Chapter 8: The Church of Google

Video

Fredrick Taylor – Excellerated the efficincy of workers and improved productivity. Workers would be trained to perform a specific set of tasks in the “best way” … similar to how Google was created to provide efficiency to users.

“In the past man has been first, in the future the system must be first” Do you agree?

Comparing Taylor with Google

  • Google carries out thousands of experiments/tests – Taylor did the same
  • Algorithm or set of instructions – Google believes that citizens are best guided by algorithms which is exactly what Taylor beleived
  • Maximum speed, efficiency and output – Goals of both Taylor and Google
  • Goal to adopt the best method
  • The most efficient way – Both aimed at creating the best way of doing things

Google relies on cognitive psychology research  to make people use their computers more efficiently. “Its the next best thing to actually being able to read their minds”

Larry Page – Founder of Google says:

  • Google rganize the worlds information and makes it universally accessible
  • Google wants to know where you are and what you need to better help you
  • Google has made the internet more efficient in finding you information – engineered to produce better results

See more: Where’s Google going next?

Google Glass: Do you agree with this concept, will it benefit us or destroy us?

Google’s Secret Project?

“To be up to date requires the continual monitoring of message alerts” How do you feel when you can’t monitor or view notifications? How do you feel when you don’t have any messages or notifications? *

 

Black Mirror: One episode that really got me thinking…

Do you think its possible for the world to be like this one day or does this already reflect our current society?

The Digitization of Books: Google’s effort to bring more efficiency

  • Do you think in the future people will stop reading books and magazines because everything will be online and easily accessible?

“The contemplative mind is overwhelmed by the noisy world’s mechanical busyness”

The problem today is that we are losing our ability to balance the industrial and pastoral – the idea of efficiency and contemplation as two seperate states of mind. “Information overload is worse than ever”. We are flooded every moment by information when we are on the internet or smartphones. What happens if we start using google glass? What will be next?

“The ultimate search engine is something as smart as people or smarter”

Do you think computers will be able to replicate human thought? 

Talk to a computer – Cleverbot responds to anything you type, it learns more from each person it talks to, it accesses thousands of conversations to come up with a response.

As computers get smarter what does this do to our brains? We are becoming consumed by technology, will it control us one day?

 

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Chapter 4, The Deepening Page

The Sumerians

Sumerian Cuneiform.  This style of writing can be found up to 8000 BCE according to the online encyclopedia of writing systems and languages.  It developed from pictographs (hieroglyphs).  These pictographs were pressed into small clay tokens.  Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 10.17.13 PM.png

http://www.omniglot.com/writing/sumerian.htm

Overtime these pictographs evolved and became full fledged writing system by 3300 BCE.  Here is an example of their early writing system.

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 10.11.12 PM.png

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Notable features

  • Type of writing system: semanto-phonetic – the symbols consist of phonograms, representing spoken syllables, determinatives, which indicate the category a word belonged to and logograms, which represent words.
  • Direction of writing: variable – early texts were written vertically from top to bottom, but by about 3,000 BC the direction had changed to left to right in horizontal rows. At the same time the signs were rotated 90° anticlockwise and started to be made up mainly of wedges.
  • Number of symbols: between about 1,000 in older texts to 400 in later texts.
  • Many of the symbols had multiple pronunciations.
  • Used to write: Sumerian

By 2800 BCE the Sumerian writing system evolved to represent sounds.  Here is a small sampling of the phonetic “alphabet”.  See the source Omingot for a full list of symbols.

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 10.24.09 PM.png

Sample text on a clay tablet.

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 10.28.00 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-02-13 at 10.29.17 PM.png

Scripta Continua

Blurry, but would we be able to read it anyways?!!

Source:http://blogs.ubc.ca/etec540sept13/files/2013/11/scripturacontinua2.png

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 10.36.52 PM.png

This style of writing transcribed directly from speech.  Paul Saenger (Curator and researcher of rare books) in the Space between Words said of the development of scripture continua – “Greeks adapted the Phoenician alphabet by adding symbols for vowels”.  The addition of vowels allowed for “the reader to identify syllables swiftly within rows of uninterrupted letters”

The Gutenberg Press

Johannes Gutenberg

Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 3.03.57 PM.png

Printing with a Gutenberg Press!

