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Vanessa’s Mini ISIS Guide of Stuff that Just Might Be Important – ISIS 100

First, go over discussion questions!

Ethical Policy and Ownership of Information

• We protect intellectual property to encourage creativity and promote the public
o But ideas aren’t very scarce anymore
• patent: a government grant that empowers the owner to prevent others from
making, using, or selling the patent invention
o processes, machines, articles of manufacture, compositions of matter, new
and useful improvements are patentable
o duration is 70 years plus owner’s life
• Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
o Updated copyright law in response to computer age
• Fair Use
o A doctrine in US copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted
material without requiring permission from rights holder if for scholarship
or review

o Peer process depends on large scale collaboration of experts
o Falling salaries – patent office employees not valued
o What is incentive for experts to review patent in 3 months?
o We need revamping of whole patent system, won’t happen because
humans resistant to change
 Oil companies hold patents for solar technology
 Pharmaceutical companies patenting drugs… me too drugs versus
true innovation.
 Lots more money taken from sales than R&D
 Collective intelligence wouldn’t let pharmas do this

• Wireless is an easy way to get around geographical barriers of internet

• Most commonly proposed legislation is for privacy but there is no law because
o No one can agree on it
o Only one law to protect me from gov. collecting information

• the individual is a lot more powerful because of internet

o government has traditionally been in control, is it losing control? Can it
exert control again through laws and programs?
o FERPA: federal education rights privacy act: protected Duke kids
• Sealand and HavenCo
o Sealand is a platform, called a country, that is in international waters that
HavenCo wanted to use to host servers without the threat of law from any
• Three types of internet governance:
o No governance, by the people
o Governance by international bodies
o By treaties (a couple of countries get together and make a deal)

• Digital Divide
o 6% of internet bandwidth is used for educational purposes
o If low income families don’t have computers, does the wireless do any
o Isn’t there a lot of wireless already out there?
o Gender is a large digital divide around the world
o Has there been a peak in internet access? Distribution levels off at 60%

• Wireless Philadelphia
o Goal was to reduce price of wireless, make it available for everyone
o Bring jobs and raise money
o Provide cheaper wireless to small businesses
o Pros
 Important for education
 Helps bridge digital divide
 Advances technology
 Aid small business
o Cons of cheap wireless
 Hurts large TelCo companies
 Unforseen costs – charge taxpayers $$
 Failure of Wi-Fi cells
 Most important service for low income?

o Project is effort for government to take control
 Earthlink has monopoly over Philadelphia
 Maintained by non profit agency – the government?
• Issues of privacy – long term promise of information
o Financial, personal, communicative
 direct democracy over represented democracy
o project allows ISP to control internet space of consumers
 lead to geographically bordered web experience
• allow for specified web experience
• but can it unite a community? No, internet breaks
boundaries of location
• citizens registered as member of town
o groceries, bank, school. Etc
o swipe card to do stuff
o government monitors citizen’s every move
o lead to retinal/fingerprinting/ chip technology
o behavior and spending analysis
o no privacy!

• Howard Dean for America

o Started Blog for America – campaign blogs were instrumental in 2004
 Journalists considered them trustworthy
 Blogs credited for exposing stories ignored by traditional media
o Got tons of money through many small 25 dollar donations
o Worked well because…
 Resources: provided way to get resources for campaign
 Audience: found audience through technology and parties
 Mobilization: got people out to do things! Meetup, etc
o but we don’t trust the internet as much as we do television
o Potential Issues
 Bloggers that are paid to contribute opinion
o Pros
 Increase communication with candidate
 Finding others similar political interest
 Mobilize supporters
 Solidify and spread messages
 Debate and challenge
o cons
 security issues
 Regulation of cost
 Ned lamont vs joe Lieberman

1) how can blogs reach a wider audience?
2) Is the internet a reliable source of political news and information?
3) Historically media has been in control, and now losing it to individual. What will
media do to assert power? (howard dean’s downfall)

Understanding Information Systems

• Time and the human record
o We tend to not think about longevity of information
 Why transmit information over time?
• Pride and hubris
• Let future people know about us
• Help those who follow us, information about dangers, etc.
o Exoinformation: “data exhaust” we give off from
everyday living
• Artifact
o Material its made of
o Conditions stored in
o Redundancy – number of copies
• Information
o Language
o Writing systems
o Formats
• meaning
o metadata
o culture
o context
• Problems in preserving digital objects
o Viewing problem
o Scrambling problem
o Inter-relation problem – digital objects only make sense in relation to
other digital objects
o Custodial problem – is anyone actively preserving digital media?
• layers of digital objects
o physical (the actual disk needs to be readable by the driver)
o logical (recognizable file)
o conceptual

