Sunday, February 25, 2007

"We have to rethink ourselves..."

Michael Wesch's Savage Mind
Linking people into the web...
(Image from Kansas State University Anthropology Program)

One of those old Baylor friends whom I met in the NoZe Brothers, Ken Askew, occasionally sends me messages that are also to my ken askew.

Only a few days ago, Ken sent this message directly to me because he had neglected to include me on his "cc" (i.e., virtual "carbon copy," by which one message can go to multiple recipients):

Subject: RE: Brilliant
Meant to cc you on this originally. K
Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless
Handheld with little keys, so pardon any typos.

I stared at this message. Nothing else of substance seemed written. "Okay, Ken," I muttered, "what did you mean to cc me for?"

Only when I scrolled down did I find this You Tube address:

After briefly hesitating (after all, Ken was a NoZe Brother), I cautiously clicked and watched a delightful and flashy but thought-provoking presentation -- titled "The Machine is Us/ing Us" -- on how our digital approach to writing is changing the way that we compose both our texts and ourselves.

As the video begins, a hand holding a pencil appears and quickly scribbles:

Text is linear

Unsatisfied, the hand adds "uni":

Text is unilinear
Reconsidering again, the hand then scribbles "said to be" under the words "is unilinear" and adds a caret to indicate the proper place between "is" and "unilinear."

The hand then quickly writes "often" before "said," but immediately turns the pencil over and erases the entire phrase "often said to be."

And then ... but perhaps you can imagine where this is going. Whether you can or you can't, see the video and be amazed at the brilliant performance, which is -- as I said -- thought-provoking . . . though perhaps somewhat more flashy that substantive.

Do we really have to rethink so many things simply because we're hyperlinking? Do we need to fundamentally rethink who we are? Is cybernetics reshaping us into a cyborg?

Is the internet conscious?

Watch the video to see for yourselves if you haven't already seen it, then go look at Michael Wesch's webpage for the Anthropology Department at Kansas State University or check him out on the anthropology blog Savage Minds.



At 8:28 AM, Blogger Hathor said...

The internet is not conscious, but could become artificial intelligence. I think we have to rethink the reality of technology, already we are trusting too much of the information. The virtual communities can form on false assumptions and create problems in the real world. It will be many years before humans can disconnect, only if it is to reproduce.

At 2:53 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Probably, the internet wouldn't tell us if it were conscious -- much as we don't bother to let our brain cells know that we're conscious...

Just kidding.

Jeffery Hodges

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