 

 

Book of Eli – 2010.  Eli must make his way across post-apocalyptic America to deliver a sacred book, the last of its kind, to the last vestige of civilized man that is trying to gather anything it can from the post-apocalyptic era.  To preserve civilization and the progresses humans have made since the Dark ages.  When things weren’t much different from what they are in the post-aocalytpic time of the movie.  The book he is carrying is taken away from him, but he carries on and makes it to his destination.  Eli, who is blind, was carrying a Braille version of the St. James Bible.  He has carried it since his youth and has memorized every last word.  He recites it orally to a scribe before he ultimately dies.  The book is printed on a version of the Gutenberg press.  They are dragging humanity back from he brink of destruction with a Gutenberg press!

The nuances of this was lost on this me until this moment!  Gutenberg press ushered in the Modern Period of man.  There was an explosion of knowledge and thought.  The Gutenberg press, created approximately around 1445 made possible:

  • The Renaissance – 1500 to 1800.  Michelangelo’s David.  Da Vinci’s creations and ideas.  Educational reform.  Perspective in oil painting.  Humanism.
  • The Reformation – 1500.  A schism from the Roman Catholic church gave rise to Protestant based religions such as the Lutherans, Anglican (Church of England, Calvinism.  Salvation Army!
  • Age of Enlightenment – 1700.  Modern Philosophy, Renes Descartes, David Hume, John Locke.
  • The Scientific Revolution – 1543, with Nicolaus Copernicus’s De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres).  Modern development in math, physics, astronomy, biology, chemistry.

Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 2.59.03 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-02-12 at 2.59.19 PM.png

Johann Fust, banker and money lender.  Peter Schoffer, talented Scribe and spy.

First rate Scoundrels who took away Johannes Gutenberg’s inventions, continued printing the Gutenberg’s Bible and put their names on it.

Let’s take a moment to honour the creation and loss suffered by Johannes Gutenberg!!

One last abstract point about technology, whether it is books or the internet.  Gord Downey of the Tragically Hip says it best!

 

 

 

 

The Shallows: Prologue and Chapter One

And let’s start with this!

  And this! Fpattern 5MbThe new media are not bridges between man and nature – they are nature…The new media are not ways of relating us to the old world; they are the real world and they reshape what remains of the old world at will. – Marshall McLuhan

 

PROLOGUE

“We are approaching the “technological simulation of consciousness, when the creative process of knowing will be collectively and corporately extended to the whole of human society”

 

This is Marshal Mcluhan; He is dead.

Marshall_McLuhan

02-McLuhan_Understanding_media

Playboy

NORMAN MAILER vs MARSHAL McLUHAN!

The debate summarized and explained by our friend, Nicolas Carr

The importance of the text.

Watch the video of Norman Mailer arguing with Marshal McLuhan
Transcript of the video

Marshall McLuhan: talking about the medium is the message.

**

CHAPTER ONE, HAL AND ME

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
2001-a-space-odyssey-original

The long cultural shadow of 2001: A Space Odyssey
On The Simpsons

On
Family Guy 

General cartoon appropriations of the film

The Space Odyssey explained

Roger Ebert’s (film critic) thoughts

Connections to other Sci-fi films 

TIFF recently hosted a retrospective of Kubrick’s films and art inspired by them

How much of Kubrick’s vision was scientifically accurate? (Engineering and Technology Magazine)

Internet Resource Archive on 2001

Articles/essays on Google Scholar

5Mb

GE635

TIMELINE OF COMPUTER HISTORY

When computers say stuff with feelings (Scholarly article)

But, really, how is the internet affecting us?

How the Internet is changing the way we think

Are you really the dumbest generation? And how do you feel about that?

