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The Dangerous Future

April 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Anonymous compliments? and bullying?

Throughout this course, we have focused on both the positives and negatives of technology through literature and film. However, even more concerning, is the twisting path technology is taking towards the future. Though at any moment we can hop on search engines such as Google for information or switch on our Xbox for a few moments of fun, there are also destructive forms of technology that we use in our lives everyday. For instance, in Christina’s post “If You Have Nothing Nice to Say…”, she talks about CollegeACB, a site for anonymous college users to post forums on ranging from topics such as “What is Rites of Spring?” to “What is the worst fraternity?”. Because any user can post anonymously, without any responsibility for the content, the comments can be vicious and cruel. Considering it has an addictive quality, many college students visit the site and the information spreads like wildfire. For all of the positive impacts technology has made in the past few decades, this certainly seems like a huge step backwards that promotes damaging and dangerous cyber bullying.

            Yet, the Internet is not the only place that can indicate technology’s turn for the worst. Dustin in, “The Blame Game”, shows us that even videogames are advertising themselves as a game your “mom would hate”. Usually advertisers try to pick affirmative slogans that are proactive and leave the consumer feeling good about their purchase. This video game, on the other hand, preys on the consumers desperate desires to play something forbidden, something hated by all parents. What kind of message is this sending to society? That technology has evil tendencies that your mom would hate? That you should disobey your mom to play these games? It seems as if the producer of these games was disobeying his mom when she told him how awful and idea this product was.

Not only can technology be a source of online danger, but it can also translate into real life. In “Online Orgy Cult”, Katie tells us a story of how she met a friend’s potential roommate online and formed a friendship that ultimately led her to visiting him for Lollapolooza. Luckily, everything worked out for the best, but she could have been in an extremely threatening situation. Meeting someone in person is extremely different than meeting them online considering the internet gives you the ability to be whoever you want. What if she had gone, only to find he was a crazed serial killer preying on children through social networking sites? Though that seems extreme, there are stories like that on the news more and more everyday. Unfortunately, though the internet connects people from around the world and brings us closer and closer, it also…brings us closer and closer. This means that though the benefits of a smaller world probably outweigh the negatives, we must be extremely careful on how we present ourselves online and how we translate our online relationships to real life. As Katie said, “the friends you make on Facebook are not supposed to fall into your real life.”

As we move further into the twenty-first century, we will continue to be awed with the progress technology makes and the seamless integration it will have into our lives. While this happens, we must be aware of the direction technology is taking, and make sure that it continues to grow in a positive, constructive way, and that we do not get trapped by the allures of sites such as CollegeACB, videogames your mom hates, or social networks that do not translate to real life.

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Superbowl XLVI 3D coming to….a TV near you?

March 17, 2011 Leave a comment

After reading and watching all of these “hi-tech” books and movies in class, I am left wishing that we had technology that allowed us to experience a matrix or travel to a space station base. Though we seem nowhere close to creating a “matrix”, or at least not like the one found in the movie, we are making great strides in visual technology, specifically 3D projection. Aside from all the 3D movies coming out, the concepts of 3D TVs is finally coming true. My first question when I heard about 3D TVs was “well how does that work?” 3D technology can be produced in a variety of different ways: stereoscopic capture, multi-view capture, and 2D plus depth. The basic idea of a 3D picture is projecting two images slightly off center, one for your left eye, and one for your right. This can be done using eyeglasses that separate the images for each eye. The TV can also split the images automatically for the viewer so that there is no need for glasses.

Given our experience with 3D movies, why wouldn’t we want our TVs to also project in 3D? First off, the starting price for a 3D TV is around 2,000 dollars. Assuming your tech savvy enough to buy a TV, you will probably invest in a 3D Blue Ray DVD player for around 400 dollars. Many of the TVs come with eyeglasses (4), however each additional pair goes for around 150. Since this is such new technology, there are no standards in the industry; therefore a Panasonic pair of glasses will not work with a Samsung TV. If you have a few friends come over, and you don’t have enough glasses, or the right brand of glasses, you can’t all watch the TV.

