Skip to main content
Updated date:

Media Ecology: The Technological Society- How Real Is Our Reality? Also, How Reality Is Real.. Everything Is Everything.


The Present Future's Future...



The Future is the here-and-now Presentism...

The Future is the here-and-now Presentism...

It is supposed to be the future, where is my food in pill form? Oh, it's right here

It is supposed to be the future, where is my food in pill form? Oh, it's right here

Plaplax: Media Art Connecting image to reality

Plaplax: Media Art Connecting image to reality

This is a Dassault Systemes, the company specializing in 3D and lifelike experiences. Sme people are torn between the real world and a virtual(the matrix), which is revealed as a false reality

This is a Dassault Systemes, the company specializing in 3D and lifelike experiences. Sme people are torn between the real world and a virtual(the matrix), which is revealed as a false reality

Cross reality, dual Reality, X-Reality brings the Virtual into the Real and vice versa. These devices are designed to be like wormholes that let you tunnel through to a second reality. Second life is detached and is being tied into the Real world

Cross reality, dual Reality, X-Reality brings the Virtual into the Real and vice versa. These devices are designed to be like wormholes that let you tunnel through to a second reality. Second life is detached and is being tied into the Real world

Virtual reality Sunglasses. "The Wrap 920AV" headgear functions as either as sunglasses of portable video eyewear, and can be connected to almost any type of media player; also includes built-in audio for quiet viewing

Virtual reality Sunglasses. "The Wrap 920AV" headgear functions as either as sunglasses of portable video eyewear, and can be connected to almost any type of media player; also includes built-in audio for quiet viewing

Will LARK/MIT Lab: Smart Cities GROUPMIT is Submitting a proposal to build a network of stackable car in a city in Asia. The University"s initiative is focused on solving transportation problems. Changing reality and new real reality

Will LARK/MIT Lab: Smart Cities GROUPMIT is Submitting a proposal to build a network of stackable car in a city in Asia. The University"s initiative is focused on solving transportation problems. Changing reality and new real reality

Developed by the Iwata-Yano Laboratory at Tsukuba University, "The Media Vehicle is a personal virtual cocoon where you get spherical display projecting videos and image feed shots with a camera, providing rider minimum movement sensation for overall

Developed by the Iwata-Yano Laboratory at Tsukuba University, "The Media Vehicle is a personal virtual cocoon where you get spherical display projecting videos and image feed shots with a camera, providing rider minimum movement sensation for overall

Reality Check is one of the most desperately needed realities by today's consumers of the media

Reality Check is one of the most desperately needed realities by today's consumers of the media

Garbled Messages and new Media voices in the ether

Garbled Messages and new Media voices in the ether

Emerging words and word matrixes within the media media cacophony

Emerging words and word matrixes within the media media cacophony

Head-scratcher of  a pair of headphones. The demo did sound realistic -  the phones ae designed to rotate the simulated environment as you turn your head. If "virtual" means fake, is a real fake any better? This is a true virtual analog synthesis

Head-scratcher of a pair of headphones. The demo did sound realistic - the phones ae designed to rotate the simulated environment as you turn your head. If "virtual" means fake, is a real fake any better? This is a true virtual analog synthesis

Virtual Reality - In this case you interact with real people, real teachers, real content... with real results. The word virtual is used to describe something that is almost a thing but not quite the thing- Virtual Reality Helmet

Virtual Reality - In this case you interact with real people, real teachers, real content... with real results. The word virtual is used to describe something that is almost a thing but not quite the thing- Virtual Reality Helmet


An Environment Defined by Technology

Media Environments as Communications

According to Lance Strate: "Media Ecology is the study of media environments and the idea that technology and techniques, modes of information and codes of communication play a leading role in human affairs.... It is technological determinism, hard and soft, and technological evolution. It is media logic Medium theory, and mediology.

"It is McLuhan Studies, Orality-Literacy Studies, American Cultural Studies. It is grammar, and Rhetoric, Semiotics and Systems Theory, along with the history and philosophy of Technology. It is the postindustrial and Postmodern, and the preliterate and prehistoric; and new emerging and the constantly submerging technologies and techniques."

Neil Postman sees Media Ecology as: "Looking into matter of how media of communication affect human perception, understanding, feeling and value; and how interaction with media facilitates or impedes our chances of survival. The word "ecology" implies the study of environments: their structure,content and impact on people.

"An environment is, after all, a complex message system which imposes human beings certain ways of thinking, feeling and behaving. Media Ecology structures what we can see and say and, therefore, do; it assigns roles to us and insists on our playing them; it specifies what we are permitted to do and what we are not.

"Sometimes, as in the case of a courtroom, or classroom, or business office, the specifications are explicit and informal. In the case of media environments, (e.g., books, radio TV, Internet and so forth), the specifications are more often implicit and informal, half concealed by our assumption that what we are is not an environment but merely a machine. Media Ecology tries to make these specifications explicit.

"It tries to find out what roles media force us to play, how media structure what we are seeing, and why media makes us feel the way we do. Media Ecology is the study of media as 'environments.' It is studying these environments that we begin to understand communication and reality, and reality as communication that we look into the real reality, or is reality really real? How real is real as we begin to understand our media infected and saturated media environment.

"Communications also creates reality, because reality is what is, real, and, communication is merely a way of expressing or expanding it. Traditional ideas of reality are delusions which we spend substantial parts of our daily live shoring up, even at the considerable risk of trying to force facts to fit our definition of reality instead of vice versa. The most dangerous delusion of all is that there is only one reality.

"There are many types of reality, some are contradictory, but all are the results of communication, and not reflections of eternal and objective truths. If we have something acting as an external influence to our inner being and what we perceive as our sole reality, we change our core values and reality, by mixing them with whatever affects us as an outside influence. The technology we are imbibing today acts as an external effect and it changes our perception of the world and reality prior to that effect.

"On the other hand, if we wish to know about the technology and society, and in order to remain within the limits of what can be known, we must be content to understand and study our relation of Technology, Technique and Society; i.e., how Technology affects the Web, and in the process how the Web sucks our time and life, should then make us pay close attention as to how modern technology embedded in our gadgets is affecting how we behave, think and act in our day to day life.

"We need to pay close attention of our usage of Media and technology, i.e., how this has affected us as a society, and the affects and effects of our relationship with the new technology and technique impacting and imposing itself on us, how these act anew and develop in us new ways of knowing what is reality or not, which have the advantage of being meaningful and real, or might lead to our enslavement.

"Either technology's technique is really creating a greater dependence on our part on its efficiency or maybe we are unwittingly allowing ourselves, through this dependency, are are being enslaved to a false reality by the new technological gadgets and the reality they bring along with them.

"The preponderance of different machines and their varied uses is creating a dependence on them, and this is leading us to being enslaved by our over-dependence on technology , and less on our individual ingenuity. If this is real, it has already begun and is affecting us, and if it's unreal, signs are that it makes real unreal because it is festooned with the pulse and blip, glitz and blitz of modern technologies and gadgets. Maybe the media and its technologies will help us reach an amicable compromises and tolerance in trying to understand each others reality, maybe not.

"The close connection between reality and communications and communications systems is a relatively new idea. Although physicists and engineers long ago solved the problems of transmitting signals effectively, and although linguists have for centuries been engaged in exploring the origin and structure of language, and semantics and have been delving into the meanings of signs and symbols, the pragmatics of communication.

"That is, the ways in which people can drive each other crazy and the very different world views that can arise as a consequence of communications.

"The belief that one's own view of reality is the only reality is the most dangerous of all delusions.It becomes still more dangerous if it is coupled with a missionary zeal to enlighten the rest of the world, whether the rest of the world wishes to be enlightened or not. to refuse to embrace wholeheartedly a particular definition of reality (e.g. an ideology), to dare to see the world differently, can become a "think crime" in an Orwellian sense."

Media Empowers Ignorance and the Cultural Ways of Knowing

One other way to view this reality is the assertion that war is peace. For instance, the war in Afghanistan is waged against those Alqaeda operatives who are still holed-up in the Mountains of Afghanistan and using Pakistan to carry out their devious, that, and us going into both countries to flush them out and suppress militant elements of the Taliban will bring us peace and stability.

But George Orwell says that, "War, however, is no longer the desperate, annihilating struggle that it was in the early decades of the twentieth century. It was a warfare of limited aims between combatants who are unable to destroy one another, have no material cause for fighting, and are not divided by any genuine ideological difference. This is not to say that either the conduct of war, or the prevailing attitude toward it, has become bloodthirsty or even more chivalrous.

"On the contrary, war hysteria is continuous and universal in all countries, and such acts as raping, looting, the slaughter of children, the reduction of whole populations to slavery, and reprisals against prisoners which even extend even to boiling and burying alive, are looked upon as normal, and, when committed by one's own side and not by the enemy, are meritorious.

"The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence in the long run, too intelligent.

"Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labor power without producing anything that can be consumed." (Orwell)

In the past, war was also one of the main instruments by which human societies were kept in touch with physical. All rulers of all ages have tried to impose a false view of he world upon their followers, but they could not afford to encourage any illusion that tended to impair military efficiency. Inefficient nations were always conquered sooner or later, and the struggle for efficiency was inimical to illusions. So it seems like the ignorance is strength, and then how real is real?

Our Media environment today is like a modern Theme Park. The different representative media and communication systems present a false sense of being free, liberated and having various forms of expression and projection. We have become deeply immersed in the participating in watching TV, different channels News, Sports, Shopping, Movies, Commercials-with advertisers spending fortunes slicing, dicing chopping, and crunching the numbers and getting all the bits of information about who is watching and information about the viewers.

Rushkoff states: "Having been raised on a diet of media manipulation, we are all becoming aware of the ingredients that go into these machinations. Children raised hearing and speaking a language always understand it better than adults who attempt to learn its rule. This is why, educators believe our kids understand computers and their programming languages better than the people who designed them.

"Likewise, people weaned on media, understand its symbols better than its creators and see through the carefully camouflaged attempts at mind control. And now Americans feel free to talk back to their TV sets with their mouths, their remote controls, their joysticks, their telephones/cells,and even their dollars."

"Television has become an interactive media" - This can be witnessed during Obama's election during the Presidential Primaries, wherein talking heads on TV would propound their theories, rhetoric and ideology about the outcome of certain primaries, and to their dismay, the Polls always seem to answer them in the negative about the self-same issues and then some.

On some level, we are capable of negating and controlling the media in a given way, at the same time we are thoroughly immersed in an environment that is built driven by the technological gadgets, machinery and language manipulated through media talking points and advertisement(seduced subliminally), polls, and various other programming. The whole point of TV in America and elsewhere is to get you to watch so that programmers, performers an others can rake in the money and manipulate consent.

Media Consumption

When people log onto a computer terminals, they are welcomed into a vast world of information that is now revolutionizing how we learn and work. The World Wide Web of computer connections is information explosion the likes of which we have never seen. This information revolution now rivals the printing press and broadcasting in terms of how it affects our daily lives.

The evolving telecommunications infrastructure, now popularly known as the Internet, links homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, libraries, cell phones and the worked, to each other and to a vast array of electronic information resources. People all over the globe are able to tap into computer databases elsewhere more easily than walking down to the local library.

This has changed our relationship to information gathering and consuming in todays world. People can shop and order goods,ing formation, order movies online or TV; have video conferencing, talk with each and see each other; the environment is stimulative with neon signs and digital informercials.

On the net the pop-ups and blinking and glitzing ads, incoming e-mails, twittering, texting, blogging, and many other activities comprise an environment controlled and dictated to by technopoly. A Technicized environment confined within the Internet where one surfs to chat rooms and so forth, is an environment of semi-annonimity adding up to the new ways of consuming and using technology in a global milieu

The other problem the Internet presents is that it is growing faster than we can grasp, document or make conform to our civilizing sensibilities. Developed as a decentralized web, it has evolved into a complex, capable of feedback and iteration in a scale unfathomable. The internet is so vast that it is potentially modifying everything it contacts and is completely changing the media and communication landscape and data sphere.

The Media ecology is changing very fast. What we get from the environment within which the media operates are new ways to communicating(twittering, blogging, e-mailing, texting and book publishing), we have 'conferences," 'topic,' chat rooms', we post 'response, 'individual posts called 'articles', movies, television, face books, porno, and so forth. This is now known as cyber space. Rheingold explains thus: "... biological imagery is often more appropriate to describe the way cyberculture changes.

"In terms of the way the whole system is propagating and evolving, think of cyberspace as a social Petrie dish, the net as the agar-medium, and virtual communities, in all their diversity, as the colonies of microorganisms that grow in the Petrie dishes". Media ecology, as we know it, has converged within the Internet and it directs the totality of our media consciousness and environment, consumption and interaction.

"This system has its lewd and dark sides. It is also used for anti-social and deviant behavior, and many troubling usages which we will not go into here. Evidently the Ecology of the media has taken on a serious turn in the media landscape and data world; Its like being instantly anywhere, anytime, anyhow within and around the reality of the present media ecology. It is real because it is, but ways of knowing how to use it to communicate, have diverse means and ways of how disseminate articulate and promote communication"

Is Real Really Real?

How real is real? This was the question we posed and mentioned above. As we said, reality is what is, and communication is merely a way of expressing a way of expressing or expanding it. The old ways through which we imbibed the media have been transformed by the new technologies and their way of presenting and projecting themselves. We have changed from the printing press, to the radio and television and VCRs to Computers, Internet and cyber space combining new cell phones and other gadgets in convergence.

The environment of the media in presenting what's real has afforded and is being taken over by cyberculture. The ways of viewing have become more interactive and user adaptable. The reality of the past ways of knowing and using the media and communication apparatuses, has been taken over by the connectivity of the Internet, similar to the nervous system plied throughout our bodies.

The different media outlets and their function are all found on the net,Radio, TV, Newspapers,etc., which has now become a monolithic colossus and time and space-grabbing automated technique that the technological society that we live in is becoming enveloped into the web, so that, we are now almost a Webbed society locally, regionally and globally. The reality is that this is how the present environment functions, in a nutshell, and it is unreal because mad become welded and wedded to a machine to be in and with the world.

Is there a possibility that the media, in the form of the Internet can free us? The media or Internet, during the Obama Presidential primaries offered us a glimpse into this issue, whereby cyber participants proved that the media in it's present day format, can truly contribute towards loosening the grip technologies and media presentation and projection in the past had on us-where we were the silent viewing majority, to a chatter and interactive mass: remember Tienamen Square, Iran, Youtube and so on.

Mass media environment might end up being viewed, understood, consumed through the lens of Internet or the Web. There is already the case and it is the effects of this behavior we exhibit that will be investigated and analyzed in the Future. Media Ecology in a Technological Society is really real because it has morphed into the web-newspapers, radio and television, publishing and the whole bit.

We now have a one-stop-shop technological media environment where we can meet and satisfy our craving for media and its concomitants; at the same time we are slowly being weaned away from the old media and some of us are playing catch-up, at the same time technologies and the Web are head-off in a myriad directions, elongating, changing and presenting newer challenges in our present day Technological Societies.

Communications is consistently and constantly changing, reshaping and creating our reality at a furious pace, and we are merely playing keep-up. If Technology and the Web do not rule us yet, they will, in the very near future, dictate and design, influence and change our world as we know it permanently.

If our world is constantly changing and evolving, and tech-gadgets are churned out at a rapid pace, how then does our changing reality ever become real? As we go into the 21 century, it would be interesting to see how our reality, which is now, more than ever never constant, will present us with a constant reality, given the changing, emerging and converging technologies .

Marshall McLuhan in the section on "the medium is the message" points out that any technology gradually creates a totally new human environment. In trying to understand the media, McLuhan sys that data classification yields to pattern recognition, like when data move instantly, classification is too fragmentary.

McLuhan observes that in order to cope with data at electric speed in typical situations of "information overload"(as in the case of the Internet), men resort to the study of configurations. Marshall gives an example like the drop out situation in our schools today is only developing because the young students today grows up in an electronically configured world. McLuhan states that it is not a world of wheels but of circuits, not of fragments but of integral patterns.

"The student today," McLuhan observes, "lives mythically and in depth; at school, however, he encounters a situation organized by means of classified information. The subjects are unrelated and they are visually conceived in terms of a blueprint.

"The student can find no possible means of involvement fro himself, nor can he discover hoe the educational scene relates to the 'mythic' world of electronically processed data and experience that he takes for granted. The medium is the message means, in term of the electronic age, that a totally new environment has been created.

"As our proliferating technologies have created a whole series of new environment, we are aware that these provide us with the means of perceiving the environment itself. As we can all see, todays' technologies and their consequent environments succeed each other so rapidly that one environment makes us aware of the next. Technologies begin to perform the function of art in making us aware of the psychic and social consequences of technology."(McLuhan)

It is then a wonder if whether we will be able to know how real is real if our minds and lives are technologically determined, rather than determined by human ingenuity and the natural processes of human control and manipulation.

Edmund Bacon said that, "We are now entering the new age of education that is programmed for discovery rather than instruction. As the means of input increase, so does the need for insight or pattern recognition. In our trying to recognize the real reality in communication, we turn to another school of though that is of the opinion that since technology is an integral part of the social process, judgement must be postponed until the whole social structure is evaluated. Technology, this view says, is simply another factor in social change, among others.

"In any event, runs the argument, technology alone is at best, a rough index of social change. Society is constantly changing and diverse ingredients and properties contribute their fair share in a proportion commensurate with the capacities, ambitions and influence. Most societies are like this and adjustments accompany the introduction of new products and inventions.

"Indeed, the value of a new product is dependent on the ability of people to recognize a need for it. That alone tells us something about mental attitudes towards receptability/repeatability of new things. For instance, the wheel came at a time when the mental disposition to new ideas generated its own demand for them. This is why technology poses no insuperable problem to a society in which it is introduced, whether it comes form outside or from within."


Plapax is a collective of artist comprised of media artist group minim++, who have shown such poetic installations as objects made from various commodities, the shadows of which turn into animated images of animals or airplanes, and a central member Yasuaki Kakehi, who has been exploring innovative media technology that stimulates interaction and communication to expand the natures and functions of objects, and human body, producing, among others, works in which viewers/users play hockey against their own mirror images.

The group creates works based on immediate yet intangible elements such as shadows, smells, footprints or voices, or constructed on such themes as "evidence of existence." While utilizing digital technology, the artists place importance on the aspect of touching and holding things, which has made them popular around the world among children and adult alike.

Plaplax(See photo in gallery), create sensory and spatial experiences born out of seemingly magical interconnections between reality and the world of images. For the newest piece they challenged the real, physical bodies of dancers, the result of which promises to turn the stage into a previously unseen scenery

Human resources and the attributes — language, habit, social organization — came before technology. Man, as Protagorus said "is a measure of all things"; and just as he accommodated the wheel and the printing press into his daily routine, he will do the same with modern tools. Man adjusts not only because he has to, but because he want to.

This view is attractive, because it simplifies the debate by placing the man at the center of the argument. In so doing, it strives to accommodate those critics who see man held captive in the grip of the machine. It has the same appeal as does Marx for naïve planners who look to him for salvation.

But just as Marx did not foresee that the disappearance of the capitalism might cause the emergence of a class that was neither capitalist nor proletarian, but in fact a kind of efficient elite, so do the defenders of this view cannot envision the numerous features of a modern technology that do not leave much room or individual detachment(B. Bagdikian)

How Reality is Virtually Real...

Osur reality is real only if we really look at the real reality. For instance, Mawhrin-skel by Deanne Achong, Kate Armstrong, Joelle Clona, David Floren, and Matt Smith, with help from Dina Gonzalez Mascar brings together an eclectic group of local Vancouver artists, who work variously in new media, electronics, sculpture, installation and performance, to create autonomous robots that communicate with one another wirelessly via the Internet.

The Project - Sheryl [Crowbot] (DA), The problem of Other Minds (KA), Phono, Mono and, ChartBot (DF), Radbot (MS) — is based on a fictional character - Mawhrin-Skel - and intelligent drone that, having failed to meet the conditions of its original purpose, is decommissioned and left to wander aimlessly through a near utopian environment where it becomes a social nuisance and prankster.

This character — invented by Ian M. Banks in his 1989 novel "The Player of Games" — provides an interesting social and cultural entry point into the study of 'robots' as both cultural artifacts and autonomous members of society.

Robots typically have industrial application — wireless mines that can dig their way out of the earth and move to a 'better' location, machines that clean up radioactive waste or other hazardous material, surveillance equipments, toasters, coffee-makers, etc. It is unusual to build a robot that doesn't have an overt industrial purpose — it may be decorative, dysfunctional, nailed to a tree and bleeping.

It exists purely to raise questions about Industrial and technological philosophies and ethics in our society. This discourse is bout and also examines how ideas of function, autonomy, artificial intelligence and purpose-driven technology converge and effect technique, also affecting the user and all-round-reality.

These objects are intended to sit on window sills, desk corners,over doorways, railed to a post on the back deck, in the gravel pit in the basement, etc. The wireless Internet connection allows the devices to talk to each other and mingle their conversations of the Web. The "eyes" of one machine can influence the actions of another. Keywords can generate furious activity or silence.

Following the series of workshops,the results of the artists' experiments with robots will be exhibited to the public through a number of events in May 2006 and 2007. The Mawhrin-skel robots communicate with other using the Scrambler - a message server that was developed in 2003 to connect electronic installation works around the world.

Our Reality is real when looked at as real-reality. It is important for us to understand our world and its myriad functions, manifestation and function, is something that if we give ourselves time, can wrap our minds around it… To put some perspective on reality, we will throw out some working points as follows:

1. Reality has no order, in which case, reality is tantamount to confusion and chaos, and life would be a psychotic nightmare.

2. We relieve our existential state of disinformation by inventing an order, forget that we have invented it and experience it as something "out there" which we call reality.

3. ... Or, there is an order. It is the creation of some higher Being on who we depend but who itself is quite independent of us. Communication with this Being, therefore, becomes man's most important goal. Therefore, our reality is real so far as we understand that our reality is real, if we ask how real is real.

Reality Checking

Experiencing the World Through Technology

Technology must be seen as an integral part of the social process and an offshoot of human creativity. Technology is new knowledge whose social and political implications cannot be ignored, and that they are real; and by restricting it to narrow economic considerations, stifles present development and arrests future possibilities.

How real is real will be determined by the amelioration of all different recognized patterns and theories, and technologies and their techniques too, that deal with media and its environment and how these make the human being a center of their interrogation and applications along with all his reality — and those of the technology.

It would be refreshing to look at the perspective presented by Cryurchin which sees the god that the reality and the existence of technologies is for people: "I've been thinking about technology a lot recently. Not just digital reading technologies, but technologies in general. I think I've been trying to work on a phenomenology of technology if I'm honest, which is even more scary to put down in words than it is to contemplate.

"But how are we meant to write about the effects of iPads and Kindles when that word 'technology,' encompasses the hammer of a stone-age hunter, Gutenberg's printing press, Karl Benz's automobile, my mobile phone, and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN? What could possibly link all of these things? And should they be lined?"

"Men have become tools of their tools" - Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 61.

"Because I'm writing about the resistance to the digitalization of reading, contested ground if ever there was any, I want to know why there is a constant discourse of fear about technology, when the only thing that I can say with any certainty is that humans have technology at their hearts. We can look at the lives led in any human habitat, by any nomadic or settled people, and from Inuit tupiq to Bedouin bayt char, from Favelas to Penthouses, the single defining element of homo sapiens, existence is the use of equipment to ensure out thriving survival."

Cryurching cites Emerson as cited by Merritt Roe Smith as follows: "Emerson, who had once embraced invention and the 'mechanic arts' as expression of 'Young America's genius vitality,' grew increasingly relative." Urchin further quotes Emerson excerpt as who stated: " "What have these arts done for the character, for the worth of mankind? Are men better? 'Tis sometimes questioned whether morals have not declined as the arts ascended. Here are great arts and little men.

"Here is greatness begotten of paltriness. We cannot trace the triumphs of civilization to such benefactors as we wish. The greatest meliorator of the world is selfish, huckstering Trade. Every victory over matter ought to recommend to man the worth of his nature. But now wonders who did all this good.

"Look up the inventors. Each has his own knack; his genius is in veins and spots. But the great, equal, symmetrical brain, fed from a great heart, you shall not find. Every one has more to hide that he has to show, or is lamed by his excellence. 'Tis too plain that with the material power the more progress has not kept pace. It appears that we have not made judicious investment. Works and days were offered us, and we took works" (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

"The resistance most often stem from two related arguments: (i) using technology is 'unnatural' (ii) technology gets between us and experiencing the world 'as it is,' and unwanted mediating layer that we would jettison if we could"(Cryurching). Cryurching says that according to William Carlos Williams, "Machines were not so much to save time as to save dignity that fears the animate touch.

"It is miraculous the energy that goes into inventions here. Do you know that it now takes just ten minutes to put a bushel of wheat on the market from planting to selling, whereas it took three hours in our colonial days? That's striking. It must have been a tremendous force that would do that. That force is freak that robs the emotions: a mechanism to increase the gap between touch and thing, not to have contact."

"But what if technology is at the fundamental part of our nature? What if technology was one of the few ways we are able to experience the world? What if we need technology in order to feel, rather that in place of feeling?"(Cryurchin) To answer these questions, Cryurchin cites Maurice Merleau Ponty who states that:

"The body is our general medium for having a world. Sometimes it is restricted to the action necessary for the conversation of life, and accordingly it posts around us a biological world; at other times, elaborating upon these primary actions and moving from their literal to a figurative meaning, it manifests through them a core of new significance: this is true of motor habits such as dancing. Sometimes, finally, the meaning aimed at cannot be achieved by the body's natural means; it must then build itself an instrument, and it projects thereby around itself a cultural world."

Concluding his diatribe, Cryurchin makes these notations: "With a moth in my hand I get a taste of what it's like to touch the world. But the same happens when the surfboard suddenly pick up speed and sea gives you just a hint of what it can do. And the same happens when cars push around corners so, at the limit of their tires grip. And the same happens when I want these words to appear on screen, and the keyboard seems to take them from my hand, not my head, and flicker them up before me.

"It is our bodies that are our 'nature,' but those bodies are malleable things, a combination of gross anatomy and mental kinesthetic image, and into that synthesis can be incorporated Plato told us that writing was a receipt for recollection and not the path to true wisdom." Reality is real so long as we can recognize it for what it is.

"Maybe technology is there for the betterment of humans, but it is also taking on all those roles that made human feel in control about; we cede or remembering things to saving them on various machine; we bookmark and save what we need to remember, which we could without these new technology, but readily give-in to them without any regard as to what is happening to us once we do that.

"It is these abilities of the new technologies and their embedded techniques that are a cause for concern, True, technology has helped humans immensely, but, if they interfere with real reality, then we have to interrogate the newly presented reality in its relation to our emerging in a technological society and the interconnecting-interactive gizmos as to what they are to us, and are there more gains than loses, or vis-a-vis."

Marshall McLuhan points out in the same vein as pointed out by Cryurchin that: "With the arrival of electric technology, man extended, or set outside himself, a live model of the central nervous system itself. To the degree that this is so, it is a development that suggests a desperate and suicidal autoamputation, as if the central nervous system could no longer depend on the physical organs to be protective buffers against the slings and arrows of outrageous mechanism.