• Web 2.0
o What is web 2.0?
 Netowork as platform, spanning all connected devices
 Software that gets better with more people using it
 Consuming and remixing data from multiple sources
 Creating network effects through architecture of participation
 All to create rich user experience
o characteristics of web 2.0
 dyanamic information, not static pages
 beta (release new versions as they come out)
 Open (for anyone to use)
 Remix and mash up (new interfaces)
 Network effects (grows and gets better with more ppl
• Copyright issues
o Is it a good idea to have a database of everyone’s information?
• Online communities and the wisdom of crowds
o Commons Based Peer Production:
 New model of economic production in which the creative energy
of a large number of people is coordinated (usually with internet)
into large meaningful projects mostly without traditional
hierarchiacal organization or financial compensation
• “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow”
• dangers of following the crowd
o hive mind
o comformity and decline of individual opinion
o lowest common denominator
o easy to appear authoritative on the web
o memes and swarms are easy to start but hard to stop
o trolls and vandals!
o Too imitative
• quality control?

o Networks: pushing people farther apart? (facebook)
o Change way people relate to information and to each other
o Define social customs, control what information others see
o We can keep up to date with others lives without actually having to deal
with another human being! Changes idea of friendship
o Rule of 150
o Next step in online advertising – generation Y = 60 million
o Users have large say in their social space (news feed => privacy features)
o Reed’s law: utility of large networks scales exponentially with the size of
the network
• Wikipedia:
o There aren’t as many eyes as we think! Same people…

• Scholarly communication issues:

o TEACH act
 Can use copyrighted material under following rules…
• Restricted to students specific class
• University must have copyright policy
• Must use reasonable technology measures to prevent
• universities are paying way too much for journals in comparison to what
professors gaining
o we should have open access system where author pays small fee for all to
 can the web make science free?

• collective knowledge access of the crowds

o Collective intelligence Is that which overcomes “groupthink” and
individual bias to allow many people to collaborate on one project
• successes vs failures
o diversity of opinion versus homogeneity
o independence vs groupthink: independent thought is lost to conformity
o decentralization versus centralization: everyone needs own private info
o aggregation vs division: divided areas aren’t much use
• Dangers
o Conformity
o Lowest common denominator
o Mob rule
o Problems with assumptions of intent

o Public free database of human knowledge create quality gradient of
information and create market for digital books
 Digital books prevalent on college campuses, become new way to
carry information and take notes
 Libraries rendered useless, just social spaces
 If students using search engine as primary source info, problematic

Visualization of Information

• Information Design
o Design looks at function and experience of object and asks how learners
can interact with object… form matters!
o Visualization of information allows us to see patterns simeotaneously

• Guilds
o Guild: an association of people of the same trade to protect mutual interest
and skills of certain art
 PixelCore: global industry guide for next generation digital
craftsmen. Offers
• Software
• Training
• Community
• Production training
 Devised to create a global production community capable of
generating around the world
• Prepare artists for media revolution
• Provide clear guidelines learning digital media
• Access to production training and experience
• Inexpensive and ongoing education in the business of
digital media
o Questionable if PixelCore can help Africa
o Digital media market might make more self sufficient
o Political corruption and war are in the way
 Government has media control
• There is no freedom in media
• is a humanitarian effort? Or just getting cheap labor…
• are we even recruiting Africans? Lots of foreign experts are coming to Africa,
and brightest Africans are leaving.
o If recruitment is done by internet, then we are limited by who has that!
 Increase divide by helping higher class
 PixelCore is in English!
• Digital Art
o Easier to reproduce, organize, correct, cut costs of company by 85%
o Both digital and traditional art share same principles
o Computer screens alter colors
o Success really depends on creativity and time commitment of designer

• What makes an effective scientific visualization?

o Primary and secondary information
 “Just Noticeable differences” when speaking of color
• 2% change in luminescence for close colors, 10% farther
• Visualizing disease
o WHO was major force in eradicating SARS from China, government got
in the way
 Two major strands of information dissemination
• Maps and charts that tracked the SARS outbreak
• Press releases to the public

o An increased population makes flu outbreak dangerous
o People are traveling a lot more
o Government might choose morale over morals
o If in hands of the media, we’re in trouble, but now individual has power!

Information Technology in Arts and Humanities

• Digital Audio
o Reasons for Sound
 Conveying information
 Setting a mood
 Capturing attention
 Explaining a process
 Providing personal contact
Information Technology and Engineering and Commerce

• Video Games
o Intellectual Property
 Dispute over character ownership
 Players “time for money”
 Ownership of “data”
 Rules of the house
 “rape” in everquest
• machinima: video clips from games in movies

• Sonification of Information
o Remapping the visualization of music so we don’t see notes or scale, we
see code
o Tuning is a lot harder

• Information Processing
o Getting real information from indirect measurements.
o Extracting useful information from limited amounts of raw data which
may be a representation of a complex phenomenon, distored, distributed,
or marked with auxiliary features
 Oil slick problem
• Could communicate data to single point for processing and
o Doesn’t work because millions of sensors make
conflicts and one sensor could be far from rest –
require lots of energy for transmission
• have local processing between nodes, talk together and then
transmit picture
o uses less energy
o retains efficacy of procedure

Example Questions for Final

1) From Arts and Humanities module:
a. Where does the line between art and commerce lie? Do you agree with
their assessment of how the music industry is under threat from new
technologies of music distribution?
2) Understanding Info Systems
a. Use of information interactions and interfaces: What is user interface
design and why does it matter? What are the challenges of balancing
aesthetics and usability? Cite examples to support argument if applicable.
Cite readings and materials in class
3) Info Tech Arts and Humanities:
a. How did the semantic web help Google to become the biggest market
place ahead of Amazon and ebay? What is lacking at Amazon and Ebay
and why is this so important for their type of business?