On top of this, there are not that many stations to choose from. ESPN and SKY 3D (the fist 3D channel), are two of the few 3D channels. Occasionally other channels will broadcast special programming in 3D, such as sporting events or movies, but there are not many channels that you can rely on for constant 3D broadcasting. Lastly, though the selection of channels is limited, what programs DO we want to broadcast in 3D? Do we really want to watch Oprah or Gossip Girl in 3D? I personally want 3D television to enrich my entertainment experiment, but for shows like Lost or 24, or the Superbowl and not for The Real Housewives of Atlanta or commercials for OxyClean . There is no definite line for what shows or programs should be broadcasted in 3D and which ones should stay in 2D because it is simply a matter of public preference. However, until this technology drops in price, improves in functionality, and expands in options, it will quickly phase out of the industry.

UPDATE: EVEN BUD LIGHT AGREES 

FaceTime: Bringing Us Together, or Apart?

February 22, 2011 Leave a comment

After class the other day, Professor Rejack mentioned that there was a new version of the MacBook coming out in the near future. Terribly embarrassed that I had absolutely no idea about this new computer, I immediately jumped online to do some research. Instead of learning about all the newest features, storage, or processing for the new MacBook – I found something much more interesting, Face Time for MacBook beta. This application, available since Octoberof 2010, allows apple customers to videoconference using either a MacBook or an iPhone.

One of the biggest public complaints about the iPhone 4’s Face time feature was the fact that it only worked between iPhone users on a Wi-Fi network. So technically you could not face time ANYWHERE. Yet, this problem was fixed with the Skype app. Skype allows you to face time with users on both Wi-Fi and the 3G network. iPhone users everywhere can face time, and now with the development of face time with MacBook, apple users can video conference just about anywhere.

What kind of opportunities does this open up for the average person? There have been many arguments that technology is a force of depersonalization; that people are beginning to have “cyber personalities”, completely different from whom they are in person. Our youngest generation feels more comfortable texting each other than picking up the phone to make a call. People no longer know how to write thank you notes or birthday cards. They are no longer taught social etiquette, how to interact face-to-face with others, or overall social skills.

Is Apple encouraging this fast-forward into the future, and throwing away old social conventions? Or is Apple is helping us reverse this trend by bringing us face to face with others again? Are we going to gain back everything that this generation has lost? Only time will tell as to whether or not face time actually catches on or becomes a faded novelty with texting and email still more convenient. As we progress into the 21st century, we can only hope that society will continue to be aware of the social dangers of technology.

Body Enhancements…Possible?

February 1, 2011 5 comments

After diving into the futuristic world of Neuromancer, it is only natural to wonder what direction technology will take our generation. Most technology we hear about in daily conversation revolves around viral YouTube videos, the upcoming release of the newest iPhone, or the updated version of the Kindle. These electronic devices are extremely practical and convenient, and though they might have some fancy features, they are designed to be functional. Yet, wouldn’t itbe a waste if all of these innovations weren’t put to use for “gadgets” or “toys”, the same type of inventions that you would see on Star Trek?

The H+ magazine, issued seasonally, informs subscribers about the latest fun advances in technology. In the opening issue, the editor, RU Sirius, speaks about transhumanism, the possibilities of body enhancements, artificial intelligence, and “singularity”.  Though all of the articles are incredibly interesting with ideas both far-fetched and feasible, the article “Skin Phone”really caught my eye. It speaks of a “phone that would be implanted under the skin, with microscopic spheres that would act as the touch-screen buttons.” (Scott, 7) The phone does not need a battery, and instead uses energy from your blood supply. Conveniently located on the top of your forearm, the phone can disappear, then reappear and answer calls with the same button.

Though this skin phone is a prototype, another form of enhancement, “jeweled eyes”, is currently available starting at around $750. This procedure, sponsored by the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery, inserts shapes such as “hearts, stars, euro signs, four-leaf clovers, and music notes” into a patient’s eye (Scott, 8). The surgery is not painful, nor does it “interfere with sight”. Further into the magazine, Kristi Scott, mentions an

other form of eye enhancement through contacts. “Engineers at the University of Washington have developed a contact lens that creates a virtual display superimposed over the normal field of vision.” (Scott, 15). The contact allows the real and cyber world to combine and interact as one. “It would allow people to use online services such as Google Earth in real time over the real landscape in front of us. All those giant pushpins will become a reality, making it much easier to navigate, since the desired location will have a great big arrow or identifier for you.” (Scott, 15)

 

Engineers and scientists are currently working towards making these technological innovations commonplace in our society. Only time will tell whether or not body enhancements, such as Molly’s in Neuromancer, will become a popular reality.

Attached are some PDF files of the magazine:

H+ Magazine Fall 2008

H+ Magazine Winter 2009