Week 1 Summary

Trying to sum up my introductions and look back at the first week of the course.  While I have no fear of technology, and readily embrace it, I still had no idea what to “do” with it.  I set up the Lifestream, I pulled in the feeds from Twitter, Delicious, and Tumblr, and then…  what?  I suppose I expected something to happen.  I would magically be provided with a wonderful blog that people would be interested in reading…

Clarke's Third LawBut obviously I need to feed the machine to get the content… which brings me to my thoughts on Bendito Machine.  The machine needs to be fed…it needs the viewers to react and follow it… those distracted (eating ice cream) or who turn away are punished.

The connections made between technology and religion / deity were not ones I had really thought about before viewing the film.  Has television replaced our god?  Or as in the film at the 2:40 mark when the ‘priest’ hits the idol / TV on the top, and it grows horns, has television replaced our concept of the devil?  It seems more the latter in the film as the TV randomly kicks the viewers or jumps out of the way while the viewers are run over by a car. (3:40 mark)  Has the internet killed the old god and now replaced it?

When I watched the eXistenZ clip for the first time, I had no idea what I was seeing, and could not relate it to the course as I had not seen the full film, nor did I understand the context.  It was only during the SynchTube session that it became clear that the characters were playing a game.  Looking back now, when Jeremy asked me to answer my own question about the link between the two clips, and I said “machine as god, or messenger from god in bendito… machine controlling free will in this one, and if we are made in gods image and god gave us free will… machine is god?” I was only tossing an idea out there… but I still believe the link works.  The same link could be proposed for the other clips from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Colossus in that the machines have become gods in their control over their subjects.

The computer (HAL) tries to control Dave in 2001 and when it cannot, tries to kill him.  Colossus tries to take control of the world, and threatens to kill those that are not compliant.  Bendito’s machine kills those that aren’t following.  The bot/machine/god in eXistenZ tries to kill Jude Law.  The clips don’t make it clear, but one can assume that the characters in the end had to turn off the machines as Dave did to HAL in 2001.  So what is the moral of the story?  In stories of typical dystopian societies, the citizens eventually find a way to escape from the machine/god/big brother control and regain their free will.

Are we destined to create a dystopia?  Is Hand’s “Global Information Culture” where everyone has access to information the first step in creating a society where we unconditionally trust the machine for information / culture / spiritual nourishment?  Information itself may not be dangerous, but the context in which it is offered can change our outlook.  How far fetched is it to imagine a time when the machine begins to decide the context in which the information is shared, in order to maintain order, or help guide us, or establish control?  Excuse me while I go start building my bunker to hide from Skynet

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