"It could well be that the successive mechanizations of the various physical organs since the invention of printing have made too violent and superstimulated a social experience for the central nervous system to endure. ...That our human senses of which all media are extensions, are also fixed charges on our personal energies, and that they also configure the awareness and experience of each one of us, may be perceived in another connection by the psychologist C.G. Jung:

"Every Roman was surrounded by slaves. The slave and his psychology flooded ancient Italy, and every Roman became inwardly, and of course unwittingly, a slave. Because living constantly in the atmosphere of slaves, he became infected through the unconscious with their psychology. No one can shield himself from such an influence."

In the final analysis, we are extension of our media as they are of us. We cannot avoid nor shield ourselves from its affects and effects, and that is the conundrum here. We are what are our technologies are and so are our technologies us in the way they are built for us to adapt to them.

That makes our technologies become embedded into our lives and psyche as our staples or natural resources, creating a permanent dependency and they become lost to us as being gadgets, but become a necessary part of our lives.

This makes the media a means by which we assert and try to create an equilibrium in our reality and as we build cities, their walls become the extension of our skins; as we use and apply the new and emerging media and social media, that is in reality an extension of our nervous systems. McLuhan was right, the media is the message, also, it is an extension of ourselves and the media is us as we are the media. In a word, everything is everything.

Media Ecology Review

"...Our first thinking about the subject was guided by a biologic, metaphor. You will remember for the first time when you first became acquainted with a Petrie dish, that a medium was defined as a substance within which a culture grows.

"If you replace the world 'substance' with the word 'technology,' the definition would stand as a fundamental principle of 'media ecology': A medium is a technology within which a culture grows; that is to say, it gives from to a culture's politics, social organization, and habitual ways of thinking.

"Beginning with that idea we invoked still another biological metaphor, that of 'ecology'. ... We put the word "media" in the front of the word "ecology" to suggest that we were not simply interested in 'media', but in the ways in which the interaction between the 'media' and human beings gives culture its character and, one might say, helps a culture maintain symbolic balance (Postman-2000)

We get another viewpoint and review of Media Ecology from Ong who writes:

"Our present fascination with ecology of all kinds is tied in with the information explosion that has marked our age. ... With information explosion, we have become more and more conscious of the interrelationships of all the life structures in the universe around us, and, with our more and more detailed knowledge of cosmic and organic evolution, ultimately of interrelationships as building up to and centering on life, and eventually human life.

"The human environment is of course not just the earth, but the entire universe, with its still incalculable expanse and an age of around some 12 to 14 billion years. This is the real cosmos within which human beings appeared and still exist." Therefore, the last topic sentence of this Hub - "Everything Is Everything of the Main Topic Of This Hub: Media Ecology: The Technological Society - How Real Is Our Reality? Also, How Reality Is Real.. Everything Is Everything...."

"Moreover, Walter Ong set the standard and demonstrated the possibilities for scholarship in the Media Ecology intellectual tradition"., and Neil Postman exemplified the practice of Media Ecology analysis by a public intellectual engaged in social criticism. Working parallel to one another, Ong and Postman built upon an intellectual tradition that coalesced in response to the revolutions in communication, media , and technology of the 19 and 20 centuries, and brought it into the 21 century."(Lance Strate)

Media Ecology is a perspective that embodies what Ong (1977) refers to as "ecological concern," which he describes as "a new state of consciousness, the ultimate in the open-system awareness." Its thrust is the dialectical opposite of the isolating thrust of writing and print."

"Ong," according to Strate, "goes on to suggest that contemporary questions of ecological concern 'echoed earlier thinking in Darwin's work, which has shown how species themselves, earlier thought of as the closed system bases of life and taken to be major elements in philosophical thinking, are not fixed but develop through natural selection brought about by open interaction between individuals and environment. The new philosophical attention to openness appears not related to the opening of previously isolated human groups to one another fostered by electronic communications media, telephone, radio and ultimately television [now more recently by the computer and the Web].

The concerns about the ecological systems of the media were central to McLuhan's approach towards studying the media:

"The Medium Is The Message" means, in terms of the electronic age, that a totally new environment has been created. The "content" of this environment is the old mechanized environment of the Industrial Age. The new environment reprocessing the old as radically as TV is reprocessing Film[and the computer with the Web reprocessing TV]. For the content of TV is the Movie.

"TV is an environmental and imperceptible, like all environments{the Computer and the Web is all these and is still imperceptible. We are aware only of the "content" of the old environment. When machine production was new, it gradually created an environment whose content was the old environment of agrarian life and the arts and craft. This older environment was elevated to an art form by the new mechanical environment. The machine turned Nature into an art form." (McLuhan)

We have to finally understand and recognize that Media ecology touches, in part, mass media, new media, journalism, communication studies, cultural studies, cultural studies, literary theory, the arts, history, theology, law, politics, economics, language, and so forth. Everything is everything in terms of the Media Ecology we exist in and the lens of Media Ecology, somewhat provides answer to all those obscure features of technique, technology and communications. A more concise and broader definition can be found in the opening paragraph of this Hub.

Indecryptable Demarcated Cybernetics

Douglass Rushkoff wrote this introduction:

"When human beings acquired language, we learned a lot not just how to listen, but how to speak. When we gained literacy, we learned not just how to read, but how to write. And as we move into an increasingly digital reality, we must learn not just how to use programs, but how to 'Make' them.

"In the emerging, highly programmed landscape ahead, you will be the software. It is really that simple: Program, or be programmed. Choose the former, and you gain access to the control panel of civilization. Choose the latter, and it could be the real choice you get to make.

"For while digital technologies are in many ways a natural outgrowth of what went before, they are also markedly different. Computers and networks are than mere tools: They are like living things, themselves. Unlike a rake, a pen, or even a jackhammer, a digital technology is programmed. This means it comes with instruction not just for its use, but also for itself.

"And as such, technologies come to characterize the future of the way we live and work, the people programming them take on an increasingly important role in shaping our world and how it works. After that, it's the digital technologies themselves that will be shaping our world, both with and without our explicit cooperation.

"That's why this moment matters. We are creating a blueprint together-a design for our collective future. The possibilities for social, economic, practical, artistic, and even spiritual progress are tremendous. Just as words gave people the ability to pass on knowledge for what we now call civilization, networked activity could soon offer access to shared thinking-an extension of consciousness still inconceivable to most of us today. The operating principles of commerce and culture-from supply and demand to command and control-could conceivably give way to an entirely more engaged, connected, and collaborative mode of participation.

"But so far, anyway, too many of us are finding our digital networks responding unpredictably or even opposed to our intentions. Retailers migrate online only to find their prices undercut by automatic shopping aggregators. Culture creators seize interactive distribution channels only to grow incapable of finding people willing to pay for content they were happy to purchase before.

"Educators who looked forward to accessing the world's bounty of information for their lessons are faced with students who believe that finding an answer on Wikipedia is the satisfactory fulfillment of an inquiry. Parents who believed their kids would intuitively multitask their way to professional success are now concerned those same kids are losing the ability to focus on anything.

"Political organizers who believed the Internet would consolidate their constituencies find that net petition and self-referential blogging now serve as substitutes for action. Young people who saw in social networks a way to redefine themselves and their allegiances across formerly sacrosanct boundaries are now conforming to the logic of social networking profiles and finding themselves victims of marketers and character assassination.

"Bankers who believed that digital entrepreneurship would revive a sagging industrial economy are instead finding it impossible to generate new value through capital investment. A news media that saw in information networks new opportunities for citizen journalism and responsive, twenty-four-hour news gathering has grown sensationalist, unprofitable, and devoid of useful facts.

"Educated laypeople who saw in the Net a new opportunity for amateur participating in previously cordoned-off sectors of media and society, instead see the indiscriminate mashing and mixing up of pretty much everything, in an environment where the loud and lewd drown-out anything that takes more than a few moment to understand.

"Social and community organizers who saw in social media a new, safe way for people to gather, voice their opinions, and effect bottom-up change are often recoiling at the way networked anonymity breeds mob behavior, merciless attack, and thoughtless responses. A society that looked at the Internet as a path toward highly articulated connections and new methods of creating meaning is instead finding itself disconnected, denied deep thinking, and drained of enduring values.

"It doesn't have to turn out this way. And it won't if we simply learn the biases of the technologies we are using to become conscious participants in the ways they are deployed. Faced with a networked future that seems to favor the distracted over the focused, the automatic over the considered, and the contrary over the compassionate, it's time to press the pause button and ask what all this means to the future of our work, lives, and even our species.

"And while the questions may be similar in shape to those facing humans passing through other great technological shifts, they are even more significant this time around-and they can be more directly and purposely addressed.

"The big, unrecognized news here is about a whole lot more than multitasking, pirated MP3s, or Superfast computers at the investment houses for shortcutting our stock trades. It is that thinking itself is no longer-at least no longer exclusively a personal activity. It something happening in a new networked fashion.

"But the Cybernetic organism, so far, is more like a Cybernetic mob than a new collective human brain. People are being reduced to externally configurable nervous systems, while computers are free to network and think in more advanced ways than we ever will."

Cyberian Vision

Rushkoff Adds:

"In recent countercultural initiative, however, that which is anathema to [Media] Ecologists has been elevated to a potion of centrality. For those enthralled by the latest modes of data-processing and communication-known variously as hackers, crackers, phreaks[freaks], cyberpunks and cyberians — the possibility of traversing fields of pure information takes on a similar significance to the immersion in pristine nature in the ecological view. "Cyber Culture," as Mark Dery defines it, is a "Fa flung, loosely knit complex of sub legitimate, alternative, and oppositional subcultures [whose common project is the subversive use of tecnhnocommodities, often framed by radical body-politics].

"No less than that of Ecology, the world-view which seems to be crystalizing around transgressive practices in the new networks enunciates a desire for radical cultural transformation. According to Douglass Rushkoff, the "Cyberian vision is a heretical negation of the rules by which Western society has chosen to organize itself."

"Again, the benevolent specter of universal interconnectivity is invoked. In this context it is the structures of ownership and control of the mode of information which must be subverted, in order that human subjects might reassert their communality: the enlightening moment or occurring when the illicit operator breaks through some 'artificially' imposed barrier to attain commune with other 'free agents' or with a body of data which wants to be liberated."

Digging deeper into the reality that as we interact and interphase with interconnectivity in a jagged sense, we learn from Rushkoff as to what causes this effect and affect-and begins, up to this point shows and demonstrates why I say and wonder if our 'technological reality is real,' and that in the final analysis Why I say that when it comes to Technology, 'Everything is Everything.' We learn the following from Rushkoff:

"And a medium once celebrated for its ability to 'program' the public becomes open to our intervention. Instead of only fostering social programming, the television also fosters a new, postmodern perspective on society;s time-honored truths. From Bart Simpson to Stephen Colbert, conventions are turned on their heads. The spirit of the digital age still finds its expression in its re-appropriation of time. Our cutting and pasting, mash-ups and remixes, satires and send-ups all originate in this ability to pause, reflect, and rework.

"As Internet connections grow faster, fatter, and freer, however, we are more likely to adopt an 'always on' approach to media. Our broadband connections-whether in our homes or in our phones-keep applications on, updating, and ready at every moment. Anytime anyone or anything wants to message, email, tweet, update, notify, or alert us, something dings on our desktop or vibrates in our pocket. Our devices and, by extension, our nervous systems are now attached to the entire online universe, all the time. Is that my phone vibrating?

"We scramble to keep up with the never-ending inflow of demands and commands, under the false premise that moving faster will allow us to get from under the endless stream of pings for our attention. For answering email and responding to texts or tweets only exacerbates the problem by leading to more responses to our responses, and so on.

"We strive to multitask, attempting o give partial attention to more than one thing at a time, when all we really do is move as quickly as possible from one task to another. No matter how proficient we think we are at multitasking, studies show our ability to accomplish tasks accurately and completely only diminishes the more we try to do at the same time. This is not the fault of digital technology, but the way we use it.

"Instead of our going online to get our email, our email comes to us. Instead of using our inbox as an asynchronous holding bin, we stick it into our phones, which are sure to thump, ding, or shudder with each incoming message-just to make sure we know something wants our attention. We work against the powerful bias of a timeless technology, and create a situation in which it is impossible to keep up. And so we sacrifice the thoughtfulness and deliberateness our digital media once offered for the false goal of immediacy-as if we really can exist in a state of perpetual standby."

Rushkoff continues to make us aware of our real reality and how and why it is real by continuing to point out that:

"The results aren't pretty. Instead of becoming empowered and aware, we become frazzled and exhausted. We have no time to make considered responses, feeling instead obligated to reply to every incoming message on impulse. We reduce the length and complexity of our responses from paragraphs to sentences to texts, making almost everything we transmit sound like orders barked over a walkie-talkie in a war zone.

"Everything must happen right away or, better, now. There is no later. This works against the no-time bias of digital media, and so it works against us, even though it might work for the phone company programming the device and inducing our dependence and compliance. It's not that the Net has somehow changed from an asynchronous medium to a synchronous one. No, it's all still just commands existing in a sequence, outside time.

"But those commands are coming at us now in increasingly rapid bursts, stimulating us to respond at rates in incompatible with human thought and emotion-and in ways that are not terribly enjoyable. Try as we might, we are slow to adapt to the random flood of pings. And our nervous systems are not happy with this arrangement.

"For the first time, regular people are beginning to show the signs of stress and mental fatigue once exclusive to air traffic controllers and 911 operators. Cell phone users now complain of "phantom vibration syndrome," the sensation of a cell phone vibrating on your thigh, even though there's no phone in your pocket. Websites and programs become laboratories where our keystrokes and mouse clicks are measured and compared, our every choice registered for its ability to predict and influence the next choice.

"The more we accept each approximation as accurate, the more we reinforce these 'techniques' from our machines and their programmers. Whether it's an online bookstore suggesting books based on our previous selections (and those of thousands of other consumers with similar choice histories), or a consumer research firm using kid's social networking behavior to predict which ones will someday self-identify as gay (yes, they can do that now), choice is less about giving people what they want than getting them to take what the choice-giver has to sell.

"Meanwhile, the more we learn to conform to the available choices, the more predictable and machinelike we become ourselves. We train ourselves to stay between the lines, like an image dragged onto a 'snap-to" grid: It never stays quite where we put it, but jerks up and over the closest available space and place on the predetermined map.

"Likewise, through our series of choices about the news we read, feeds to which we subscribe, and Websites we visit, we crate a choice filter around ourselves. Friends and feeds we may have chosen arbitrarily or because we were forced to in the pasts, soon become the markers through which our programs and search engines choose what to show us next. Our choices narrow our world, as the infinity of possibility is lost in the translation to binary code."

Media Ecology In Context

Media ecology is a reminder that media technologies are not simply plug-in devices. The “unplugged” theme captures the wide span of environmental mediation prior to the wired and plugged-in revolution of mass media. This mediation includes architecture, literacy, urban design, transportation, art, and other discursive and non-discursive forms. The theme also turns attention to recent and cutting-edge technologies that have de-tethered users from the plug. These include satellites, nanotechnology, robotics, genetic engineering, modern pharmacology, cell phones, Bluetooth, e-readers, solar cells, green technologies, neuroscience, and much more.

"The world that God created understandably troubles us today. … Some are inclined to blame our present woes on technology. Yet there are paradoxes here. Technology is artificial, but for a human being there is nothing more natural than to be artificial.
Walter Ong (Faith and Contexts, Vol 1, 1:7.)

Media ecology is the study of communication technologies as cultural environments. If that doesn’t make your heart race (like me), then don’t worry: there’s still hope. In the infancy of the digital information age, it’s hard to imagine a field of study that’s more important ; or that can better explain why the new edition of the iPhone is messing with our minds.

We learn from McLuhan that:

"A medium is any extension of a natural human faculty, either mental or physical. The vehicle (more precisely, the wheel) is an extension of legs and feet. An axe can extend an arm. Both the axe or the wheel are technological mediums. But so are the more mental extensions such as the alphabet and subsequent print, which extend human thought, or forms we now associate with the term, such as radio, and TV, which McLuhan would say are extensions of our central nervous system.

"The content of a medium is always another medium. Huh? Here’s what we mean: it’s like those rubbermaid boxes or Russian dolls, each one fitting into each other. The telegraph encodes the medium of the printed word, which contains the alphabet, which contains human speech, which contains human thought. Why is this important? The impact of messages are obscured. We think it’s the “content” that matters. But content is inseparable from container. The making the container—the medium—the message.

"New media do not replace prior media but modify or obscure them. The printing press does not replace handwriting, but alters the way it is used. The question is not whether books on the iPad or Kindle will replace printed, bound books, but how it will change our perception of them. This is fundamental (and often missed).

"Not all media are the same. Some media contain a high level of data–let’s call it “high definition.” McLuhan would call it “hot.” Movies are a good example–swirling immersive experiences in sound and light and story. By contrast, other media are low definition—or cool—and therefore require the physical senses to engage more heavily to fill in missing data, such as the telephone or cartoons.

"The effect of adding a new technology [medium or extension to human function] is numbness. McLuhan would say that our senses get thrown off by new technologies: we don’t accurately feel its effects until later. That is, minus the prophets and artists. We can talk about them sometime.

"One big point to take from these? We’re like fish-in-water when it comes to culture and technology. It’s hard to see when we’re swimming in it.

"It’s difficult to give a precise definition of media ecology, especially one that’s succinct and easy to understand. Perhaps that aspect of media ecology is its greatest strength in addition to its greatest weakness. As an intellectual tradition, media ecology generally focuses on a core group of scholars and philosophers that includes Marshall McLuhan, Harold Innis, Walter Ong, Eric Havelock, Neil Postman, Lewis Mumford, Jaques Ellul, Susanne Langer, and a few others.

"For each media ecologist, a different group of ideas and angles define relationships to the tradition even if the general core remains the same. In that way, media ecology is always growing and branching out. It is always challenging itself with new perspectives and ideas."

Neil Postman wrote of media ecology in his 1979 book Teaching as a Conserving Activity:

Media ecology is the study of information environments. It is concerned to understand how technologies and techniques of communication control the form, quantity, speed, distribution and direction of information; and how, in turn, such information configurations or biases affect people’s perceptions, values, and attitudes. Thus, media ecology transcends several subjects of wider acceptance, including, for example, psychology and sociology, since it assumes that the psychology of people and their methods of social organization are, in large measure, a product of a culture’s characteristic information patterns. As I have tried to say earlier in the book, such information forms as the alphabet, the printed word, and the television image are not mere instruments which make things easier for us. They are environments — like language itself, symbolic environments – within which we discover, fashion, and express our humanity in particular ways.

The fundamental difference between mass media and digital media is interactivity. Books, radio, and television are "read only" media. We watch, but only have a choice over how we will react to the media someone else made. This is why they are so good for storytelling: We are in the storyteller's world and can't talk back.

Digital media, on the other hand, are "read-write." Any digital file that is playable is also sharable and changeable. (Files can locked, at least until hackers can figure out how to break the lock, but such protection is ultimately against the bias of the media, that's why it so rarely works.) As a result, we are transitioning from a mass media that makes its stories sacred, to an interactive media that makes communication mutable and alive.

Likewise, and in stark opposition to the media monopolies of broadcast radio and television, digital communications technologies are based on networks and sharing. The original reason computers were networked to one another was so that they could share processing resources. This makes them biased toward peer-to-peer activity.

Mass media respected only the law of gravity: The people with the presses or broadcast facilities dropped their myths down onto the masses. Digital media go up, down, and sideways. In a sense, there is no longer any up or down at all, as each node in the network and receive the message of refuse it, change it or leave it alone, and delete it or pass it on. That is why I say that when it come to technology and the media and human reality - Everything Is Everything.

For Web Users Around The world Everything Is different Now: Presenteism Made Real..

As details of the US government’s PRISM program continue to emerge, much of the debate in the United States has focused on the constitutionality of the program. This is only right for people within those borders, but it’s a debate that sounds a lot less relevant to many of us in the outside world.

The rest of the world has, in effect, long supported and nurtured a technology industry that revolves around the US The main reason, of course, is the fact that much of the innovation in the tech industry has come out of the US However, there is also the fact that the US has been seen as a trustworthy partner — it would be hard to imagine Europeans willingly throwing their personal communications and virtual life into Chinese cloud services, for example.

Necessary readjustment

Now that PRISM is (at least partially) out in the open, thanks to the efforts of NASA contractor Edward Snowden, I can’t help but feel everything has changed. Whether or not the program has been spying on US citizens, it has certainly had people outside the US in its sights. This is really only starting to sink in, but non-Americans using online services from the U.S.-based Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and Apple are subject to monitoring by the US authorities, and have been for years.

The US is using the world’s most-beloved online services to spy on the world. Whether or not those businesses were willing or even witting conspirators in this program is an interesting detail, but not pivotal. Whether or not US citizens are also being spied on is similarly of relatively mild concern to the rest of the world. The point is, we are being spied on.

Many people have long recognized a privacy tradeoff in using Facebook and Google, but this has been framed within the context of commerce: you let businesses know more about you in order to provide services based on that knowledge. I’ve always felt uncomfortable about that, but I accept it’s a choice that people should be able to make for themselves (even though I believe the consequences of the choice should be made more explicit to the average user).

Responsible response

However, few people outside US borders have been making that choice based on the knowledge that US spies are able to trawl through all this information at will. Even for those who trust their own governments with their security, this is not those governments we’re talking about.

How would Americans feel if it emerged that the British could watch everything they did online? Or the Germans? Or Russians? Do they vote for the British or German or Russian governments? Could US citizens exercise power over those administrations and their actions at the polls? Of course not. So why would anyone imagine it’s acceptable the other way round?

In short, whatever tradeoff Americans might or might not accept in order to safeguard their own security, there is no good outcome here for the rest of the world, which constitutes the majority of users of American web services. We’ve been screwed, and now we have to face some difficult decisions.

As a technology journalist not based in the US —, I certainly have a lot to consider. I’m not rushing it — there’s a lot to take in, and we still don’t know the full picture. But here are the points running through my mind at the moment:

  • I cannot recommend that those outside the US continue to use Google, Facebook or any of the other services known to be linked to the PRISM program, until those companies clearly demonstrate that it is impossible for the NSA and its ilk to read the data of those people. This definitely applies to all business communications, but also any personal communications that may put the sender, recipient or anyone else in a bad light, should someone choose to use it in that way.
  • Other American online services that deal in private communications must unfortunately be viewed with suspicion, too. It’s not like those services have some kind of immunity from the NSA that Google et al. not have.
  • As my profession precludes me from becoming a digital hermit, even on a temporary basis, it is almost impossible for me to stop using these cloud services without a viable alternative that is located outside the US, and it’s not clear that any such alternatives exist yet in a scalable and practical sense. So, for me personally, I will have to accept this quandary for now.
  • Where would these new services be situated anyway? Where is safe from such prying? Which countries are already complicit in PRISM in order to derive data on their own citizens? And what does the US get in return?
  • Will this lead to a balkanization of the web? (I hope not.) If we need a re-architecting of business models and processes around online communications, how can we replicate the best of the systems we have today without reintroducing the same vulnerabilities? Is the answer the decentralization of data control, and how could that work? Will a new degree of complexity — strong encryption and so on — become inevitable?
  • And finally, the point I least want to countenance: Will public opinion allow the current situation to be normalized and, if so, how do I as someone who finds the situation repellent continue to operate in this industry while maintaining a clear conscience?

As yet, I have come to no firm conclusions. But I can say this for sure: For web users around the world, everything has changed. It is unacceptable to pretend otherwise, and that means some really tough choices will soon have to be made.

Also, Everything is Everything when it comes to Man and their use and interaction with the Mida and its technological gizmos, and their embedded, mediating and enabling techniques.

Douglas Rushkoff: Present Shock

The Present, "Now", Once Apprehended, Is No More

The future, no so long ago, several decades ago, was still what we knew as Future Shock. Now, we are in the present of the this Future Shock, and are living in the present future shock. As Rushkoff says, we have already arrived into the Shock of the Future, which is our ow and present future shock. How this affects and affects us- how we become conditioned and digifrenized in htis world of Interruptions we live in. To this reality in the present, Rushkoff writes:

"This Is The New Now"

"Our society has reorientated itself to to the 'present' moment. Everything is live, real time, and always-on. It's not mere speeding up, however much our lifestyles and technologies have accelerated the rate at which we attempt to do things. It's more of a diminishment of anything that ins't happening right now-and the onslaught of everything that supposedly is.

"It's why the world's leading search engine is evolving into a live, customized, and predictive flow of data branded "Google Now"; why e-mail is giving way to texting, and why blogs are being superseded by Twitter feeds. It's why kids in school can no longer follow linear arguments; why narrative structure collapsed into reality TV; and why we can't engage in meaningful dialogue about last month's books and music, much less longterm global issues. It's why an economy once based on long term investment and interest-bearing currency can no longer provide capital to those who plan to put it to wrk for future rewards. It is why so many long for a "singularity or a 2012 apocalypse to end linear time altogether and throw us into a post-historic eternal present-no matter the cost to human agency or civilization itself.

When Obama announce that 'we're the ones we've been waiting for", Rushkoff responds:

"Well, the waiting is over. Here we are. ...

"Add real time technologies , from the i-Phone to Twitter; a disposable consumer economy where 1-Click ordering is more important that the actual product being purchased; a multitasking brain actually incapable of storage or sustained argument; and an economy based on spending now that one may or may not earn in a lifetime, and you can't help but become temporally disorientated. It's akin to the onslaught of changing rules and circumstances that 1970s futurist Alvin Toffler dubbed Future Shock."

Only, in our era it's more of a 'present shock'. And while this phenomenon is clearly 'of the moment,' it's not quite as in the moment as we may have expected

"For a while many of us were correct about the way all this presentism would affect investments and finance, even technology and media, we were utterly wrong about how living in then"now" would end up impacting as people. Our focus on the 'present' may have liberated us from the twentieth century's dangerously compelling ideological narratives. No one-well, hardly anyone-can still be convinced that brutal means are justified by mythological ends.

And people are less likely to believe employers' and corporations' false promises of future rewards for years of loyalty now. but it has not actually brought us int greater awareness of what is going on around us. We are not approaching some Zen state of an infinite moment. completely at one with our surroundings, connected to others, and aware of ourselves on any fundamental level.

"Rather, we tend to exist in a distracted 'present'. where forces on the periphery are magnified and those immediately before us are ignored. Our ability to create a plan-much less following through on it-is undermined by our need to be able to improvise our way through any number of external impacts that stand to derail us at any moment. Instead of finding a stable foothold in the 'here and now', we end up reacting to the 'ever-present' assault of simultaneous impulses and commands."

Some of us as users of these technologies have not yet grasped that they being conditioned by the gadgets and their techniques. Rushkoff is making thing clearer and more understandable by designing a narrative and presentation of this 'presentism. Rushkoff elaborates:

"In some senses, this was the goal of those who developed the computers and networks on which we depend today. Mid-twentieth-century computing visionaries Vannevar and J.C.R. Licklider dreamed of developing machines that could do our remembering for us. Computers would free us from the tyranny of the past-as well as the horrors of World War I-allowing us to forget everything and devote our minds to solving the problems of today. The information would still be there; it would simply be stored out of the body, in a machine.

