What kinds of relationships are appropriate with machines? How are our answers to this changing?
Turkle focuses on the relationships between users and machines by examining the psychological impacts of machines on their users. Designers take an instrumental view to machines because they focus on what machines do for users, but users’ relationships with machines are based on the way that they influence our ways of seeing the world, the way we think and the nature of our relationship with others. In our one-on-one relationships to computers, Turkle thinks that the Rorschach effect is at play wherein the user projects his/her mental and emotional states on the machine. The machine, therefore, is a second self that extends our mental and emotional state.
Bourdieu (p. 235) asks: “Does this mean that the demarcation line between the world of technical objects and the world of aesthetic objects depends on the ’intention’ of the producer of those objects?” What does he think and what do you make of this? Is technology differentiated from art by what a producer says?
Bordieu identifies several factors that influence the impact of television on its audience. In his opinion, content and intent of the author are secondary to the constraints imposed by the attributes of the medium itself. Bordieu recognizes television as a medium that strives for the largest audience possible. The social, economic and political pressures imposed on television have the effect of creating a flat structure for engaging a wide audience. Flattening complex hierarchies of knowledge is only one of the effects on content imposed by the attributes of television. Wide accessibility is also attained through time-related restrictions. Television is tightly constrained by programming schedules, tight production timelines and the short shelf life of content.
I wanted to title my post Are We Pancake People? because Sparrow et al’s research reminded me of Nicholar Carr’s article: Is Google Making Us Stupid? In his article, Carr quotes the playwright Richard Foreman who talks about how our intelligence is evolving: the replacement of complex inner density with a new kind of self—evolving under the pressure of information overload and the technology of the “instantly available. Thus, the connected world enabled by google has spread our intelligence wide and thin – like a pancake. This kind of information processing wherein we rely on our connections with other people, a kind of distributed neural network, is transactive memory – a term coined by Daniel Wegner, a social psychologist, in 1985.
For the past 163 years the code of “if value, then right” has been used as a defense in providing legal justification for the fair use of copyrighted material. In non-legalese, “if value, then right” means that fair use is permitted if the derivative work (or copy) (1) adds value (i.e. is of public benefit), (2) does not reduce the value of the original work, (3) is not an excessive amount and (4) is not for commercial use. In assessing the applicability of the fair use criteria, we must consider the commercial implications for the original work, the commercial value of the derivative and copy, the amount and substantiality of the portion used, the purpose and character of the use, as well as the purpose and character of the original (copyrighted) work. Under these guidelines, is use of copyrighted material for educational purposes always in the public interest? Many of these assessments require a subjective assessment of commercial impact, purpose and character and public interest. This subjectivity makes the determination of value disputed.