Collusion Between Man And Machine
'Techne' - Technique
We need to evaluate and interrogate the social, economic, and philosophical meaning of the effects and affects of Technology and Technique on the Web Data on Mass Media and Mass Society, i.e., the Web's transmitted content, and its form and means of transmission and how this in end, when disseminated by the media, and received by the masses, what are the effects and affects thereof.
We need to re-examine our assumptions of what we understand about the Media and how we understand Information/Media and the effects and affects of technical gadget and their social use; what is it in using and understanding the new and emerging technologies that effects and affects us, so we can be able to help ourselves to see beyond the banal assertion that ours has become a 'mediarized' mass society, and maybe we can better understand that society and how it is 'affected' and 'effected' and does the same to us.
Frederick Engels's law asserts that technique has passed the 'stages of quantity to quality' in its evolution within the midst of mass society. I tend to then phrase it as, 'We have had a reversal of technique's evolution having passed over several stages in as many decades from quality to quantity within the present new Internet technology era of the computer and the Internet and its enabling convergence for different technologies, that in the end it might be overwhelming us as a data-filled and spewing entity that keeps on adding billions of information per second and ever expanding like some viral nervous system-like variation.
In the end, it is the mind being replaced by the Internet/Web, and we are surrendering our intellectual spontaneity and freedom to the Internet and socially converging emerging technologies with their technicized media. This Hub develops and works on these themes to basically understand how these new converging technical systems, i.e., Media and their techniques, effect and affect Mass media data and gadgets are consuming mass society of these media-information/technical gadgets and societies, have changed the Mass Media and Mass Society in ways unfathomable only a decade ago, and have been introduced in our mass society and collective consciences at amazing speed and breath-taking changes, that they have also become the norm, fostering a change by creating a dependency in us on them.
The denizens of the technological state of the present and future are having and going to have everything their hearts will ever desire, except, of course, their freedom. Admittedly, modern man, forced by technique to become in reality a non-creator and without residue the imaginary producer-consuming of the classical economists, shows disconcertingly little regard for his lost freedom; but, there are ominous signs that human spontaneity,which in the rational and ordered technical society has no expression except madness, is only too capable of outbreaks of irrational suicidal destructiveness.
It would seem that the Technological Society, like everything else, bears within itself the seeds of its own destruction. So that, it would seem to me that the reduction of everything from quality to quantity is partly a cause, and partly an effect, of the modern omnipresence of computing machines and cybernated information in the web and other technological gizmos and gadgets. These are being invented and reproduced very fast, and the technique is used as a pipeline or conduit , or highway. Most everyday conceptions of successful interpersonal and intrapersonal or media communication essentially depend upon "aim, point and shoot" transportation assumptions.
But even while we try to cling to transportation metaphors like "the Information Superhighway," computer have changed us irretrievably. Producers do have audiences in mind, direct messages toward those audiences, and try to get their points across. Aim, Point and Shoot. Modernized culture overvalues packaging and commercialization, and has to create consumers for all its packaging and packages. If it is to be grasped in its full impact, modernization must be regarded as a process by which specific clusters of institutions and contents of consciousness are transmitted. Messages are designed to span the gap from Sender to Receiver. The metaphor of this "accrossness," this "Directness" is revealing and could be illustrated simply:
A ----------------------------------- [message/package] ---------------------------- B
Access ... signifies the ability to do what everybody else can do and to make use of what everybody else can use; access means the liberty to take advantage of resources(Wurman, 1990, p.45) This model has come back to be used in the modern technological gadgets of Social Media for its directness.
The abundance lies not only in the manipulation of text on one's own computer and data storage, but also in the magical word which will replace libraries: access. As we will see in this hub, the nature of digital text is characterized by linkage in an essential way-Directness, which as we shall see has given birth to a new communication phenomenon on the Web through interconnectivity of the new and emerging technological gadgets and ways of communicating.
The new media now fueled by an on-line culture are moving inevitably in the direction of a listening model. Immersion, co-authorship, interdependence, and interpretive responsibility are the keys to this new model. The Mind, it should not be forgotten, plays a role in all this and in the end , will have the most pivotal role as we immerse, interconnect, become interdependent on each other and interpret the old, new and emerging techniques and technology and media. We can simply start by looking at TV viewing habits in the following piece.