"It's a tribute to both their designs on the future and their devotion to the past that they succeed in their quest to free up the 'present' of the burden of memory. We have, in a sense, been allowed to dedicate much more of our cognitive resources to active RAM than to maintaining our cebrebral-storage hard drives. But we are also in danger of squandering this cognitive surplus on the trivial pursuit of the immediately relevant over any continuance of the innovation that got us to this point.

"Behavioral economists exploit the growing disparity between our understanding of the 'present' and that of the future,helping us see future debts as less relevant than current costs and leading us to make financial decisions against our won better interests. As these ways of understanding debt and lending trickle up to those making decisions about banking and macrofinance-such as the Federal Reserve of the European Central Bank-our greater economies end up suffering from the same sorts of logical traps as those of individual mortgage holders and credit card users.

"Neuroscientists, mostly at the service of corporations looking to develop more compliant employees and consumers, are homing in on the way people ,make choices. But no matter how many subjects they put in their MRI machines, the focus of this research is decision making in the moment, the impulsive choices made in the blink of an eye, rather than those made by the lobes responsible for rational thought or consideration.By implementing their wares solely on the impulsive-while diminishing or altogether disregarding the considered-they push us toward acting in what is thought of as instinctual, reptilian fashion.

"And this mode of behavior is then justified as somehow more connected to the organic, emotional, and immediately relevant moment in which human beings actually live. Of course, this depiction of consciousness may help sell the services of neurotechnicians to advertisers, but it does not accurately represents how the human brain relates to the moment in which the organism exists..

"No matter how invasive the technologies at their disposal, marketers and pollsters never come to terms with the living process through which people choose products or candidates; they are looking at what people just bought or thought,, and making calculations based on that-after the fact data. The "now" they seek to understand tells them nothing about desire, reasons, or context. It is simply an effort to key off what we have just done in order to manipulate our decisions in the future. Their campaigns encourage the kinds of impulsive behavior that fools us into thinking we are living in the 'now' while actually just making us better targets for the techniques.

"That is because there is no "now"-not the one they're talking about, anyway. It is necessarily and essentially trivial. the minute the "now' is apprehended, it has already passed. Like they used to say about getting one's picture on a Time magazine cover: the moment something is realized, it is over. And like the diminishing beauty returns for a facially paralyzed Botox addict, the more forcefully we attempt to stop the passage of time, the less available we are to the very moment we seek to preserve.

"As a result, our culture becomes an entropic, static hum of everybody trying to capture the slipping moment. Narrativity and goals are surrendered to a skewed notion of the real and the immediate; the Tweet; the status update. What we are doing at any given moment becomes all-important-which is behavioristically doomed. for this desperate approach to time is at once flawed and narcissistic. which "now" is important" the "now" I just lived or the "now" Im in right now?

We have to begin to look and understand how present shock as it manifests itself in many ways how this changes the way we make and experience culture, run our businesses, invest our money, conduct our politics, understand science, and make sense of our world. In doing so, we will consider panic reactions to our 'present shock' right alongside more successful approaches to living outside what we have always though of as time.We have to graps fully the new concept of seeing and learning.

Digiphreia should be known today as "the way our media and technologies encourage us to be more than one place at the same time. We will be able to see that our relationship to time has always been defined by the technologies we use to measure it, and that digital time presents particular challenges we haven't had to contend with before. As human beings, we have to figure out how to pace ourselves and our expectations when there's no temporal backdrop against which to measure our progress, no narraative through whicch to make sense o our actions, no future toward which we may strive, and seemingly no time to figure any of this out.

"I suggest we intervene on our own behalf-and that we do it right now, in the present moment. When things begin accelerating wildly out of control, sometimes patience [which is a virtue], is the only answer. Press pause ... We have time for this."

The main picture of this Hub states, "Welcome To The future." The future is our present-here and now, now that one has read about the present future, it is already gone, so we are understanding it from the point that it is no more the real reality of our present, the moment we wanted to capure, now that we know that we have apprehended, it is no more.. We have time to look into our minds and souls and to begin to take in the lesson of our presenteism.

The future is here and now. The very access I have to write on the viral stream, was unheard of not so long ago. The nature of the Web has extended one's sense in the McLuhan's sense. It has also extended everything I was before the advent of the Internet. Reality is manifold; the here and now ever so fleeting. As we barrel towards the inevitable, the means of capturing real reality, when everything is everything, means one has to take over their selves and understand the real world that is now our present future-here and now.

Techne's Evolution And Its Devaluation Of Man

From Early Man to technological man the evolution of and impact of technology on present-day society

From Early Man to technological man the evolution of and impact of technology on present-day society

Technology and Technique's Real Reality

The technological growth taking place in the world today is doing so very rapidly and there are new advancements being made with each passing day and this is possible owing to the large number of extensive programmes of technological research currently being done by a large number of researchers working within non-profit research organizations, business and universities. The developments being made today are very strong and are very pervasive forces in the business environment today. Technology can easily be referred to as the scientific knowledge to the practical problems we are experiencing in the world today. There is no denying that the impact of technology in the world today is huge and can be categorized Into how it effects our society today and how it influences the business activities and operations.

Impact of technology on society:

Technology has without doubt an impact on society. As a matter of fact, we experience this effect in our daily lives. It has an effect on the growth of the economy, our culture and our living standards. It is however important to note that the benefits are a double-edged sword with some being detrimental and other being beneficial. One should be very careful and get to know how the effects on society get to effect the business activities and operations.

Positive impact of technology:

Technology impacts on our daily lives. Our environments are all so full of technology to the point that most of the time we take it for granted and never actually notice the level of impact that it has on us until when we have no telephone, transport, water or electricity. Advancements in technology have greatly increased our living standards. Despite the fact that we are currently experiencing very high inflation rates and the rates of unemployment are very high, generally, people are feeding better, are dressing better and are as a matter of fact living more comfortable lives.

Technology also has a great impact on all the fundamental aspects of all our cultures including laws and how they are enforced, language, art, health care, mobility, education and religion. For instance the great technological improvements in health care have given a chance to doctors to treat their patients in an environment that is virtual through the use of mediums such as video conferencing which has also greatly benefited the legal environment as it allows the judges to still listen to the cases of hard core criminals who cannot be allowed to get into the court rooms due to security reasons.

Negative impacts of technology:

With every advancement that is made in the technological world, creative destruction results. For example, television impacts negatively on the movies and synthetic fibers impact the cotton fibers negatively. The coming in of new types of technology also results in a negative impact on the growth of the economy at times; television at times consumes all the productive hours that a man has in a day. Every new form of technology gets into the market together with long term consequences that are most of the time not foreseeable. For instance is there really a justification for nations coming up with bombs, nuclear weapons and missiles to maintain security?


Despite the fact that we cannot really ignore that there are a number of ways in which technology negatively impacts our society, for the better part it has greatly helped to make out lives better. Technology has greatly helped us to become more efficient thus increasing our productivity. It has also helped us a great deal to be able to save on many resources such as time and money and these are great benefits that cannot be ignored. It has also worked well in bringing unity into the world by turning it into a global village which has in turn helped people to more easily overcome their cultural, racial and continental barrier.

So that, the environment of the media as it presents itself to us today, has adjusted and changed our reality, so much so we are now wondering How Real Is real? The way the Internet has made the information data feed we imbibe so assiduously, everything is everything. Our minds,mouths and lives have been extended and streaming. This is a new normal because just several decades ago, none of this was possible. The evolution and emergence of new technologies and techniques have given us a mode of operation and communication that is still in its infancy-in regards to its effects and affects on its users.

Since an environment, according to Postman a complex message system which imposes in human a certain way of thinking-thes then is true of our present-day technological society. The ecology of the Media therefore, structures what we can see and say and, therefore, do; it assigns roles to us and insists on our playing them; it specifies what we are permitted to do and what we are not. sometimes, as in the case of a courtroom, or classroom, or business office, the specifications are explicit and informal.

In the case of Media environments, (e.g., books, radio, TV, Internet and so forth), the specifications are more often implicit and informal, half-concealed by our assumption that what we are is not an environment, but merely a mchine. Media ecology tries to make these specifications explicit. It tries to find out what roles media force us to play, how media structures what we are seeing, and why media makes us feel the way we do. Media Ecology is the study of media environments. It is studying these environments that we begin to understand communication and reality-and also reality as communication that we use and look into as real reality, or is this reality real? How real is real is what we have been working on throughout this Hub.. and it still seems to be shaping and manifesting itself, daily now..

What We Still Don't Know - Are We Real - Discovery & Documentary HD

Introducing Media Ecology

Extraterrestrial Communication and Contact

Believing It Or Not - Seems To be The Question

I am a Media Ecologist and I study the environments of the media, technology and the Universe and its entities. One thing I have had maintained as a young person was to have an open mind. I have always been drawn and very interested if thee is life beyond our realm of reality and exist3ence. there has been much written and debated about this reality, but for me, as I expanded my understanding of the cosmos and terrestrial existence, I have always believed that we are not alone, and that our present earthly knowledge is that of us never having ever reached cosmic space nor cosmic travels.

I do understand that there are skeptics, but I am still prepared to have an open mind that transcends the present Earthly Zeitgeists. I am going to be writing a full Hub about this subject and area of exploration and I think we should begin to look much deeper and realistically, as much as we can realistically manage to, that, we are not really alone here within the vastness of Time-Space or the Universe.. This is the first time I have really broached this subject in the Hubs, but I think that a sequel to this Hub will delve much more deeply into many areas of this very complex and controversial subject. for now, since I believe that the Hub is addressing our Real Reality in order to interrogate How Real Our Reality is-Since I I have pointed out that Everything Is Everything, I will not forego nor pretend that this type of subject does not exist. It does, and in this Hub, I will briefly how the pictures that were taken by Billy Meier, and a couple of his Videos. This will be supplemented also by the writings on his credibility or incredulity as according to various people. I will leave tat in this Hub to the Reader to form their own opinion, only after viewing the videos I will be posting

As a Media Ecologist, I am not only having an open mind, and believing that Everything is Everything, but am constantly interrogating our reality and its realness, and the realness of reality-0this also includes the study and research about the the existence of other life forms and what is known as extraterrestrials, which, I contend, with our earth-bound knowledge, how can we say we are the only ones in existence, in this part of the Milky Way? This question the, I hope will be explained by the few videos I have selected as provided by Billy Meier.

Unreal Real Pictures of UFOs by Meier

One of the Meier's Photographs of a Beamship floating/hovering beside a tree

One of the Meier's Photographs of a Beamship floating/hovering beside a tree

Meier's Photo of Semjase's Beamship

Meier's Photo of Semjase's Beamship

What Can Be The Basis Of Our Communication With Extraterrestrial be or be like..?

Thoughts about Worries of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

by Billy Meier on July 4, 1998 at 1:05 am

Every Earth year has 365 days in which we are subjected to both joyful and painful events, which make us walk at one time with our head lifted high and at another time with it dropped dejectedly to the chest, because humans are denied the right to freedom from timidness, apprehension, sorrow, pain and doubt. And yet, as more days pass, equally as many days come into being only to also disappear into the past and recede from our dominion. With every passing day our mistakes and fears, our sorrows and deficiencies along with our grief, pain, and suffering retreat from the present, as do joy and sadness for nothing remains eternal before the law of transience.

Everything in the past recedes eternally beyond our dominion, and nothing, be it will, promise, money, possession or property, can ever ring it back again. Nothing that has ever happened can be undone by humans, and neither our power nor that of the universe can reverse anything we have experienced and suffered nor can it be turned into something that was not experienced or not endured. Not one spoken word can be erased nor can any deed be undone, for things of the past are permanently gone and can never be brought back, made anew into an event or turned back into the actual moment of the experience. What is past is gone for good, and this holds true for yesterday, the day before, and all other days and years of the past, along with any occurrences we have experienced, fears, apprehensions, joys, sufferings, sorrows, pains, faults, gains, losses, and anything else that took place.

To worry about the past is futile for to do so hampers our progress and success. Only unwise people wallow in the sadness, worry, pain, fear and doubts of past events. Furthermore, it is also unintelligent and demoralizing to worry about tomorrow and other future matters, since by worrying about things we repress and overlook truly important matters. This precipitates fidgetiness and incompetence in our manner of thinking, our feelings and actions and leads, in turn, to faulty actions, thoughts, and failures which are encumbered with insurmountable hardships. Worrying about tomorrow, the following day or other future days and times results in pessimistic promises, poor performances, as well as destructive thoughts, feelings and actions, against which the individual is defenseless.

On every single day that exists in a future of tomorrows or the days-after-tomorrow or in days and times even beyond, we must influence and cope with all those matters we cannot act against, change, influence or guide in such a way whereby we become the winners of the daily battles, so we gain the greatest benefit of each day. We must continually conquer and assimilate fears, apprehensions, grief, worry, pain, doubt, and so forth to gain their benefit and the best they offer us. We must not gather and amass yesterday's, today's and tomorrow's burdens into one package nor should we wallow in them, for this can produce our collapse. Should any negative matters appear, regardless of how trying and shattering they may be, they are but a mere episode in our lives, and within seconds they will irretrievably elude into the past. Hence, such negative matters should be conquered and assimilated rationally and logically as swiftly as possible, so they do not become chronic burdens whereby grief, worry, fears, pain, doubt, apprehension, and other things turn into headlocks for us and become a daily horror.

As a rule, rarely do the experiences and events of only the current day plunge us into fear, despair and the like. On the contrary. The experiences and events of one day do not bring us to the brink of a nervous breakdown. Instead, we usually have on one hand the fears, apprehensions, worries, grief and doubts for tomorrow, the day after that, and the future in general with the consequence that people often experience last-minute-panic attacks. On the other hand we experience guilt for things that occurred yesterday, the day before or some other past time. Our memory seizes things of the past at any cost which then create fear and the dread of what tomorrow and the near future may bring.

Our lives are very rich in substance. They are entwined and interwoven with countless negative and positive things. Still, it is within our power to form our experiences into things with a neutral-positive balance, to cope with them and to live. May we all, therefore, make the most of each day without fears, apprehensions, pain, grief, doubt, worry or the like. Instead, may we learn to conquer and master these things so we may be cheerful and free and able to state with dignity in the last minute of our lives: "I have lived my life honorably and in evolutionary fulfillment, and to a good measure I have satisfied the duties of the [Creational] laws."


I think the reader/viewer can make up his mind whether to believe all of tis or not. I think an open mind and a curious disposition will be a healthy skeptical thing to do-but learning should not be impeded by those things that want to block out a reality that does not configure nor fit into our our real reality, which I have asked, is our reality really real? The information in this Hub should help the reader/viewer to configure the truth.

Well.. There's still so much to be learned that I think for myself, the jury is still out regarding the question(s) and its answer(s).

UFO-Billy Meier First Meeting With Semjase

A United Free-Will Of Man and Liberated Spoirit Iwithin The Universal Laws and Existence Of The cosmos

Human beings of the earth, it is time to take on reason, turn towards the true life and live according to the laws and commandments of Creation in a natural manner and in a humanely dignified manner get rid of those irresponsible and criminal statesmen in power doing wrong, who with greed of power in self-glorification and hatred and revenge etc. drive mankind into hardship, misery, horror and many deaths and thereby also destroy the achievements of human beings and the whole world. Human beings of earth, unite in common sense and reason to understand and love, no matter to which religion, race, and people you belong. In a dignified human way, make certain that those criminals and terrorist statesmen in power and terrorists disappear, who work against the well being of nations and the whole of mankind. Remove them from their powerful positions they hold as despots, dictators and terrorists, and deport them to live in exile for life, that never again they can bring about harm and evil, no more death, ruin and disaster to human beings and the world. Replace the irresponsible with human beings who deserve to be called a human being and who are dignified and honorable to take on the leadership for the peoples on earth and the whole of mankind and to work towards the well-being and true freedom and real peace of the people and mankind without greed for power, self- glorification and greed for profit as well as not to decline to the level of hatred, craving for revenge and blood, retaliation, warmongering, lust for murder and terrorism. And time is urgent, otherwise the insanity of the old prophecies will be fulfilled that speak of the worst and most horrible happenings and degenerations of all times that ever have come true since earth and human beings have appeared.

Semjase Silver Star Center, January 30th 2003, 11:54 am,

Billy Meier

FULL Billy Meier-1985 Beamship - The Movie Footage

How Real Is Real? Is Our Reality Real?

Paul Watzlawick wrotes"

"Is there intelligent life beyond our planet? As far as our own solar system is concerned, the answer has be a clear 'no' even before the advent of space flights. Even if life should eventually be found on Mars or another planet, It would be of a a very rudimentary nature (amino acids, bacteria, perhaps linchens), but nothing even remotely approaching little green men in unidentified flying objects.

"If we extend our question beyond the solar system, the answer is almost certainly 'yes'. To understand why this is so, we must place our quesiton in perspective, and the perspective is truly cosmic."

"First of all, astrophysical laymen find it hard to believe that if intelligent life were found within our galaxy (the Milky Way), its forms would have to be vry similar to life on earth. this is because there is solid evidence that the Milky Way is composed largely of the same four basic elements that makes up 99 percent of our terrestrial matter: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen.

"This makes it most unlikely that totally different organisms could have evolved on other planets-for instance, beings that could exist in a temperature of bubbling lava or the icy, airless climate of some distant cousin of our moon.

"However, as the cosmologist Martin Rees said, "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence," and the only scientific attitude to take in the face of this uncertainty is to assume that intelligent life does exist in and beyond our galaxy. Once we have accepted this, the question of establishing communication demands an answer. In the case of extraterrestrial communication, both the how and the what have to be found and established

Eduard Billy Meier - Interview

Time Travel: If We Are In It(Reality) We will Need More Other Things to Ponder

"It is only another way of looking at Time. there is no difference between Time and any of the three dimensions of space except that our Consciousness moves along it." (H.G. Wells)

Above I have dabbled with a topic that is taboo amongst scholars of any stripes. I for one am a Media Ecologist and I look at media and its ecology and expunge from it those issue that apply to what I want to talk about. Now, that which concerns our 'reality' is fraught and filled with many things that chipping away at some, would help, at least, help keep the awareness of our reality if it is real or is reality real? It is a perplexing and nuanced rhetorical question, but anyone can answer it within themselves.

But, I did not pick up the topic, video and pictures just to be melodramatic or cause a sensation. No. What I am onto is investigating phenomena like reality and whether what we experience, feel, live , acknowledge as real, if it is real. I am not here addressing the point I have already touched upon within the Hub. I am looking further into reality, if it is real, or is our reality really real. This then has brought me to the issue of interest celestial beings.

It would really be preposterous if we were to think we are the only beings in the Milky Way galaxy when there are so many Galaxies that are billions and billions and within them contain contain billions and trillions of Stars that we can begin to think we are alone. That is not going to happen. In order to better know our reality, we will dig a little deeper, and maybe if we do, we will not need to wonder about whether reality is real, our is what we perceive as our reality, real..

For a much more concise and seriously in-depth look at this discourse and topic, I will defer and cull to and from Watzlawick:

"... To be able to foresee the future is one of Mankind's oldest, fondest dreams-and not only that of the man playing roulette or the stock market.

"*As we move with time, we constantly find ourselves at the line dividing future from past. It is also the instant when the properties of reality are somehow turned upside down: the future is changeable but not known; the past is known but not changeable [*I am of course, oversimplifying. there are many things that can be predicted very accurately-for instance, planetary motions,the tides of the oceans, chemical and physical events, the fact that if I don't step on my brakes, I shall run over that pedestrian, etc. But notice that awareness of these aspects of our first-order reality does have little toward reliving the general uncertainty of life.].

Watzalwick continues below after he made the notation I cited above:

".. Or, as the French put it, "Si jeunesse savait, si vieilesse pouvait!" (If youth only knew, if age only could0. Small wonder that philosopher and poets have at times attributed the Creation to the mockery of a spiteful demiurge, constantly demanding our right decision while leaving us in the dark and showing us what we should have done only when it is too late to do it.

"Pseudophilosophical as these considerations may be, they nonetheless indicate that our experience of time is intimately linked with the idea of causality. When we say that one event is the cause of another, we obviously mean that the second event follows the first time. (This is again the temporal 'if-then', which we must carefully distinguish from the timeless 'if-then,' of logic.) It would be quite absurd to think that the sequence of events could also be the other way around: that an event in the future could cause another event in the past.

"Planned action makes sense only because, as far as we know, time flows in only one direction, and we assume as far as we know, time flows in only one direction, and we assume that our entire universe is moving with it at the same pace. Otherwise object traveling at a different "time speed" would disappear into the past or the future, as the case might be. but they do not, and this suggests that the explanation given by H. G. wells's 'time traveler, who is quoted at the beginning of this chapter, is correct.

"Time is not, as it is sometimes believed to be, merely a dimension of the human mind, a necessary delusion of consciousness. And indeed, physics has found evidence of thhis. einstein's and Minkowski's space-time continuum is the most modern and precise representation of our universe is four dimensional, although the fourth dimension, time, has properties quite different from those shard by the three spatial dimensions.

"Above all, it is not as directly accessible to our senses. but we can at least appreciate that four types of measurements are needed to define the location of an event in our world-its spatial coordinates (e,g., longitude, latitude and elevation) and its point in time. Beyond this modest degree of understanding we are not much better off than the Square in Flatland was when the Sphere tried to explain to him the properties of three-dimensional reality.

Sphere Passing through Flatland

What  Watzlawick calls a "Transcendental experience

What Watzlawick calls a "Transcendental experience

A Sphere Visits Flatland

Deluded Or Illusive Reality, Or Denuded Comprehension of the Unreal-Reality; The Impossible Possibility of Comprehended Reality in Time

The Illustration on the photo above dubbed the "Sphere Passing through Flatland" and assume that the eye on the right margin of the diagram is our own. ket us further assume that the sphere descending from above and passing through the two dimensional space of Flatland is somehow representative of time. Just as the Square could not comprehend the properties of the Sphere in its totality, but could perceive only individual circular cross sections of the infinite number of such cross sections composing a Sphere, each having only an infinitesimally height, so we in our three dimensional world cannot perceive time in tis totality, but only the infinitesimally short instances of the present. What came before, we call the past, and what is yet to follow, the future, but the sum total of the phenomenon time (in which past, present and future coexist) is as imaginable to us as the idea of a sphere was to the Square.

"Suppose that a person's life has been filmed in its entirety, from birth to death or, if you prefer, from his appearance in time to his disappearance (we shall disregard the fact that his cells anteceded and outlived him), and that we have this film before us, wound on a large reel. Since the film contains the person's whole life, all events are there, coexisting without any temporal order. (Let us, please, disregard the fact that the analogy is not quite satisfactory, because the person's birth will be located at the beginning, the outside, of the film, while his later experiences will be closer and loser to the center of the reel.)

"If we run the film through a projector, temporal order is restored, and the events of the person's life unfold in the order in which he experienced them. But to us observers, there is no getting away from the fact that his entire life is there on film, and that every single picture of the film is past, present or future, depending upon whether it has already run through the projector, is at this very instant in front of the lens, or is still on the feed reel.

"The film itself, without the motion introduced by the projector, is the analogy of a timeless universe, which the Greek philosopher Parmenides defined as "whole and unique, and immovable, and without end; nor was it ever, nor will it be, since it is now all at once, one, continuous."

This is a far cry from what Reichenbach appropriately calls the 'emotive siginificance' of time. All of us have seen a moving picture or read a book more than once and been fascinated the second time as if we did not already know the outcome of every event. Reichenbach writes:

"What we regard as "Becoming" is merely our acquisition of knowledge of the future, but it has no relevance to the happenings themselves. The following story, which was told to me as true, may illustrate this conception. In a moving-picture version of "Romeo and Juliet' the dramatic scene was shown in which Juliet, seemingly dead, is lying in the tomb, and romeo, believing she is dead, raises a cup containing poison.

"At this moment an outcry from the audience was heard: "So do it!" we laugh at the person who, carried away by the emotion of subjective experience, forgets that the time flow of the movie is unreal, is merely the unwinding of a pattern imprinted on a strip of film. Are we more intelligent that this man when we believe that the time flow of our actual is different? Is the present ore than our cognizance of a predetermined pattern of events unfolding itself like an unwinding film?"

"This question throws us back into the dilemma of Newcomb's paradox. All we have to do is imagine that the Being can predict future events because he has solved the problem of time travel. He travels into the future, looks at your decision regarding the two boxes, comes back to the present and either puts or dos not put the $1 million in box 2. For him, the time traveler, time is merely a long film strip which he can examine at any point he chooses. But if time is merely the unwinding of a film, we are back at complete determinism, and all free choice is an illusion.

"On the other hand,if time unfolds freely, if every moment is pregnant with all the conceivable positions of choice, then there is an infinite number of universes-and that, in itself, is an unimaginable reality. If this is the case, we are living in a Magic theater like the one in Hermann Hesse's "Steppenwolf", with an infinite number of doors to choose from. but how do we choose? With that "randomizer in our head"?

Again we have come full circle.If only we could travel into the future and see for ourselves! But wait-what difference would it make? If all our actions and outcomes are already there, our foreknowledge of them would not change them in the least; we would be in the horrible position of 'having to malke' the very same choices that we now 'know are wrong' and will be damaging to us or others. would we not prefer to return to our merciful state of ignorance? What hell life would be if, for instance, we knew the date and the circumstances of our death.\

"But wouldn't foreknowledge enable us to create an almost ideal world. for instance, we could save thousands of live by evacuating an area we knew would be devastated by an earthquake on a certain date. We would prevent bad cause-effect relationships from taking palce. It would, for example, be perfectly easy not to let oneself be bitten by a particular mosquito at a particular moment and thereby prevent oneself from contracting Malaria."

I guess thus listening to and reading what Watzlaiwich is saying about reality and time travel is begin to slowly sink. Does knowing the past help us with the present, or knowing the future make us go back to the past to correct whatever, or avoid certain events. Does looking into future make life futile in that one will begin to know how one is going to die, or what events will precipitate certain realities in the present. so that, does this make our reality reality; is reality real; is the fact that we know the past mean the future will be meaningful, even if we cannot rectify the past, nor alter the future. Is know present here-and-now reality real or matters, or the knowledge of the future any help or importance. I guess at this point I will say that one will know about something, past present future if we can comprehend it as being incomprehensible,or a denuded delusion or a futile exercise whenever we can live in one.

This trend of thinking is very important when we begin to talk about what I presented above in terms of the Flying Saucers, because then, it is important we breakdown the time travel issues and our reality. tis is one of the discourse that Semjase above, tries to explain. How when they travel from the constellation of the Pleiades, and travel in space, at certain point de-materialize and so forth that it becomes hard to conceive for we are not in it, and not only that we still have to comprehend it as a reality- since the trip that would take us 400 light years to to get to their orb, only takes them seven hours. Food for thought up to this point. How true and real that is well, I would aver that until we grasp and are in the time travel mode and know how to alter, adjust, adapt and change our reality from time to time in space and time, we still then have a long way to go.

