Technoscience / Ecomateriality / Literature

Category: Uncategorized Page 2 of 9

Saturated Big Data Market DN

There is a possible and attractive IPO of Hortonworks, which is a maker of Hadoop Big Data software…. this is creating a big trend as many IPOs are moving into the big data market and creating serious competition of traditional companies like IBM or Google.Thought this was pretty interesting.

“Hadoop is one of the hottest open source frameworks for storing and analyzing chunks of data. It helps developers and enterprises to build solutions for what many call “big data,” which has become a multi-billion dollar industry. IDC predicts the big data market will become a $100 billion industry by 2020, with Hadoop comprising half of its value.

For those not familiar with Hadoop, it’s a software that makes it cheap and easy to manage massive bits of data. It processes petabytes of data on cheap hardware, unlike in the past when you needed supercomputers to work with.”

This is the link to the full article:

Hyper Use of Tech DN

This week we explored the possibilities of how AR devices may change daily activities in the future. I was personally fascinated by the short film Sight, by Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo. The most troubling issue that was presented in the short film was the possibility of people being able to hack or take control over someone else’s brain. This ending was very daunting and makes you wonder about how the effects of hacking or stolen data can evolve to consequences of that nature, if we continue to progressively give companies more and more of our personal information to them.

Aside from this message, what struck me the most was the constant level of interaction with the web or cloud that the future holds. In a larger scale, I am worried about how my generation is very active in social networks, online media, and just always connected. This is generally seen as a good thing, because it means that data is a lot more accessible to us and that we have fewer limitations in keeping ourselves informed. However, I also think this high level of dynamic interaction has developed shorter attention spans and has developed the need to constantly be doing something. I have find myself always wanting to multitask or fidget with my phone when I have free time. Many times, the technology that we have at our fingertips becomes exhausting to me. I am always refreshing different apps, and before it use to just be Facebook and emails. Now, however you have to be in Yak Yik, Facebook, Instagram, Groupme, and Snapchat to really “stay connected”. The thought of the addition of the Google glass to the addicting uses of television, phones, and computers, becoming a part of our daily lives is overwhelming. As we discussed in class, one example of this hyper use of technology is the possibility of advertisements coming into your Google glasses. This shows that you will be constantly flooded with online information without any real escape.

The more and more I read articles on new technologies, that more am I aware of the possible downside effects hidden behind the great innovation behind them.

Computing and Nature

I found Nadja Sayej’s “Programming Computers with Dirt” article fascinating. As a programmer myself, I was intrigued at the possibilities of harnessing the Earth’s natural resources for operating a computer. Reading the interview with Martin Howse, the artist behind Earthboot, brought my thoughts back to our earlier Jean-Francois Blanchette reading, “A Material History of Bits.” Blanchette’s paper reinforced the physical grounding that lies beneath all computing – the fact that information must be stored in bits as physical on-off switches somewhere on some tiny chip. Assuming the computing industry continues its rapid growth, what will happen when we run out of resources to make these chips and store this information? Our Earth has a limited supply of silicon to make the integrated circuits that these microchips need, and there is limited physical space on Earth to host computer clusters. We have enough concern for overpopulation of humans, let alone overpopulation of information!

Projects like Earthboot suggest natural solutions for more efficient information storage. Earthboot uses naturally-occurring electricity for booting up a computer, and perhaps this linkage between computers and natural Earth phenomena could prove promising (and more renewable than current materials used). Scientists at Harvard have already made groundbreaking progress in using DNA as a sort of digital storage device, fitting approximately 700 terabytes of data in a single gram of DNA (Anthony). In the near future, it could be commonplace to see large amounts of data encoded within strands of DNA, which would bring new meaning to the idea of information being alive.

It is easy to get caught up in the allure of a new technological era, and to consume massive amounts of resources in the process of development. However, as a society we have a responsibility to find long-term sustainability for our technological dependencies. Experimental projects like Earthboot provide a fascinating glimpse into future linkages between nature and computers.



Anthony, Sebastian. “Harvard Cracks DNA Storage, Crams 700 Terabytes of Data into a Single Gram.” ExtremeTech. ExtremeTech, 17 Aug. 2012. Web. 12 Nov. 2014. <>.

