October 21, 2012

A dumb reality

The reading from Bolter and Grusin "Ubiquitous Computing" has to be one of the most interesting readings thus far in the semester. I think it was so interesting due to its applicability to our lives today. The conversation on "telepresence", robots, and digital video is extremely relatable to our social means today: "Telepresence can thus define a relationship between the medium and the physical world different from that of virtual reality" (Bolter and Grusin, 214). 

What is the different between telepresence and virtual reality? There are some physical differences, but what can one do differently than the other? Is it the use of the mediums or the delivery and acceptance of the audience? 

The use of telepresence as something that is "natural" addresses the issues with virtual reality. The physicality boulder can present an issue if we are using technology to view something that is an extreme distance away from the main center of communication. As demonstrated in the book, it is clear that our reality is distraught when we send robots or cameras into space and still try to control them by humans on Earth. Does the distance and amount of miles really separate reality from a technological medium? How can it be reality for the controller when they aren't even sure of what they see. There are still unknowns and things to discover- does the unknown make it unreal? I think that it is different when we use technology to analyze things in more depth that are right in front of us versus searching for something that is hundreds of miles away. 

The terms "smart" and "dumb", addressed on page 217 is a very interesting concept. What makes something dumb? According to Bolter and Grusin, doors, windows, etc. are all considered "dumb" because of their lack of communication with people. So, what is smart? Is the "Classroom 2000" the epitome of "smart" and technology? Or will that be considered dumb in the years to come? 

1 comment:

A Cycene said...

Telepresence I think, is more obvious to being artificial. You do have the obvious physical differences, but aside from those, it's how the person's mind accepts and relates the artificial experience to a real experience. I also think the methods of delivery have a great deal to do with the acceptance of the audience. The more senses that are involved in addition to sight, the more a person can relate to it and find it believable.

In reference to the issue on page 217-219 where Bolter and Grusin address what makes technology smart and dumb, it's interesting to read the connection that they're making on how we use technology. Only when something is useful to our needs does technology become "smart". After that, technology becomes "outdated" and is no longer smart. "Ubiquitous computing is an attempt to reform reality by making technological objects confrom to our wishes and desires;..." (p 217-218). Seeing as how quickly technology can become "smart" and "dumb" despite it having no mind or control of its own whatsoever and only being a device that we use depending on how helpful it is to us, I think Grusin and Bolter would definitely say that the technology we have today, especially with the "Smart rooms" and "Classroom 2000", will eventually be considered useless and "dumb" once it no longer provides enough uses for us, or until something that is more relevant with more of our senses comes along.

Kari K

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