Hanging out, catching up on some reading, listening to music, and digging through favorites I’ve stashed for chill out evenings like tonight. Found this infographic for The Neurology of Gaming. A lot of the positive and negative effects of gaming are relatively common sense but “parts of the brain activated” by game play make the graphic worth perusing. I can’t wait to delve into arts and tech research. Game design and theory has piqued my interest lately. My goodness, so much to read. For now, an infographic will do!

My Facebook Experience - Image Source: Eric Slatkin, Artist

Last weekend, Eric Slatkin, founder of High Beam Media and co-founder of the Disposable Film Festival, sat down with me to discuss his current projects and technology’s effect on our culture. Below, you will find our conversation. Please share your on thoughts on the subject, check out Heart 2 Heart (and consider submitting your conversation, and, most importantly, enjoy! 🙂

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Dorothy Santos (DS): Regarding the Heart 2 Heart project, what did notice in the video submissions? Specifically, what did you notice in people’s’ speech?

Eric Slatkin (ES): For one thing, it’s hard for people to say ‘you’. The project aims to anthropomorphize our phones, though calling it out directly, is a challenge for people. To give something that credence, there needs to be an interaction, a back and forth. But we often just think of the one-sided nature of our phones, and that keeps us from thinking of the idea of a relationship. But once we admit that there is a discourse there, it opens up some interesting ideas, like what we, ourselves,  give back to them.

DS: We give back to them?

ES: I’m talking on the lowest level. Touching it. Talking into it. Stroking it. Looking at it. Thinking about it. All of those things, when applied to some sentient being, that would equal a relationship.  And sure, it’s just an object, so we don’t think to attribute any emotions to it. But the sophistication of what we do with it, what it does for us is constantly being built upon, and with Siri, it shows that when then you can have a conversation with it, we have to take into consideration the idea of it ascending to some sort sentient level. I think a lot of people think it’s crazy that we might have a relationship as meaningful with a friend as we do with our phones – but I think it’s coming. And I think it’s important to have conversations about how we  relate to it, vice versa, and what kind of understanding we can come to.  As Kevin Kelley says, technology are introduced, and we are guinea pigs, making mistakes, learning from them.  We saw that with Facebook privacy issues, as people lost their jobs, got divorced, didn’t get into colleges, all because they didn’t understand the implications of who they were sharing their social graph with.

And so Heart 2 Heart is a project in some senses about negotiating our relationships with our devices.

Heart 2 Heart - Image Source: Eric Slatkin, Artist

DS: Do you think technology is a right or an enabler?

ES: Saying that it’s our right I feel, begets the idea that somehow, it has a theological grounding. That it’s a part of the constructs of how we’re evolving. I don’t believe that though.  It just enables people to do things. It’s impartial, and what we do with it determines it’s opinions.

DS: With Augmented Reality, John Craig Freeman pointed to technology being a prosthesis. What do you think of technology (i.e., mobile devices) as an extension of ourselves?

ES: With all technology, there is a quantity over quality argument. Technology solves problems and makes things easier so it opens us up to do other things.  But that kind of logic is easier to stomach when it’s a machine that makes car parts, rather than when it compromises our need to do something like memory recall. But eventually (and we already see it coming) it will just make more sense not to remember anything because the phone /device will do it for us.  I’m a little upset about that idea but it’s one of those things, where the jury’s out on whether in social evolution of things, it will still be thought of as integral in the future.  If we don’t have to limit ourselves to 8 bits of memory/information, then we can obviously accomplish a lot more.  But before any of this happens, with Heart 2 Heart and my other projects, I’m trying to elicit the conversation of the implications of that kind of transition.

DS: What kind of sacrifices have you made for technology?

ES: There are tons. They’re no different from anyone else’s though. I miss writing with a pen. Writing with a pen is intimate to me, closer to what I’m really thinking than when it appears on a screen – not to mention the different kind of real-time editing you do by backspacing – deleting and replacing, than with a simple strike through with a pen.

DS: It’s organic.

ES: It’s what you’re creating. You’re creating what shows up on the page. There’s this whole other system when you’re on a laptop such as spell/grammar check and it fixes it for you. You feel less involved in the process. I write poetry and it’s all by hand, at first because if it’s on the computer, it feels further along in the process, when all I’m trying to do is get my thoughts down.  But I always edit them on my computer – there’s no way, I’d write multiple drafts by hand.

DS: Since you discussed converging with technology and seeing it as a form of mutualism, I’m curious what you mean by that?

