Class Suggestions

I think that the first episode of Altered Carbon, Out of Past, would be an extremely interesting and fun addition to the class. It relates heavily to the upcoming technologies of artificial intelligence, privacy, and ethical implications. This first episode is one in which you learn about this advanced utopian world, going through both the main character’s past and present in flashbacks. Soon, you learn that the main character was a special soldier that worked for a lot of terrorist groups. Due to his actions, he has been “iced” or killed, but not really. This world considers a body and human form as a “sleeve,” but all your memories and thoughts are intact in a disk that is inserted in your spine near your head at age 1. As long as your disk remains and someone does not destroy it, you are capable of being alive. However, since Takeshi, the main character, committed many crimes, his disk was made dormant in a prison without a human form until a very rich man paid to have him put into a new body and released. He did not have a body for 250 years, creating some obvious issues.


This is extremely relevant to the articles of transhumanism. In class, we watched a lot about how robots may be taking over the world, and whether this should be allowed. Takeshi is not only implementing transhumanism with the disk itself, but also because his disk was specially made to be a soldier, in which he is more cognisant of small details and has the ability of seeing through the walls. Transhumanism is defined as “the position that human beings should be permitted to use technology to modify and enhance human cognition.” At this moment, transhumanism is about prosthetics, but I think that this episode goes beyond and exposes how our city could transform to flying cars, x-ray vision, and houses above the clouds in the future.

It is also relevant to “The Entire History of You” in a way in which the technology has gotten too advanced with people’s brains that it has created detrimental effects of allowing people to dwell in their past. Takeshi was “dead” for 250 years, but after being put into a sleeve, he could not help but continue replaying the memories in his head over and over again. In addition, I think that this new topic of freezing people and possibly bringing them back in the future is relevant to our society, as it is beginning to gain popularity, no matter what the stigma against it is.

Since the disks can easily be scanned, tracked, and played, this ties in to the themes of privacy. In a world like this, is that okay for anyone to pick up what is “you” and scan the disk to get all information about you? In the coming world, is this okay in doing background checks like this to ensure people’s safety, or is it too invasive? Anyone could find Takeshi’s history easily, and he was considered a dangerous man. Is this justified?

I would most likely assign the digital element of creating a poster or flyer to advertise something seen in the episode. I personally use the online website Canva a lot to make resumes, reports, flyers, etc. I think that this is a really easy way to get into “photoshop” without having to particularly learn the difficult functions and finding an aesthetic yourself. Millions of free templates online make it easy to make clean and relevant posters, which is a skill that I think many people in the class would find interesting and fun.

Analyzing the New Age of Technology

 

With the eve of a new forms of media through the technological revolution, the need for new definitions regarding scholarship is dire. With this, the American Historical Association gathered to create guidelines for digital scholarship. AHA defines this as, “scholarship that is either produced using computational tools and methods or presented using digital technologies.” Scholarship in general is any documented conversation of matters that have endured consequences. Many journal articles do not have trouble fitting into the AHA guidelines as they are the same style as analog, but the official journal is simply online.

Other forms of digital scholarship are more confusing, such as the example, “Digital Harlem.” Digital Harlem is a website that shows information “drawn from legal records, newspapers, and other archival and published sources” regarding Harlem in New York City. In this website, you are able to click on a map that represents different factors of Harlem such as churches, sports, number arrests, and nightlife. Clicking each of the sites bring captions and leads to other sites to learn more. This website comprehensively displays the distribution of each of these factors and the frequency of the categories. For example, for churches, it explains how churches historically chose the locations of their churches within Harlem. This website first fits the AHA guidelines because it is required that scholarship uses reliable forms of information through research of archival evidence that accurately uses innovation to advance knowledge of others. The AHA guidelines also state that many forms of digital scholarship are articles that are more comprehensive when digitized. This website fits under this category due to the fact that it is interesting to see which areas of New York are the most concentrated. Some of the locations also lead to a more comprehensive article, that also shows its alignment to the AHA guidelines.

The analog version of this website would be interesting to see. Because the sectors lead to separate links in which advertisements, old newspapers, and articles are linked, I would imagine that the analog version would actually be separate articles regarding Harlem. There would be separate papers on churches, sports, number arrests, and nightlife. The map is a better version of the representation of Harlem because all these aspects may be laid over each other and one is able to infer the story map of someone’s life during this time period of where they would go at certain times of the day. Due to this, the digital aspects of this website adds to the scholarship of this piece. I do not think that scholarship would necessarily be subtracted in an analog version, but it is hard to imagine an analog version that contains all these aspects because all the aspects are not connected, until they are shown on the map. Daily life would not be easily analyzed.

While I was scrolling through this website, I thought about two things. I think that the AHA guidelines are way too vague. The guidelines are difficult to follow as they simply discuss and go back and forth about what different forms of digital scholarship could or could not be. They do not necessarily outline guidelines for every type of media, making it difficult to gauge. At the same time, I understand that this is a newly developing topic with more forms of media being created every day. I also realize that nearly everything should be considered digital scholarship if it educates people, as the Internet exists to assist people. Going forward, society must work on developing methods to analyze technology.

FAKE NEWS !

There are so many changes that have been made to society in comparison to 1990. I chose the launching of the Hubble Telescope as it was a monumental moment of history that led to many discoveries in the scientific community. This was the first time that pictures could be taken in outer space without the need for humans to be physically present to take the photos. In today’s times, there are many ways that the advertisement and excitement of this event could be shared. In 1990, people would be forced to watch this event on television. Today, thousands of people could have watched this moment on their portable phones. This would have created a bigger outreach. While this could have been considered a global event, this was an American telescope, so in 1990, this may not have been known to as many people outside of the United States. With the use of Twitter, thousands of people may have retweeted the “fake posts” and seen the coverage. Another change is the idea of the live stream. People are now able to broadcast their activities in real time, and live television is not limited to broadcasting networks. In today’s time, there would have been many live streams with different perspectives to show how the Hubble Telescope was launched. Due to the increase of personal live streams, the process behind the building of the Hubble Telescope may have been seen first hand by everyone. The down side to the changes of modern technology and social media is that while these experiences are more hands-on, many are prone to not know the real news behind events, and only see headlines as depicted in the fake tweets. Tweets are often too concise and short to convey full length articles or reportage, so the only information that people are getting is that the launch is occurring.

This relates back to the idea that most people only see their news on social media sites, as the article, “Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election,” insinuates. According to this article, as many as 14% of people see social media as the most important form of receiving news. The article also states that because of this, news outlets have effectively lost their source of power. People watching this Hubble Scope live stream would most likely not be watching the news at the same time, contributing to the current decrease in specifically paper news.

As I was creating these series of fake tweets to broadcast the event, I realized how easy it was to make these. I was able to create all three tweets in less than 15 minutes, which if frankly quite concerning. I have seen a multitude of posts on a spread of social media networks in which people argue in the comments as to whether the information in the posts has been photoshopped, made up, or in fact real. A lot of these comments are split between people who are outraged at the fake post, but there is a strong percentage of comments that are outraged because they believe the posts are real. This leads me to become concerned for the future of society, especially because the beliefs of these fake posts have contributed to the election of a corrupt president like Donald Trump. I wonder if there is anything that we can do to prevent the ease of such technology and the fast paced movement towards the prevalence of fake news.