Human-ities · Philosophy · Technology · Theory

What Is the Social in Social Media?

New York city police supply a generator so that victims of hurricane Sandy can charge their cell phones.

Headlines, 2012: “Next time you’re hiring, forget personality tests, just check out the applicant’s Facebook profile instead.” – “Stephanie Watanabe spent nearly four hours Thursday night unfriending about 700 of her Facebook friends—and she isn’t done yet” – “Facebook apology or jail time: Ohio man gets to choose” – “Study: Facebook users getting less friendly” – “Women tend to have stronger feelings regarding who has access to their personal information” (Mary Madden) – “All dressed up and no place to go” (Wall Street Journal) – “I’m making more of an effort to be social these days, because I don’t want to be alone, and I want to meet people” (Cindy Sherman) – “30 percent posted updates that met the American Psychiatric Association’s criteria for a symptom of depression, reporting feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, insomnia or sleeping too much, and difficulty concentrating” – Control your patients: “Do you hire someone in the clinic to look at Facebook all day?” Dr. Moreno asked. “That’s not practical and borders on creepy.” – “Hunt for Berlin police officer pictured giving Nazi salute on Facebook” – “15-year-old takes to Facebook to curse and complain about her parents. The disgusted father later blasts her laptop with a gun.”

The use of the word “social” in the context of information technology goes back to the very beginnings of cybernetics. It later pops up in the 1980s context of “groupware.” The recent materialist school of Friedrich Kittler and others dismissed the use of the word “social” as irrelevant fluff—what computers do is calculate, they do not interfere in human relations. Holistic hippies, on the other hand, have ignored this cynical machine knowledge and have advanced a positive, humanistic view that emphasizes computers as tools for personal liberation. This individualistic emphasis on interface design, usability, and so on was initially matched with an interest in the community aspect of computer networking. Before the “dot-com” venture capitalist takeover of the field in the second half of the 1990s, progressive computing was primarily seen as a tool for collaboration among people.

Text and Image via e-flux. Written by Geert Lovink. Continue HERE

Rand Corporation think tank employees brainstorming, 1958. CA, Santa Monica, US. Photo: Leonard Mccombe.

Digital Media · Games/Play · Motion Graphics · Performativity · Philosophy · Science · Technology

Why Mass Effect is the Most Important Science Fiction Universe of Our Generation

Kyle Munkittrick: Mass Effect is epic. It’s the product of the best parts of Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and more with a protagonist who could be the love-child of Picard, Skywalker, and Starbuck. It’s one of the most important pieces of science fiction narrative of our generation. Mass Effect goes so far beyond other fictional universes in ways that you may not have yet realized. It is cosmic in scope and scale.

Sci-fi nerds have long debated over which fictional universe is the best. The Star Trek vs Star Wars contest is infamous into banality, with lesser skirmishes among fans of shows and books like Battlestar Galactica, Enders Game, Xenogenesis, Farscape, Dune, Firefly, Stargate, and others fleshing out the field. Don’t mistake this piece as another pointless kerfuffle among obsessive basement dwellers. Mass Effect matters because of its ability to reflect on our society as a whole.

Science fiction is one of the best forms of social satire and critique. Want to sneak in some absolutely scandalous social more, like, say, oh, I don’t know, a black woman into a position of power in the ‘60s? Put her on a starship command deck.

Most science fiction, even the epic universes in Star Wars and Star Trek, pick only two or three issues to investigate in depth. Sure, an episode here or a character there might nod to other concepts worthy of investigation, but the scope of the series often prevents the narrative from mining the idea for what it’s worth.

Mass Effect can and does take ideas to a new plane of existence. Think of the Big Issues in your favorite series. Whether it is realistic science explaining humanoid life throughout the galaxy, or dealing with FTL travel, or the ethical ambiguity of progress, or even the very purpose of the human race in our universe, Mass Effect has got it. By virtue of three simple traits – its medium, its message, and its philosophy – Mass Effect eclipses and engulfs all of science fiction’s greatest universes. Let me show you how.

