Nugget (Computer Lib/Dream Machine)

It matters because we live in media, as fish live in water.
(Many people are prisoners of the media, many are
manipulators, and many want to use them to communicate
artistic visions.)
But today, at this moment, we can and must design the
media, design the molecules of our new water, and I believe
the details of this design matter very deeply. They will be
with us for a very long time, perhaps as long as man has left;
perhaps if they are as good as they can be, man may even buy
more time—or the open-ended future most suppose
remains.

This passage stood out to me because the author couldn’t have said it better. Everyday we are engulfed in media whether this be in age old mediums like newspaper or to current technologically advanced medias like the internet databases. This is even more true because we are a generation which is living in the digital age. Information is so accessible and the portable devices that the majority of the population owns has a VAST amount of information just at the reach of our fingertips. Like they say in Spider-Man, “With great power comes with greater responsibility.” (or something along those lines). People don’t usually think about their responsibilities when surfing the internet, they aren’t accountable for their actions. I’m an example of that- that is often times I find myself so engulfed by the media that rather than me being the controller or maintaining dominance, the computer is sucking me in and pretty much dominating me. I find myself unable to pull my eyes from the screen, and possibly I may be the exception but in reality I doubt that is the case. I know many of my peers suffer from misusing the internet / social media and allowing those things to dictate their lives!

Progress Report

So far I think i’m doing alright with the course. I’m slowly becoming more comfortable with the format of this course but I still find my self struggling navigating between Blackboard, Rampages, Clubhouse, Thought Vectors etc… This is somewhat embarrassing because I would consider myself “tech-savvy” and well equipped to surf the internet. The assignments are interesting and challenging enough. The readings on the other hand can leave me perplexed and confused. I often find myself rereading passages and still not understanding what I’ve read. Hopefully during class we can go over what we’ve read and share what we thought the reading meant. In that way I can pick a valuable nugget!

For my research topic, I chosen to look into the Kony 2012 movement and how Youtube was used as a media to propagate the movement so effectively.

Nugget 2

“Men appear to think more naturally and easily in terms of goals than in terms of courses. True, they usually know something about directions in which to travel or lines along which to work, but few start out with precisely formulated itineraries. Who, for example, would depart from Boston for Los Angeles with a detailed specification of the route? Instead, to paraphrase Wiener, men bound for Los Angeles try continually to decrease the amount by which they are not yet in the smog.

Computer instruction through specification of goals is being approached along two paths. The first involves problem-solving, hill-climbing, self-organizing programs. The second involves real-time concatenation of preprogrammed segments and closed subroutines which the human operator can designate and call into action simply by name.”

The nugget that I chose was about the differences of computers and humans and how they think. It will be challenging to create an AI that can think like a human. This nugget stood out to me because recently I watched a video of an AI (can’t remember the name) that was in it’s prototype stages but would say things very human-like. One quote that gave me goosebumps was when the AI mentioned how she could feel simple emotions but was upset and confused because she couldn’t fully grasp those emotions. She mentioned how she felt like Pinocchio, how she was scared when they would leave her in the basement. Those comments seemed like she had human like emotions and were convincing enough for me to feel empathetic and sorry for her. Can she really feel those simplistic emotions? Simple enough to feel “soulless” and “scared” or was she just programmed in a way that made her say those things. Something about watching the AI made me feel sad.

EDIT:

The relationship between man and computer is  profound. Humans are so dependent on technology that if one day our technology failed us, society would crumble. We are very close to creating AI, gauging from the video I posted pre-edit. I wouldn’t be surprised if AI’s eventually took over humanity. Basic tasks such as working is part of the human experience. We have adapted and adopted technology to replace many of tasks so I wonder if AI’s were mainstream, would humans crumble and turn into lazy-worthless beings or would there be a positive outcome of creating a a symbiotic relationship.  This is a great example of my fears, that my peer has similarly thought of. On the contrary, my other peer thinks that more technology = more productivity.  The relevancy of internet in our time has been discussed, here.

Association Trail

Association Trail Pic

I didn’t know the specific details on how to accurately complete this assignment so I went with my gut and just started out looking up things relating to my nugget. My nugget was essentially my curiosity and fascination with how humans think through association, this lead me to a site about negative thinking behaviors and tips on how to get rid of such pervasive thoughts. After skimming through that site I impulsively went on Facebook and ended up “wasting” a good hour watching shared videos. One video that particularly grabbed my attention was about bringing ex couples together and making them ask questions about their relationship… this was hella heavy hearted and I immediately thought about my relationship that i’m currently in. I noticed that thought associations aren’t always so direct or rather controllable for me. This may be caused by a much weakened attention span due to the internet?

Nugget 1: As We May Think

As We May Think – The Atlantic

The human mind does not work that way. It operates by association. With one item in its grasp, it snaps instantly to the next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain. It has other characteristics, of course; trails that are not frequently followed are prone to fade, items are not fully permanent, memory is transitory. Yet the speed of action, the intricacy of trails, the detail of mental pictures, is awe-inspiring beyond all else in nature.

This nugget resonated too well with me when I read it. To understand how humans think and to discover patterns of thinking between humans is interesting.  Dr. Bush nailed it, for me at least, when he described my thinking patterns or how I think. Like he said, the human mind works by association, one thought leads to the next and so forth. In word relation games an interviewer could say “dog” and the respondent would respond with the first thing he would think of, like pet or food for example >:) Usually the next word would be similar to another persons response because humans experience similar events in their lives. How the human mind creates this “intricate web of trails” as Dr. Bush words is the fascinating part for me.

“How Does It Feel When I Think”

Reading this prompt I first asked my self if my thoughts always elicit a feeling, in the sense of emotions?  I would answer sometimes and other times not. There are days where my mind feels as if it is an entity of its own-something I have no control over. These moments sometimes occur for example during lectures when i’m day dreaming, especially those drowsy day dreams when you have limited control and your thoughts just drift by. To put in better words, I usually feel like i’m in a constant game of tag / hide and go seek. I am chasing the knowledge and thoughts I need and they are either found immediately or buried deep in the corners of my brain, irretrievable.

When I think of thinking in that manner, I feel dis-empowered. I think of thoughts like individuals that exist to tease and mock me. If i adjust how I think and think in a more artistic sense, I can just imagine scenes that are visually detailed.

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