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Critical Computing
Using Computers for Social Awareness and Empowerment

In the real world we can cre­ative­ly rep­re­sent our­selves in dynam­ic ways. So, we can vary our ges­ture, our dis­course, our pos­ture, our fash­ion, life sto­ries, the way we tell our sto­ries. And all of this is with an astound­ing sen­si­tiv­i­ty to social con­text. Computer tech­nolo­gies like com­put­er games, social net­work­ing, and vir­tu­al worlds are much more prim­i­tive than what we do in the real world.

The Conversation #34 — Douglas Rushkoff

I would say a bet­ter place looks like…having din­ner with the per­son who lives next door to you. Knowing who they are. A bet­ter place is shar­ing the same snow­blow­er on your block. The bet­ter place is eas­i­est to imag­ine, and ulti­mate­ly get to, if we look at it in terms of our incre­men­tal moment-to-moment choic­es.

Our Faces

The French philoso­pher Immanuel Levinas has taught us that it is through our inter­ac­tions with the face of some­body else, it is through encoun­ter­ing the face of anoth­er, that our respon­si­bil­i­ties to some­one else arise. You can­not look at some­body else, tru­ly look at them, and then walk away with­out hav­ing some kind of sense of a rela­tion­ship towards that per­son. But what if the oth­er has no face? What then? Or what if the face of the oth­er is actu­al­ly the face of anoth­er per­son entire­ly?

The Conversation #3 — Peter Warren

Although our ulti­mate goal is pro­tect­ing bio­log­i­cal diver­si­ty on the land and pro­tect­ing the integri­ty of these nat­ur­al com­mu­ni­ties, the strate­gic way to get there is to pre­vent these ranch­es from being sub-divided. And it turns out the issue that these ranch­es are hav­ing, you know, they get togeth­er and talk and say, Wow our neigh­bor over here sold out and that ranch got sub-divided…” every time that hap­pens, it puts pres­sure on the remain­ing ranch­ers who want to stay in ranch­ing.

The Conversation #2 — Max More

My main goal is not to die in the first place. I hope to keep liv­ing, hope­ful­ly long enough that sci­ence will have solved the aging prob­lem and I won’t have to die. But since I don’t know how long that’s going to take, cry­on­ics is the real back­up pol­i­cy for me.

Re-calling the Modem World: The Dial-Up History Of Social Media

Where did the Internet come from? And in order to answer that ques­tion, you would have to have a pret­ty clear idea of what you mean when you say the Internet.” I sus­pect that if we were to poll every­body in the room, we would have a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent, some­times con­tra­dic­to­ry, some­times incom­pat­i­ble, some­times over­lap­ping, def­i­n­i­tions of the Internet.”

Collusion episode 3: Food

Food has always been tight­ly inter­twined with cul­ture and iden­ti­ty. As a result, it’s also been a com­mon tar­get of colo­nial­ism. Colonizers under­stood that by wip­ing out people’s food tra­di­tions, it would be eas­i­er to wipe out their ori­gins, their iden­ti­ty, and their his­to­ry. This kind of trend isn’t only in the past, though. In many areas of the world, dietary habits are chang­ing, food inequal­i­ty is rife, and some­how both obe­si­ty and hunger are on the rise on a glob­al scale.

Virality, Uncreativity and the End of Self-Expression

With social media, the com­pelling oppor­tu­ni­ties for self-expression out­strip the sup­ply of things we have to con­fi­dent­ly say about our­selves. The demand for self-expression over­whelms what we might dredge up from the inside, from our true selves. So the self that we’re express­ing in social media has to be posit­ed else­where. We start to bor­row from the net­work. We start to bor­row from imag­ined future selves that we can project. We start to bor­row from the media them­selves and from oth­er kinds of con­tent cir­cu­lat­ing there that we can now con­sti­tute our­selves with.

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