Thu, 11 September 2014
A new episode of For All Intents and Purposes is here in true episodic fashion! Though PAX may be done and no huge events seem to be around the corner, it's back to business as usual.
The Week in Geek: Andrew plays the Battlestar Galactica board game and actually keeps his friends this time, while Dan watches Academy Award-nominated animated short films––specifically, "Adam and Dog" by Minkyu Lee. Also, Dan will be an exhibitor at this year's Crocker-Con in Sacramento at the Crocker Art Museum. It happens on Thursday, 11 September, from 5-9pm. Be there!
Boasts of Bethel: Close-reading the second episode of Doctor Who's 8th series, "Into the Dalek," Dan investigates the most prominent question on Whovians' minds: Is Clara actually a good English teacher?
Discussion: Since Dan started watching Supernatural this week, he remembers the good old days of episodic nerdy drama and he and Andrew ponder why so much television has become serialized and whether it has helped or hurt the medium.
Love the Craft: Andrew and Dan look at another story by H. P. Lovecraft. This time, it's one Andrew hasn't read before, an exciting, frightening, and...funny (?) short called, "The Hound."
Question: Hot off the presses of Apple's press conference and their announcement of the Apple Watch, Dan and Andrew wonder:
What are your thoughts on the rise of "smart", on-your-body peripherals for your phones?
Leave your answers on the page for this episode at forall.libsyn.com, or join and leave a comment at the For All Intents and Purposes Facebook and/or Google+ pages. You may also send us your answers, questions, or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.
+Matthew: I wrote my comment before reading the article you linked to about the worlds most connected man; and then, I found all the themes that I brought up in my comment in the article. Very good read! My point remains: there will be a struggle between the powers who want to use our data to control us, and the people who want to use their data to better their lives...(*Mortal Combat voice*)AND FIGHT!
***comment:part the first***Thanks for doing the review of "The Hound"! My first encounter with that story was in the form of a short film. After listening to your piece, I reached for my tablet and dailed it up. It's been too long since I laid on the couch and read some Lovecraft in English; as a language learning tool, I've been trying to read him in German--with emphasis on the word "trying"--but I haven't read him in English for a while. Yes, the language is silly, but it's also pretty awesome: very effective at creating a particular mindset and atmosphere. Another short work that I would recommend that is also very accessible, and that you can finish within about 20 minutes, is "The Outsider." Like "The Hound" it's an early story, written in 1921. ***comment: part the second***When we start getting into wearable tech, we are entering the larger topics of the Internet of Things, and the Quantified Self. Most media outlets are reporting that the features available on the current generation of smart watch just aren't appealing to the mass market and that the tech simply isn't there yet. I think that Matthew's comment above is very insightful. To veer off into more of the social side of mobile devices, I was able to catch Sherry Turkle's lecture at Seattle's Town Hall venue a few years back, and she made a good point about smart phones: they are a gateway out of where ever you happen to be when you find that place boring. If you don't have time to read her book, "Alone Together", then check out her 15 minute TED talk. Anyway, we are going to enter this world with universal computing and everything being networked; and, when we do, the people who are able to take advantage and make meaning of all the data that this will create...and it will be a sea of data...will be able to control the rest. Just like when Edward Bernays discovered that he could manipulate people with psychoanalysis and invented the industry of Public Relations, the datamancers of the future will figure out successful models of how to predict and control human beings and attempt to do so. That's the cynical view. The optimistic view would say that people will be more empowered in a way they weren't before by feeding their data into systems that THEY control, instead of...say...FaceBook, and learning meaningful things from that; that's the dream of the quantified self faction. It's true that technology is very much a double-edged sword: both liberating, and enslaving. I would recommend picking your tools carefully; if the code isn't open and hackable, then you don't own it. And there will always be trade offs. As Moxie Marlinspike--what an awesome name, man--says in this lecture (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoeNbZlxfUM), increasingly, not participating is not really an option: you cut yourself off so completely that you can no longer meaningfully interact with the world you live in. When you have 45 minutes to spare, check out his presentation; it's worth it.***To finish***I know this comment is coming in too late to make this weeks show; I've been really busy in Berlin, as you might be able to glean from my google+ stream. I still look forward to tomorrows episode. So, as they say in Canada, Peace oot! (Totally ripped that off from "Rick and Morty")
Smart peripherals are great, but it begins to defeat the purpose behind the rise of smartphones in the first place; single-device reliance. Before smartphones, you had to carry several devices with you when you left the house. You had your music player, your laptop, your organizer, and your cell phone. With smartphones, you only needed one device and a pair of headphones. A lot less to have to carry with you and schlep around town and/or work. Who needs a watch when you can just get your phone out? With the rise of smart peripherals, you will now have all of these smart "bits" to carry around. I feel that this is a bit of a regression. If Google Glass taught us anything, it's that these things may be nice in theory but ultimately unnecessary or obnoxious.
I've thought a lot about the future of "wearables," and it's an interesting/marginally terrifying topic of discussion for me. On the one hand, five years ago I broke down and got a Smartphone, and didn't really understand the utility of it. My internal monologue was something along the lines of: "Okay, so I can check my email for work while I'm on the go, but do people really get these things to watch Netflix during their morning commute on the bus? That's just stupid." I definitely felt like it was a glorified pocket watch, to Andrew's point. Five years and three Smartphones later, and I can barely remember what it was like to not have the nigh-instantaneous connectivity my iPhone provides at my fingertips. Connected culture is here and real and the future-present, especially insofar as we now live in what I can only describe as a Smartphone society. While I don't necessarily think that's a good thing, I certainly don't think it's a bad place to be. Maybe it's net neutral? Convenience at the cost of being very on the grid, very connected, very much a part of society's larger web of white noise and endless chatter. That said, I worry that the rising trend of wearables will give way to a future where everyone is like this guy: http://mashable.com/2014/08/21/most-connected-man/ ... and maybe that won't happen, or maybe it will and it will be fine and eventually feel second nature like owning a Smartphone does today? We're already constantly overloaded on information, and I can't quite picture a society where everyone's wearables bombard them with a flood of digitally-provided, data-driven self-awareness every second of the day. This fear is probably highly paranoid and dystopian on my part, but then again, five years ago I was working for a newspaper and insisting to my end-of-times-fearing colleagues that print journalism still had decades of life left in it. Now I'm convinced it will be essentially non-existent by 2020 -- the exact thing they were all saying five years ago. Digital culture has long had me fearing for the worst while hoping for the best, and I guess, ultimately, my stance on the rise and proliferation of wearables is no different than my broader stance on society in the modern digital world. Sorry for the long comment. I have opinions about the Internet-Earth.