Politics and Technology of Control: Introduction
The Net has great potential for “good” (e.g. innovation, economic growth, education, and access to information), and likewise is a great platform for the bawdy, tawdry and illegal. Is this platform about fundamental social, political and economic change, or about easier access to pornography, cheap pharmaceuticals, free music and poker at home? This question leads us to a host of interesting issues that weave their way through the course related to openness, access, regulatory control, free speech, anonymity, intellectual property rights, democracy, transparency, norms and values, economic and cultural change, and cyber-terrorism, as well as scamsters and thieves.
Preparation (Assignment "Zero")
- Reflect on what you believe are the most significant social, cultural, political or economic changes associated with the spread of digital technologies?
In a few sentences, please offer 2-3 examples in the Class Discussion section below and be prepared to discuss them during class.
- Chris Locke, Doc Searls & David Weinberger, Cluetrain Manifesto (just the manifesto)
Videos Watched in Class
The most significant changes and challenges brought on by digital technologies.
- Your ideas here...
Despite the assigned articles we just read about some of the ways governments try to limit online activity and sharing, to me the most significant changes brought about by the spread of digital technologies are all related to freedom of information and the vast amount of information now accessible. This has political implications in both huge and radical ways (like the way Twitter is used as a organizing tool in many of the Arab Spring movements) and in smaller ways that fit within existing political structures but empower the average person much more (with the internet, I can check any American Senator's voting record, write a letter directly to my congresswoman, etc.). It also has cultural and social implications in the way ideas spread and are shared and altered. Regardless of where you are born or living, you can find people who hold almost any political/social/cultural/religious views online somewhere, and make that your primary community, rather than the one you physically live in. The sheer amount of information and connectedness made possible by the spread of digital technology are at the heart of most major changes based off that technology. AlexLE 16:34, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Freedom. Users have the ability to post any piece of information they wish using digital technologies. This platform is free and happens in real time causing an immediate impact. Put to good use these, digital technologies such as Twitter can connect high school friends in a matter of minutes. Likewise, the same communication method could be used to post a video bullying classmates for being different. The impact of both situations is immediate and with real consequences. The question remains how much policing is necessary to continue maintaining an accessible environment. HopeS 17:15, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
"Perfect enforcement" by the government utilizing the internet and the growing number of tethering devices is a an area of interest of mine. One would be wise to question the extent to which we are likely to be monitored by the government, knowingly or unknowingly, as technology grows. In addition, I am also interested in the drastic political change that social media is capable of spurring. I am interested in learning more about the extent to which governments may be involved, now and in the future. Lastly, I would like to explore potential innovative educational opportunities that may be created in developing nations with the advent of virtual classrooms and online academies. Cfleming27 22:34, 23 January 2012 (UTC)