Topics in Digital Culture Essay Example
Topics in Digital Culture Essay Example

Topics in Digital Culture Essay Example

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  • Pages: 8 (2010 words)
  • Published: January 8, 2017
  • Type: Essay Topics
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Question 1 - The concept singularity is a hypothesis on the not so far future of human life on earth. According to Ray Kurzweil, the scientist, inventor, futurist and author of The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology; singularity is a stage in our near future where technological development will start to accrue at an inconceivable speed that normal humans cannot keep up with, let alone contain. This possible technological change, which is not recognizable to us right now, will have a deep and forceful impact.

It will eventually lead to an irreversible transformation determining human life, automatically combining human body and mind with technology. This idea refers to the power of building machines containing all human intelligence and abilities. This will eventually lead to superhuman intelligence and the inability to distinguish post singularity between human and machi


ne or between physical and virtual reality.

As stated by Kurzweil “Impending singularity is that the pace of change of our human created technology is accelerating and its powers are expanding at an exponential pace. Currently computers can perform large amounts of human capabilities that in the past required human intelligence in order to execute. The list of ways computers can now beat human capabilities is quickly increasing. It is believed that within several decades technological development will overrun all human intelligence and capabilities, eventually resulting in recognition power, problem solving skills, and emotional moral intelligence of the human brain itself.

Kurzweil adds that singularity will ultimately result in a world that is still human but transcends our biological roots as well as a completely irreversibly transforming humanity, civilization and our own body

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and mind. A prediction regarding singularity can result in human and machine emerging in order to become super intelligent using them (the machines) to extend our intellectual abilities the same way cars and planes extend our physical abilities. In a world where human kind is constantly seeking for new information, mass communication has become an inseparable part of the human life.

Resulting in a society that is dependent on mass communication. If the singularity world occurs, the field of mass communication will go through a drastic change regarding flow and framing of the information provided to us by machines. The more intelligent machines become, the better chance they will pass human intelligence. Eventually, they could improve their own designs by editing their own software in order to improve themselves, which human natural ability could not do. At the moment computers make decisions that were once made by humans; such as flying and navigating planes.

In a singularity world all mass communication and decision-making will be controlled by machines that are smarter and stronger than humans. With machines controlling the mass communication world, our brain would become useless due to the fact that machines are doing all the work for us, which perhaps will make us less intelligent than we are today. In a world where everything is transmitted at the speed of light, where people communicate through devices and forming digital relationships I believe that in years to come people will lose their ability to communicate in a “humanly” way.

This will perhaps lead to the destruction of humanity due to the lack of physical interaction with each other. Technology has an

enormous power to destroy humanity, in regards of Utopia and Dystopia which are two opposite scripts regarding the technological revolution and its impact on the future. Utopia represents excessive optimism about technology, where all problems will end. Therefor technology in the form of machines and humans will be able to live together in perfect harmony in a world where human kind is better than at the present.

Dystopian approach claims that technology will ultimately overcome its creators; which will lead to the destruction of human kind. I believe that the dystopian approach will occur if the singularity world of genetically engineered feelings and emotions will take place. Eventually humans will lose every aspect of themselves regarding thought, communication and abilities. This will result in man vs. machine; with a war over territory, power, existence and ideology.

Question 2 - Counterculture is an abstract sociological concept used to describe the disagreement, opposition, disobedience or rebellion of certain groups or individuals that run counter to values and norms in the mainstream society that they live in. These countercultures are the product of the culture and sub-culture of a normative society. It is a way of life and set of attitudes against or different with the common social norm. Counterculture reflects the dominant culture opposition.

An example of a counter culture is the “Punk” sub-culture which appreard in the mid 70’s and was all about staying away from the mainstream society, culture and music. They disliked and fought against these establishments. The punk counter culture generators wanted to express their opposition to the city life, their distaste toward modern tecnology and disagreement with the criteria on

the basis of which judges the person in modern society. It was all about people standing for the things they believed in and making a statement in a physical and artistic way.

They adopted a different look in order to express themeselves. Some of its purpose was to emphasize their resistance for the mainstream culture which included tattoo and body piercings, leather boots and clothing along with black make up that gave the effect of rebel appearance and even bold hair styles such as spikes and mohawks. In the late 80’s only government and academy used Internet, therefore electronic information was portraied by electronic message boards (Bulletin Board System), which allowed users to connect through computer software.

BBS system was back than what websites are today, and as the Internet became more available in the mid 90’s BBS system disappeared very quickly. The lack of supervision made these electronic boards in the center of counter culture ideology allowing their messages to transfer and spread to the public. Online conversation included everything from technology and politics to the meaning of life as well as many texts related to anarchy. While the institutional media took measures against drug consumption it was a hot topic among BBS users.

