I commented in Week 1 about trying to get the different technologies to work ‘for’ me, meaning that some of the proposed type of feeds I wasn’t familiar with, so would try to use them more. Looking back now at the end of week 12, I haven’t really gotten into the habit of using any new ones, maybe with the exception of Twitter (although my non-course tweets are rare, but I do read it a heck of a lot of other tweets). It’s made me conscious of my web habits and the idea of ‘learning to re-learn’ as a digital literacy. I do take new tools on board, explore them frequently and see the benefits, but few of them turn out to be something I would use everyday. And maybe I’m less willing to try something straight away- I tend to see what a tool can do, have a quick go, bookmark it, and then not go back to it until I see lots of other people talking about it. So it’s the early adopters who drive these new tools.
Just thinking again about another aspect of technology and how far it’s come. With the connectivity of the internet, the focus has firmly shifted to the sense of cybespace- the place itself is the main thing. Technology before the internet meant gadgets, and what they could do. Now, a gadget has to be ‘connected’ first of all, before it’s other functionality is considered and valued. There is even a ‘ghostliness’ to old hardware- I passed a storeroom at work today where old equipment is chucked- abandoned carcasses through which once flowed information-the information is still alive and used but has moved on to more modern hardware and deserted the old. So again it’s the information that is the key- the defining factor- not the objects of mediation.
In week two we looked at some more videos and the readings reflected some possible ‘digital futuristic visions’- again influenced in a big way by the cyberpunk genre. Back in the 80’s and early 90’s I would imagine that a lot of the people who were predicting the digital future had little or no interaction with the technologies of the day, and it was arguably the hardware that that drove the direction to an extent. There is a difference now in that practically everyone is ‘in’ cyberspace, the general public included, and it is that public who have been the driver of trends. Adding to this the open source/web 2 nature of cyberspace now and it maybe makes future development less predictable, as it may come from the crowd rather than the commercial side. Having said this, companies have obviously seen the dollar signs flashing in cyberspace and have more of a presence there now.
I posted an idea around the time that we were discussing cyborgs/ transhumanism that those who don’t adapt may be left behind in the evolutionary scale. Just checking out some transhumanism webpages (http://www.kurzweilai.net/) and have come across theories saying that we may be left behind or excluded even if we are adapters. As life evolved the complexities increased, so there was both internal evolution of the body, and an external evolution of networks. The body developed defense and offense mechanisms to make it more efficient and successful, as did the ‘collective’ whole. So even though we may retain some individuality and automony from the network that we are part of, it may reject us if we are too weak or not beneficial to it.