Read Full Article at PopBioethics

Art/Aesthetics · Human-ities · Performativity · Science · Technology · Videos · Vital-Edible-Health

PROSTHETIC AESTHETICS at SCIENCE GALLERY DUBLIN

PROSTHETIC AESTHETICS: WITH STELARC, BERTOLT MEYER, LIZBETH GOODMAN AND RACHEL ARMSTRONG

Will people equipped with prosthetic technologies soon outperform “natural” abilities? How are we blurring the boundaries between human enhancement and body augmentation? How does the realm of prosthetics merge aesthetics and technology, in transforming the form and capabilities of the human body? How are artists, designers and scientists joining forces to push the boundaries of prosthetic technologies?

Join us for a panel discussion where we hope to address many issues raised in Science Gallery’s HUMAN+ exhibition with legendary Australian performance artist Stelarc (who has had a lab-grown “third ear” implanted in his left arm), medic and TED fellow Rachel Armstrong and SmartLab Founder Lizbeth Goodman, hosted by Science Gallery director Michael John Gorman

Also joining the panel will be Dr. Bertolt Meyer of Universität Zürich, equipped with a state-of-the-art i-Limb Pulse bionic hand.

Text via SCIENCE GALLERY

Image above: Prosthetic aesthetics arm by spiraltwist on flickr.jpg

Book-Text-Read-Zines · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Fashion · Performativity · Technology

Spacesuit : Fashioning Apollo

On July 20, 1969, the bodies of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were protected from a lunar vacuum by only twenty-one layers of fabric, each with a distinct yet interrelated function, custom-sewn for them by seamstresses whose usual work was fashioning bras and girdles. This book is the story of those spacesuits. It is a story of the triumph over the military-industrial complex by the International Latex Corporation, best known by its consumer brand of “Playtex”—a victory of elegant softness over engineered hardness, of adaptation over cybernetics.

Spacesuit tells the story of the twenty-one-layer spacesuit in twenty-one chapters addressing twenty-one topics relevant to the suit, the body, and the technology of the twentieth century. The book touches, among other things, on eighteenth-century androids, Christian Dior’s New Look, Atlas missiles, cybernetics and cyborgs, latex, JFK’s carefully cultivated image, the CBS lunar broadcast soundstage, NASA’s Mission Control, and the applications of Apollo-style engineering to city planning. Through it all, the twenty-one-layer spacesuit offers an object lesson. It tells us about redundancy and interdependence and about the distinctions between natural and man-made complexity; it teaches us to know the virtues of adaptation and to see the future as a set of possibilities rather than a scripted scenario.

Nicholas de Monchaux, the author of this book, is an architect and urbanist whose work concerns the nature of cities. He is Assistant Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at UC Berkeley, and has worked as with Michael Hopkins & Partners in London, and Diller + Scofidio in New York.
de Monchaux’s design work and criticism have been published in Architectural Design, Log, the New York Times, and The New York Times Magazine. His parametric study of ecologically transformed “gutterspace,” Local Code/Real Estates, was a finalist in the WPA 2.0 Competition in 2009 and was featured at the 2010 Biennial of the Americas.

Text taken from Fashioning Apollo

Performativity · Technology · Vital-Edible-Health

Neil Harbisson: The man who hears colour

Artist Neil Harbisson is completely colour-blind. Here, he explains how a camera attached to his head allows him to hear colour.

Until I was 11, I didn’t know I could only see in shades of grey. I thought I could see colours but that I was confusing them.

When I was diagnosed with achromatopsia [a rare vision disorder], it was a bit of a shock but at least we knew what was wrong. Doctors said it was impossible to cure.

When I was 16, I decided to study art. I told my tutor I could only see in black and white, and his first reaction was, “What the hell are you doing here then?” I told him I really wanted to understand what colour was.

I was allowed to do the entire art course in greyscale – only using black and white. I did very figurative art, trying to reproduce what I could see so that people could compare how my vision was to what they saw. I also learned that through history, there have been many people who have related colour to sound.

At university I went to a cybernetics lecture by Adam Montandon, a student from Plymouth University, and asked if we could create something so I could see colour. He came up with a simple device, made up of a webcam, a computer and a pair of headphones and created software that would translate any colour in front of me into a sound.

Via BBC. Continue article HERE. Thanks to Crystal Henson