Low Attention Span

Rushkoff says present shock has shrunk our attention spans. As a result, our entertainment trends toward the sensationalist and away from complicated plots.

Rushkoff says present shock has shrunk our attention spans. As a result, our entertainment trends toward the sensationalist and away from complicated plots.

Time Has shrink our Attention Span

Douglass Rushkoff says that technology as made us obsessed with the present - and rendered us unable to think deeply about the past or future. He points out to the fact that with technology, everything happens now.

"Think about those emails you get every minute, the texts constantly vibrating in your pocket, a news cycle that never ends. Turn on the television and you'll likely have to flip through a cornucopia of sensationalist reality television shows before you find what you're looking for (unless what you're looking for is, indeed, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.") All shows have one thing in common: you can turn them on at any moment without missing a beat. You don't need to follow a plot to understand, for example, Kim Kardashian complaining about her grey hairs."

According to Rushkoff, our obsession with reality television is a product of a culture that has us constantly tuned in to what's happening in the present - just click over to Twitter or Facebook and you can see real-time updates from people all over the world, many of whom you've probably never met. As a result, we've lost our ability to think deeply about the past and the future, and we're even losing touch with the real relationships and interpersonal interactions in our lives.

Rushkoff says that the onslaught of technology in our lives has made us obsessed with the present moment.

"We're stuck in this one notion of time, this idea of 'how old are you? How many things do you have? How close to retirement are you?' All these little metrics, and we're losing sight of the time in which our lives are actually occurring," says Rushkoff.

The lasting effects of present shock - and our shortened attention spans - aren't just confined to the realm of entertainment. For more on Rushkoff's theory - including how it influences politics, news, and even the stock market - tune in to our full interview above.

Future Context


The False Present Now

“If the end of the twentieth century can be characterized by futurism, the twenty-first can be defined by presentism.”

This is the moment we’ve been waiting for, explains award-winning media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, but we don’t seem to have any time in which to live it. Instead we remain poised and frozen, overwhelmed by an always-on, live-streamed re­ality that our human bodies and minds can never truly in­habit. And our failure to do so has had wide-ranging effects on every aspect of our lives.

People spent the twentieth century obsessed with the future. We created technologies that would help connect us faster, gather news, map the planet, compile knowledge, and con­nect with anyone, at anytime. We strove for an instanta­neous network where time and space could be compressed.

Well, the future’s arrived. We live in a continuous now en­abled by Twitter, email, and a so-called real-time technologi­cal shift. Yet this “now” is an elusive goal that we can never quite reach. And the dissonance between our digital selves and our analog bodies has thrown us into a new state of anxiety: present shock.

Rushkoff weaves together seemingly disparate events and trends into a rich, nuanced portrait of how life in the eter­nal present has affected our biology, behavior, politics, and culture. He explains how the rise of zombie apocalypse fic­tion signals our intense desire for an ending; how the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street form two sides of the same post-narrative coin; how corporate investing in the future has been replaced by futile efforts to game the stock market in real time; why social networks make people anxious and email can feel like an assault. He examines how the tragedy of 9/11 disconnected an entire generation from a sense of history, and delves into why conspiracy theories actually comfort us.

As both individuals and communities, we have a choice. We can struggle through the onslaught of information and play an eternal game of catch-up. Or we can choose to live in the present: favor eye contact over texting; quality over speed; and human quirks over digital perfection. Rushkoff offers hope for anyone seeking to transcend the false now."

Douglas Rushkoff analyzes a very different phenomenon. The future arrived a little while ago, he posits — maybe with Y2K, maybe with Sept. 11. Now it’s here. And we are stuck with “a diminishment of everything that isn’t happening right now — and the onslaught of everything that supposedly is.” Mr. Toffler warned that we would be unready for this onslaught. Mr. Rushkoff is more analytical than alarmist. He divides his thoughts into five sections addressing five kinds of profound change, and his biggest illustration of present shock has to do with the actual book itself. Because the present is more full of interruptions than the past was, it took him extra time to write. Because its ideas aren’t glib, he says, “here I am writing opera when the people are listening to singles.” And he realizes that data-swamped readers may take longer to finish books now. Coming from him the phrase “thanks for your time” has new meaning.

“Present Shock” begins by simply describing how we have lost our capacity to absorb traditional narrative. It goes on to explain what we have used to replace it. There was a time, Mr. Rushkoff says, when everything had narrative structure, even TV ads. Captive audiences sat through commercials that introduced a protagonist, presented a problem, then pitched a product to solve it. The little story ended well, at least from the advertiser’s point of view. But now viewers may be more angry than bored at such intrusions. They know that “someone you don’t trust is attempting to make you anxious,” so they ditch the ad before it’s over.

The ancient Greeks learned about the hero’s journey from Homer’s narratives. We’ve gotten decades of Homer Simpson, who “remains in a suspended, infinite present,” while his audience moves from one satirical pop-culture reference to the next. Citing “Forrest Gump” as a film that failed to combat late-20th-century feelings of discontinuity and “Pulp Fiction” as one wild enough to usher in a new era, Mr. Rushkoff moves on to what came next: the video game open-ended structure that keeps TV drama in the eternal present. About “Game of Thrones” he says, “This is no longer considered bad writing.” Changes to news presentation are even more dramatic. This book describes the present shock of politicians who — thanks to the 24/7 coverage ushered in by “the CNN effect” that began in the 1980s — “cannot get on top of issues, much less get ahead of them.” He notes that both the political left (MSNBC, with its slogan “Lean Forward”) and right (conservatism devoted to reviving traditional values) share this goal: They’re trying to escape the present.

Contrasting the Tea Party with the Occupy movement, he says the Tea Party’s apocalyptic yearning for closure is diametrically unlike Occupy’s “inspiring and aggravating” quest for an eternal present. The ways Occupy resembles the Internet make him think it may be the more durable of the two movements.

When Mr. Rushkoff moves on to what he calls digiphrenia — digitally provoked mental chaos — he writes about present shock’s capacity to be a great leveler. Now that a single Facebook post can have as much impact as 30 years’ worth of scholarship, how do we analog creatures navigate the digital landscape? How do we shield ourselves from distraction, or gravitate to what really matters? This section of Mr. Rushkoff’s agile, versatile book veers into chronobiology, a burgeoning science that has not yet achieved peak popular impact. Dr. Oz may speak of it on television, but the correlation between time and physiology is ripe for more exploration. Mr. Rushkoff, who likes being his own guinea pig, divided his writing of this book into weekly segments based on a lunar cycle.

Among the intuitive ideas turned tangible by “Present Shock” is “filter failure,” the writer and teacher Clay Shirky’s improved term for what used to be called “information overload.” Mr. Rushkoff’s translation: “Whatever is vibrating on the iPhone just isn’t as valuable as the eye contact you are making right now.”

Your new boss isn’t the person in the corner office; it’s the P.D.A. in your pocket. And there are the discrepancies between age and appearance that are increasingly possible in our malleable present. The book contends that young girls and Botoxed TV “housewives” all want to look 19; that hipsters in their 40s cultivate the affectations of 20-somethings, to the delight of marketers; and that apocalyptic types just want to opt out of time altogether. “Present Shock” gives them good reason to feel that way.

But in the end only some of the ills in “Present Shock” can be chalked up to dehumanizing technological advances. “I am much less concerned with whatever it is technology may be doing to people that what people are choosing to do to one another through technology,” Mr. Rushkoff writes. “Facebook’s reduction of people to predictively modeled profiles and investment banking’s convolution of the marketplace into an algorithmic battleground were not the choices of machines.” They were made by human intelligence, because present shock’s ways of targeting, pinpointing and manipulating aren’t just shocking. They’re very lucrative too.(New York times Book Review)

Douglas Rushkoff on Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now

Rushkoff: "We Live and exist in the immediate present, anchored in our real-time.

Time travel can be done in space and through the Universe. On the other hand, it is our presentism, as characterized by Rushkoff that is time in times of the here and now of our present reality in the present future we are in now. Rushkoff informs us that:

"The always-on, simultaneous society in which we have found ourselves has altered our relationship to culture, media, news, politics, economics, and power. We are living in a digital temporal landscape, but instead of exploiting its asynchronous biases, we are misguidedly attempting to extend the time-is-money agenda of the Industrial Age into the current era. The result is a disorienting and dehumanizing mess, where the zombie apocalypse is more comforting to imagine than more of the same. It needn't be this way."

Unfortunately it is this way and people are caught-up and enamored by the present emerging and evolving technologies and their techniques that reinforces the false now and present. We learn from Rushkoff that:

"Our society has reoriented itself to the present moment. Everything is live, real time, and always-on. It’s not a mere speeding up, however much our lifestyles and technologies have accelerated the rate at which we attempt to do things. It’s more of a diminishment of anything that isn’t happening right now—and the onslaught of everything that supposedly is.

It’s why the world’s leading search engine is evolving into a live, customized, and predictive flow of data branded “Google Now”; why email is giving way to texting, and why blogs are being superseded by Twitter feeds. It’s why kids in school can no longer follow linear arguments; why narrative structure collapsed into reality TV; and why we can’t engage in meaningful dialogue about last month’s books and music, much less long-term global issues.

It’s why an economy once based on long-term investment and interest-bearing currency can no longer provide capital to those who plan to put it to work for future rewards. It’s why so many long for a “singularity” or a 2012 apocalypse to end linear time altogether and throw us into a post-historic eternal present—no matter the cost to human agency or civilization itself.

But it’s also how we find out what’s happening on the streets of Iran before CNN can assemble a camera crew. It’s what enables an unsatisfied but upwardly mobile executive to quit his job and move with his family to Vermont to make kayaks—which he thought he’d get to do only once he retired. It’s how millions of young people can choose to embody a new activism based in patient consensus instead of contentious debate.

It’s what enables companies like H&M or Zara to fabricate clothes in real time, based on the instantaneous data coming from scanned tags at checkout counters five thousand miles away. It’s how a president can run for office and win by breaking from the seeming tyranny of the past and its false hope, and tell voters that, “We are the ones we have been wait-ing for.”Well, the waiting is over. Here we are.If the end of the twentieth century can be characterized by futurism, the twenty-first can be defined by presentism.

The looking forward so prevalent in the late 1990s was bound to end once the new millennium began. Like some others of that era, I predicted a new focus on the moment, on real experience, and on what things are actually worth right now. Then 9/11 magnified this sensibility, forcing America as a nation to contend with its omnimpermanence. People had babies in droves, and even filed for divorces, in what was at least an unconscious awareness that none of us lives forever and an accompanying reluctance to postpone things indefinitely.

Add real-time technologies, from the iPhone to Twitter; a disposable consumer economy where 1Click ordering is more important than the actual product being purchased; a multitasking brain actually incapable of storage or sustained argument, and an economy based on spending now what one may or may not earn in lifetime, and you can't help but become temporarily disorientated. Its akin to the onslaught of changing rules and circumstances that 1970s futurist Alvin Toffler dubbed "future shock."

We are now in the present future of anticipated time travel and traveling in the present from the past and headed into the future. Our future is now and ever present which we seem to be unable to transcend. We cannot break out of the vicious cycle of emerging technologies and techniques, and are not yet even capable of envisioning the future. We are trapped in a fascinating here and now presentism and we are still yet to project and advance into the future. This is the conundrum that human find themselves in the present technological society, and it a weird sort of way, we are stagnant in the present future in terms of time travel, time movement and time itself.

Is Our real Time Real in Our Real Reality?

Ruskhoff says that the onslaught of technology in our lives has made us obsessed with the present moment in our "reality;s real time"

Ruskhoff says that the onslaught of technology in our lives has made us obsessed with the present moment in our "reality;s real time"

Introducing Media Ecology

Ecological Media

Media Ecology

Media Ecology

Robert K. Logan on The Origin and Evolution of Language

Media Ecology En vogue ~ Redux

Understanding Media Ecology

It is at this juncture that we take an in-depth look into the Media Ecology's Archeological infrastructure and structure to enhance the discourse about these viral streaming ecologies. In this article the emergent paradigm of media ecologies is distinguished from the ‘actually existing’ media ecology emerging out of the work of McLuhan, Postman and the media ecology association. The appearance of Fuller’s book was understandably unsettling for members of the latter and certainly marks at least a profound rupture in the media ecological paradigm if not a total break.." (Godard)

We further learn from Gordard in this extensively cited piece below that:

"While Matthew Fuller’s book entitled Media Ecologies has had a considerable impact on research into new media, digital art, alternative media and other spheres, it still remains relatively little-known in mainstream media studies and contains great potential for further development in relation to many fields of media research.

Media Ecology is a term that has existed for some time at the peripheries of media studies and theories, and is notably associated with the celebrated media theorist Marshall McLuhan. There is, however, a certain perhaps necessary confusion around the deployment of the term ‘Media Ecologies’ in Fuller’s book, partly because of the differences in this deployment from the already existing field of research known as ‘Media Ecology’, a US-based post-McLuhan stream of media research of which the most well-known figure is undoubtedly Neil Postman.

The following essay will therefore touch upon these differences, before giving a different genealogy of Media Ecologies via the encounter between the rethinking of Ecology or rather Ecologies undertaken by Felix Guattari and the free radio movement in the 1970s, focusing especially on Radio Alice.

The Differences Between Fuller’s Media Ecologies and ‘Actually Existing’ Media Ecology

That the contrast between Media Ecologies the abovementioned school of Media Ecology is not some exercise in Derridean hair-splitting is made abundantly clear by reading the review of the book that was published in Afterimage entitled ‘Taking Issue’, by Lance Strate, who is a central participant in the media ecology movement. Strate quotes the old saying that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet and as a good McLuhanite feels compelled to reject its wisdom: ‘If, on the other hand, you believe that the medium is the message, and that a good name is better than riches, then you may understand my concern over the title of Matthew Fuller’s new book, Media Ecologies’ (Strate, 2005: 55).

Strate goes on to add that Fuller’s book has little to do with Media Ecology, for which he gives a useful history, stating that it came out of conversations between Marshall McLuhan, Eric Mcluhan and Neil Postman, dating back to 1967. He also points out that Fuller’s treatment of this tradition amounts to four pages of the introduction to Media Ecologies (2-5) and that Fuller fails to make any reference to any of its key texts. In many ways it is unsurprising that Strate would feel put out by Fuller’s book and feel the need to provide a corrective history of the term with which he has been working for some time.

His review makes abundantly clear how alien the book Media Ecologies is to this tendency and it is clear that it is coming from quite different theoretical sources and significantly operates within an equally different discursive universe. Beyond the quibbling over history is a real disagreement about media ecologies themselves that, as Fuller rightly points out, are treated by the media ecology tradition through an amalgam of humanism and technological determinism.

While the work of McLuhan can and has given rise to numerous possible interpretations ranging from a literary, anecdotal and metaphorical anthropocentrism to Friedrich Kittler’s radical machinic anti-humanism, the work of at least some of the media theorists associated with the media ecology school retreats from the more radical implications of McLuhan’s work into a type of liberal humanism, an operation that has both conceptual and political implications.

Consider, for example, the work of Neil Postman. In both Amusing Ourselves to Death (1987) and the more recent Technopoly (1993), Postman adopts a form of populist technophobia that only seems to maintain from McLuhan his anecdotal style and love of metaphor and whose only antidote to the Behemoth of technological domination seems to be a quite conservative notion of pedagogy. In other words, it is an approach to media that would be better characterised as pre rather than post-McLuhanite (in the art historical sense of pre-Raphaelite) in that the full co-implications of human beings and technology is treated in a monolithic, rather than in a complex way.

This is strangely reminiscent of the Frankfurt School culture industry model of mass culture, whose one-sided and somewhat paranoid account of mass media has been the subject of important critiques. I would not extend this criticism to all practitioners of ‘actually existing media ecology’, some of whom seem to be relatively insightful scholars of McLuhan and the other theorists who Fuller characterises as a ‘vivid set of resources’ (Fuller, 2005: 4). But the point I would like to make is that Fuller’s book is a much needed intervention into this field, which in some respects can be seen as so many footnotes to McLuhan’s original and still important insight that the medium is the message.

As opposed to both the humanist conservative environmentalism of the media ecology school, Kittler’s anti-humanist technological determinism and the creative industries invocation of information ecologies as a free market strategy, Fuller injects a much needed materialism, politics and complexity into the term media ecologies as he uses it:

The book asks: what are the different kinds of [material] qualities in media systems with their various and particular or shared rhythms, codes, politics, capacities, predispositions and drives, and how can these be said to mix, to interrelate and to produce patterns, dangers and potentials? Crucial to such an approach is an understanding that an attention to materiality is most fruitful where it is often deemed irrelevant, in the immaterial domains of electronic media. (2)

What is crucial in this passage is the emphasis on the materiality of the supposedly immaterial components of media systems, including digital ones, and the association of this with politics since this not only distinguishes media ecologies from media ecology but from a good deal of media and specifically new media theory as well, precisely by proposing a material politics of media. In fact this is really the key reason why there is such a distance between media ecologies and media ecology: whereas the latter is closer to environmentalism, that is, the consideration of media systems as parts of relatively stable environments for which normative ideas about human beings form the centre, ‘media ecologies’ is closer to ecological movements. As Fuller describes this difference:

Echoing the differences in life sciences and various Green political movements, ‘environmentalism’ possesses a sustaining vision of the human and wants to make the world safe for it. Such environmentalism also often suggests … a state of equilibrium … Ecologists focus more on dynamic systems in which any one part is always multiply connected, acting by virtue of these connections and always variable, so that it can be regarded as a pattern rather than simply an object. (4)

This ecological as opposed to environmental conception of media ecologies (and the plural is also essential here) is necessarily activist, intervening in established knowledges about media systems and tracking the radical dynamisms that constitute them, however stable they might appear to be. This goes some way to explaining why the subsequent chapters of the book have varying methodological approaches and are engaged with radically diverse objects ranging from a single piece of Net Art, ‘The Camera that Ate Itself’ (55-84) to the London pirate radio network (13-54) that is perhaps the most systematic and recognisable ‘application’ of the concept of media ecologies.

The second part of this essay will therefore switch from discussing what Media Ecologies is not, in other words the media ecology movement, to one key source for what it is, that is a radically material and political intervention into established approaches to media including that of media ecology that, as Fuller acknowledges, draws substantially on the work of Felix Guattari.

The Three Ecologies and the Free Radios

Fuller acknowledges Guattari as a key reference not only for rethinking ecology but also media ecologies in the following terms: ‘Guattari’s use of the term ecology is worth noting here, first, because, the stakes he assigns to media are rightly perceived as being profoundly political or ethico-aesthetic at all scales. Aligning such political processes with creative powers of invention that demand “laboratories of thought and experimentation for future forms of subjectivation” (Guattari’s words), also poses a demand for the inventive rigor with which life among media must be taken up’ (5).

At the risk of leaping ahead to the conclusion of this essay, I would argue that at the very least, Fuller’s book is a fine example of applying just such an experimental attitude and just such inventive rigor to the field of media in order to, in Deleuzian terms, create a new concept of media ecologies, while nevertheless drawing productively but never slavishly on existing resources such as Guattari’s rethinking of ecologies as part of what he calls ecosophy.

Guattari was increasingly drawn towards ecology in his later writings, most explicitly in his essay The Three Ecologies which begins with the often quoted phrase from Gregory Bateson: ‘There is an ecology of bad ideas, just as there is an ecology of weeds’ (Guattari, 2000: 19). In the context of this essay, one might also be tempted to add the hypothesis of an ecology of bad media systems.

The point is, first of all, that ecology should not be limited to the physical systems studied by environmental science but ought to include (at least) two other levels, namely a social ecology of social relations and a mental ecology of subjectivity or rather the production of subjectivity. Guattari was well aware of the suspicion that tended to be applied to this third level whether from the ‘hard’ sciences or ‘hard’ politics, but for him this dimension is key to any truly ecosophic project. His treatment of these objections to taking seriously the incorporeal but material dimension of mental ecology in which sensibilities, intelligence and processes of desire take place, what Guattari referred to as vectors of subjectivation, is worth quoting in full:

I know that it remains difficult to get people to listen to such arguments, especially in those contexts where there is still a suspicion—or even an automatic rejection—of any specific reference to subjectivity. In the name of the primacy of infrastructures, of structures or systems, subjectivity still gets bad press, and those who deal with it, in practice or theory, will generally only approach it at arm’s length, with infinite precautions, taking care never to move too far away from pseudo-scientific paradigms, preferably borrowed from the hard sciences: thermodynamics, topology, information theory, systems theory, linguistics etc. … In this context, it appears crucial to me that we rid ourselves of all scientistic references and metaphors in order to forge new paradigms that are instead ethico-aesthetic in inspiration. (Guattari, 2000: 25)

Among other things, this dimension of subjectivation is crucial as it is the actual site where politics takes place, where new modes of sensibility and intelligence can be experimented with, mutate and transform themselves. No amount of dire warnings, backed up as they may be by hard empirical evidence, about such phenomena as global warming, for example, are ever going to result in the slightest political change without addressing these vectors of subjectivation, especially if they are merely imposed as part of a larger culture of fear and the cultivation of toxic and paranoid forms of subjectivity. Subjective ecologies and social ecologies are indissociable from physical environments and exist in complex relations of co-determination which any truly media ecological or even ecological practice needs to take fully into account.

But Guattari’s rethinking of ecology is not merely relevant for this reason but also because it was itself intimately involved with a rethinking of media themselves, which function for Guattari as just such vectors of subjectivation and perhaps the most important ones in contemporary societies.

As I stated earlier, Guattari was profoundly affected by his encounter with and participation in the Free Radio movements in Italy and France. In The Three Ecologies as in elsewhere in his work this encounter forms the basis for thinking what he referred to as the post-media era that he saw as potentially emerging from the rubble of mass media society: ‘An essential programmatic point for social ecology will be to encourage capitalist societies to make the transitions from the mass-media age to a post-media era in which the media will be appropriated by a multitude of subject-groups capable of directing its resingularisation.

Despite the seeming impossibility of such an eventuality, the current unparalleled level of media alienation is in no way an inherent necessity. It seems to me that media fatalism equates to a misunderstanding of a number of factors’ (Guattari, 2000: 40). The most relevant of these factors for our purposes is the third one Guattari mentions which is ‘the technological evolution of the media and its possible use for non capitalist goals, in particular through a reduction in costs and through miniaturisation’ (41).

From a contemporary perspective it is hard not to see everything from digital video to activist cybercultural projects such as Indymedia to digital networks in general to the various forms of social software as some kind of technological realisation of this call for a post-media era, that seems to have become at once less impossible and less utopian.

However, as I have argued elsewhere, this would be a far too technologically determinist understanding of Guattari’s concept of ecologies that pays too little attention to the crucial domain of mental ecology. In fact today’s miniaturised media are highly unstable ecologies where there is a clash of imcompossible forces and unpredictable vectors, ranging from the reformulation of capitalism as cognitive to the experimentation with new mediatised modes of subjectivation. What this shows is that far from being utopian or too abstract, Guattari’s conception of a post-media era is at once perfectly real and in need of further complexification, which is just what Fuller’s concept and practice of media ecologies sets out to do.

Therefore rather than examining the contemporary media ecologies referred to above, the last part of this essay will focus in more detail on the Free Radio movement of the 1970s, specifically to bring out its impact on Guattari’s concept of a post-media era that is in turn influential on Fuller’s book. Nevertheless, much of what Guattari was able to discern in free radio stations like Radio Alice is of great relevance to the media ecologies of contemporary new media forms, as Fuller’s account of London pirate radio in Media Ecologies amply demonstrates.

Millions and Millions of Alice’s in Power

In the late 1970s Guattari devoted several texts to the phenomena of popular free radio and especially that taking place in Italy. ‘Why Italy’ (Guattari, 1996a: 79-84) is the essay that gives the clearest indication of why he considered this such an important phenomenon. First of all there is the concrete context, that he had been asked to introduce the French translation of Alice é il diavolo, principal documentation of this radio station and its political trajectory, interested him since it is a radio of an explicitly situationist and Deleuzo-Guattarian inspiration, thereby constituting an auto-referential feedback loop between his own rhizomatic thought and media subversion.

More importantly, Radio Alice and its conflict with the apparatus’s of state control that eventually resulted in a massive wave of repression, demonstrates very clearly how the media are a key site of struggle over the contemporary production of subjectivity; in Guattari’s terms, despite its apparent economic and technological backwardness at that time, Italy was the future of England, France and Germany. The molar aspect of this is that the polarising of politics into the mutually reinforcing duality of state violence and terrorism was developed first of all in Italy before being applied elsewhere and could be seen as a embryonic of the global economy of fear under which we live today.

However, what is behind this polarisation was the emergence of a new regime of consensus or control in which all previously existing forms of resistance such as trade unions or the communist party would be tolerated provided they fit into the overall regime of consensual control, for which they provide very useful tools for subjective reterritorialisation: the historic compromise between the Italian communist party and the social democrats being just one example of this process.

Guattari does not really go into detail about the specific political history of the Italian far left which had its roots in the 1960s development of Operaismo or ‘Workerism’, then developed via the interactions between an increasing radicalisation of both proletarian forms of action and workerist theory, the emergence of the student movement in the late 1960s, accompanied by the political expression of new subjectivities such as the feminist and gay liberation movements and ultimately the emergence of what became known as Autonomia or the ‘area of autonomy.’

According to Guattari, the groups associated with this tendency and that still advocated violent rupture with the consensus embodied in the historic compromise would be hunted down and eliminated, with no pretence of liberal models of justice or legal rights, which was indeed what happened first in Italy and then in Germany. But Guattari was less interested in terror or state repression, while considering them important issues demanding responses on a ‘molar’ or representational political level.

His primary interest in this essay is in the molecular revolution that was taking place around Radio Alice, one that the emerging consensual state apparatus was not able to tolerate. For Guattari, this is not a mere shift away from traditional apparatus’s of struggle such as the communist party which have become completely compromised with the state in favour of new micropolitical groupings such as gay liberation or the women’s movement; these new groupings are no less susceptible to becoming reterritorialisations, finding their institutional place in the manufacture of consensus.

As he puts it, ‘there is a miniaturization of forms of expression and of forms of struggle, but no reason to think that one can arrange to meet at a specific place for the molecular revolution to happen’. While Guattari does not state it explicitly here, this corresponds very closely to the rejection of even micropolitical identities or political forms such as organisational Autonomia enacted by Radio Alice; it was not just a question of giving space for excluded and marginalised subjects such as the young, homosexuals, women, the unemployed and others to speak but rather of generating a collective assemblage of enunciation allowing for the maximum of transversal connections and subjective transformations between all these emergent subjectivities.

Guattari refers toAlice as ‘a generalised revolution, a conjunction of sexual, relational, aesthetic and scientific revolutions all making cross-overs, markings and currents of deterritorialisation’ (84). Rather than pointing to a new revolutionary form, the experimentation of Radio Alicewas a machine for the production of new forms of sensibility and sociability, the very intangible qualities constitutive of both the molecular revolution and the post-media era.

