Technoscience / Ecomateriality / Literature

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December 3rd, 2014 | Posted by Norma De Jesus in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)


Ebocloud Post DN

November 7th, 2014 | Posted by Diego Nogales in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

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.

Ebocloud Commentary

November 7th, 2014 | Posted by Norma De Jesus in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Ebocloud introduces various aspects that make readers question the relationship humans have with technology. In the book, Desalt, the founder of Ebocloud, utilizes Vonnegut’s theories to create a multi-human system similar to Facebook in the sense that everyone is interconnected. Desalt attempts to mimic the African tribe Ebo by also creating functional family units where “Ebo-cousins” will be at the disposal of their other ebo-cousins. With digitalized tattoos, they are able to check into the network and help their ebo cousins out. The outcome of doing so is karmerits, and the more karmerits an individual earned, the higher the elder position they received.

Although the idea is a bit farfetched, we can’t help but wonder whether a similarity already exists in the real world. The Internet has provided us with the same interconnectedness that Ebocloud offers. Although we don’t necessarily earn karmerits, we still receive the sense of connectivity amongst each other. This can’t help but make me wonder how big of a role technology plays in everyone’s lives. We evidently aren’t part of a system where our hierarchal standing is dictated by the amount of good deeds we de. But we are part of a system that extracts our personal information and resells to other companies for profit. Whether or not we choose to acknowledge that, we continue to be a part of it because we would much rather lose a little bit of our personal data rather than disconnect from the virtual realities social media offers us.

Apart from Ebocloud being a story of a young male protagonist who participates in this social, real world application, it is also a commentary on society and of the various social media which we rely on to become more connected with the world. This book does a very great job of posing questions as the story progresses. It makes us wonder how interconnectivity plays a great role in our lives and how technology helps amplify human connection.


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

Ebocloud novel response

November 7th, 2014 | Posted by Greg Lyons in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Ebocloud provides a fascinating look into the powerful effect that social networking through technology can have on human psychology. I was interested in the way that being a part of the ebocloud network manipulated people’s own perceptions of reality. When initially describing the merit system to Ellie in Part 1, Jared describes how “faking being a good person week after week” leads to one day waking up and “realizing you are good” (Moss 59). In this sense, ebocloud functions as a technology that turns people from selfish into selfless. Perhaps, then, the surface objectives of ebocloud are subordinate to deeper, more significant objectives. The ebocloud network is not about the specific deeds being done – while practically useful and critically important to the individuals receiving help, these individual tasks are not as important as the collective effects cultivated by the cloud. Ebocloud has the power to open individuals’ eyes to the world beyond their own daily existence and open them up to a world of possibility in serving others.

However, with such a powerful collective effect, there are dangers to ebocloud. Later in the novel, Desalt describes to Ellie how “devoting yourself fully to the common good” results in “losing yourself”, and Ellie ponders whether the human race is “doing away with our individuality” (Moss 195). In creating all of these connections between humans to elevate our collective power as a group, do we lose something more important than we gain? Perhaps in following this sort of utilitarianism (happiness for the greatest number of people), people lose track of individuality and the value of personal pursuits. This reminds me of Fight Club (originally a book by Chuck Palahniuk, but I have only seen the David Fincher film). Fight Club deals with individuals who seek to break from conformity of society – yet in forming a collective rebellion against society, they end up relinquishing their individuality yet again. Blind conformity in any scenario can be dangerous, regardless of the motives. The ebocloud network has significant power to increases selflessness among humans, but is selflessness what we really want?

Works Cited:

Fight Club. Dir. David Fincher. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2000.

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

Ebocloud Novel Response

November 7th, 2014 | Posted by David Builes in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

In his novel Ebocloud, Rick Moss explores the possibility of what is called a social singularity. In his interview with Michael Anissimov, Rick Moss says that the primary condition that is needed for a social singularity to occur is that “human minds—and a lot of them—will need to be networked to a very powerful computer network (let’s call it a cloud, since that’s the configuration of choice these days), presumably by way of brain computer interfaces, or BCIs.” The particular BCI that is used in Ebocloud, the dToo, is a digital tattoo placed on the users wrist and is introduced by the character Camilla in Chapter 16, Part II of the novel. Camila says, “the dToo will be a connection between your world – the world inside you – and the ebocloud online world.” In explaining what the dToo will do, perhaps the most frightening aspect Camilla introduces is what is called “Mood-ulation”, which is the dToo’s ability to modify the user’s mood using neurotransmitters like acetylcholine.

One of the primary questions to ask of a social singularity, of course, is “is it a good thing?” Here, Rick Moss develops both sides of the story through characters like Ellie and Radu. Throughout the book, Ellie is portrayed as the character that has reservations about Ebocloud. For example, in conversations with his friend Jared in Part I he worries that Ebocloud will infringe on humanity’s primary social unit – the family. He also worries that the Ebocloud will take away a person’s individuality. On the other hand, Radu is characterized as a technological genius with both sound philosophical and scientific reasons for thinking that the social singularity will be a good thing for humanity. We get a first glimpse of Radu’s ideas in Chapter 10 Part II. Here, he advocates that the philosophical reason why a social singularity will be beneficial is because it will be used to promote the General Will (a term introduced by Jean-Jacques Rousseau) of everyone. Scientifically, he believes that he can finally reduce the immensely complex social structures developed by human beings to a manageable, predictable science because of all of the data that the Ebocloud will track.

Ultimately, I think it is an extremely delicate manner and the result can go both ways. I think it is uncontroversial that if the social singularity does happen, it will radically change all of our lives in many ways that are probably unforeseeable. However, I tend to be less pessimistic than Ellie was. I think that if it is handled correctly, a social singularity has the capacity to enrich all of our lives in very profound ways.

Works Cited

Moss, Rick. “Dialog: Author Rick Moss and Michael Anissimov on the “social singularity”” Ebocloud The Novel by Rick Moss. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2014.

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

Ebocloud response

November 7th, 2014 | Posted by Pooja Mehta in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

I thought that Ebocloud, while it started off confusing and a little dense, ended up being a really good book. While reading the novel, I focused mainly on the role and ethics of big data, the value of being online and the value of online connection as shown in the book. Big data plays a huge role in the novel. Not only do members of Ebocloud start off with all of their standard information online (name, birthday, interests, etc), they also share their interests, and that is used to group people into particular Ebo’s. Later on in the novel, we see the appearance of the dToo, which then gives the cloud access to people’s thoughts and actions, and allows the cloud to control it to an extent.

I think the world described in the novel has a big dependence on being online and being connected to others. For example, Jared bases everything he does on Ebocloud. He wants to build up as many karmerits as he can, and is one of the first in line to get his dToo. Matt is fully immersed as well, and even Ellie warms up to the idea. He is weary of it at first, but after meeting up with other Firewheels, he realizes that he really likes his “cousins”, and agrees to be a beta tester for the dToo, which he ends up loving.

This whole concept terrifies me. I agree that there is a value to being online and a value to being connected, but the extent to which it is shown in Ebocloud is a little much. The cloud has access to people’s brains and fields of vision and all sorts of crazy stuff. What if a bug is introduced into the program? What if it gets hacked? Who knows what kind of stuff people could be forced to do? The society seems to be pretty utopian, but I see the potential for it to get really ugly really quickly.

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