man machine distinction

Turkle dwells on the idea that a child can give a computer the psychological abilities of a person, i.e. think or talk, but still consider it a machine. "These children who so effortlessly split consciousness and life are forerunners of a larger cultural movement." I know I am one of these kids, I started playing video games when I was 5 and haven't looked back, but why is this so groundbreaking? I guess no other generation has experienced the "computer age" like we have, but separating reality, or biological life, from virtual reality, or machines, does not take any effort at all. Maybe those from generations past just don't get it, much like my grandparents don't understand sarcasm and irony the way I do. In fact, intensive research has gone into the correlation of violent video games and violent acts in life. The classic example being that the kids in the Columbine shooting played Doom. It turns out, the correlation is non-existent. People playing violent video games, or video games of any type, easily separate fantasy from reality. The things that form our opinions and actions are peers and parents, not video games and movies. It must be our version of rock-and-roll; old people just don't get it.

here comes johnny yen again/with the liquor and drugs/and the flesh machine

All of the cyborg readings we've done really sparks my interest in studying more about whatever field it is where you consider really big things to be machines. It's really interesting to me to put together these really huge and abstract chains of causality and ascribe them agency, almost as if they were some kind of living thing. Reading the Critical Art Ensemble piece, one word immediately came to mind: Paranoia. Initially in the "those whackos" sense, but then as I'd seen it in Gravity's Rainbow, where it sort of blurs into more of a general "everything is connected" that I read as having implications about causality in general.

cyborgs and such

Harraway's piece once again put something I have very little familiarity with and didn't think was really at all relevant to discussing new media into a totally new perspective. Just as with Marxist though, I didn't really understand how it could be related until we got to issues of copyright and sharing information with hypertext. Honestly, I felt very lost very many times in the piece. Harraway is writing with an intimate knowledge of many thinkers of whom I am ignorant. That said, I will comment on a few ideas. With the dawn of a conscious fabrication of parts of our biological nature, older ideas that dictate gender constructs seem to become less important. I thought that Harraway saw in this new phenomenon a deliverance from what she saw to be 'dominating' and damaging concepts of gender that were based on superiority. Honestly it's difficult for me to get any further in than that without confusing myself.


In our last class we were talking about whether machines could replace humans in terms of authorship in literature.

I have to say, the thought kinda horrified me. In a number of literature classes I've attended, we try to take into account the ongoings of the writer's life, their pain and their joy and how or if that emerges in their works. I think part of what makes literature meaningful is this translation of human experience, in the hands of someone with talent, into material that can be shared by others.

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