Guattari is somewhat more specific about these practices in the essay ‘Popular Free Radio’ (1996a: -78). In this essay he poses instead of the question of why Italy, that of why radio? Why not Super 8 film or cable TV? The answer, for Guattari is not technical but rather micropolitical. If media in their dominant usages can be seen as massive machines for the production of consensual subjectivity, then it is those media that can constitute an alternate production of subjectivity that will be the most amenable to a post-media transformation.

Radio at this time had not only the technical advantage of lightweight replaceable technology but more importantly was able to be used to create a self-referential feedback loop of political communication between producers and receivers, tending towards breaking down the distinctions between them: ‘the totality of technical and human means available must permit the establishment of a veritable feedback loop between the auditors and the broadcast team: whether through direct intervention by phone, through opening studio doors, through interviews or programmes based on listener made cassettes’.

Again the experience of Radio Alice was exemplary in this regard: ‘We realise [with Radio Alice] that radio constitutes but one central element of a whole range of communication means, from informal encounters in the Piazza Maggiore, to the daily newspaper—via billboards, mural paintings, posters, leaflets, meetings, community activities, festivals etc’ (75). In other words, it is less the question of the subversive use of a technical media form than the generation of a media or rather post-media ecology, that is, a self-referential network for an unforeseen processual production of subjectivity amplifying itself via technical means.

As Guattari points out this is miles away both from ideas of local or community radio in which groups should have the possibility on radio to represent their particular interests and from conventional ideas of political radio in which radio should be used as a megaphone for mobilising the masses. In contrast, on Alice, serious political discussions were likely to be interrupted by violently contradictory, humorous and poetico-delirious interventions and this was central to its unique micropolitics.

It was even further removed from any modernist concern with perfecting either the technical form of radio (for example through concerns with perfecting sound quality) or its contents (the development and perfection of standard formats); listening to the tapes of Radio Alice is more than enough to convince about this last point. All of these other approaches to alternative radio, that is the local, the militant and the modernist, share an emphasis on specialization; broadcasters set themselves up as specialists of contacts, culture and expression yet for Guattari, what really counts in popular free radio are ‘collective assemblages of enunciation that absorb or traverse specialities’ .

What this meant in practice was that on Alice an extreme heterogeneity of materials was broadcast tending towards a delirious flow of ‘music, news, blossoming gardens, rants, inventions, … messages, massages, lies’ (Berardi et al 2009: 82). Innovations of Radio Aliceincluded the instantaneous reporting of news in the form of callers telephoning directly into the radio broadcasts from demonstrations and other political events and the lack of centralised control over what voices or ideas could be expressed, a philosophy of openness that would later be taken up by Independent Media Centres in the digital era.

This meant in practice that calls denouncing the radio producers as ‘filthy communists’ coexisted with calls to support a current demonstration to the caller who rang up just to declare that whoever stole his bicycle is a ‘son of a bitch’ (82). In short there was a delirious flow of expression that disturbed the social order less through its content than by opening up channels of expression and feedback between this free expression and current political events culminating in the radio becoming a key actor in the explosive political events of Bologna in March, 1977, at the climax of which the radio station itself was targeted by the police and several of its key animators arrested.

What this type of radio achieved most of all was the short-circuiting of representation in both the aesthetic sense of representing social realities and in the political sense of the delegate or the authorised spokesperson, in favour of generating a space of direct communication in which, as Guattari put it, ‘it is as if, in some immense, permanent meeting place—given the size of the potential audience—anyone, even the most hesitant, even those with the weakest voices, suddenly have the possibility of expressing themselves whenever they wanted. In these conditions, one can expect certain truths to find a new matter of expression’. In this sense, Radio Alice was also an intervention into the language of media; the transformation from what Guattari calls the police languages of the managerial milieu and the University to a direct language of desire:

"Direct speech, living speech, full of confidence, but also hesitation, contradiction, indeed even absurdity, is charged with desire. And it is always this aspect of desire that spokespeople, commentators and bureaucrats of every stamp tend to reduce, to filter. … Languages of desire invent new means and tend to lead straight to action; they begin by ‘touching,’ by provoking laughter, by moving people, and then they make people want to ‘move out,’ towards those who speak and toward those stakes of concern to them." (76-77)

It is this activating dimension of popular free radio that most distinguishes it from the usual pacifying operations of the mass media and that also posed the greatest threat to the authorities; if people were just sitting at home listening to strange political broadcasts, or being urged to participate in conventional, organised political actions such as demonstrations that would be tolerable but once you start mobilising a massive and unpredictable political affectivity and subjectivation that is autonomous, self-referential and self-reinforcing, then this is a cause for panic on the part of the forces of social order, as was amply demonstrated in Bologna in 1977.

Finally, in the much more poetic and manifesto-like preface with which Guattari introduces the translation of texts and documents from Radio Alice, he comes to a conclusion which can perhaps stand as an embryonic formula for the emergence of the post-media era as anticipated by Radio Aliceand the Autonomia movement more generally:

"In Bologna and Rome, the thresholds of a revolution without any relation to the ones that have overturned history up until today have been illuminated, a revolution that will throw out not only capitalist regimes but also the bastions of bureaucratic socialism … a revolution, the fronts of which will perhaps embrace entire continents but which will also be concentrated sometimes on a specific neighbourhood, a factory, a school. Its wagers concern just as much the great economic and technological choices as attitudes, relations to the world and singularities of desire.

Bosses, police officers, politicians, bureaucrats, professors and psycho-analysts will in vain conjugate their efforts to stop it, channel it, recuperate it, they will in vain sophisticate, diversify and miniaturise their weapons to the infinite, they will no longer succeed in gathering up the immense movement of flight and the multitude of molecular mutations of desire that it has already unleashed. The police have liquidated Alice—its animators are hunted, condemned, imprisoned, their sites are pillaged—but its work of revolutionary deterritorialisation is pursued ineluctably right up to the nervous fibres of its persecutors." (Guattari, 1978: 11)

This is because the revolution unleashed by Alice was not reducible to a political or media form but was rather an explosion of mutant desire capable of infecting the entire social field because of its slippery ungraspability and irreducibility to existing sociopolitical categories. It leaves the forces of order scratching their heads because they don’t know where the crack-up is coming from since it did not rely on pre-existing identities or even express a future programme but rather only expressed its own movement of auto-referential self-constitution, the proliferation of desires capable of resonating even with the forces of order themselves, which now have to police not only these dangerous outsiders but also their own desires.

This shift from fixed political subjectivities and a specified programme is the key to the transformation to a post-political politics and indeed to a post-media era in that politics becomes an unpredictable, immanent process of becoming rather than the fulfilment of a transcendent narrative. In today’s political language one could say that what counts is the pure potential that another world is possible and the movement towards it rather than speculation as to how that world will be organised.

Apart from anticipating many of the subsequent problematics of the counter-globalisation movement, what this citation tells us most of all about the post-media era is that it is not something that can be given in advance; it is instead a process of the production of subjectivity, the becoming of a collective assemblage of enunciation whose starting point is the emptiness and coerciveness of the normalising production of subjectivity that the mass media currently enact. This already gives us some indications as to what aspects of digital network culture might be able contribute to this emergence of a post-media sensibility and which elements in contrast merely help to add sophistication and diversity to normalisation processes under the guise of interactivity.

Guattari’s engagement with free radio was not, however, limited to Radio Alice but was also played out in relation to range of free radio initiatives in France from 1977 to 1981. In fact it was the events surrounding Radio Alice and its repression that led to Guattari’s first involvement with Radio Verte. According to Thierry Lefebvre, a press conference set up by Guattari, on the 11th of July, 1977, in order to denounce the imprisonment of Franco Berardi, who was coincidentally provisionally released that very day, was instead used to announce that Radio Verte would begin broadcasting the next day at 7 AM (Lefebvre, 2008: 115).

The next day a few people showed up in a borrowed office with the minimum of equipment necessary to begin broadcasting: two microphones, a turntable, a small mixing desk and a 100 watt transmitter. The transmission was oriented more to spontaneity than professionalism and went out live; three of the people present were Italians formerly involved with Radio Alice, thus making the radio experiment directly linked with the recent experience of free radio in Italy, reinforced by making this the topic of the first emission: ‘They spoke of Franco Berardi, about the conditions of his arrest, the situation in Bologna, the appeal of intellectuals against repression in Italy.

Little by little the discussion turned towards the necessity for the breaking up of the monopoly of the airwaves, on the problem of the right to speech of immigrant workers’ (Le Mattin de Paris, July 1977, cited in Lefebvre 2008: 116-117). Guattari’s involvement with French free radio was not limited to this particular station and he was also involved with Radio Libre Paris and later Radio Tomate amongst others. However, his involvement was not limited to particular stations but also in contributing to the organization of the free radio movement association, ALO, not without causing some controversy with some radio animators claiming that Guattari and his collaborators were attempting to impose an Italian political model on the French radio experience, before a similarly radicalized political plane effectively existed in France.

As the ALO became increasingly closely aligned with the nascent emergence of commercial radio initiatives, Guattari became disillusioned with the experience of free radio in France, concluding in 1980 that ‘[Today] the fanatics of radio for radio’s sake, the mythomaniacs of “new communications”, occupy centre stage. A new sickness, benign but tenacious, “radio-maniacal” narcissism, is spreading like an epidemic’. If the experience of French free radio, for Guattari, became less a radio of the movement than a movement for radio fetishists, it nevertheless demonstrated Guattari’s pragmatic and active involvement in the field of radio as a potentially radical media ecological practice.

It also demonstrated the ecological interdependence of radio experimentation and its socio-political context. In particular, it pointed to the marked differences between the radical political and social movements of Autonomia in Italy and their equally drastic repression and the far more middle of the road political situation of France, epitomised by the election of the Socialist party of François Mitterrand, an election supported by several intellectuals formerly associated with the far left like Régis Debray, after ironically reinventing himself as the founder of ‘mediology.’

The 1980s, with their ascendancy of global neo-liberal policies on both the right and the left, and a concomitant deregulation, commercialisation and globalisation of the entire mediascape including radio, marked the end of a certain political conception of free radio; a fairly bitter result for those involved with radical free radio movements, who saw their efforts to break state monopolies over the airwaves succeeding for the benefit of a new generation of transnational commercial media operators, perhaps one of the key reasons that Guattari referred to the early years of this decade as ‘the years of winter.’

Nevertheless the desire to appropriate the airwaves for other forms of expression was one that would be continually reactivated in different forms in a variety of contexts, including in the experience of London pirate radio that Matthew Fuller engages with inMedia Ecologies.

While London pirate radio is not based on any leftist political agenda, in other respects it fully embodies Felix Guattari’s call for a micropolitical radio, facilitating the expression of subjectivities, in this case largely but not exclusively Afro-Caribbean youth, who are otherwise excluded from expression via the mainstream media. Referring to Simon Reynolds’ account of pirate radio in Energy Flash (1998), Fuller points to the way that pirate radio operated as a feedback loop between the creative chaos of the radio transmissions themselves and the ‘hardcore massive’ at home who were directly integrated into the radio transmissions via call-ins, SMS messaging and a range of extra radio phenomena including clubs, parties, flyers and graffiti, drugs and new modes of D-Jing and musical expression.

Part of what Fuller does is to provide both an inventory of all the elements whether technological, subjective or environmental, out of which pirate radio is constituted, as well as mapping their material relations. While far more detailed in dealing with technical devices such as turntables or mobile phones than Guattari’s writings on free radios, Fuller nevertheless provides an analysis that similarly shows the interdependence of radiophonic and extra-radiophonic elements, including the surrounding urban environment that made London pirate radio possible. For Fuller the combinations between the various components that make up pirate radio constitute a machinic phylum with a tendency to become self-organising, which is a tendency that was no less evident in the case of Radio Alice.

The sound of pirate radio is not only independent of its technical and social components but also ‘articulates them, gives them sensual, rhythmic and material force’ (Fuller, 2005: 19). Fuller also shows how a media ecological approach while not excluding ‘content’ has to locate this content in the multiple connections of the media ecology considered as a mega-machine that articulates different technologies, humans, voices, subjectivities, experiences, radio waves, laws and regulations, digital networks, money and the relations and feedback between all these elements. In summary, pirate radio is, for Fuller, ‘always more than it is supposed to be … it is made and makes itself, by its always awesome capacity to flip into lucid explosions of beats, rhythms, and life’ .

In this way there is a direct ‘transmission’ between the 1970s experience of political free radios as engaged with by Guattari and the very different experience of contemporary pirate radio, linked less by any similar content or political aspirations than by a related machinic phylum able to crystallise a production and expression of subjectivity in a specific socio-political environment.


Guattari’s account of Radio Alice as a media ecology serves as an exemplary statement of media ecological practice, emphasising its political, subjective and ethico-aesthetic dimensions: in other words, Guattari’s conception of media ecology, and I would also argue Fuller’s, is less the question of the subversive use of a technical media form than the generation of a media or rather post-media assemblage, that is a self-referential network for an unforeseen processual and political production of subjectivity amplifying itself via technical means.

The post-media field envisaged by Guattari is today being realised in complex ways in a number of domains ranging from media art projects operating on a largely aesthetic register to politically motivated media labs to reinventions of the potentials of earlier media forms such as television, radio and journalism.

Usefully, Joanne Richardson in her introduction to the Anarchitexts collection of essays on global digital resistance distinguishes at least three post-media domains of tactical media, sovereign media and autonomous media culture. In her definition of the second of these territories of post-media praxis, she provides a description highly resonant with the project of media ecologies as formulated both by Guattari and more recently by Fuller

"Tactical media knows the pleasures of media-in-itself and recognises the value of participation, but is still focused on a message and aims to reach an audience, however alternative. By contrast, sovereign media have learned to feign ignorance, ignore the demand for usefulness and the oppressive category of the audience. They mediate no information and are not the condition of possibility for any exchange. They communicate themselves, not to an audience of spectators but to a peer of equals, partners engaged in the same activity." (Richardson 2003: 11-12)

This is not to argue the sovereign media should be the 21st Century media ecological paradigm par excellence but to emphasise that the media ecological or post-media era envisaged by Guattari is now a complex and diverse reality, characterised by a multiplicity of bifurcating projects as expressed by the range of contributions to the Anarchitextscollection itself, which contains more than fifty contributions from at least as many post-media projects. This complexity and liveliness of contemporary media ecological praxis is also what this current issue of Fibreculture aims to make its own critical contribution to."

The Medium Is The Message

"What may emerge as the most important insight of the twenty-first century is that man was not designed to live at the speed of light. Without the countervailing balance of natural and physical laws, the new video-related media will make man implode

"What may emerge as the most important insight of the twenty-first century is that man was not designed to live at the speed of light. Without the countervailing balance of natural and physical laws, the new video-related media will make man implode

Douglas Rushkoff - Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now - SXSW Interactive 2013

Douglas Rushkoff - Program or Be Programmed

Car Technology in the Future - Mind Blown Documentary

Technological Determinism Of Marshall McLuhan

The communications theory of Technological Determinism was molded by Marshall McLuhan. The basic idea behind the theory is that changes in the way humans communicate is what shapes our existence. McLuhan feels that our culture is molded by how we are able to communicate. To understand this, there are a few main points you must comprehend. First, inventions in communication technology cause cultural change. Secondly, changes in modes of communication shape human life. Thirdly, as McLuhan himself puts it, "We shape our tools, and they in turn shape us". Technological Determinism is distinctly a humanistic theory. As you read on, this will become quite evident.
What exactly is considered media? Media is anything out there that helps to amplify or intensify a human sense or function. In other words, each new media innovation that we have is considered to be an extension of some human faculty. Take a book for example, which can be considered an extension of the eye. The wheel may be looked at as an extension of the foot. Clothing parallels human skin, and electronic circuitry closely resembles the human central nervous system.
According to this theory, there are several giant evolutions in the way humans have learned to communicate over time. Each of these innovations works as an extension of one of the human senses. McLuhan has divided human history into 4 critical periods of time. In each case, the moving on from one era to another is brought on by a new mode of communication which causes some sort of significant change in society.
First there was the 'tribal age', followed by the 'literate age', the 'print age', and finally the 'electronic age', which is where society is now. The invention that changed life for the 'tribal age' was that of a phonetic alphabet. For these primitive people, hearing was the most important sense. The right hemisphere of the brain, which controls hearing, was the more dominant side. With the creation of the alphabet and the expansion into the 'literate age', people were then forced to use their eyes as well as their ears. This was a huge change in that it heavily altered the lifestyles of our ancestors. McLuhan suggests that it was the development of the phonetic alphabet that brought about the emergence of mathematics, science, and philosophy as well.
This new 'literate age' was brought to an end by the development of the printing press. Gutenberg's printing press moved society into the 'print age', making visual dependence more widespread. When people see ideas in print as apposed to word of mouth, the words take on a whole new meaning. The ability to print ideas meant the ability to shape the views and opinions of people worldwide.
McLuhan believed that the invention of the telegraph was the next giant step, moving people into the current 'electronic age'. The ability to instantly communicate via technology has caused humans to be pre-occupied with sound and touch, not unlike our ancestors of the 'tribal age'. A "global village" of sorts has been formed according to McLuhan, with the individuality removed from our culture.
McLuhan describes Technological Determinism in terms of what each society deems the important way to communicate. What one could hear was truth for people of the 'tribal age', while what was available to read defined the truth for those alive during the 'print age'. In essence, the same exact words can have completely different meaning based on whether they are spoken person to person, printed on paper, or presented through instantaneous communication (i.e. television or radio). What we as people view as truth at each particular point in human history has the active voice. These are all examples of what makes a good humanistic theory.
Also, Technological Determinism happens to conflict with many examples of scientific theory criteria. Technological Determinism helps to explain the past as well as what is happening in the present, but does not bother to predict the future (what the next 'age' or invention will be). As for a testable hypothesis, it is nearly impossible to test a theory such as this. How are we going to properly evaluate the effect of the alphabet on people whom had no way to write their history?
One could also go on to conclude that such a theory helps to change the way people look at the world. Instead of looking at the contents of a communication for the message, Technological Determinism tells us to look to the medium for it. It is an intriguing concept, but like a Monet painting, the closer you get to the canvas the harder it is to see the real picture.
From the distance, this theory does seem clean and concise. However the more you look into it, the more you will be unable to overlook the multitude of holes in the theory. Most professionals consider Technological Determinism little more than cartoon art, and for very good reason. Many of McLuhan's ideas conjure up notions about societies that we have no way to check in with for without the invention of a time machine. Are we supposed to simply "take his word" for it? He constantly asks us to make leaps of faith on the most important issues of the theory.
When one reads McLuhan's writings, (or hears his lectures), it becomes quite evident that McLuhan is more concerned with creating eye (or ear) candy, and less concerned with bringing on the main course. He spends plenty of time evaluating the power of current technology such as television and how it affected current culture. Then we are to follow McLuhan on a leap of faith to say that ALL advances in communication technology have had similar effects.
To say technology alone is responsible for creating all that we are today is a rather narrow minded view. To so easily discount such "trivial" concepts as natural evolution, politics, and religion, then claim there is a single cause of human development is just plain ignorant. He takes our progression out of the hands of God and the politicians, and puts it into the hands of engineers and computer experts. I for one do not think that these are the people responsible for molding society.
Don't get me wrong here; I do think this theory follows some lines of common sense. However, common sense hardly means it is correct. It used to be common sense that Blacks weren't as smart as Whites and that drilling into someone's brain would help release the evil demons inside. These days, it is probably a little safer to provide a bit of evidence before claiming to know who people are and how their minds work.

The Future Of the Present Future..

What does ‘The Future’ look like to you?

What does ‘The Future’ look like to you?

Future of Glasses, Wearable Technology 2015 - (Future Are Here)

Timeline Into the Present Future's Future

Christian Davis Informs us that:

It’s now the year 2010 and the world still does not look like Back to the Future. Remember back on the last day of 1999, everyone stayed up for New years. The year 2000 was supposed to be this groundbreaking experience with flying cars and teleporters which were supposed to appear out of nowhere. To our surprise, nothing changed in the way we wanted.

Yes, technology has increased exponentially. Cellphones, 3D technology, and hybrid cars now fill out streets and lives, yet you’re still holding on to the child in you. You want that science fiction world that you fantasized about.

We all secretly want the ability to teleport to different planets and meet alien species, and we wanted to play games with our robot butler . This timeline theorizes what the future could potentially look like and goes all the way beyond the 24th century.

Future Intelligent House

This is how the Home Of The Future Will Look Like.. A house that will 'know' everything about you and respond to all you commands

This is how the Home Of The Future Will Look Like.. A house that will 'know' everything about you and respond to all you commands

Science of Mass Effect 2 with Dr. Michio kaku

Future Cars

The road ahead In 2050 cars the cars we drive are likely to run without fossil fuels, and may not even require us to take the controls.

The road ahead In 2050 cars the cars we drive are likely to run without fossil fuels, and may not even require us to take the controls.

Car with no gads on steering wheel. General Motors’ Super Cruise could allow the car to drive itself on long, monotonous stretches of highway – leaving the driver free to relax.

Car with no gads on steering wheel. General Motors’ Super Cruise could allow the car to drive itself on long, monotonous stretches of highway – leaving the driver free to relax.

Present Now Future Timeline

Here’s a list of some of the notable theories from each century:

21st Century

  • Hands free texting – 2020
  • Sweden is an oil free country – 2020
  • Stem Cells are now in use – 2020
  • Tooth regeneration – 2021
  • Deafness is curable – 2021
  • Amputees can grow limbs back – 2028
  • Human like AI is becoming reality – 2029
  • Aids/Cancer/Etc.. are curable - 2030
  • Astronaut mission to Mars – 2032
  • Teleportation of complex molecules – 2038
  • Floating hotels in the sky – 2042
  • Robots are common feature at home – 2049
  • Mars population reaches 100 – 2059
  • Mining operations on the Moon – 2060
  • Halleys’ Comet returns – 2061
  • Expansion of Moon bases – 2070
  • The O-Zone Layer has completely restored – 2075
  • Flying cars enter the consumer market – 2079
  • Manned exploration of the Jovian System – 2085-2089
  • Religions are fading from European culture – 2090
  • Manned exploration of Saturnian System – 2095
  • Most of todays language aren’t in use – 2095

22nd Century

  • Forcefields are in military use – 2110
  • Elevator into space operational – 2120
  • Large scale civilian settlement on the moon on the way – 2130
  • Teleportation of large stationary objects – 2140
  • Interstellar travel is now possible – 2150
  • Universal education in Africa – 2155
  • Kilometer space station is completed – 2170

23rd Century

  • Poverty, hunger, and disease are eradicated worldwide – 2200
  • Light year array is operational – 2220
  • Antimatter fueled space ships – 2230
  • Christianity is fading from American culture – 2240
  • Humanity is now type 1 civilization on the Kardashev Scale – 2250

24th Century

  • Superhuman powers are available to common citizen – 2300
  • Progress with Mars terraforming – 2350

Beyond the 24th Century

  • Mars has been terraformed – 2550
  • Venus has been terraformed – 2750
  • Humanity is now type 2 civilization on the Kardashev Scale – 3100
  • Computer science is reaching it’s ultimate potential – 4000
  • Contact with advanced alien civilization – 100,000,000
  • Supercontinent is forming on Earth – 250,000,000

(CHristian Davis - 2010)

Digitized Garb ~ Airbus Voltair

Most people feel anxious when their smartphone is out of arm's reach. But what if it was actually on your arm, woven into the very fabric of your sweater? Sportswear designers Under Armour are already on the case. They recently unveiled their touchsc

Most people feel anxious when their smartphone is out of arm's reach. But what if it was actually on your arm, woven into the very fabric of your sweater? Sportswear designers Under Armour are already on the case. They recently unveiled their touchsc

Shock test Electric motors are taken to an extreme with the Airbus VoltAir concept, which would use shrouded propellers powered entirely by batteries.

Shock test Electric motors are taken to an extreme with the Airbus VoltAir concept, which would use shrouded propellers powered entirely by batteries.

Future Hover-car - Volkswagen(VW)

Will the car of the future look anything like the car of today? According to Volkswagen, it could look like a floating doughnut. The VW Hover Car is one of three concepts to come out of the People’s Car Project the German company company launched

Will the car of the future look anything like the car of today? According to Volkswagen, it could look like a floating doughnut. The VW Hover Car is one of three concepts to come out of the People’s Car Project the German company company launched

Are We Real? Could We Be Living Inside A Computer Simulation?

Neon Dragon Postulates:

  • Are we real?
  • How do we know if we really exist or whether we could be living in a computer simulation, somewhat like The Matrix?

The simulation argument puts forward the view that we are almost definitely living in a computer simulation.

The Simulation Argument

At the core of the Simulation Argument, there are three points:

  1. The chances that a species at our current level of development can avoid going extinct before becoming technologically mature is negligibly small
  2. Almost no technologically mature civilizations are interested in running computer simulations of minds like ours
  3. You are almost certainly in a simulation

The argument says that one of these three points will be true.

Are there technologically advanced civilizations out there?(Universe?)

This is a difficult one as we still don't know whether we are alone in the universe and how life started.

There's the whole 'panspermia' theory which argues that life was brought to Earth by asteroids and that we're all descended from alien organisms. Or perhaps life started on Earth? The 'game of life' shows us how complex patterns can come from simple rules.

We can also look at the 'Drake Equation' which is a way of speculating how many civilizations there are in the universe. And the Hubble Deep Field shows us really how big our universe is (below video).

The Hubble Deep Field Video with narration cleaned up

Real Reality And Our Beingness & Existence

Neon Dragon continues:

But still to this date we haven't found any life out there.

The Wow Signal is the closest SETI has ever got.

Because of the sheer size of the universe, and the fact that we've managed to evolve to such a point without getting wiped out, we can take the first point - that all life will be wiped out before it is technologically mature - to be false.

-Would We Run computer simulations of minds?

If we now assume that there are technologically advanced civilizations with the technology to simulate life, we now have to ask whether they would. This could happen for ethical or scientific reasons.

Perhaps civilizations would not be interested in running a simulation of life. But would they really have become so advanced if they lacked the scientific curiosity?

-Would technologically advanced civilizations have a moral objection to creating simulations of life?

At the moment - as a civilization - we haven't reached the point where we are sophisticated enough technologically to simulate a universe in a computer.

If we look back 25 years to the Bbc Micro or even further to the days before personal computers, we see how far computers have come in a short space of time. In a few decades time, it is perfectly feasible that we'll be able to build a computer which could simulate a civilization.

Some analysts believe we'll reach the technological Singularity in 2045 when computers will surpass humans and become "conscious".

Looking at our own world, we already see scientists modeling life and the world on computers. We have gamers controlling their avatars on The Sims. The upcoming game Spire takes it one step further. And cloning and genetic modification are slowly becoming more accepted. We're already playing god. When computers be sufficiently powerful, we'll still be playing god.

There's no reason to assume that other technologically advanced civilizations will behave any differently. And even if such a thing was sanctioned, individuals or groups will still be able to find ways around such rules and control.

We can argue that if there are civilizations out there with the technological sophistication to simulate life in a computer then they will probably do so.

This means the second point - that all technologically mature civilizations will not be interested in running simulations - is incorrect.