According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or 2 months of nonstop T-watching per year). In a 65-year life, that person will spent 9 years glued to the tube.
I. FAMILY LIFE
Percentage of households that possess at least one television: 99
Number of TV sets in the average US household: 2.24
Percentage of US homes with three or more TV sets: 66
Numbers of hours per day that TV is on in an average US home: 6 hours 47 minutes
Percentage of Americans that regularly watch TV while eating dinner: 66
Number of hours of TV watched annually by Americans: 250 billion
Value of that time assuming an average wage of $5/hr: $1.5 trillion
Percentage of Americans who pay for cable TV: 56
Number of videos rented daily in the US: 6 million
Number of public library items checked out daily: 3 million
Percentage of Americans who say they watch too much TV: 49
Approximate number of studies examining TV's effects on children: 4000
Number of minutes per week that parents spend meaningful conversation with their children: 3.5
Number of minutes per week that the average child watches television: 1,580
Percentage of day care centers that use TV during a typical day: 70
Percentage of parents who would like to limit their children's TV watching: 73
Percentage of 4-6 years-olds who, when asked to choose between watching TV and spending time with their fathers, preferred television: 54
Hours per year the average American youth spend in school: 900
Hours per year the average American youth watches TV: 1500
Number of murders seen on TV by the time an average child finishes elementary school: 8000
Number of violent acts seen on TV by age 18: 200,000
Percentage of Americans who believe TV violence helps precipitate real life mayhem: 79
Number of 30 30 second TV commercials seen in a year by an average child: 20,000
Number of TV commercials seen by the average person by age 65: 2 million
Percentage of survey participants (1993) who said that TV commercials aimed at children make them materialistic: 92
Rank of food products/fast-food restaurants among TV advertisements to kids: 1
Total spending by 100 leading TV advertisers in 1993: $$15 billion
V. Percentage of local TV News broadcast time devoted to advertising: 30
Percentage devoted to stories about crime, disaster and war: 53.8
Percentage devoted to public service announcements: 0.7
Percentage of Americans who can name the Three Stooges 59
Percentage who can name at least three justices of the US Supreme Court
The Statistics above were compiled by TV-Free America in Washington, DC.
Influence of TV
For decades, research and studies have demonstrated that heavy television-viewing may lead to serious health consequences. Now the American medical community which has long-voiced its concerns about the nation's epidemic of violence, TV addiction and the passive, sedentary nature of TV-watching, is taking on a more activist stance, demonstrated by its endorsement of National TV-Turnoff Week.
The average child will watch 8,000 murders on TV before finishing elementary school. By age eighteen, the average American has seen 200,000 acts of violence on TV, including 40,000. At a meeting held in Nashville, TN in July, Dr. John Nelson of the American Medical Association (an endorser of National TV-Turnoff Week), said if 2,888 out of 3,000 studies show that TV violence is a causal factor in real-life mayhem, "it's a pubic health problem." The American psychiatric Association addressed this problem in its endorsement of Nation TV-Turnoff Week, stating that, "We have had a long standing concern with the impact of television on behavior, especially among children."
Millions of Americans are so hooked on television that hey fit the criteria for substance abuse as defined in the official psychiatric manual, according to Rutgers University psychologist and TV-Free America board member Robert Kubey. Heavy TV viewers exhibit five dependency symptoms — two more than necessary to arrive at a clinical diagnosis of substance abuse. These include:
1) Using TV as a sedative;
2) Indiscriminate viewing;
3) feeling loss of control whilst viewing;
4) feeling angry with oneself for watching too much TV;
5) inability to stop watching; and
6) feeling miserable when kept from watching.
Violence and addiction are not the only TV-related health problems. A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey released in October 1995 found 4.7 million children between the age of 6-17 (11% of this age group) to be severely overweight, more than twice the rate during the 1960s. The main culprits: inactivity(these same children average more than 2 hours of television-viewing a week) and a high-calorie diet. A 1991 study showed that there were and average of 200 junk food ads in four hours of children's Saturday morning cartoons.
According to William H. Deitz, pediatrician and prominent obesity expert at Tufts University School of Medicine, "The easiest way to reduce inactivity is to turn off the TV set. Almost anything else uses more energy than watching TV." Children are not the only Americans suffering from weight problems; one-third of American adults are overweight. According to an American Journal of Public Health study, an adult who watches three hours of TV a day is far more likely to be obese than an adult who watches less than one hour. Sometimes the problem is not too much weight; it's too little.