Infopomophic Paradigm

• Infopomorphism: the idea that human beings are one stop in an evolutionary
process that will continue to accelerate towards other forms
• Anthropomorphism: in religion, the perception f divine beings as having human
qualities both physically and emotionally. In this case humanity would be divine
the ultimate form, and no improvement would be possible or necessary.

Infopomorphism: The universe is created towards producing chains of accelerating

changes that result in something that couldn’t have been predicted before.

Evolutionary Development

• chaos, replication, and variation
• new computational phase space opening development
• emergence, selection, and convergence
• well explored phase space optimization

• the marbles (systems) roll around on the landscape, each taking unpredictable
(evolutionary paths) But the paths predictably converge (development) on low
points (MEST compression) the “attractors” at the bottom of each basin
o Skinks extra eye

Innovation vs Sustainability
• humanity needs to keep innovation manageable in order to make sure that it
continues to be focused towards achieving its purpose
• developmental sustainability without innovation creates sterility
• innovation without sustainability creates chaos

Raymond Kurzweil

• extended Moore’s law to all technology

• Predicts a technological singularity in which the acceleration of technological
development leads to change so rapid that it fundamentally alters the nature of
human existence.

Accelerating Change

• Scientists disagree about the major advances that mark significant technological
breakthroughs but agree that they are occurring more rapidly
• According to Gerald Hawkins many of these breakthroughs, which he calls
“mindsteps” were resisted at the beginning.
• Amount of time between each change is going down!

What could happen during the Singuarity?

• Artificial Intelligence becomes exponentially smarter than humanity

• Energy creation increases in efficiency exponentially
• Economic scarcity is eliminated
• Human lifespan increases without limit as medicine improves and technology
allows virtual consciousness

Soft vs Hard Takeoff

• Hard takeoff as predicted by Vernor Vinge and movies such as Terminator or The
Matrix is when the development of one ultra intelligent machine that can improve
itself leads to an explosion in AI
• Soft takeoff as predicted by Kurzweil is when the rate of acceleration is constant
before and during the singularity

Criticism of the Singuarity Theory

• Theodore Modis argues that technological innovation is actually declining

• Jurgen Schmidumber theorizes that better memory of recent events as opposed to
older ones results in a constant feeling of accelerating change

Personality Capture

• Advances in AI may allow people to upload their consciousness to a machine

• Memories would be stored
• Future actions would be predicted based on a pattern of behavior in the past (self
as pattern)
• Could change societal views of death

Controlling Development

Government can slow down or accelerate technological progress in specific areas

Smart claims biotech is not going to take off in the same way as information processing
Humans don’t want upgrade human 1.5

Limits to Technology

Living systems limited by matter, energy, space, and time

Technology is getting smaller, more energy efficient, and faster
Advances in nanotechnology outpacing other field
Information Processing

Advances in technology are fueling information processing

Sensors are becoming cheaper, smarter, and smaller

Oil Slick
Problems: too much information, too much energy (batteries) too expensive

1) Why might the US patent system be broken? What is “peer to patent system,”
and could it work? Problems vs potential gains…

2) What are the implications of a wireless city? What will be the eventual outcome?
Is this fair to large TelCo companies?

3) How has the internet affected political campaigns, and what are the long term
implications? Who has the power? What are the pros and cons?

4) Is it possible to preserve all of human knowledge? What are the gains? What is
stopping us (problems?)? What are the dangers in having universal access to this
knowledge? How does the wisdom of crowds affect the retention of human

5) What is the conflict between the music industry and access to free information?
6) What is Braess Paradox? How does user choice contribute to it? What is a
network? (social, transportation,) and how are they similar? Different?

7) What is the motivation behind PixelCore? Could it ever really work?

8) How could modern visualization tools have been used to help with the 1918 flu
pandemic? What would happen if a pandemic occurred today? How would the
public respond if a country’s government tried to suppress information? How can
information visualization be used to educate public?

9) What is the value of gaming technology in the educational process? What is the
reason for gender bias? What are risks of this gaming culture, and implications of
social networks that develop in these games?

10) How can music enlighten the sciences? What is supercollider? What is an audio
illusion example and how does it work? What information analysis is facilitated
by the sonification of information?

11) What is the legitimacy between digital art and traditional art

12) What is the new normal, and how will it help in my career?
13) Compare and contrast industry fabrication with personal fabrication. How will
personal fabrication impact commerce as we know it today? Can the personal
fabrication divide be compared to the digital divide?

14) What is the balance between accelerating change and sustainability?