-So, are we living simulation?

The simulation argument says that if we take the previous two points to be false - the third is true.

Therefore, if we believe that there are technologically advanced civilizations out there with the technology to run a simulation of life, and that those civilizations are interested in running a simulation, we will almost definitely be living in a simulation.

It's simply a matter of probability and statistics. One computer simulating a universe would have to contain billions of organisms and each technologically advanced civilization will probably have many "Matrices" running simulations. And each of these simulated worlds could have their own technologically advanced civilizations running simulations.

And inside those simulations, there could be more simulations.

Statistically, the vast majority of organisms will be living in a computer simulation (by several powers).

-How does this affect us"

Whether we live in a computer simulation or not doesn't really affect how we should live our lives. The world is still going to the same - the same things make us happy and the same problems will still have to be solved.

Even if we're not real, we perceive our world to be real. This is similar to the brain in a vat thought experiment. We can never be totally sure whether we are materialistically real.

We could be inside a computer simulation but we are still real in the sense that we have thoughts and feelings.

"If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then 'real' is simply signals interpreted by your brain."
- Morpheus in The Matrix

More controversially, we could also link it back to religion and creation.

If we believe that we are almost definitely living in a computer simulation, we should ask "who built that simulation?" and "why was it built?". If we are indeed living in a computer simulation, then it reasons that the simulation was created by somebody - our "creator".

The argument doesn't tell us anything about why we are here. Could we be part of a huge social or scientific experiment? In The Matrix, the human population is used as a energy source.

And there will be people who will see the Simulation Argument as a way to prove the existence of God. Though it does suggest a omniscient and omnipotent creator it doesn't say anything about such a creator.

Besides, would a creator create a whole universe of simulated organisms to worship him?

"I think, therefore I am"
- René Descartes

What we still don't know about the cosmos.

Are We Living In A Holographic" ~ The Greatest Revolution of the 21st century

Contemporary Ways of seeing and looking at the Universe...

Contemporary Ways of seeing and looking at the Universe...

We And Our Universe May Be Holographic..

Michael Talbot informs us that:

What if our existence is a holographic projection of another, flat version of you living on a two-dimensional "surface" at the edge of this universe? In other words, are we real, or are we quantum interactions on the edges of the universe - and is that just as real anyway?

Whether we actually live in a hologram is being hotly debated, but it is now becoming clear that looking at phenomena through a holographic lens could be key to solving some of the most perplexing problems in physics, including the physics that reigned before the big bang,what gives particles mass, a theory of quantum gravity.

In 1982 a little known but epic event occurred at the University of Paris, where a research team led by physicist Alain Aspect performed what may turn out to be one of the most important experiments of the 20th century. You did not hear about it on the Daily Show. In fact, unless you are a physicist you probably have never even heard Aspect's name, though increasing numbers of experts believe his discovery may change the face of science.

Aspect and his team discovered that under certain circumstances subatomic particles such as electrons are able to instantaneously communicate with each other regardless of the distance separating them. It doesn't matter whether they are 10 feet or 10 billion miles apart.

Somehow each particle always seems to know what the other is doing. The problem with this feat is that it violates Einstein's long-held tenet that no communication can travel faster than the speed of light. Since traveling faster than the speed of light is tantamount to breaking the time barrier, this daunting prospect has caused some physicists to try to come up with increasingly elaborate ways to explain away Aspect's findings.

University of London physicist David Bohm, for example, believes Aspect's findings imply that objective reality does not exist, that despite its apparent solidity the universe is at heart a phantasm, a gigantic and splendidly detailed hologram. Bohm was involved in the early development of the holonomic model of the functioning of the brain, a model for human cognition that is drastically different from conventionally accepted ideas. Bohm developed the theory that the brain operates in a manner similar to a hologram, in accordance with quantum mathematical principles and the characteristics of wave patterns.

To understand why Bohm makes this startling assertion, one must first understand that a hologram is a three- dimensional photograph made with the aid of a laser. To make a hologram, the object to be photographed is first bathed in the light of a laser beam. Then a second laser beam is bounced off the reflected light of the first and the resulting interference pattern (the area where the two laser beams conflate) is captured on film. When the film is developed, it looks like a meaningless swirl of light and dark lines. But as soon as the developed film is illuminated by another laser beam, a three-dimensional image of the original object appears.

In a recent collaboration between Fermilab scientists and hundreds of meters of laser may have found the very pixels of reality, grains of spacetime one tenth of a femtometer across.

The GEO600 system is armed with six hundred meters of laser tube, which sounds like enough to equip an entire Star War, but these lasers are for detection, not destruction. GEO600's length means it can measure changes of one part in six hundred million, accurate enough to detect even the tiniest ripples in space time - assuming it isn't thrown off by somebody sneezing within a hundred meters or the wrong types of cloud overhead (seriously). The problem with such an incredibly sensitive device is just that - it's incredibly sensitive.

The interferometer staff constantly battle against unwanted aberration, and were struggling against a particularly persistent signal when Fermilab Professor Craig Hogan suggested the problem wasn't with their equipment but with reality itself. The quantum limit of reality, the Planck length, occurs at a far smaller length scale than their signal - but according to Hogan, this literal ultimate limit of tininess might be scaled up because we're all holograms. Obviously.

The idea is that all of our spatial dimensions can be represented by a 'surface' with one less dimension, just like a 3D hologram can be built out of information in 2D foils. The foils in our case are the edges of the observable universe, where quantum fluctuations at the Planck scale are 'scaled up' into the ripples observed by the GEO600 team. We'd like to remind you that although we're talking about "The GEO600 Laser Team probing the edge of reality", this is not a movie.

What does this mean for you? In everyday action, nothing much - we're afraid that a fundamentally holographic nature doesn't allow you to travel around playing guitar and fighting crime (no matter what 80s cartoons may have taught you.) Whether reality is as you see it, or you're the representation of interactions on a surface at the edge of the universe, getting run over by a truck (or a representation thereof) will still kill you.

In intellectual terms, though, this should raise so many fascinating questions you'll never need TV again. While in the extreme earliest stages, with far more work to go before anyone can draw any conclusions, this is some of the most mind-bending metaphysical science you'll ever see."

The Present Future's Future..

Future Cities look Will look like the TV Show, "The Jetsons"...

Future Cities look Will look like the TV Show, "The Jetsons"...

Michio Kaku & Ray Kurzweil - The Future

Change Means The Same Of The Old

The More Things Change, The more They'll Stay the Same... Longer...

The More Things Change, The more They'll Stay the Same... Longer...

PostHuman: An Introduction to Transhumanism

Past Science Fiction Is Now Present Reality

Star Trek provides a prime example of “what once was fantasy, is now reality.” Things that many scientists say are impossible today may never come to pass, but some will. And that’s one of the most awesome things about the scientific method: the read

Star Trek provides a prime example of “what once was fantasy, is now reality.” Things that many scientists say are impossible today may never come to pass, but some will. And that’s one of the most awesome things about the scientific method: the read

How today's Technology Is Rapidly Catching Up To Star Trek

he technology we saw on the Star Trek Enterprise is fast becoming a reality in our lives.

he technology we saw on the Star Trek Enterprise is fast becoming a reality in our lives.

Star Trek's Yesteryear Technology And Today's Contemporary Technological Advances

In a distant part of the galaxy, 300 years in the future, Starship Enterprise Captain James T. Kirk talks to his crew via a communicator; has his medical officer assess medical conditions through a handheld device called a tricorder; synthesizes food and physical goods using his replicator; and travels short distances via a transporter. Kirk’s successors hold meetings in virtual-reality chambers, called holodecks, and operate alien spacecraft using displays mounted on their foreheads. All this takes place in the TV series Star Trek, and is of course science fiction.

This science fiction is, however, becoming science reality. Many of the technologies that we saw in Star Trek are beginning to materialize, and ours may actually be better than Starfleet’s. Best of all, we won’t have to wait 300 years.

Take Captain Kirk’s communicator. It was surely an inspiration for the first generation of flip phones, those clunky mobile devices that we used in the 1990s. These have evolved into smartphones, far more advanced than the science-fiction communicator. Kirk’s device didn’t receive e-mail, play music, surf the Web, provide directions, or take photos, after all. It also didn’t sweet-talk him as Apple’s Siri does when you ask her the right questions.

Soon, our smartphones will also add the medical-assessment features of a tricorder, and it won’t need to be a separate device.

Apple recently announced that iOS 8 will provide a platform for medical-sensor data that will be displayed by an app called Health. Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and others are all racing to build their own platforms and medical devices. We will soon see a new generation of wearable devices such as bracelets, watches, and clothing that use external sensors to perform electrocardiograms and measure our temperature, blood oxygenation, and other vital signs. These will later be replaced by less obtrusive sensors in skin patches, tattoos and eventually microchips embedded in our bodies. As well, we will have cameras and heat, gas, and sound sensors in our bathrooms, kitchens, and living rooms that constantly monitor our health and lifestyle.

What are making these health sensors possible are miniaturized mechanical and microelectromechanical (MEMS) elements made using micro fabrication technology. Similar advances in microfluidics and nanofluidics are enabling development of labs on thumbnail-sized chips. 'Nonobiosym', for example is developing a device, called GENE-Radar, that can identify, within minutes, a range of illnesses, including AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and cancer. Such devices will also be ubiquitous and immediately identify a broad range of disease markers. Unlike the Star Trek tricorder, which is used occasionally, they will constantly be monitoring our bodies.

When you look at the advances that have already happened in 3D printing, you begin to realize that this is the making of the Star Trek replicator. 3D printers can create objects in plastic, metal, glass, titanium, human cells, and yes, even chocolate from a design. Today’s 3D printers are painfully slow, and it takes many hours to print a breadbox-sized object; but in a decade, they will become as common, fast, and inexpensive as our laser document printers. In about two decades, we will be 3D printing our dinner as well as our electronics.

We already have Star Trek– and Jetsons-like video-chat capabilities. Rather than require the large, clunky monitors that we saw George Jetson and Captain Kathryn Janeway use, ours use free Facetime and Skype apps that run on smartphones and laptops. Holodeck-type video conferences have also been possible for several years. I 'spoke via hologram', in 2011, to a bunch of entrepreneurs in Uruguay using technology that a small company there, 'Hologram', had developed. Remember 'the holographic message' from Princess Leia to Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Star Wars? That’s how my beamed image looked.

Start-ups such as Oculus, which Facebook recently purchased, are developing virtual-reality goggles that simulate the real world. Others companies are developing three-dimensional projectors that beam images onto screens that make a person look as though physically present. These technologies are in their infancy, but watch them grow and add touch and smell capabilities. We will be meeting each other through virtual reality, and it will feel as if we are really there.

Wi-Fi Direct This convenient new way for devices to communicate directly with each other without having to connect first to a conventional Wi-Fi access point bypasses traditional Wi-Fi networks and provides numerous device-to-device applications. Pri

Wi-Fi Direct This convenient new way for devices to communicate directly with each other without having to connect first to a conventional Wi-Fi access point bypasses traditional Wi-Fi networks and provides numerous device-to-device applications. Pri

Star Trek spawned Technologies

The universal translator that Captain Kirk used to talk to alien species is also in development. Google Translate already does a great job of translating pages of text from one human language to another. And earlier this year, Microsoft demonstrated a real-time, voice-based, language interpreter that works on Skype. I don’t expect any progress on alien languages until we encounter some alien species, but a commercially available virtual real-time translator (a virtual interpreter) for human languages isn’t so far away.

Scientists recently announced' that they had made breakthroughs in quantum teleportation. They were able to show a promise of quantum information transmission — showing the duplication in the spin state of an electron between one place and another, through quantum tunneling — without transmitting matter or energy through the space intervening. This led to hopes that we might one day see a Star Trek-like transporter that can beam our atoms from one place to another. I am not waiting for this one, however, as there is no way that I will willingly allow my atoms to be disintegrated in one location and reassembled in another. I would worry about a software bug or a hardware crash. We saw these too in Star Trek. I’ll just stick to the self-driving cars that will become commercially available by the end of this decade.

The most exciting Star Trek marvel of all — the Starship Enterprise — may also be on its way.

In discussion at Fox Studios in March 2012, Elon Musk 'told me' that he planned to retire on Mars. He said he was inspired by Star Trek and planned to build a spacecraft like the Starship Enterprise to take him there. I really thought he was joking — or had had too much to drink. But after that, his company Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, successfully docked a spacecraft it had built, called the Dragon, 'with the International Space Station' and returned with cargo. On Dec. 3, 2013, SpaceX launched a commercial geostationary satellite using Falconrockets. SpaceX says it is planning a Dragon/Falcon 9 flight in 2015, which will have a fully certified, human-rated, escape system useable during launch.

A Graphical Take On The Evolving Online Ecosystem


The Classification of Online Ecosystems

Brief View Of Contemporary Media Ecological Ecosystems

Christian gives us this following précis on the Modern Web Online Ecological:

There are many ways to understand online ecosystems. The simplest way to think about them is to think of a virtual neighborhood, with virtual traffic driving up and down the streets, stopping at virtual stores and virtual houses to find something of value or interest. If we could map this neighborhood, and the traffic patterns, you'd have a map of the online ecosystem.

In one sense it is a map of the attention paid to ecosystem participants - a visual representation of the attention economy in real-time.

That said, there are various ways to classify an online ecosystem. In our work, we find the following types of ecosystems.

Industry Ecosystems
The ecosystem map(s) of a specific industry showing the relative rankings of the industry leaders and their relationships to one another and their value-chain participants. We are able to identify weakness and strengths in the strategies of the companies identified in our maps as they are reflected in their online positioning.

Brand Ecosystems
The ecosystem map(s) of a specific brand and its online positioning against its competitors. We measure the daily ups and downs in brand vitality and plot trends over time.

Advertising Ecosystems
The ecosystem map(s) of the marketspace most related to a specific advertising campaign. A good ecosystem map will help you identify the optimal points of entry for a campaign based on relevance, reach, and effectiveness. This will stop wasting your advertising spend because now you can actually see which sites are true hubs and stop spending money on sites which don't perform.

Process Ecosystems
The ecosystem map(s) of a value-chain in your industry - either yours or your competitors. We can reveal the nature of competition in product design networks, supply chains, and distribution networks. A critical component in competitor analysis, our process ecosystem maps can also be used to identify opportunities for partnerships and alliances with the right set of vendors.

Practice Ecosystems
The ecosystem map(s) of collaborators and idea generators in a given marketspace. These include companies, organizations, collaboratives, and often individuals -- the thought-leaders who drive emerging practices in our rapidly changing world.

News & Media Ecosystems
The ecosystem map(s) of how news and ideas are disseminated in specific areas - from sports to politics to business. We can show you the news and buzz in your industry or topic.

Visualizing the news/media ecosystem is a critical intelligence gathering tool for PR and news executives and journalists as well. Observe how a "PR" campaign is propagated through the web. Identify sites bashing your client. Determine if the sites are worth worrying about or not.

Competitor Ecosystems
The ecosystem map(s) of your competitors and their partners. Find out their strengths and weaknesses and take advantage of this knowledge. You can actually build a firewall to protect you from the competition.

Customer Ecosystems
The ecosystem map(s) of your most important customers and prospects. A critical component for B2B strategy and tactics. By understanding your customers' ecosystems you'll be in a position to hold your own.

Demographic Ecosystems
The ecosystem map(s) for your targeted consumer demographics, from the boomers to kids, from tech-nerds to bankers, and most importantly, the women's marketspace. Catch the right fish.

Product Ecosystems
The ecosystem map(s) for your new product. You may spot critical weaknesses in your strategy before you burn your "launch-money."

Political Ecosystems
The ecosystem map(s) of our political machinery - Democrats, Republicans, and special interest groups. Blogosphere included.

Innovation Ecosystems
A way to look at the edge of your industry to keep track of the innovators and disruptors. Also a great way to identify latent needs of customers (Kano model, etc.)

Social Ecosystems
Ecosystems which may not always deliver tangible business value, but they serve an important function: building relationships and communities of like-minded or purpose-driven participants.

We're still coming up with ways to define online ecosystems. Got any suggestions?

The Broadband Divide Internationally And Globally...

The Broadband Spread globally...

The Broadband Spread globally...

Broadband Access: Did Someone Call the UN?

Gareth Spencer gives us the following heads-up On Broadband Access:

Gather any group of telecom professionals and government ministers in a room and raise the topic of broadband access and the resulting debate will more often than not require the help of trained negotiators to diffuse. This is exactly what happened recently as the UN highlighted the condition of broadband access on a global scale.

The figures the UN released make for sober reading. In the world’s poorest countries, less than 1% of the population have access to fixed broadband and the costs for this access reach as high as 100% of monthly average incomes. This contrasts with developed countries where over 30% have access at a cost of 1%.

These figures were released ahead of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) summit to be held in New York later this month. One of the MDGs is to raise the levels of broadband access by 2015, with specific focus on rural connectivity. There are clearly some ambitious figures and ones that certainly raise questions as to how they will be implemented over such a short time. The map below highlights the broadband penetration on a global scale and the size of the challenges faced.

Dr Toure, secretary general of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), believes that we no longer face a digital divide, but a broadband divide. Looking at mobile subscription rates for developing countries this certainly seems to be true. Over one billion people throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America now have access to mobile phones and are actively using them for services such as mobile banking.

In order to take the next step, Dr Toure is asking all countries to develop a policy that ensures broadband access is seen as a public service, one that every citizen has access to. After that, Dr Toure believes that it is up to the private sector to invest.

Do you agree with this approach? Can the private sector be expected to deliver the infrastructure that is required? And what of rural connectivity in developed nations? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

Percent of population connected in 2012


Internet Usage Globally..

Both a product of globalization as well as a catalyst, the Internet connects computer users around the world. From 2000 to 2009, the number of Internet users globally rose from 394 million to 1.858 billion By 2010, 22 percent of the world's population had access to computers with 1 billion Google searches every day, 300 million Internet users reading blogs, and 2 billion videos viewed daily on YouTube.

According to research firm IDC, the size of total worldwide e-commerce, when global business-to-business and -consumer transactions are added together, will equate to US$16 trillion in 2013. IDate, another research firm, estimates the global market for digital products and services at US$4.4 trillion in 2013. A report by Oxford Economics adds those two together to estimate the total size of the digital economy at $20.4 trillion, equivalent to roughly 13.8% of global sales.

While much has been written of the economic advantages of Internet-enabled commerce, there is also evidence that some aspects of the internet such as maps and location-aware services may serve to reinforce economic inequality and the digital divide. Electronic commerce may be partly responsible for consolidation and the decline of mom-and-pop, brick and mortar businesses resulting in increases in income inequality.

An online community is a virtual community that exists online and whose members enable its existence through taking part in membership ritual. Significant socio-technical change may have resulted from the proliferation of such Internet-based social networks.

Apartheid In global Internet Usage...


Globalization: The Morphing The Culture Of Imperialism And Modern Global Overreach..

We Learn from Guyford et al, that:

Globalization (or globalization) is the process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas and other aspects of culture. Advances in transportation and telecommunications infrastructure, including the rise of the telegraph and its posterity the Internet, are major factors in globalization, generating further interdependence of economic and cultural activities.(Guyford)

Though scholars place the origins of globalization in modern times, others trace its history long before the European age of discovery and voyages to the New World. Some even trace the origins to the third millennium BCE.(Gunder-Frank) In the late 19th century and early 20th century, the connectedness of the world's economies and cultures grew very quickly.

The term globalization has been increasingly used since the mid-1980s and especially since the mid-1990s. In 2000, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) identified four basic aspects of globalization: trade and transactions, capital and investment movements, migration and movement of people, and the dissemination of knowledge.(IMF)Further, environmental challenges such as climate change, cross-boundary water and air pollution, and over-fishing of the ocean are linked with globalization.(Bridges) Globalizing processes affect and are affected by business and work organization, economics, socio-cultural resources, and the natural environment.

In Global Transformations David Held, et al., study the definition of globalization:

"Although in its simplistic sense globalization refers to the widening, deepening and speeding up of global interconnection, such a definition begs further elaboration. ... Globalization can be located on a continuum with the local, national and regional. At one end of the continuum lie social and economic relations and networks which are organized on a local and/or national basis; at the other end lie social and economic relations and networks which crystallize on the wider scale of regional and global interactions. Globalization can refer to those spatial-temporal processes of change which underpin a transformation in the organization of human affairs by linking together and expanding human activity across regions and continents. Without reference to such expansive spatial connections, there can be no clear or coherent formulation of this term. ... A satisfactory definition of globalization must capture each of these elements: extensity (stretching), intensity, velocity and impact."

Swedish journalist Thomas Larsson, in his book The Race to the Top: The Real Story of Globalization, states that globalization:

" the process of world shrinkage, of distances getting shorter, things moving closer. It pertains to the increasing ease with which somebody on one side of the world can interact, to mutual benefit, with somebody on the other side of the world."

The journalist Thomas L. Friedman popularized the term "flat world", arguing that "globalized trade, outsourcing, supply-chaining, and political forces had permanently changed the world, for better and worse. He asserted that the pace of globalization was quickening and that its impact on business organization and practice would continue to grow."

Economist Takis Fotopoulos defined "economic globalization" as the "opening and deregulation of commodity, capital and labor markets that led toward present neoliberal globalization. He used "political globalization" to refer to the emergence of a transnational elite and a phasing out of the nation-state. "Cultural globalization", he used to reference the worldwide homogenization of culture. Other of his usages included "ideological globalization", "technological globalization" and "social globalization"

Manfred Steger, professor of Global Studies and research leader in the Global Cities Institute at RMIT University, "identifies four main empirical dimensions of globalization: economic, political, cultural, and ecological, with a fifth dimension - the ideological - cutting across the other four. The ideological dimension, according to Steger, is filled with a range of norms, claims, beliefs, and narratives about the phenomenon itself."

In 2000, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) identified four basic aspects of globalization: trade and transactions, capital and investment movements, migration and movement of people and the dissemination of knowledge. With regards to trade and transactions, developing countries increased their share of world trade, from 19 percent in 1971 to 29 percent in 1999. However, there is great variation among the major regions. For instance, the newly industrialized economies (NIEs) of Asia prospered, while African countries as a whole performed poorly. The makeup of a country's exports is an important indicator for success. Manufactured goods exports soared, dominated by developed countries and NIEs. Commodity exports, such as food and raw materials were often produced by developing countries: commodities' share of total exports declined over the period.

Following from this, capital and investment movements can be highlighted as another basic aspect of globalization. Private capital flows to developing countries soared during the 1990s, replacing "aid" or "development assistance" which fell significantly after the early 1980s. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) became the most important category.

Both portfolio investment and bank credit rose but they have been more volatile, falling sharply in the wake of the financial crisis of the late 1990s. The migration and movement of people can also be highlighted as a prominent feature of the globalization process. In the period between 1965–90, the proportion of the labor forces migrating approximately doubled. Most migration occurred between developing countries and Least Developed Countries (LDCs).[23]

Paul James argues that four different forms of globalization can also be distinguished that complement and cut across the solely empirical dimensions.[24] According to James, the oldest dominant form of globalization is embodied globalization, the movement of people.

A second form is agency-extended globalization, the circulation of agents of different institutions, organizations, and polities, including imperial agents. Object-extended globalization, a third form, is the movement of commodities and other objects of exchange. The transmission of ideas, images, knowledge and information across world-space he calls disembodied globalization, maintaining that it is currently the dominant form of globalization.

James holds that this series of distinctions allows for an understanding of how, today, the most embodied forms of globalization such as the movement of refugees and migrants are increasingly restricted, while the most disembodied forms such as the circulation of financial instruments and codes are the most deregulated.

Nokia Morph Cellphone Rolls Up, Stretches, Cleans Itself

Nokia's new Morph concept phone would use nanotechnology to give it a flexible body with a transparent display that could be re-shaped depending on the user's needs, a far cry from today's solid and chunky devices. Even the electronics inside it woul

Nokia's new Morph concept phone would use nanotechnology to give it a flexible body with a transparent display that could be re-shaped depending on the user's needs, a far cry from today's solid and chunky devices. Even the electronics inside it woul

Media, Ecology And Evolution... Litany Of The Morphing Of Technologies And Techniques

Today, Everything is everything because all technologies and streaming is interconnected, merging, submerging and connected to one another. All their functions are to meet the demands and life-styles of its users, while in the process conditioning the, there is a perspective that is related to Media ecology, which looks at Media a a biological organism. McLuhan had long addressed that fact.

According to IJC, Applying the ecology metaphor to media can be interpreted in two complementary ways: the media as "Environments" or the media as "Species that interact with one another(Scolari) In the former case, researchers analyze how technologies create environments that affect the people who use them. As McLuhan put it, "The effects of technology do not occur at the level of opinions or concepts, but alter sense rations or pattern of perception steadily and without any resistance. For example, television "has changed our sense-lives and our mental processes". In the latter case-that is, the media as 'species' that live in the same ecosystem-the analyses focuses on the relationships between media." This second approach can be identified in McLuhan's 'tetrads, and in many passages i his books...

The article explores the second metaphor-the media as species-from an evolutionary perspective. As McLuhan writes:

""No medium has its meaning or existence alone, but only in constant interplay with other media. ... Radio changed the form of the news story as much as it altered the film image in the talk-ins. T caused drastic changes in radio programming, and in the form of thing or documentary novel."

To Understand the extension of man as pertaining to the 'everything is everything' sub-heading of the title of this Hub, we learn from McLuhan that:

Like any other extension of man, typography had psychic and social consequences that suddenly shifted previous boundaries and patterns of culture. In bringing the ancient and medieval worlds into fusion—or, as some would say, confusion—the printed book created a third world, the modern world, which now en- counters a new electric technology or a new extension of man. Electric means of moving of information are altering our typo- graphic culture as sharply as print modified medieval manuscript and scholastic culture.

Beatrice Warde has recently described in Alphabet an electric display of letters painted by light. It was a Norman McLaren movie advertisement of which she asks

Do you wonder that I was late for the theatre that night, when I tell you that I saw two club-footed Egyptian A's . . . walking off arm-in-arm with the unmistakable swagger of a music-hall comedy-team? I saw base serifs pulled together as if by ballet shoes, so that the letters tripped off literally 'sur les pointes' . . . after forty centuries of the necessarily static Alphabet, I saw what its members could do in the fourth dimension of Time, "flux," movement. You may well say that I was electrified.

Nothing could be farther from typographic culture with its "place for everything and everything in its place."

Mrs. Warde has spent her life in the study of typography and she shows sure tact in her startled response to letters that are not printed by types but painted by light. It may be that the explosion that began with phonetic letters (the "dragon's teeth" sowed by King Cadmus) will reverse into "implosion" under the impulse of the instant speed of electricity.

The alphabet (and its 'extension' into typography) made possible the spread of the power that is knowledge, and shattered the bonds of tribal man, thus exploding him into agglomeration of individuals. Electric writing and speed pour upon him, instantaneously and continuously, the concerns of all other men. He becomes tribal once more. The human family becomes one tribe again.