Author of  Interview

PRINTING and READING

Screen vs paper–the differences in comprehension and recall

FpatternF pattern of internet reading

WHY READING is good for you

Reading on screen vs reading on paper, Excellent article on the history of reading, how to understand how reading on screen is different.
• Educational clip about the history of printing and reading
• Gutenberg then vs Gutenberg now: Project Gutenberg

Your Outboard Brain Knows All, Clive Thompson.

And…sigh…yet another indication that the internet/smart phones are rewiring our brains: Phantom Phone Vibrations.


NICHOLAS CARR | General THE SHALLOWS resources

The article that started it all: Is Google Making Us Stupid.–where it started

Counter opinions

Is Google Making Us Stupid? Nope!, Philip Davis

And, another anti-Carr response to the question about Google and our collective stupidity.


Nicholas Carr’s
book site | blog

How Google is Changing Your Information-Seeking Behavior, Lab Soft News Blog.

And, if you’re going to use Google, learn to really use it.

PODCASTS + BOOKS + DOCUMENTARIEs

Podcasts
On The Media
Reply All
RadioLab
Internet History Podcast
TLDR
Manners for the Digital Age

BOOKS
You are Not a Gadget and Who Owns The Future by Jaron Lanier
Alone Together

I Hate The Internet | In the Guardian | In the New York Times

The Circle (Dave Eggars)

DOCUMENTARIES
AFK: The Pirate Bay

Aaron Schwartz: The Internet’s Own Boy

Google and The World Brain

Web Junkie

And, of course, BLACK MIRROR! on Netflix.

 

 

Silk Drawings and Google Drawings

Hey guys, here’s the website where you can weave your own intricate silk drawing with your mouse (or trackpad): Weave Silk

and a while back when we were talking about human brains vs computer “brains” I brought up Google Image’s “drawings”. Essentially, Google programmers wanted to see if they could teach their artificial neural networks (what processes our image searches) an object by showing it millions of pictures of that object, and then later asking it to come up with it’s own image for it. They also played around with image layer levels. The results are WEIRD.

red-tree-small-long-unsmoothedimage-dream-map

check it out for yourself

 

Search, Memory…

Chapter Nine: Search, Memory

To open, here is video by Crashcourse. It offers an excellent explanation behind the workings of our brain in the creation of explicit and implicit memories.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSycdIx-C48
Explicit memories are memories which we can consciously recall. Working memory depends largely on the use of explicit memories; for example remembering what is in your fridge so you can decide what to have for dinner, or a fun memory with friends.
Implicit memories are memories which contribute to our ability to perform a task without consciously drawing back to the experience we learned to do it from. For example, reading – many can read but do not recall the time we learned how to do it.
https://www.ted.com/talks/peter_doolittle_how_your_working_memory_makes_sense_of_the_world?language=en

 

Short term memories can only exist for a very short period of time; it depends on whether or not the synapses in the brain between neurons are strengthened or weakened. In order for them to be turned into long term memories our brains must go through a very specific project called consolidation. The consolidation is a complex anatomical and biochemical process which strengthens memories, making them long term so they can be recalled later. Distractions; from a something large to even the vibration of a phone can entirely disrupt the consolidation process. Sleep is also very beneficial for consolidation, alongside concentration. This is why, if we stay up late studying before a test and only get three hours sleep, our memory is very poor when it is the time to actually write the test.

“The take-home message from a working memory capacity standpoint is this:what we process, we learn. If we’re not processing life, we’re not living it. Live life” – Peter Doolittle

Artificial vs Biological Memory
Biological memory is the memories which are created from our own human experience. Our brain decides on what information to keep, and which information to discard; which constructs the framework that in the basis of our personality.
Artificial memory is the human dependency on resources outside of the brain in order to remember specific things. Some of these things such as books and calculators are extremely helpful in brain development as the help strengthen consolidation. Carr argues that the internet is a source that does not help with our memory- how so?

annCarr uses the example of Commonplace books in the chapter as one of the first instances in which artificial manifested. Commonplace books were held by students to document meaningful quotes they found or any connections they made which felt valuable to remember in their studies. For further reading, Ann Moss in her book Printed
Commonplace-books and the Structuring of Renaissance Thought (1999) discusses the role of these books in organizing and analyzing quotes from the studies of renaissance pupils.