Blanchette, Jean-Francois. “A Material History of Bits.” Web. 10 Oct. 2014.

Sayej, Nadia. “Programming Computers with Dirt: Earthboot Powers PCs with Geological Energy.” Motherboard. VICE, 22 Oct. 2013. Web. 14 Nov. 2014. <>.

Using Technology for #1wknotech

This post seems fundamentally wrong


 This week’s topics of focus, #1wknotech, Google Glass and Media Geology have all further affirmed my belief that we are doomed as a species to be slaves to technology (call me crazy). Starting with the #1wknotech, I think it says something to our dependence on technology that people use technology and social media platforms to talk about how it would be to not have these things. I find it a bit ironic and pointless that the whole premise of the project is to use technology as much as possible to hypothesize how it would be without technology. I think a better implementation of the project would be to go without technology for a week, then go back and reflect on the experience with the help of social media and technology.

The introduction of Google Glass and Media Geology into the mainstream of society will just increase our dependence on technology. As Google Glass picks up momentum, people won’t be able to just look at something without having a plethora of screens and monitors all around them. The idea of having to “look something up” will be foreign—rather, as soon as you need it, the information is right in front of your eyes. We will have the power to change the world around us. If you combine the power of the Google Glass and Media Technology, you can easily become the master of your environment. There will be sensors that indicate air quality, and Google glass will instantly show you if you’re in a good area to breathe or not. You can tell Google Glass if you’re uncomfortable with the temperature, and sensors in the surrounding area can adjust the temperature.

None of these seem like a bad thing, but my fear is about our reliance on them. If we depend on all of these resources to get us through our day to day life, what happens if it fails? Blackouts are not common, but they still happen…what happens if one day we lose all power? How will we be able to function as a society? Will we be able to? Maybe the reason we can’t fully do #1wknotech is because doing so would ruin us.

Augmenting Reality vs #1wkNoTech

This week we explored the two different potential extremes that technology can have in our lives. On the one hand, several of the videos and readings we watched and read were about Augmented Reality and its potential impacts on the future. Although the effects of Augmented Reality will probably extend to every single corner of our lives, we focused on some potential prominent effects on gaming, dating, privacy, and more. Several more of its potential effects, from shopping to travel and history, our documented in writer Lauren Drell’s article here. On the other hand, we also brought into our discussion the “1 week no Tech” movement, which aims to make participants experience a week of their lives with no technology. The movement has the ironic flair that participants are supposed to share how they’re “1 week no tech” is going with other participants in several different online mediums. I, as well as many others, think that this ironic flair severely detracts from the aims of the movement. Nevertheless, the thought that it may be desirable to experience life without any technology is still present in the movement.

Exploring these two extremes lets us recognize that there is a large tension in our society’s attitude towards technology. Many people look to the future optimistically as one that is completely infused with mind blowing technological advances (e.g. Ray Kurzweil), while others look to the future pessimistically as one where the technology has endangered many of the aspects of human life that are essential to being human. One point that the latter group brings up is that we are being slowly eased into technological advances in potentially harmful ways. They argue that we would never willingly go to the technological places that some futurists envision that we will inevitably get to, however since we are being slowly eased into them, we more or less have no choice in the matter. Having a 1 week with no tech can potentially make us more aware of the dramatic effects that technology already has in our daily lives.

Works Cited

Drell, Lauren. “7 Ways Augmented Reality Will Improve Your Life.” Mashable. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.

Google Images and “1 week no tech”



This is what google images thinks “1 week no tech” is.

Thinking about what a week without technology would be like helps us reflect on our dependence on technology.  Because the progress of technology is often gradual, it may be that one day we wake up and realize that technology has taken us to places as a society where we really don’t want to be. Having a “1 week no tech” might serve as a partial antidote to this phenomenon of gradually being lulled into an undesirable place. Alternatively, it can make us grateful for the many benefits that technology gives us every day, since often these go unnoticed.

Some thoughts on Google Glass – Cathy

One week no tech:





How does thinking about a week without technology help us reflect on technology?