A n y student of the social history of the printed book is likely to be puzzled by the lack of understanding of the psychic and social effects of printing. In five centuries explicit comment and awareness of the effects of print on human sensibility are very scarce. But the same observation can be made about all the "Extensions Of Man", whether it be clothing or the computer. An extension appears to be an amplification of an organ, a sense or a function, that inspires the central nervous system to a self-protective gesture of numbing of the extended area, at least so far as direct inspection and awareness are concerned. Indirect comment on the effects of the printed book is available in abundance in the work of Rabelais, Cervantes, Montaigne, Swift, Pope, and Joyce. They used typography to create new art forms.

Psychically the printed book, an extension of the visual faculty, intensified perspective and the fixed point of view. As- sociated with the visual stress on point of view and the vanishing point that provides the illusion of perspective there comes another illusion that space is visual, uniform and continuous. The linearity precision and uniformity of the arrangement of movable types are inseparable from these great cultural forms and innovations of Renaissance experience. The new intensity of visual stress and private point of view in the first century of printing were united to the means of self-expression made possible by the typographic extension of man.

Socially, the typographic extension of man brought in nationalism, industrialism, mass markets, and universal literacy and education. For print presented an image of repeatable precision that inspired totally new forms of extending social energies. Print released great psychic and social energies in the Renaissance, as today in Japan or Russia, by breaking the individual out of the traditional group while providing a model of how to add individual to individual in massive agglomeration of power. The same spirit of private enterprise that emboldened authors and artists to cultivate self-expression led other men to create giant corporations, both military and commercial.

In the "implosion" of the electric age the separation of thought and feeling has come to seem as strange as the departmentalization of knowledge in schools and universities. Yet it was precisely the power to separate thought and feeling, to be able to act without reacting, that split literate man out of the tribal world of close family bonds in private and social life.

Typography was no more an addition to the scribal art than the motorcar was an addition to the horse. Printing had its "horseless carriage" phase of being misconceived and misapplied during its first decades, when it was not uncommon for the purchaser of a printed book to take it to a scribe to have it copied and illustrated. Even in the early eighteenth century a "textbook" was still defined as a "Classick Author written very wide by the Students, to give room for an Interpretation dictated by the Master, &c, to be inserted in the Interlines" (O.E.D.). Before printing, much of the time in school and college classrooms was spent in making such texts. The classroom tended to be a scrip- torium with a commentary. The student was an editor-publisher.

By the same token the book market was a secondhand market of relatively scarce items. Printing changed learning and marketing processes alike. The book was the first teaching machine and also the first mass-produced commodity. In amplifying and extending the written word, typography revealed and greatly extended the structure of writing. Today, with the cinema and the electric speed-up of information movement, the formal structure of the printed word, as of mechanism in general, stands forth like a branch washed up on the beach.

A new medium is never an addition to an old one, nor does it leave the old one in peace. It never ceases to oppress the older media until it finds new shapes and positions for them. Manuscript culture had sustained an oral procedure in education that was called "scholasticism" at its higher levels; but by putting the same text in front of any given number of students or readers print ended the scholastic regime of oral disputation very quickly. Print provided a vast new memory for past writings that made a personal memory inadequate.

Psychically, the visual extension and amplification of the individual by print had many effects. Perhaps as striking as any other is the one mentioned by Mr. E. M. Forster, who, when discussing some Renaissance types, suggested that "the printing press, then only a century old, had been mistaken for an engine of immortality, and men had hastened to commit to it deeds and passions for the benefit of future ages." People began to act as though immortality were inherent in the magic repeatability and extensions of print.

Another significant aspect of the uniformity and repeatability of the printed page was the pressure it exerted toward "correct" spelling, syntax, and pronunciation. Even more notable were the effects of print in separating poetry from song, and prose from oratory, and popular from educated speech. In the matter of poetry it turned out that, as poetry could be read without being heard, musical instruments could also be played without accompanying any verses. Music veered from the spoken word, to converge again with Bartok and Schoenberg.

With typography the process of separation (or explosion) of functions went on swiftly at all levels and in all spheres; no- where was this matter observed and commented on with more bitterness than in the plays of Shakespeare. Especially in King Lear, Shakespeare provided an image or model of the process of quantification and fragmentation as it entered the world of politics and of family life. Lear at the very opening of the play presents "our darker purpose" as a plan of delegation of powers and duties:

Only we shall retain The name, and all th' addition to a King; The sway, revenue, execution of the rest,

Beloved sons, be yours: which to confirm, This coronet part between you.

This act of fragmentation and delegation blasts Lear, his kingdom, and his family. Yet to divide and rule was the dominant

new idea of the organization of power in the Renaissance. "Our darker purpose" refers to Machiavelli himself, who had developed an individualist and quantitative idea of power that struck more fear in that time than Marx in ours. Print, then, challenged the corporate patterns of medieval organization as much as electricity now challenges our fragmented individualism.

The uniformity and repeatability of print permeated the Renaissance with the idea of time and space as continuous measurable quantities. The immediate effect of this idea was to desacralize the world of nature and the world of power alike. The new tech- nique of control of physical processes by segmentation and frag- mentation separated God and Nature as much as Man and Nature, or man and man. Shock at this departure from traditional vision and inclusive awareness was often directed toward the figure of Machiavelli, who had merely spelled out the new quantitative and neutral or scientific ideas of force as applied to the manipula- tion of kingdoms.

Shakespeare's entire work is taken up with the themes of the new delimitations of power, both kingly and private. No greater horror could be imagined in his time than the spectacle of Richard II, the sacral king, undergoing the indignities of imprisonment and denudation of his sacred prerogatives. It is in Troilus and Cressida, however, that the new cults of fissile, irresponsible power, public and private, are paraded as a cynical charade of atomistic competition.

Take the instant way;
For honour travels in a strait so narrow
Where one but goes abreast: keep, then, the path; For emulation hath a thousand sons
That one by one pursue: if you give way,
Or hedge aside from the direct forthright,
Like to an enter'd tide they all rush by
And leave you hindmost . . .

(HI, iii)

The image of society as segmented into a homogeneous mass of quantified appetites shadows Shakespeare's vision i n the later plays. Of the many unforeseen consequences of typography, the emergence of nationalism is, perhaps, the most familiar. Political unification of populations by means of vernacular and language groupings was unthinkable before printing turned each vernacular into an extensive mass medium.

The 'tribe', an extended form of a family of blood relatives, is exploded by print, and is replaced by an association of men homogeneously trained to be individuals. Nationalism itself came as an intense new visual image of group destiny and status, and depended on a speed of information movement unknown before printing.

Today nationalism as an image still depends on the press but has all the electric media against it. In business, as in politics, the effect of even jet-plane speeds is to render the older national groupings of social organization quite unworkable. In the Renaissance it was the speed of print and the ensuing market and commercial developments that made national- ism (which is continuity and competition in homogeneous space) as natural as it was new.

By the same token, the heterogeneities and noncompetitive discontinuities of medieval guilds and family organization had become a great nuisance as speed-up of infor- mation by print called for more fragmentation and uniformity of function. The Benvenuto Cellinis, the goldsmith-cum-painter- cum-sculptor-cum-writer-cum-condottiere, became obsolete.

Once a new technology comes into a social milieu it cannot cease to permeate that milieu until every institution is saturated. Typography has permeated every phase of the arts and sciences in the past five hundred years. It would be easy to document the processes by which the principles of continuity, uniformity, and repeatability have become the basis of calculus and of marketing, as of industrial production, entertainment, and science. It will be enough to point out that repeatability conferred on the printed book the strangely novel character of a uniformly priced com- modity opening the door to price systems. The printed book had

in addition the quality of portability and accessibility that had been lacking i n the manuscript.

Directly associated with these expansive qualities was the revolution in expression. Under manuscript conditions the role of being an author was a vague and uncertain one, like that of a minstrel. Hence, self-expression was of little interest.

Exploring the Media Ecology


Viewing Media Ecology

According To Mason's Musings

Of all the media theorists Marshall McLuhan is perhaps the most famous and in the 60s, there was perhaps no more well known academic figure in the entire communication discipline. McLuhan’s ideas have stood the test of time, yet at the time of their conception they were widely dismissed by the scientific community for reasons we will return to later (Scolari, 2012). In recent years the theory most accredited to McLuhan, the media ecology, has enjoyed a high degree of resurgence, with organizations such as the Media Ecology Association (MEA) leading the way. This theory, as Neil Postman proposed in a 1975 address, focuses not on specialization, but rather on making more generalize, bigger picture, connections (Salas, 2007). The media ecology can best be viewed as a framework, a way of looking at the world through the lens that mediums and technology are far more influential than the content of the messages they provide. This is the basic concept behind the phrase that epitomizes McLuhan’s contributions to this theory, “the medium is the message” (McLuhan, 1964, p. 7). Before we delve further into the tenants and contributions to the media ecology theory, it is useful to look at the metaphor around which it is organized, that of an ecology.

The ecology metaphor

While the majority of the credit for creating the framework of the media ecology goes to Marshall McLuhan, the actual use of the ecology metaphor in public discourse can be traced back to a speech made by Neil Postman to the National Council of Teachers of English in 1968 (Scolari, 2012). While Postman gives credit to McLuhan for introducing the term in private conversation this was the first time it was used in a way that was recorded for posterity (Scolari, 2012). In this conference, Postman defined media ecology as “the study of media as environments” (Scolari, 2012) this definition lends to the framework a biological metaphor, as Robert Logan points out in his study The Biological Foundation of Media Ecology (Logan, 2010). The words ecology and environment lend to this media theory a sense of interconnectedness. Much like the biological implications of the terms, this theory looks at how these mediums impact the structure, content, and impact on the people within the environment (Logan, 2010). Much like a biological environment the media environment is in constant flux, like adding a new species into an ecology “a new medium does not add something; it changes everything” (Postman, 1998). Also like a biological environment the media species within the media ecology interact and evolve with each other. This has been a stress with recent research in media ecology, which has examined the ideas of media convergence (Jenkins, 2006). Media ecology theorists such as Harold Innis and Jenkins trace certain developments in co-evolutionary terms, for example Innis tracked “the parallel development of railroads ad telegraphy in the nineteenth century” (Scolari, 2012, p. 209). These, as Scolari (2012) calls them, intermedia relationships provides prime evidence that mediums and media can be studied through a similar lens as we study the interaction of species in biological ecosystems. So, according to Logan (2007), the media ecology seeks to examine the interaction between the three domains media, technology, and language which together work to form a living media ecosystem. At this point I believe it may be useful to try and separate the terms ‘medium’ and ‘technology’ because, while similar, they have implicitly different meanings.

What is a medium?

The distinction between a ‘medium’ and a ‘technology’ is a somewhat slippery one. While mediums are technologies, not all technologies are mediums. In Amusing Ourselves to Death Neil Postman uses a comparison between the ‘brain’ and the ‘mind’ to help illustrate this distinction. “Like the brain, technology is a physical apparatus. Like the mind, a medium is a use to which a physical apparatus is put” (Postman, 1985, p. 84). This distinction means that a medium, is more than just a machine (as technology is), it is rather the “social and intellectual environment a machine creates” (p. 84). This is not to say that these technologies do not exist without bias, they do in fact exhibit a great degree of bias. Most technologies carry with them a predisposition for some kind of use, to borrow from Postman again for example; television carries with it a bias towards engaging the visual medium (Postman, 1985). While the television as a piece of technology could be used for any number of purposes from a light for the room to that of a radio, but that was not how it was adopted for use because its most novel feature was the broadcast of the visual medium (Postman, 1985). With this distinction firmly in place we can begin to examine the central tenant of the media ecology, “the medium is the message”.

“The medium is the message”

Of all the quotes associated with the framework of media ecology perhaps none is better known or provides better summation of the ideas than McLuhan’s famous quote “the medium is the message”. This idea comes from perhaps McLuhan’s most famous work, Understanding Media (1964). This phrase stresses the importance of the mediums that produce messages over the messages that they produce. As McLuhan (1964) wrote “’the medium is the message’ because it is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action. The content or uses of such media are as diverse as they are ineffectual in shaping the form of human association” (McLuhan, 1964, p. 9). An excellent example of this, as Strate (2008) points out, is art. An artistic rendering of a subject will have an entirely different effect depending on its medium, a sculpture is different than an oil painting which is different than a screen print or even playing the same song using different instruments, these all will yield a completely different piece (Strate, 2008). This is why McLuhan and other media ecologists stress the importance of the medium over the content of the messages provided by it. In creating this theory, as with any ecology, it was important to consider the historic developments of the environment. This is exactly what McLuhan considered in his 1962 book, The Gutenberg Galaxy which laid the framework for his later conclusion that the “medium is the message”.


In The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) McLuhan outlines what can best be described as the four epochs of history as defined by the media ecology. These four epochs: the tribal age, the age of literacy, the print age, and the electronic age are each defined by a different technology, which has influenced the social and intellectual environments of society (thereby making them mediums as defined before).

The tribal age consists of the early ages of man before the existence of the written word. In this stage all history is oral and there is an emphasis on non-visual senses such as hearing and smelling because they provided a greater sense of what we cannot see, which understandable in a hunter gatherer tribal community is an important skill. Within this community and age there is a greater sense of community within which privacy was of non-emphasis, this community, McLuhan believed, had a greater awareness of the surrounding existence (Griffin, 2012). Because the spoken word only exists in the moment it is heard, there is little analysis and people are likely to believe what they hear. In the tribal age, people lived in the moment more.

This all changed with the invention of the Phonetic Alphabet. With its inception, the visual sense took reign as the most important which dramatically shifted the symbolic environment (Griffin, 2012). It now became possible to manipulate words out of context, and it jarred the community away from a collective tribal involvement into a ‘civilized’ type of private detachment. The written word meant that people no longer needed to congregate for information, which meant proximity was more important (hence why we began to spread out). Furthermore, McLuhan postures that the phonetic alphabet with its organizational structure, resulted in a more linear logical line of progressive thought (McLuhan, 1962). He believes that the invention of the alphabet birthed and fostered Philosophy, Mathematics, and Science (Laughey, 2007). It also created a line of informational and intellectual superiority and control between those who could read and write and those who could not. This created the aristocratic society that was common before the dawn of the next big technological advancement.

The invention of the printing press in 1450 made the visual dependence brought about by the phonetic alphabet widespread. Perhaps its most important aspect was the ability to replicate the same message and type over and over again, ensuring the integrity of the message (Griffin, 2012). McLuhan believed that the mass production capabilities of the printing press were the forerunner to the industrial revolution (Griffin, 2012). As individuals and groups turned to the written word for instruction and education, the era of detribalization sets in. It became no longer necessary for people to live, speak, listen, and be governed in the intimacy of tribal gatherings now that the written word can be mass-produced and widely distributed. The ability to spread a singular message over large distances helped to unify national languages, and was followed closely by the rise of nationalism; which was the result of a better informed populous (McLuhan, 1964). McLuhan (1964) offers the example of the French Revolution, “it was the printed word that, achieving cultural saturation in the eighteenth century, had homogenized the French nation… The typographic principles of uniformity, continuity, and linearity had overlaid the complexities of ancient feudal and oral society” (p. 14). The aristocracy that I mentioned in the previous age controlled the dissemination of written information to the public. As printing became more accessible the common man was given a voice, and that common man answered with a resounding “No cake for us thanks”. One other major effect of the Print age was a rise in isolation and individualization, because the printing press created portable books, people were able to absorb knowledge privately.

The Electronic age began with the invention of the telegraph in 1838. The telegraph shifted the media ecology back toward sound and touch (the two senses most closely associated with the telegraph). McLuhan, who was a very big proponent of electronic technology, believed this represented a retribalizing the human race, creating the global village (Griffin, 2012).

The global village is perhaps one of the most interesting ideas that emerged out of McLuhan’s theory. The global village is defined as a worldwide community connected by electronic mediums, which is similar to a tribe because everyone is aware of everyone else’s business (Griffin, 2012). We no longer live in tribal villages in the literal sense, but in the metaphorical sense electronic media has expanded our horizons to such an extent that we feel a vicarious intimacy with people and places all over the world (Griffin, 2012). Within the Electronic age, constant contact with the world becomes a daily reality. It is worth noting that what McLuhan essentially imagined here was the World Wide Web, thing is he imagined this thirty years before its realization. McLuhan believed the Internet would act as an extension of one’s consciousness. Within it everyone has access to knowledge about anything, and for people living within this age privacy has become a luxury at best but for most is a thing of the past (again remember that he predicted this in the early 60s). This positive reaction to the advent of the electronic culture was not echoed in Neil Postman’s sentiments. He believed that the speed of the electronic media, championed by the telegraph was an affront to the literate culture that was created by print media, which introduced “a large scale [of] irrelevance, impotence, and incoherence” (Postman, 1985, p. 66; as quoted in Laughey, 2007, p. 37). As fast as the telegraph carried messages it came with a lack of depth due to the medium’s bias towards short, truncated messages.

Communication: Present Day

In today’s society, it is clear that McLuhan was spot on with his idea of the Global Village, I do not have a source for this but I would not doubt that the advent of the Internet as a societal force in the 90’s was likely one of the major reasons that lead to the creation of the MEA in 1998. The Internet has changed our society in many, many ways and only now are we starting to be able to study its effects on the media ecology. One of the major things that recent researchers have really focused on is the idea of media convergence. Henry Jenkins talks about media convergence in his (2006) book, Convergence Culture. Using The Matrix as an archetypal example, he discusses how modern media ecology has created texts that are too grand to be contained in a singular medium, creating what he calls “transmedia franchises” (Jenkins, 2006, p. 98).

This same convergence is being realized in the creation of new mediums. This was the focus of the joint study between Logan & Scolari (2010) mCommunication, which set to examine the emergence of the new mobile Internet mediums that have entered the media ecosystem. Logan & Scolari (2010) define mCommunication as “the convergence of the mobile devices and access to the Internet” (p. 170). Any communications process three distinct elements: the sender, the receiver, and the message/information (Logan & Scolari, 2010). Just as the telegraph represented the mobility of messages, the Internet represents the mobility of information. When one adds the element of mobile communications devices (i.e. smart phones, tablets, etc.) it extends that mobility to both the sender and the receiver (Logan & Scolari, 2010). By ‘unplugging’ and utilizing technologies that allow to be bridged between the telephone and Internet like Wi-Fi, users are able to access the wealth of information on the Internet and all the vast communicative possibilities contained within from the palm of their hand, at an instant. The phenomenon that we can observe in today’s society of people being absorbed in their smartphones constantly, or pulling it out to look up any bit of random information, shows just how this new medium is acting as an extension of ourselves, and consequently an extension of the ecology into a new epoch, which Logan & Scolari (2010) have deemed mCommunication. McLuhan’s vision of the global village has undoubtedly been realized, but this extension is far enough beyond that to warrant a new epoch.

Criticisms of the McLuhan’s Media Ecology

As I mentioned at the beginning of this paper McLuhan’s ideas were largely dismissed by the scientific community at the time of their creation (Scolari, 2012). George Gordon, for example, was quoted as denouncing McLuhan’s work as “McLuhanacy” (Griffin, 2012, p. 329). There are a number of different critiques that have been made on this theory, but they tend to center around one of three major lines of criticism: technological determinism, technological utopianism, and nonscientific methodology (Chandler, 2011).

Perhaps the most often used line of criticism is the theory’s perceived reliance on technological determinism, a line of though that makes many people uncomfortable. Technological determinism purports that “the development of society is directed by its technology” (Chandler, 2011, p. 281). This essentially means that technology controls the development of society and free will is minimalized to non-existent. One can readily see why this criticism could be applied to media ecology, but I believe especially in todays media-centric society, it seems that we may in fact be under the deterministic power of technology; unstoppably cascading towards a convergence of man and technology that Ray Kurzwiel has dubbed “the singularity” (Kurzweil, 2005). The second critique that is often used is that McLuhan’s views represent a utopic view of technology that he perhaps looks only for the most positive impacts that it has. Finally, the third critique is that of nonscientific methodology. As I stated before I think that media ecology is far more reminiscent of a framework than a theory, it is a very generalized way of looking at the world and making connections, as Postman said. Because of this however the theory faces scrutiny because McLuhan’s way of thinking (which is incredibly in line with my own thoughts towards research) is based on observation alone, as Eric McLuhan (his son) said in (2008) “[he] start[s] with – and stick[s] with – observation” (McLuhan, 2008). While the scientific community may take contest with this methodological approach, I tend to side with my personal feelings on the matter which is “if you are right you are right” and I think McLuhan hit the nail on the head.


The media ecology is ever changing, just like our actual ecology. We have witnessed countless technologies converge, opening completely new and interesting avenues. In the near future, the media ecology is posed to have another seismic addition, the convergence of virtual realities and the physical world. We see this beginning to permeate our culture with Augmented Reality technologies such as Google Glass and technologies which allow for the transference between the digital and physical (a relationship which previously had operated only in the other direction) with 3D printing. There are a number of technology leaders who are making this push, but perhaps none provides a better example of convergence theory than Elon Musk’s recently revealed rocket parts manufacturing design system. Musk and his team utilized a number of pre-existing technologies which have recently entered the ecology the Leap motion controller (which allows for naturalistic interaction with the visual data on the screen), the Oculus Rift (which creates a fully immersive virtual environment), 3D printing, and a number of other technologies, to create a new way of designing and manufacturing new rocket parts for his private space program SpaceX (, 2013). As a brief aside, when the article calls Elon Musk “a real-life Tony Stark” I could not agree more, this man is my idol and is setting to change the world. Now this convergence of technologies could lead to the same mobility and speed that has been associated with the digital world to the creation of physical objects, essentially combining and revolutionizing the design and manufacturing process. Developments and revolutions like this one would not be possible if it weren’t for the interactions and convergences within the media ecology.

Alone In A crowded Environment


The Dangers of Giving In To Virtual Reality

We learn from Tim Henry in the following article

In the past decade, technology has made massive steps forward in the areas of mobile technology and social integration. With the easy accessibility of social media, many people seem to disconnect from the world around them, which can be a danger to themselves and others. This type of disconnect from reality has the potential to reach new and dangerous heights with the use of virtual reality (VR). These advances, even though they seem positive, could prove to be harmful in the long run and could cause irreparable damage.

VR technologies are already being produced in the form of the Oculus Rift. Essentially, Oculus Rift is a pair of goggles that will allow the user to experience something entirely apart from his or her actual surroundings. Facebook purchased this highly anticipated VR platform last March and plans “to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences,” according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a post on the social network. In addition to using the Oculus Rift for social media purposes, Facebook is planning on further developing the technology for video games. Despite the ambitious plans for Oculus, there are a number of risks associated with the adoption of VR technologies.

The first big danger is disconnection from the real world. Even today, many people find themselves so immersed in social media and video games that they lose touch with reality. Two of the most notable cases reported by Time magazine occurred in South Korea, where multiple deaths have been reported as a direct result of excessive gaming. The first incident involved a 3-month-old child who starved to death while the parents were caring for an in-game child. The second death was that of a 22-year-old man who went into cardiac arrest after playing the popular game StarCraft for 50 hours straight in 2005. Technology like the Oculus Rift that immerses players even deeper into the game will likely increase this trend of excessive gaming and video game addiction.

The American Academy of Neurology has found a strong connection between video games and the release of dopamine, a chemical that causes pleasure, in the brain. This chemical release is very similar to that of both gambling and drug addiction and is triggered by the sense of accomplishment players feel after completing short tasks in video games. This form of addiction is most likely to occur in young adults and teens because the frontal lobes of the brain – the parts that are responsible for weighing consequences and making decisions – have not yet fully developed. With the addition of the Oculus Rift, the rewards can seem more real to the player and therefore cause a greater release of dopamine.

The American Academy of Neurology mentions not only the health risks that excessive gaming can cause, but also the risks to socialization and personal relationships. An article written for Neurology Now uses the example of Anthony Rosner, who became so involved with World of Warcraft, spending 18 hours or more per day on the game, that he nearly missed out on college. While this is an extreme case, more typical addicted gamers tend to lose interest in other activities and remove themselves from other people in the real world.

Despite the negative effects that virtual reality can bring to video gamers, there are positive uses for the technology. For example, the Oculus Rift could be used to train pilots in crash procedure without the danger of actually crashing a plane. This type of simulation could also be used for law enforcement or other first response workers. Athletes could use virtual reality for realistic training programs outside of team practices. Finally, virtual reality can allow people to experience activities that they would not be able to otherwise.

As the Oculus Rift is developed further, the focus of this technology should not be the general public but rather the people who face potentially deadly situations in their professional lives. The growing trend of video game addiction will only escalate with the introduction of VR technology in games. If the Oculus Rift is released to the public as a vehicle for video game delivery, players should be careful of how much time they spend using the system and be aware of the signs of video game addiction.

The Effects And Affects Of Modern Day Techne And Its Gizmos

Virtually Reality Informs us thusly:

We assume that virtual reality is a benign influence upon our lives and is not likely to cause any problems. But this is a form of technology which is developing all the time and as a result, can throw up problems which had not been previously considered.

There are physical problems which are due to poor ergonomics and then there are psychological issues. Then there are moral and ethical concerns about this technology which are discussed in greater detail in our virtual reality and ethical issues section.

Physical effects of virtual reality

One of the main problems with virtual reality is motion sickness. It is not unknown for people to suffer from nausea after spending a period of time in a virtual environment which is due to the effects the shift in perception has on balance. Our balance is affected by changes in the inner ear which results in feelings of nausea often experienced by people when travelling on a ship or some other form of transport.

Some people are affected by this after spending only 30 minutes in a virtual environment whereas others can go several hours before they notice any ill effects.

Another name for this sensation is ‘cybersickness’.

Time constraints

Another problem with virtual reality is time: it takes a long period of time to develop a virtual environment which may not be good news for any commercial enterprise wishing to invest in this technology. Time is money in the business world.

Plus many virtual reality companies or researchers use and adapt other forms of technology from other sources which means that they are reliant upon these. If one of their suppliers goes out of business then this will delay the work by a considerable period of time.

The more realistic a virtual world the longer it will take. It takes an inordinate amount of time to create an environment which is indistinguishable from the real thing, for example, a 3D walkthrough of a building which can tske a year or more to complete.

Early forms of virtual reality included blocky looking graphics and crude renderings which did not take long to produce but would not meet today’s ever increasing demands. People want faster, smoother and lifelike scenarios which make greater demands on processing speed, memory and rendering time.

There has to be a balance between hyper-realism and production time.

Reality That Is Virtual Gizmos..


The Very Real Dangers Of Virtual Reality

Still on the topic of Virtual Reality which dovetails neatly with the sub topic of the Hub: "Everything Is Everything", Steven Tweedie, in the following, show us how virtual reality is affecting and is still going to effect us:

"Virtual reality as a cinematic and gaming medium is still in its infancy, but the VR industry is no longer a desolate graveyard filled with the ancient and cumbersome failures of the ‘80s and ‘90s.

Instead, the wildly hyped and inexpensive Oculus Rift headset has pummeled its way to the forefront of mainstream virtual reality exploration, managing to secure over $75 million in funding in the process and all but securing a successful consumer launch later this year. The Rift is an immersive experience like none other, allowing people wearing the headset to gaze around their virtual environments as if they were truly there.