Seventy-five percent of American women believe they are too fat, an image problem that often leads to bulimia or anorexia. Sound strange? Not when one takes into account that female models and actresses are twenty-three percent thinner than the average woman and thinner than ninety-five percent of the female population .(TV-Free America) These are some of the effects and affects of TV mass media technology and programming on both children and adults
Mass Society in the Technological Era
It is a truism to state that contemporary society is becoming a mass society. The 'process of massification," 'the accession of the masses" have been thoroughly studied and understood. Less well understood, however, is the fact that the man of the present is not spontaneously adapted to the new form of society. Previous societies took their character to a very large degree from the men in them. Technical or economic conditions imposed certain sociological structures, and the form society took expressed the psychology of the individual.
This is no longer true. The process of massification takes place not because man of today is nature mass man, but for technical reasons. Man becomes a mass man in the new framework imposed upon him because he is unable to remain for very long at variance with his milieu. The adaptation of men to a mass society is not yet an accomplished fact; and recent research in the field of psychoanalytic sociology has revealed the gap which exist between man and the collective society, a gap which is the cause of the disequilibrium. Every society has norms which represent a criterion of the normal.
When these norms change their character, a disturbance of equilibrium ensues and, for the man who has not kept pace with the changes, neurosis. There is no doubt that the norms of our civilization have changed for reasons which are not "human"; men as a whole had no desire for the changes that occurred nor did they work toward them consciously. Indirect influences have operated on the norms of modern society; and these norms have been transformed without men knowing what was happening.(Ellul) The outcomes of modes of communication promulgated by the new emerging digital contraptions cannot be missed as one reads further into the hub as to how these function and how they affect and affect us as a mass society and our mass minds.
Mind Over Web Data
In the book the Secrets of The Ages, the reorganization and power of the Mind and its abilities has been stated as follows:
"Now we know that this infinite Good is not more available to one than it is to all. We know that the only limit to it is our capacity to receive. If you had a problem with mathematics to work out, you would hardly gather together the necessary figures and leave them to arrange themselves in their proper sequence. You would know that while the method or solving every problem has been figured out, you have got to work it. The principles are there, but you have got to apply them.
"The first essential is to understand the principle — how it works — how to use it. The second — and even more important — is to APPLY that understanding to the problem in hand. In the same way, the Principle of Infinite energy, Infinite Supply, is ever available. But that Energy, that Supply, is static. You've got to make it dynamic. You've got to apply your understanding in order to solve your problems of poverty , discord , disease. Science shows that it is possible to accomplish any good thing. But distrust of your ability to reach the goal desired often hold you back and failure is the inevitable result.
"Only by understanding that there is but one power — and that this power is Mind, not circumstances or environment — is it possible to bring your real abilities to the surface ad put them to work. Few deny that intelligence governs the universe. In matters not whether you call this intelligence Universal Mindor Providence or God or merely nature. All admit Its directing power. All admit that It is a force for good, for progress. But few realize that our own minds are a part of this Universal Mind in just the same way that the rays of the sun are part of the sun.
"If we work in harmony with It, we can draw upon Universal Mind for all power, all intelligence, in the same way that the sun's ray draw upon their source for the heat and light they bring the earth. It is not enough to know that you have this power. You must put it into practice — not once, or twice, but every hour and every day.
Don't be discouraged if at first it doesn't always work. When you first studied arithmetic, your problems did not always work out correctly, did they? Yet you did not on that account doubt the principle of mathematics. You knew that the fault was in your methods, not it the principle. It is the same in this. The power is there. Correctly used, it can do anything." As stated above, the principles about the media and by the media are there, we've got to know them very well to apply them".
"Most of what we communicate has to do a lot with language and writing. What the mind thinks is transferred into verbal , written form, phonetic syllable and the auditory realms. It looks like the aims of expression and communication are so closely intertwined with each other in all forms of human behavior that normally it is impossible to speak about one without being forced at the same time to consider the other.
"In order to communicate thoughts and feelings, there must be a conventional system of signs or symbols which, when used by some persons, are understood by other persons receiving them. Communication under normal circumstances requires the presence of two or more persons, the one(s) who emit(s) and the one(s) who receive(s) the communication. Therefore, the process of communication is composed of two parts, emission and reception.
