. It’s interesting to see how the viewpoint changes EVERYTHING. I suppose that’s the whole concept of “optical illusions.” Either way, the amount of work that must have went into these projects is unfathomable. Speaking of which…did you know a fathom is the average distance between a man’s outstretched arms, fingertip to fingertip? That’s only about six feet which makes most things pretty unfathomable if you ask me.
Well I guess that will suffice as my first blog post. Maybe next time there will be more rhyme and reason.
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