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Notes for Wednesday, 2.23

J.Yoo's picture


Notes for 2.23 follow, but you have to click to read them.

Class began with coursekeeping (I love this word mashup!): we all need to post who we are going to be for the pannel discussions on Monday and Wenesday, but you’ve already done this, right?

                We also went over the “My mind is like a…” results from last time.  Professor McCormack drew up a graph by placing the descriptions into “metaphoric objects,” “functional definitions,” and a third groups I will put here, once the official Wednesday notes are put up. 

-about 67% of the descriptions fell into the metaphoric objects category

-10% in the Functional Definitions Category

-the other 23% in the unremembered category. I wonder if a person’s description has a connetion to his or her major and what he or she finds interesting.


We then went over Hayle’s second essay about how humans think. It focused on Traditional Humanities (scholars with glasses bent over musty tomes in a murky library), and how they conflict and combine with the newer Digital Humanities (men and women in more modern glasses, illuminated by a computer screen as they finish That Project they’ve been working on). 

-conclusion ( as far as I understand it): is that quality is appreciated over any medium. If something can be better represented in a movie than a novel, or vice versa, then it shold be presented in a way that best conveys the creator’s message or meaning. 

-does this make video games a member of the Digital Humanities club?

                - scanning algorithms came up in the coversaton. Do they read? Does their lack of human biases mean their reading is purer than ours? 

-this “postuhan mode” ties in nicely with Andy Clarke’s piece on technology as it relates to humans: is the algorithm an extension of its programmer, or is the programmer reliant on his algorithm?


Next, we broke into groups to discuss the assigned film, Concieving Ada. I was in a group with cara and PhreNic; you can see cara’s notes on our thoughts on the movie.


The different groups them partially recombined for discussion. The general feel seemed to be that the movie had an interesting message and engaging ideas, but too many plotholes for any close reading. 

-the ‘agents’ the characters kept talking about were like messengers, passing the message along without interacting with it, like wires in a system. 

-at one point, Emmy’s mentor Simms, who may or may not be a computer program bent on taking over a chunk of reality, says that, “…information is like mist, you have to breathe it in.” He speaks of information as something that you needs to emerse youself in, furthering the idea of agents and the datestream. 

- someone brought up relationship as mediums, and how they could be used to further ideas and data as well. Is everything we do self serving? Maybe.

                -is cylicing information (like when Emmy put Ada’s ‘esscence’ in her own daughter) like reincarnation? And if all information is just cycled information, then is anything ever original? Ancient Egyptians complained about lack of originality over 4000 years ago, maybe they were on to something.  

-what exactly was Ada’s essence? Her memories? Her entire being? And what right did Emmy have to write over her daughter in such a way? 

-MJ brought up that Ada said she would only have a half life is she were saved, does that mean the information will fade away from Emmy’s daughter?


                I think Murella, having taken film classes before, said films are usually very closely read, in spite of their status as a digital humanity. Being a digital human doesn’t necessarily lessen the scrutiny.




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