 

 

 

Some Questions to ponder:
1. Do you value memorization? What is the place or role of memorization today?
2. Have you ever confronted a problem/challenge that you felt as though you could not solve because of your inability to concentrate? How can we as artists relate to Carr’s struggle to write a book?
3. Carr asks: “How is the way we think changing?”… How is it?
4. What difficulties have you experienced with internet so far?

….take a stress pill and think things over.

The Vancouver Industrial band Skinny Puppy, included several samples from 2001: A Space Odyssey in the track Rivers on their 1989 album Rabies.  Rivers also includes samples form Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers. It’s been been posted to YouTube including the scenes sampled – so good!

The Juggler’s Brain

Here’s the link to the intro video of the Chpater 7 + Digression presentation. See if you can watch it at home, or if it’s really just too hard to concentrate for that long:

About the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex (the brain region stimulated in experienced internet users, mentioned in the chapter regarding Gary Small’s study)…Where is it located? Well, it’s right here:

brain

Here is the scientific study illuminating the Top-Down processing purposes of the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex:

http://matt.colorado.edu/teaching/highcog/readings/mc1.pdf

Here’s the study’s diagram of all of the connections that this brain area makes, in case you’re looking to get straight to the point. With so many connections, it makes sense that it is stimulated when so many functions must be coordinated during Internet use:

chart

Indecisive about your career path? That indecision may be more linked to your Internet use than you think:

http://search.proquest.com/openview/45dacd5d6bebe59dca4f891942814b61/1?pq-origsite=gscholar

Here are some of the University of Guelph’s resources to help you deal with your perfectionism-procrastination complex. Scroll down the page or Ctrl+F “procrastination” to find them:

https://www.uoguelph.ca/counselling/mental-health-resources

Trying to quit multitasking and start focusing your attention? You may want to start by turning off all of your push notifications making your phone buzz and beep – they are apparently just as distracting as actually sending texts or checking your apps. Find out more:

http://www.itworld.com/article/2951813/mobile/push-notifications-as-distracting-as-responding-says-study.htmlmobile_phone_business_technology_iot_network_thinkstock_484224025-100468715-primary.idge

Toward the end of the chapter, Carr references a study by Clifford Nass at Stanford, about how the multitasking brain functions. Here is an article that further explains the points touched upon in the book, as well as a TED Talk by Nass exploring his findings:

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2009/august24/multitask-research-study-082409.html

Here is a great blog post which puts into really understandable terms why we just can’t multitask:

http://www.azarask.in/blog/post/you-cant-multitask/3875377104_89036a450d

As mentioned in the chapter, our working memory is quite limited, and theorized to only hold 7 items at a time. Marketers know this, and use “grouping” techniques to lump items together in ads so you retain more:

http://www.kunocreative.com/blog/bid/77355/Inbound-Marketing-for-the-Human-Brain-Using-the-Rule-of-1-3-7

Here’s an example of “grouping” in an ad:

ad

Here’s Torkel Klingberg’s TED Talk on how working memory works, and how you might be able to improve yours:

And here’s a link to his game:

http://www.spaceminespatrol.com/

The digression following chapter 7 is about the changes in IQ levels over time. Do you think we’re getting smarter, or are we just thinking differently?

If you’re curious about your IQ score, here’s a link to an online test:

http://www.iqtest.com/

 

 

 

How to spend Stephen King’s money

What happens when 2 authors release a book with the same title? In 2006 Emily Schultz published her debut novel Joyland (available in both print book and as an eBook), in 2014 Stephen King released his print only novel with the same title. Despite the fact that the eBook version of Joyland was authored by Emily Schultz, a few hundred people bought (online from Amazon), and read her eBook thinking it was Stephen King’s latest novel!!!!! Some of those people were confused and didn’t like “King’s‘ new book, so they returned to Schultz’s Amazon page to leave negative reviews.

The mistaken purchases resulted in a surprise royalty check for Schultz and because she is an artist, she took the experience to the next level and blogged about how she spent Stephen King’s money.