ES: I add a level of sentience behind these devices already. We give to it. It gives to us. In any kind of relationship. In our gut, there’s a world of bacteria, mostly helping us.  And many people, like Ray Kurzweil, believe that our mutualism with technology will eventually get deep enough, so that it actually becomes part of us, just like bacteria (think Google searches right from our brain or turning house lights on and off just by thinking about it).

Caption Here - Image Source: Eric Slatkin, Artist

DS: What do you think about accessibility to technology? There is a lot of the world that is not hard-wired in the way people are within a city or urban landscape. It definitely separates people.

ES: It’s a socio-economic privilege. If, one day, there is an implanted chip in someone’s head, they’re gonna probably have a better chance at getting a job than someone who cannot afford. Even within our smaller cultural spheres, there are going to be those discrepancies. I don’t think it’s distinct than the historically having access to an education or books versus growing up without those abilities.  I think that technology does a great job of helping to bridge the gap and  democratizing knowledge – but I don’t think it will create a perfect society where everyone is on the same level – some will still have access to certain technologies, while others will not.

DS: Do you want everyone to be connected?

ES: I don’t know.

DS: Does it matter?

ES: It’s hard to say – you either don’t know, or if you do, base all your other experiences on it. It feels like why Thoreau left Walden – because he knew what was on the other side … I waffle between technophobia and technophilia, but ultimately I want to be, just like I assume other people want to be, part of society – and to do that, now, means to be connected.

DS: Should everyone be connected?

ES: It seems a little self-righteous to say yes, they should, or no, I want to think that there are people still living in the wilderness.  It’s a choice that EVERYONE should make themselves.

DS: Most of your projects, you seem to want the viewer/participant to use technology in moderation. Would you say that’s true?

ES: I think the purpose of all these projects,  is to make people take a step back. Think about your relationship with technology, so that we can have a conversation about their implications.  And to ultimately, find a balance.

To learn more about Eric, please click here

Everything is a Remix Part 1 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Please support Kirby Ferguson! Great information, wonderful video, and extremely informative! You will want to watch all parts of Everything is a Remix. Click here to view the site.

Image Source: ahumanright.org

If you can ‘Like’, re-tweet, and/or respond to this, YOU are lucky. Are you able to imagine not being digitally connected to the world, to your friends, your family, and business partners and colleagues? What about your government disabling and/or prohibiting an internet connection? My mother has a Facebook account for goodness sake, which is great. Yet, there was a time and place where checking your e-mail, your Facebook messages, and updating your status was probably not a part of your daily routine. The world has changed. It is moving and evolving at an even faster rate. So, are you able to imagine your life unable to share so readily with the world? I admit, it would be difficult for me (considering my passion with the Arts and incessantly wanting to share with people). As we move forward in the digital age, old-fashioned wrist watches become vintage and final tweets memorialized, there is a disparity. An individual is unable to enjoy an app if they are far removed or unable to gain access to technology. In some situations, the digital world is rather exclusive versus inclusive. Wouldn’t you say?

A Human Right, organization founded by Kosta Grammatis, aims to help people around the world gain access to the internet. You may think this idea is incredibly idealistic. BUT it’s possible. It is absolutely worth giving people the opportunity to take part in a truly global discourse. Although an argument might be that the world would be glut with misinformation, well, it’s every single person’s responsibility to be both socially and intellectually conscious. Trust me, nothing great comes from exclusivity (some will debate me on this point, please do). A Human Right is moving in a great direction and have some really exciting things happening AND it calls my hometown, San Francisco, home (even sweeter)!!

Check out essay, Project Projects: Slides, PowerPoints, Nostalgia, and a Sense of Belonging

by Orit Gat on Rhizome.

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Although I’m not too particularly fond of the name, iPhone application, Hipster, offers the end user the ability to send postcards virtually. In a matter of seconds, I was able to create a nifty postcard of our descent onto La Guardia Airport! Once you select a photo, you pick your postcard theme, flip the postcard around, write your loved one a message (yes, there’s a character limit), and send! Easy but, unfortunately, you can’t send it unless the person is on Hipster as well. Or, you can publicize it on Facebook for everyone to see. The developers still need to work on making this app a bit more versatile (i.e., the ability to send postcards to friends directly from the phone’s contact list!) and I wish they would change the name. Otherwise, they’re onto something (being that they partnered with Foursquare to make this app happen). Here’s what the back of the postcard looks like…

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