Throughout this course, I’ve really have gotten the chance to appreciate Technology and its rapid growth in recent history. Most people in my generation take it for granted. In younger generations, even more so. I remember the days of pay phones, the good ol’ days of Mr T and his 1800-CALL-ATT. I remember the commercials being pretty cool. All the numbers you had to dial, with the exception of “1”were in that center row, “2,5,8,0.” Does any one even make collect calls anymore? Where have all the pay phones gone? I enjoy watching older movies (doesn’t have to date back too far) where it was so hard to communicate. Once you left your house, you were cut off from any kind of distance communication, unless of course you used a pay phone. Imagine living that way today. People would go nuts. Many of those people were alive during those days, but still they can’t live with out their technology. Communication, and to some extent the entire social environment has been streamlined to the point where you don’t have to leave the house or office. Grumpert and Drucker, make a good point. Why go into the city? If you desired social interaction in the past, that’s what you would do, you’d go out. Not anymore. The social interaction is in cyberspace. Not even business meetings have to take place in person. Even in the early days of computers, if something went wrong the IT pro would have to physically come and fix it. No longer.
Jacobson brings up a good point in his essay. Even the title gets you thinking. “Are They Building an Off-Ramp in My Neighborhood?” They answer is yes. Well, kind of. You used to have to physically go places. Today, there are very few reasons to leave the house. Anytime you think of a legitimate reason to leave to house, I can come up with a solution that says you don’t have too. “Well, I have to go to work.” No you don’t. GoToMeeting.com. Boom roasted. “Well, I need to get groceries.” Tougher, but Stop and Shop through it’s website allows you to do grocery shopping online. They’ll even deliver to your house. Boom roasted. “Well, I need erotic stimulation.” Are you kidding, you know how many porn sites there are. Boom roasted. “Well, I want to have a baby.” Touche. As far as I know, they haven’t figured out procreation in cyber space just yet.
Lippert’s essay entitled “Cinematic Representations of Cyberspace” was quite interesting. It is a topic I enjoy. And it’s a genre a Movies and TV that I watch quite often. The go to reference here is Tron, which I never saw so I can’t discuss. Next, The Terminator movies. Movies like this, The Matrix even the Fresh Price’s iRobot scare the hell out of me. What happens when technology takes over? And is the idea too farfetched? The fact is, today’s technology can communicate faster than the human being and hold so much more information than the human brain. IBM’s Watson, has the ability to reason, to understand humor and puns. What happens when Watson and his other robot and computer buddies realize that we depend on technology and they got us over the barrel? A lot of times science fiction, accurately predicts the future. Video Conferencing is something we see in almost all science fiction movies and TV shows. Usually, science fiction is set in the distant future, but we have this technology today. With the exception of Back to the Future II, science fiction predictions come true in many cases. But definitely not Back to the Future II was way off.
It is interesting to look at the recent advances in Communication and Cyberspace as an Informations Arms Race. Rushkoff brings up an interesting point how information wants to be preserved. The only way to see where your going is to know where you’ve been. Now, information can be stored easily and abundantly through digital means. Not only can it be stored easily but it can be accessed easily. It creates a power struggle. Whoever has to most information wins. What is really intriguing is the idea of advertising as an info war. With all this information stored in numerous databases, corporations have figured out to most efficient ways of advertising to consumers around the world. This is incredibly important considering the global economy is becoming so much more prevalent. As consumers we are constantly absorbing advertisements. The funny thing is sometimes we don’t even know. To some extent we’ve gotten used to be bombarded with ads, but through tools like product placement that’s to goal. To be marketed toward, but not even know it. In the global economy, corporations from countries all around to world are fighting for our dollar. Advertising is carefully planned and executed. So having the most information gives that corporation the advantage.