"Our Minds can grasp these if we are to understand the large quote in the above cited paragraph. The purpose of this Hub is to show that the corporate media system, in conjunction with the broader trappings of a modern capitalist society, necessarily generate a depoliticized society, one where the vast majority of people logically put little time or interest into social or political affairs."(Carl Boggs)
In the process, the Social networking processes. Through the use of the internet and other miniature emerging technological gadgets, debunks the myth and fiction that the Internet will "set us free," but the Hub shows that the Internet, despite its virtues, is largely being incorporated into the dominant commercial media and communication systems, creating a mass consuming and technological/technique-based mass media society and reality.
In the 1990s a new argument emerged which suggested that we had no reason to be concerned about concentrated corporate and hypercommercialization of media and the notion that the Internet, or broadly speaking, digital communication networks will,will set us free. Every major new electronic media technology this century, from film, AM radio, shortwave radio, and facsimile broadcasting to FM radio, terrestrial television broadcasting, cable, Dish and satellite TV and broadcasting, has spawned similar utopian notions.
The factor that distinguishes the Internet from previous new communication technologies is its all-encompassing nature. Computers are not just tools or even conduits, but create their own experiential listening environment that is increasingly naturalistic and pervasive in human life. Computer culture forces us to redefine what mediated communication means and we are barely coping as the computers steadily come over matter and mind.
The Internet As Communications on Steroids
As the technological society society's era expands, merges and converges ad infinitum, one wonders if whether we are witnessing the Mind over the Web or is it the Web all over the mind? One of the striking features of the Internet is that it is a public sector creation. At the same time, the internet has been developed by the private sector, with the guiding principle being that whoever makes the most money wins. With the shift of television to digital format, this has made it interchangeable with the Internet.
Those firms that are now dominating the digital television have been for some time poised to play a major role they are now playing in the age of the Internet. In a way, the Internet is being maintained through a profit driven context. It is important to look and know how the dominant firms in the relevant sectors — telecommunications, computer software, computer hardware, media-are addressing the media operate and manipulate these entities.
All are threatened by the Internet and they act defensively; and each also sees the Internet as a route to long-term growth. In conventional thinking, Convergence provides the basis for highly competitive markets, because firms can now invade formally irrelevant, and we have been witnessing a wave of unprecedented mergers and alliances of the largest media, telecommunication and computer firms in recent memory markets.
A brief history about the formations and origins of the Net would be in order at this juncture. It is important to note that the computer Net is an ever expanding new territory, and it is still growing faster than our ability to document or civilize it. Douglas Rushkoff offers an excellent and brief historical background on the founding and origins of the net in this excerpt below as follows:
"Intentionally developed as a decentralized web, the computer networks have already evolved into complex chaotic systems, capable of feedback and iteration on a scale still unfathomable by even their most enthusiastic participants. Computer networks are fractal in composition, with large networks of computers self-similarly reflecting smaller linked groups, which themselves reflect the inner workings of a single machine, which itself reflects the shape and structure of the software within it, the commands within the software, and the bytes of binary data within those commands.
"As feedback devices, computers provide unprecedented expressive capabilities to anyone who can get access to a terminal and a modem. A tiny laptop in Montana can as high a leverage point as a system than any other. As an opportunity for iteration, the computer and its networks — which actually work by cycling information in nearly infinite loops — have begun to frighten those whose power is based on limiting the public's ability to disseminate and amplify its observations and intentions.
"How this all came to be is significant. Tracking the development of the current Net reveals why it is so essentially chaotic; both the conscious plans of its constructors and what can be considered deeply "Natural causes" led to the formation of a new kind of wilderness — a network of 'roots' and 'vines' so vast that it has the potential to modify everything it contacts and utterly change the very landscape of the forest."
"One way to trace the formation of the computer networks is to begin in 1964, when a cold war 'think tank' called the Rand Corporation was asked to come up with a way for the United States to maintain defense communication in the event of a nuclear war. The post-apocalyptic scenario they imagined was surprisingly similar to the postmodern world view of the slacker. Rand determined that the communications network must 'have no central authority and be designed from the beginning to operate while in tatters."(Bruce Sterling)