This answered to the needs of many users by giving them reliable information based on their own experience. The technological developments of the late 20th century, brought the development of new counter culture movements such as the “Digital Coulture”. This was developed along with World Wide Web and was a cultural stream focusing and engaging on major issues such as technology development, digital art and phylosophic thoughts

about the future. Along with this cyberculture was emerged.

Cyber comes from the Greek word which means “control” which leads to the fact that in cyberculture people get full control of their lives online. Cyberculture is seen as a free, unified and annonymous culture. It’s main features are minimizing human interaction through online interactions; changing relationships between manufacturers and consumers all over the world, building online communities, expanding online languages and more that are characteristics related to the counter cultures that make use of them.

Another example for counter culture is the “Flower Child” movement that blossomed in the 60’s and 70’s as a result of the Vietnam War and became a social phenomenon. They accused the conservative culture responsible for the destruction of the world and went against it with messages of love, peace, equality and support of drug use. The “Flower Child” adopted external appearances which looked anti-social for those days, which included wearing rags, growing long hair and lacking general hygiene.

Furthermore, their contribution to humanity is enormous, starting from the change in politics, society and global culture. Therefor a link could be made regarding the values of the 60’s. Anarchist counter culture reflection on todays web where anti-establishment values continues to influence even though the general cultural values ?? continues to go on in different direction. Hence, the World Wide Web allows the existence of social fringe and unofficial groups which could now spread its ideas to the public, communicating between team members around the world. Escaping from regulation by authorities and recruiting new members and other believers to become a successful counter culture group just as the “Flower

Child” of the 60’s did.

Question 3 - The concept of TAZ (Temporary Autonomous Zone) was the idea of American political writer, essayist and poet Hakim Bey. Hakim Bey wanted to show that the possibility of freedom has always existed and will always exist. This possibility of freedom is embodied in the concept of the Temporary Autonomous Zone. Hakim an anarchist, notes and highlights the importance of the TAZ concept.

He argues that before all the world's territory belonged to any state entity, a group of people who were not pleased with the current situation under any ruler could wander into a place that does not belong to anyone. Establishing an independent community without any authority and rule of power. An example would be “Libertrih” which is a pirate’s independent and imaginary colony, it is governed by the will of its people without internal or external power of authority. TAZ is a place where people can do what they wish to do without any consequences or punishment because there is no authority to make them accountable.

Today, there is no territory in the world that is not subjected to the law of any state. Many people are not pleased with what they have and wish to change the nature of life. In the “Real” and factual world no one could live without being under any rule therefore, the concept of TAZ does not exist anymore in the territorial sense of the word. According to Bey, todays technology could be a tool to let every person get the opportunity to find himself, even if for a temporary time “Temporary Autonumes Zone”.

The way

which the concept is related to the World Wide Web is how people can create their own ways in order to destribute and release their tendencies and opinions; without any sensorship, control or limitations. Even though some parts of the World Wide Web are controlled to some extent, networks allow fans of freedom on an infrastructural base, which provides temporary support to bring their passion into action. Pirates of the Web, just like sea pirates which pursue an act of robbery or criminal violence have set up data storage to allow people to illegally download film, music, TV shows, software and anything imaginable.

According to newstalk. com “Content piracy costs the U. S. economy more than 373,000 jobs, $16 billion in lost earnings and $3 billion in tax revenue each year”. In order to facilitate a full understanding of this concept we can look at it as a social justice movement, in a digital version. An example for a phenomenon related to the web which was not discussed in class which can serve as an example of TAZ could be the pedophile community which distributes child pornography on the web.

Many adult individuals around the world live with a “disorder of adult personality and behavior" pedophilia. They have a sexual interest in children or the act of child sexual abuse. Many pedophiles use the Internet to allow themselves to live a “normal” life according to their sickness. The Internet is allowing them to continue with their fantasies about prepubescent children, instead of trying to cure their sickness. Since this illegal act can result in punishment if caught, they find their autonomous region network

so legal authorities cannot catch them.

Many groups of pedophiles from around the world communicate in forums and closed websites, distributing their illigal content without leaving any trace and getting much support from the sick internet pedophile users who enjoy those websites content. According to Bey, full international control system is impossible. Even if a body such as US government, would order the closure of a host server for these people's forum and site, another one will pop up by a server in another country whose law does not apply. As long as the network will take place, there will be holes and cracks which represent areas that are TAZ.

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