the creator versus the creation

January 29, 2012

Veggie Tales: the Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything



Ambition is the mother of invention

 –Veggie Tales, The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything.

Our ambition has been the catalyst for us to create. We invented new technology to improve the standard of living, to ease the way of life and in some sense provide equality of ourselves. The question now becomes: are we defined by what gadgetry we use?

Jaron Lanier

Jaron Lanier author of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifest brings his background in computer science to the forefront. He writes about what the world of computers is evolving into. Jennifer Khan article titled The Visionary on Lanier writes “he is a technology expert who dislikes what the technology has become.” I would describe Lanier as an eccentric bohemian who loves the brains and development of computer but severally doubts about man’s utilization of the application in computers. If you have watched the movie Minority Report starring Tom Cruise and directed by Steven Spielberg, I would recommend watching it. I was pleasantly surprised to read that Lanier consulted on the movie. I enjoyed the sci-fi plotline of how human beings with the aid of computers have the right intentions in crime solving but every system has a weakness. It takes one man to question the integrity of the system and ultimately bring it down. The irony is that in the time we are living in Lanier is a man with credentials questioning our use of computer technology.

Lanier writes “algorithms will find correlations between those who read my words and their purchases, their romantic adventures, their debts and soon their genes” (pg. xiii). This is a true statement.  We have developed algorithms to explain every aspect of human behavior. There was a television show, Numb3rs by CBS that demonstrated how algorithms could be used in solving crime. Google’s recent web cleaning algorithm Panda evaluated which website had worth content and ranks them. In my humble opinion, algorithms has made Google king of the internet.

We are trying so hard to define and quantify the human brain. Often forgetting that elements like upbringing, education, family and culture make up the human experience called life. Each of  these experiences are different for everyone and that is what makes everyone life unique. Advertisers for years have also attempted to define human behavior. I believe that we use social networks to produce and share common interest. Lanier analysis of social networks is that they have “dehumanizing and designed to encourage shallow interaction”.

A gadget that gave birth to community define by it are video game console. This gadget is now in the process of altering the way we use other gadgets. From the first Atari to the Xbox, the video game industry is a multi-billion dollar industry.  Mikki Phan recently published an article titled Video gaming trends: Violent, Action/Adventure games are most popular  in Wichita States University Software Usability Research Lab looking at the trends regarding video game usage.

Phan examines the gaming behaviors of 341 individuals. Of those participates, 81% were males and 19% were female. Results showed that the preferred gaming console was the computer. This wasn’t surprising to see read as from my experience I have seen a lot of people on Solitaire while they are “working”. What I found interesting about results of the handheld devices did not include cellphones. I am an avid gamer. In previous years, I have bought cellphones based on what games they came with or had the capability to download. I believe more people play games on their cellphones and so should qualify has a hand-held device. Phan also found out that the majority of respondents had been playing video games for a long time.

The study has 157 who did not play with motion-sensing devices. Considering the latest push is heading towards this direction. Video game gadgets that are becoming more that just a console:

It would be interesting to see what the results of this study would be like in five years. When considering that following video that illustrates the evolutionary power possible with the Xbox Kinect:

This doesn’t limit what we can do with gadgets. Mike Flacy writes in the Kinect technology is heading to laptops how Xbox is diversifying its motion sensor. We are heading to a technological environment where we converse with our “toys”. I agree with Lanier that I am not a gadget. My question is how are we (society, communities, cultures, nations) going to more forward from this point without being defined by the gadgets we consume?


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