For some people, one week without technology makes life more difficult because they are used to live with it. They might heavily rely technology to do their job, such as programmers, or they might socialize a lot online rather than in real life. So technology also makes people lazy and sometimes unable to finish basic tasks in our life (without it).

For others, one week without technology makes life simple as their life probably does not involve much technology. Not to mention learning to use technology can also be exhausting and in that case, people are catching up with the technology rather than making technology suit our needs.


One week without facebook massaging:



A digress to Oatmeal on Net Neutrality:

Ebocloud Post DN

Ebocloud by Rick Moss was definitely one of my favorite reads throughout this semester. It produced the idea of a world where a social, humanitarian network develops humans into group-minded, common goal-oriented tribes. This has a lot of ethical implications such as weighing the “greater good” over individuality. In the book where Ellie poses the question, “Are we talking about selfishness or individuality?” (Moss 195). Desalt argued that there really wasn’t a difference, “devoting yourself fully to the common good, you lose your self… [one] would argue that is a good thing” (Moss 195). The sorts of ethical questions that can evolve from a vision like this is what made this story so engaging. To think about how selfishness and individuality as intertwined characteristics removes the option of trying to remove only the one aspect of “bad” from human nature. Therefore, what comes with selfishness are important factors that make life rewarding and achievement-driven.

This ties back to Doug’s ultimate worry that “when we add something this big into our lives, we’re going to give up something equally big” (Moss 342). As shown later in the plot, the use of applications that control and allow for fluidity and complete sync within ebo tribes, enables a clear lost of authenticity and originality. The example of the how the Firewheels ebo tribe was able to orchestrate music through simple tools and objects was astonishing. However, thinking about it in retrospect, it is not that exciting because it was all controlled and this was not really a major achievement of skill and dedication, but rather of people being manipulated by one technology. The merit of personal achievement is not really there, and as we discussed class, how can people be distinguished by their skills if eventually this form of technology converges everyone into an equal field of skills and abilities?

The concept of the Ebocloud is fantastic from a broader overview, but it is easy to lose sight of the downfalls that come with such revolutionary technology. The book ended with the Ebocloud project moving forward as the entire group of main characters decide that it is for the best interest of society to cover up the past, and that the Ebocloud was bigger than them and all they had endured. It reveals how easy it is for technology to take control of the characters without them realizing it. Eli was not involved with Ebo until after the investigations and fires began, but by the end of the story he basically surrendered to the resolve that the deaths of few were not enough to stop the progression of a technology that truly was the root of the deaths. This ending along with other powerful scenes from when the Ebocloud was temporary down, “people [were] really freaked – pouring out into the streets like there’s been an earthquake”, really rattled me (Moss 385). The dangers behind these revolutionary technologies are how humans evolve dependencies on these technologies, which turn into submissive natures.

Moss, Rick. Ebocloud. New Orleans: Aquieous, 2013. Print.

Isaac Asimov – The Last Question

Read it!  It’s a little long but I promise it’s worth it.  One of my personal favorite short stories.

Ebocloud response

One of the interesting questions Rick Moss’ Ebocloud provoked was the boundary of the technology development and its encroachment on our identity. Radu, the bold and possibly mad scientist, proposed the mapping of human’s entire neural circuitry and predicted that science can predict how we love and how we should love just as how science has been used to predict the outcome of a chemistry experiment. In the conversation between Radu and Camilla (Part2, Chapter 10), the tension between the ever-aggrandizing scheme of scientifying ourselves (the humanity) and the resistance of such attack plus the self-preserving sentiment very much embodies the heat debate in the ethics of science today.

The undertone of Camilla basically coincides with the reaction from the crowd because of the fear of self-identity effaced by technology. To alleviate such fear, we need to delve deeper into the concept of self-identity, which is nothing but another product of natural evolution that we cannot fully control. It must be admitted, however, such fear cannot be completely eradicated because it also serves its purpose to not-so-kindly remind us (and hopefully people like Radu) of deleting all the bad characteristics of humans (e.g. seven sins) is also an act of deleting a part of humanity.


Moss, Rick. Ebocloud. New Orleans: Aquieous, 2013. Print.

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