Computing and its consequences
HPSS*S689 -- Blumberg
Notes: January 22 and 24
"Still, before authenticity had come along to suggest the deficiencies of sincerity and to usurp its place in our esteem, sincerity stood high in the cultural firmament and had dominion over men's imagination of how they ought to be." from Lionel Trilling, Sincerity and Authenticity (1973)
"Today abstraction is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror, or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being, or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor does it survive it. It is nevertheless the map that precedes the territory -- precession of simulacra -- that engenders the territory, and if one must return to the fable, today it is the territory whose shreds slowly rot across the extent of the map. It is the real, and not the map, whose vestiges persist here and there in the deserts that are no longer those of the Empire, but ours. The desert of the real itself." from Jean Baudrillard,
"The Precession of Simulacra" (1981)
1. Sincerity, Authenticity and Simulation
2. Modern Times vs. The Matrix
b. What do you think is the relationship between "choice" (e.g. personal choice) and "control" (e.g. control over your life), and do you think you have more or less of each compared with Chaplin's characters in 1936?
3. Chorost's Rebuilt and Ullman's Close to the Machine, and developing a relationship to and/or philosophy of technology.
"The hydroelectric plant is not built into
the Rhine River as was the old wooden bridge that joined bank with bank for hundreds of years. Rather, the
river is dammed up into the power plant. What the river is now, namely, a water
power supplier, derives from out of the essence of the
power station. In order that we may even remotely consider the monstrousness
that reigns here, let us ponder for a moment the contrast that speaks out of the two titles,
'The Rhine' as dammed up into the power
works, and 'The Rhine' as uttered out of the art work, in Holderlin's hymn by that
name. But, it will be replied, the
"Because the word processor
makes writing easy for desiring subjects and this ease in writing solicits us
to enter discourses rather than produce finished works, the word processor
attached to the Net solicits us to substitute it for pens and typewriters,
thereby eliminating the equipment and the skills that were
appropriate for modern subject/object practices. It takes a real commitment to
focal practices based on stable subjects and objects to go on writing personal
letters with a fountain pen and to insist that papers written on the word
processor must reach an elegant finish. If the tendency to rely completely on
the flexibility of technological devices is not resisted, we will be left with
only one kind of writing implement promoting one style of practice, namely
those of endless transformation and enhancement. Likewise, if we live our lives
in front of our home entertainment center, our sense of being mortals who can
open various worlds and have various identities will be lost as we, indeed,
become pure resources." Hubert L. Dreyfus and Charles Spinosa,
4. Martin Heidegger's "The Question Concerning Technology"
5. Hubert L. Dreyfus on Heidegger and "Gaining a Free Relation to Technology"
6. The Robopet Exercise
7 For Next Week: Read all of Part One of Webster's The Information Society 'Reader, and choose at least one of the other Parts to be responsible for
summarizing in class, and writing about on the final exam.