You can even take a trip up the wall of the Night’s Watch from “Game of Thrones” if you want to, just ask Arya Stark.

If a traditional television screen is a window frame into another world, VR lets you chuck that frame into the woodchipper and climb right through. This is an exciting, promising, and downright futuristic tech development, but it’s also a double-edged blade with all the promise to potentially create a level of dystopian obsession that makes the World of Warcraft-guy from “South Park” look tame.

People naturally gravitate towards activities that offer a certain level of escapism. Back in 2009, when “Avatar” began its titanic voyage to become the highest grossing movie of all time, people felt this kind of escape in the lush, vibrant forests of the fantastical Pandora. Stunning CGI and high fidelity 3D filming offered a level of immersion that began to blur the lines between imagined environment and reality.

As surreal as it may sound, for some people, this harsh disconnect from bioluminescent jungle to cinema parking lot was actually causing feelings of depression and suicide, prompting fan forums and a CNN article discussing how to cope with “Pandora being intangible.” And this was still just a film being projected on a cinema screen, with entire audiences participating in the experience. Now imagine a personal technology capable of a much higher caliber of immersion, and you can see how the Rift will prove a slippery slope for those already prone to the addictive qualities of modern media.

The reasonable counter-argument is that this will only be an issue for those already showing signs of addiction to escapists media forms, and perhaps simply being aware that what was once sweet just got even sweeter will be enough. Yes, classically addictive games like “Second Life” are getting the VR treatment, and yes, it will soon be possible to gaze around a cozy concert venue watching your favorite band practice, but will we really start observing people opting for a virtual girlfriend à la Joaquin Phoenix in “Her”?

The higher the fidelity of the illusion, the tougher it will become to unplug. You can already experience what it would be like to embody the other gender." (Warning: Video contains some nudity).

Adult entertainment companies have wasted no time designing stimulation devices to accompany the Rift, and, yes, it’s exactly what you think it is.

Keep in mind the Rift hasn’t even officially hit shelves yet. And while technology that wins favor with the pornography industry usually means that platform will be successful, it will soon become far easier for people to become lost in fantasy, and harder to disconnect. Suddenly, the issues brought up by “Her” don’t seem so futuristic.

This is where simple awareness of virtual reality and the Rift’s potency can be the answer. The Rift offers too many advantages and jaw-dropping experiences to allow something like VR addiction to get in its way, and one day I’ll be immortalizing my Rift developer unit as a collectible milestone in technology’s rapid advancement, much like any collector would wish to save the first radio or television. But amidst all the possibility and childlike glee at such a futuristic experience, perhaps a warning should accompany VR headsets, similar to the way massively popular video games flash a “All things in moderation” quote across the loading screen every once in a while.

Stronger and more spectacular illusions are exciting, and escapism certainly holds its own therapeutic benefits, but a firmer nod in the direction of the off-switch might not hurt either.

The Hi-Jacking Of Our Souls And Minds


Seing Is Believing: The State Of Virtual Reality

Matthew Schnipper writes:

"The promise of virtual reality has always been enormous. Put on these goggles, go nowhere, and be transported anywhere. It’s the same escapism peddled by drugs, alcohol, sex, and art — throw off the shackles of the mundane through a metaphysical transportation to an altered state. Born of technology, virtual reality at its core is an organic experience. Yes, it’s man meets machine, but what happens is strictly within the mind.

It had its crude beginnings. A definition of virtual reality has always been difficult to formulate — the concept of an alternative existence has been pawed at for centuries — but the closest modern ancestor came to life in the fifties, when a handful of visionaries saw the possibility for watching things on a screen that never ends, but the technology wasn’t yet good enough to justify the idea. The promise of the idea was shrouded, concealed under clunky visuals. But the concept was worth pursuing, and others did (especially the military, who have used virtual reality technology for war simulation for years). The utopian ideals of a VR universe were revisited by a small crew of inventors in the late ’80s and early ’90s. At the time the personal computer was exploding, and VR acolytes found a curious population eager to see what the technology had to offer.

Not enough, it turned out. Though a true believer could immerse him or herself in the roughly built digital landscape, the chasm between that crude digital experience and the powerful subtly of real life was too great. The vision simply did not match the means. In the mid-’90s, VR as an industry basically closed up shop. Though still used in the sciences, those eager to bring VR to the masses found themselves overshadowed by a glitzier, more promising technological revolution: the internet.

Then, two years ago, Palmer Luckey, a kid born during the waning days of VR’s late-20th-century golden era, put the pieces together using improved technology. He raised some money and soon developed the Oculus Rift, his own version of a clunky headset. The graphics were still basic but the experience was, surprisingly, lifelike. For the first time ever, one could casually wander through a comically realistic rendering of Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment. Or hack a zombie to death. It didn’t really matter what you did inside the goggles, really, just the act of immersion was awing. Someone at Facebook got the memo, and they purchased Oculus wholesale for $2 billion, signaling a promising, if unclear, future for virtual reality.

Imagine 10 years ago trying to envision the way we use cellphones today. It’s impossible. That’s the promise VR has today. VR at its best shouldn’t replace real life, just modify it, giving us access to so much just out of reach physically, economically. If you can dream it, VR can make it. It’s a medium for progress, not the progress itself. In celebration of the rise of VR still to come, The Verge investigated its past, present, and future to offer a glimpse of what we feel is enormous possibility."

Distracted By The Digi World


Digitally Distracted World And Environment

Gregory Barber wrote the following article

It would be tough to think up a more plum assignment for a test subject: Simply step into an empty room, sit down, and think.

Just think.

But in a study to appear in Thursday's issue of the journal Science, participants found the experience within their own heads surprisingly difficult to manage — if not downright unpleasant.

Stripped of their books, cellphones and other distractions, many, including a majority of men, preferred to instead pass the time by reaching for the sole form of electronic entertainment in the room: a 9-volt battery administering a "severe static shock" when touched.

"It's probably an issue of how we can control our minds and thoughts," says Timothy Wilson, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and a co-author of the study, which attempts to measure the enjoyment found in allowing our minds to simply wander.

That represents a novel approach to the study of human distractibility, in which the "wandering mind" is often itself the distraction: a symptom of our multitasking, digitized culture that interrupts our pleasure reading, test-taking and work lives.

Distracted parents


When Parents Are The Ones Too Distracted By Devices
"No one had looked at mind wandering as an end in and of itself," Wilson says.

But as it turns out, we're easily distracted from that too, plagued by a natural impulse to seek out the physical "engagement" wherever we might find it — even if it zaps us.

In the words of T.S. Eliot, we find ourselves "distracted from distraction by distraction."

Wilson says he and his colleagues were initially skeptical of including the shock device as an outlet for subjects to escape their thoughts. Given that participants were warned the contraption would give them a painful jolt, the researchers asked the seemingly obvious: "Why is someone going to shock themselves?"

The most common answers: boredom and curiosity.

Wilson sees that response as a symptom of our animal instincts. "Our minds have evolved to a point where we do have this alternative; we're the only animals that can turn off engagement and turn into our own heads," he says. "But we still have that mammalian brain that wants to engage."

The journey to "my happy place," as Wilson puts it, or a state of enjoyable, wandering thought, usually occurs during activities involving low-level engagement, like when we drive or take a stroll. For many, thinking becomes quite difficult when we're placed in an empty lab room and robbed of even the mildest forms of physical activity.

In a situation like that, we naturally reach for the nearest available source of engagement: sometimes by poking a rudimentary shock device, but more often by whipping out our smartphones.

Wilson notes that the experience of solitary thinking became even less bearable when participants were asked to replicate the experiment in the comfort of their own homes, moving the study from the bare lab room to our modern dens of digital connectivity and distraction.

Although participants were asked to pick a time when they didn't feel rushed and to put away all electronic devices, "all those things were there," he says. "Your phone is right there, and you know you're not supposed to do it."

Our conversation about smartphone addiction continues.


Pay Attention: Your Frustration Over Smartphone Distraction
"They couldn't even go for six to 12 minutes," Wilson says, without succumbing to the pressures of physical distraction. Those results suggest the attraction of our devices may be found simply in their availability, offering a heady escape when our animal brains lack the proper physical engagement.

"If it's there, we'll use it," goes one of the more common laments about our digital culture. But don't blame us; we're only mammals.

Overloaded Ditgitally


Attention Deficit Disorder Induced By Technology And Technique

We are surrounded and swamped by the burgeoning and emerging/merging technologies and thier techniques. We cannot even resist nor not want to be part of it, anyway we may wish for. What we were able to do in our minds has now been relegated to the machines that are constantly changing fast and spiralling into a universe that will be beyond our control-to do for us. The following piece was written by Ernie Anderssen"

While watching an episode of Sherlock the other night, my 13-year-old sat on the couch texting from his iPod, repelling enemy incursions on Clash of Clans on an iPad and glancing randomly at the TV. When I suggested he was missing the witty repartee between Watson and Holmes, he shrugged and said: “Mom, I’m paying attention. This is how everyone watches TV now.”

Who was I to judge? My BlackBerry lay on the table beside me, its e-mail alert flashing with false urgency. And I often spiralled into the Internet’s vortex myself, clicking, for instance, on an academic article about technology and distraction and somehow winding up at a viral video about a Brazilian cyclist who is sideswiped by a speeding truck and lands, miraculously, on a mattress. How I got there, I couldn’t say. According to my browser’s Web history, I checked out a science book on Amazon, then hopped to the latest news about the missing Flight 370. Along the way, the headline “You won’t believe what happens to this cyclist” proved irresistible – which was precisely the point. In these information-overloaded days, the game is on, to quote Sherlock, and the prize is our eyeballs.

Software companies and app developers are desperate to grab our attention. Scientists are studying how to capture it. Bosses, worried about lost productivity, are keenly trying to focus it. Even our live-blogging, picture-sharing friends are looking for a piece of it. Never has our gaze been so carefully measured or so highly coveted.

But if our attention is so valuable – a finite resource in a land of perpetual interruption – then why do we give it away so carelessly? There is growing scientific evidence that sprinting through the day in a state of super-charged distraction takes a serious toll on our mental and physical health.

Like the slowly boiling frog, we have failed to notice that the convenience of staying connected has become a stress-inducing burden. Our smartphones whine at us like petulant children, as Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, a Stanford University expert on technology and distraction, puts it. And we just keep saying yes, answering every tweet, e-mail and ring tone, and therefore, often unconsciously, saying no to something else. It’s careless spending: “Your ability to focus on what’s important is absolutely fundamental to the life you want to live,” says Mr. Pang, who explored the subject in his recent book The Distraction Addiction.

Technology was supposed to make life simpler, but Words with Friends is only fun until the “your turn” reminders start to nag. E-mail, according to workplace surveys, is the most reviled of time-wasters. And when we check yet another pointless e-mail while reading bedtime stories to our kids, what did we miss? When a smartphone interrupts dinner with friends mid-sentence, what real connection was lost?

“We have been seduced by distraction,” says psychologist Daniel Goleman, the author of Focus: the Hidden Driver of Excellence. “We are being pulled away from paying attention to the things that enrich our lives.”

It’s so hard to resist the life that the social-media machine has created for us, one in which we are both consumer and producer, sharing generously of our own creative energy and expending our attention in a self-nourishing loop, from which someone else – Google, Facebook, Apple – plucks the profit. We’re digital junkies, exponentially creating our own pit of distraction while despairing that we are so distracted. Almost all the data in the world has been created in the last two or three years – mostly by the lay denizens of the Internet. In a recent media interview, Dave Evans, the chief futurist at Cisco Systems, calculated that there are now 12-billion devices connected to the Internet. “In a decade,” he promised, “there will be 50 billion.”

That’s us, by the way, on the other end, hooked into the matrix. Canada is already a world leader in online consumption; according to a recent online Ipsos poll, those who owned a smartphone – that is, half the country – claimed to spend 86 per cent of their time staring at one screen or another.

No wonder our attention spans are spent by day’s end. There is no place for quiet contemplation. When are we ever able to think of nothing, to daydream in the grocery line, to zone out in the elevator? In our pockets, above our heads, at our desks, there’s always a screen beckoning.

“Of course, everything can’t speed up,” says David Levy, a professor at the Information School of the University of Washington. “You can’t speed up the time needed to be intimate with one another. Thinking is not an activity you can speed up. It needs time to muse and reflect, and some of the things we need to do in order to think, like walk, or read deeply, or even take naps, simply don’t fit into this globalizing idea of more-faster-better.”

If you thought juggling a conference call in the minivan on the way to hockey practice was stressful, wait for it. At London’s first Wearable Technology Show this month, Steve Brown, whose title at Intel is Chief Evangelist and Futurist, cheerfully promised that “computers are getting smaller and smaller, closer and closer to our fingertip, our nerve endings, our brains.”

Before they implant themselves any further, we might want to set limits on our maxed-out mental inboxes.

‘Unchecked infomania’

How do we give up the digital fix? Collecting Twitter followers is like a virtual pat on the back. Checking Facebook in the middle of the day can be energizing and mood-boosting. We get a rush – what scientists have called a “dopamine squirt” – when anticipating the contents of a potentially juicy e-mail, much like pulling the arm on a slot machine, says Neema Moraveji, director of the Calming Technology Lab at Stanford University. Sometimes, the stress of distraction pales against our fear of missing out.

But it’s all about the dose, and being connected 24/7 doesn’t encourage restraint. Facebook, when visited obsessively, has been linked to depression and eating disorders in teenage girls. Managing a stack of e-mails – only to have them pile up again – has been found to raise heartbeats and blood pressure. At Stanford’s Calming Technology Lab, researchers observed that even simple web searches caused people to take shorter breaths, or hold their breath entirely, restricting oxygen to their brain. Usually, they weren’t even aware of it.

“When you are at a computer, reacting to things, wondering if things are happening, there is a chronic vigilance, a feeling always being on the edge of your seat,” Dr. Moraveji says.

The behaviour is called e-mail or screen apnea, a phrase that technology consultant Linda Stone first blogged about in 2008, when she noticed she was holding her breath while sending e-mails. Essentially, explains Ms. Stone, the flight-or-fight response kicks in whether humans are running away from a tiger or anxiously confronting an overflowing inbox. In the short term, that response is extremely useful – it saves you from the tiger, it even channels your energy for that important PowerPoint presentation.

But if you never, or rarely, shut it down, this can lead to long-term stress and its potential risks: teeth-grinding, diabetes, heart disease and depression.

Much as we like to believe otherwise, most human beings are lousy multi-taskers. Faced with too many jobs, the brain’s working memory gets overwhelmed and makes mistakes. Ms. Stone, a former Microsoft and Apple employee, also coined the term “continuous partial attention” to describe how being inundated with tasks and interrupted by technology chronically splinters our focus.

In fact, being “always on” may look good in a society that glorifies busyness, but it’s a killer intellectually. Last year, researchers at King’s College Institute of Psychiatry in London reported the constant use of e-mail and other social media – what they called “unchecked infomania” – led to a temporary 10-point drop in the IQ of the study’s participants. That was twice as much as pot smokers. Another clear sign of stumbling brain power: In a Pew Research Center survey, 22 per cent of adults who text admitted being so distracted that they’ve run into something – an event common enough that one London neighbourhood has announced plans to pad its lampposts for safety.

But it will take more than a smack from a wrought-iron pole to get us to give up our tech fixations. So the boss is stepping in. The economic cost of distraction – both in lost productivity and employee stress – is now tallied well into the billions of dollars. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that after being interrupted, it takes 25 minutes for workers to return to their original tasks. If that happened once or twice, why worry? But tech workers in the study were found to switch activities, either voluntarily or because someone demanded it, every three minutes.

A few companies have forced employees to take disconnected “quiet time,” or have restricted internal communication in the evening. Volkswagen recently shut down its server after 8 p.m., bringing a forced halt to e-mail traffic.

The disease as cure?

The anxiety over our unchecked infomania and its risks has fuelled an entire industry of wellness experts, including enterprising software developers and app creators who have recognized an untapped market in tech-based stress management. “What a clever way to make money,” Mr. Goleman observes wryly: “Create a problem you can then solve.”

The idea that technology, the disease, may also be the cure, has its followers. There are apps, such as Buddhify 2, that encourage meditation, and interactive bio-sensor devices, such as Inner Balance, an ear sensor that connects to your smartphone and monitors your heart rate. If the beats are too fast, the wearer is prompted to breathe deeply while being cheered by upbeat on-screen messages and tracked by a progress report.

This summer, Dr. Moraveji is launching an app-based breathing sensor called Spire. And for further evidence that consumer devices are inching ever closer to linking directly our brains, consider last year’s grand prize winner of AT&T’s $30,000 (U.S.) Hackathon prize: Computation neuroscientist Ruggero Scorcioni created a headset that tracks brainwaves and blocks incoming phone calls when the wearer is in a state of concentration.

For more passive options, there’s Focus@Will, a subscription service that plays music while people work and claims to help the average listener hold their attention for 400 per cent longer than usual, or about 100 minutes. (Like many similar offerings, the developers say their approach is based on science.) Another program, called f.lux, adjusts the colour of the computer screen to match the time of day, dimming in evening and brightening at sunrise. Social media addicts opting for more rigid rehab can also turn to “Internet blocking productivity software.” Other software will track your web use over the day, providing a summary of your Twitter time-wasting.

Paradoxically, we may also reclaim some of our screen time as the web becomes better at anticipating our interests. For instance, Lisa Zhang, a data scientists at Rubikloud, a Toronto-based tech company, says targeted advertising, where users give their permission to be advertised to, can be more efficient. Consumers should be conscious of the amount of information being collected about our habits and tastes, says Ms. Zhang, who analyzes millions of data points in a day. “But it’s really a matter of balance. Collecting data, to make our experience more individualized, there are benefits to that.”

On the other hand, won’t knowing more about what we like just make the Internet better at distracting us?

The stress of stress

It’s probably naive to expect technology to rescue us from technology, especially given the money to be made off our digital gluttony. But this is largely a problem of our own making. “It serves our ego to think that modern capitalism will come crashing down if we don’t check our e-mail at 11 p.m. before we got to bed,” says Mr. Pang.

“The truth is the world will get by just fine.”

Never before, we like to tell ourselves, has a generation been so burdened by the frantic blur of everyday. But as William Powers recounts in his book Hamlet’s BlackBerry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age, anxiety over new technology and the busyness of life dates back as far as ancient Rome.

Seneca the Younger, tutor to the Roman emperor Nero, is recorded lamenting that “the love of bustle is not industry, it is only the restlessness of a hunted mind,” a phrase to which many modern-day information workers would surely relate. The title of Mr. Powers’s book was inspired by a line in Hamlet, a reference to an Elizabethan-era book, known as a “table,” that contained coated paper that could be wiped clean. “Yea, from the table of my memory/ I’ll wipe away all trivial fond records.” (That Hamlet took measures to reduce his “mental load” was further evidence that Shakespeare was ahead of his time, Mr. Powers concludes.)

Another example in the book, from the 1850s, describes the merchant who returns home after a day of hard work, “trying amid the family circle to forget business, when he is interrupted by a telegram from London” that requires immediate attention. And so, the writer wearily observes, “the businessman of the present day must be continually on the jump.”

The familiar worries about distracted attention and aimless busyness accompany every new form of communication, from the printing press to the telephone to the Internet. And always, points out Mark Jackson, a historian at Oxford University and author of The Age of Stress, the ensuing anxiety is the domain of intellectuals and the affluent middle class (even though it is poverty, not wealth, that creates the most destructive levels of stress).

Stress has become, says Dr. Jackson with some disdain, the modern-day version of gout, a diagnosis that served as evidence the 19th-century patient was prosperous enough – and his diet rich enough – to get him sick in the first place. The word “stress” didn’t enter into the vernacular until the 1950s – introduced, incidentally, by a Montreal-based researcher named Hans Selye – but stress as a status symbol has a lengthy precedent.

In fact, the pre-Facebook research of Dr. Selye, famous for articulating the early thinking of stress as a health risk, contains some compelling hints at a modern-day solution.

Stress, argued Dr. Selye, who died in 1982, “is not what happens to you, but how you react to it.” Later on, he came to see the speed of modern civilization, the political trauma of the Cold War and new technology as high-risk stressors. But even he pooh-poohed the notion that we were more stressed than generations prior.

In an interview in 1977, Dr. Selye weighed in on this question himself: “I doubt whether modern man experiences more distress than his ancestors. It’s not that people suffer more stress today. It’s just that they think they do.”

In other words, we are more stressed about being stressed.

Swept away

In David Levy’s class on mindfulness and technology at the University of Washington, one of the assignments requires students to videotape themselves while online to track their social media patterns. The results, says Prof. Levy, are revealing. Students watch themselves responding instantly to every distraction. They notice their facial expressions, their hunched shoulders. One student, Dr. Levy recalls, recorded himself posting a message to Facebook that later he had no memory of doing.

“Their biggest takeaway is to open up the possibility of having more choice when we are online,” Dr. Levy says. “So much of what we do is driven by habit. It tends to be semi-conscious or unconscious. Students are beginning to realize how important it is to set their attention – what am I wanting or needing to be doing at this moment?”

It is about being the master of your own digital life, says William Powers. “We are kind of like pinballs knocking around this electronic pinball machine, and not doing it very thoughtfully,” he says. “I can’t just be passive and do what Facebook and Twitter want me to do, which is stay connected 24/7 and look at ads. I have to stop letting the screen lead me around. That’s very different than saying, ‘Throw it out the window.’ ”

It’s comes down to being mindful, he writes in his book, rather than blindly adopting “digital maximalism” as a way of life. “What I am proposing is a new digital philosophy, a way of thinking that takes into account the human need to connect outward, to answer the call of the crowd, as well as the opposite need for time and space apart. The key is to strike a balance between the two impulses.”

Linda Stone suggests that people stop thinking about “time management” and start thinking about how to better manage their attention – to think about where we need or want our focus to be. That answer is individual; only we know when the convenience of sending an e-mail from home becomes a burden.

“What do we want to connect to?” she asks. “When I am on a date, do I want to be texting my friend, or do I want to be on a date? If I am a teenager, and I have just taken a photo at a party, do I want to be in that viral reality, looking to see how many likes I am collecting? We aren’t owning those choices.”

We are, instead, being swept into them, always on, yet never fully paying attention.

Everuthing Is Interconnected; Everything Is Technologically Annexed


It is true that today everything is interconnected and interlinked. Technologies and their attendant features crisscross the web and fuse, morph into one another and are part of the one thing whenever they come out to the users. Everything is Everything; everything is interconnected and interlinked.

This has to be remembered and kept in mind at all times. That is why spying makes it easier for those who pry into our affairs to know more about us for they can tap into all the interlinked and merging and emerging modern technologies.

This has changed how Man communicates and imbibes media. The media today is mostly found on the Web, and this is fast moving data and click, pop-ups, brings, pings, vibrations, and these are are the responses of the gadgets to incoming messages, and calling upon the users to pay attention or to answer. So that, what you see now, is a public and a people enamored and shaped and conditioned by the very gadgets we are using today. I have used one photo to illustrate this fat fact, below..

Technological Brands Engaging Us


The next technological scare everyone should watch out for

Anna Rodriguez wrote the following article:

Advances in technology have led to great improvements in all aspects of our lives. There is a touch of technology in almost everything we do, and it affects and influences us much more than we can possibly imagine. Technology is constantly redefining the way we communicate, the way we access information, how we get from place to place, what we do for entertainment, how we deal with home safety and security, and so much more. It is continuously evolving and reinventing itself in a pace we can hardly keep up with.

Much has been said about how technology has made the lives of people significantly easier and more convenient, and understandably so. It is hard to imagine a world where technological breakthroughs and advancements are nil. Numerous technological trends are continuously causing excitement and profit for many people. Needless to say, the world of technology is the largest and most powerful industry there is.

However, when used without caution, technology could be the very thing that destroys us. In one way or another, all of us have been victims of our own technological addictions, whether or not we are aware of it.

Now, let us examine how this affects the world in a larger scale. What is the next technological scare we should look out for? Here is a list of some of the few that we should be concerned about:

1. The Noise of Cyber War

Back in the day, an event is classified as a war only if there is violence and bloodshed. Today, however, a war can be waged with a simple click of a finger.

Because a lot of our day-to-day activities are so dependent on technology, it is difficult to execute offline activities without some form of online support. Operations in business, education, government, and military have become so inseparable from cyberspaceas this is where most, if not all, of crucial information can be accessed. It is no wonder then, that cyberspace has been a common point of attack in the world of cyber war. The privacy of an institution is compromised when their online space is accessed with malicious intent. This form of cyber attack has caused almost as much casualties as conventional wars, sometimes even more.

This is also the reason why security systems have been more in demand than ever. From large institutions to small householdseveryone is keen on safeguarding personal privacy in every way they can.

2. The Power of Artificial Intelligence

The concept of technological singularity has been around for quite a while. Ever since the first computer was created, many great minds have been intrigued by how far the human mind can go and how sophisticated our inventions could be. So far, technological advancements have never failed to exceed most of mankinds expectations. And because of this, talks of a possible conspiracy became rampant:

What will happen if man creates intelligence greater than our own? What is the implication if an artifact that can surpass all intellectual activities of any man? What if all human activity is carried out by the intelligent machines we create? Its a terrifying thought, but technological singularity and artificial intelligence just might render human beings obsolete.

3. Cyberbullying

This may be the least technical issue on our list, yet it is possibly the most prevalent technological trend there is today. Why? Simply because anyone is capable of doing it. You could be of any age, of any profession, of any nationality. There are no qualifications; all you need is an internet connection and an uncontrollable urge to attack someone online.

Consequences of cyberbullying have been overwhelming in recent years; teens are committing suicide, people of high rank are quitting their jobs, and politicians are being sued. Most countries have passed laws and created policies to keep cyberbullying in check, but the online community is so big that it is very difficult to track these types of assaults.

4. The Peep of DNA Hacking

Technology and biologyWhen these two meet, amazing things are bound to happen. The amalgamation of these two fields have done wonders for the medical and scientific industry; diseases are given cures, premature aging is prevented, among other things. However, given the extent of how much intrusion technology is capable of, one might want to consider the perils of having too much biological information available to technology.

Although, contrary to what you may be thinking, DNA Hacking does not only happen inside the laboratory. It can happen as you key in personal information on your social media profiles, and doing whatever activity you need to do online. You may not like it, but as you engage in social media, more of yourself is available online. And since DNA is part of what makes you who you are, making your personality type accessible for surveying online can be a great invasion of your privacy. DNA Hacking doesn't quite qualify as harmless, otherwise it wouldn't be called hacking.

These are only a few technological trends we must always watch out for. There are so much more out there, some of them are possibly still unknown. Given this, we have to be more vigilant to the perils of exposing too much of ourselves online. Indirectly, our actions online lead to consequences we might encounter in the fleshand that is why we must always guarantee home and family safety in any way we can. Be more responsible with your use of technology, learn more about securing your software, have alarm systems at home, be involved in maintaining office securitydo whatever it takes to keep yourself away from any form of harm, may it be technology-induced or not. These days, sad to say, there is no such thing as safe enough."

Everything Connects And Is Interconnected