Posts Tagged ‘interaction


Stone’s The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age

Allucquère Rosanne Stone

The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age

Area: Digital Media

·      Root v. Floating identity

·      In the absence of a prosthetic, Hawking’s intellect becomes a tree falling in the forest with nobody around to hear it

·      The machine can only respond to an on-off situation (i.e. mouse click)

·      Interaction: mutual and simultaneous activity on the part of both participants, usually working toward the same goal (Lippman)

·      Five corollaries of interaction

o       Mutual interuptibility: each participant must be able to interrupt each other mutually and simultaneously

o       Graceful degradation: unanswerable question must be handled in a way that doesn’t halt the conversation

o       Limited look-ahead: Limit to how much the shape of the conversation can be anticipated by either party

o       No-default: no preplanned path—must develop fully in the interaction

o       Impression of an infinite database: an immersive interactional world should give the illusion of not being much more limiting in the choices it offers than an actual world would be

2: “That’s well and good, but still more people take some primary subject position for granted.  When pressed, they may give lip service to the idea that perhaps even their current ‘root’ persona is also a mask, but nobody really believes it. For all intents and purposes, your ‘root’ persona is you.  Take that one away, and there’s nobody home.”

7: “Further, what was being sent bask and forth over the wires wasn’t just information, it was bodies.  The majority of people assume that erotics implies bodies; a body is part of the idea of erotic interaction and its concomitants, and the erotic sensibilities are mobilized and organized around the idea of a physical body which is the seat of the whole thing.  The sex workers’ descriptions were invariably and quite directly about physical bodies and what they were doing or what was being done to them”


Hayles’ My Mother Was a Computer

N. Katherine Hayles
My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts
Area: Digital Media
Preface: Computing Kin

•    Materiality—construction of matter that matter for human meaning
•    The complex dynamics through which the Computational universe works simultaneously as a means and metaphor in technical and artistic practices
•    Intermediation = complex transactions between bodies and texts as well as between different forms of media
o    The posthuman will be understood as effects of media
2: “’Postbiological’ future: the expectation that the corporeal embodiment that has always functioned to define the limits of the human will in the future become optional, as humans find ways to upload their consciousness into computers and leave their bodies behind.”
4: “In the contemporary period, reading as ‘hallucination’ has been displaced in part by the instant messaging, chat rooms, video games, e-mail, and Web surfing that play such a a large role in young people’s experiences.  To an extent, then, the mother’s voice that haunted reading has been supplanted by  another set of stimuli: the visual, audio, kinesthetic, and haptic cues emanating from the computer.  If the mother’s voice was the link connecting subjectivity with writing, humans with natural environments, then the computer’s beeps, clicks, and tones are the links connecting contemporary subjectivities to electronic environments, humans to the Computational Universe.”
Chapter 1: Intermediation: Textuality and the Regimes of Computation
•    Comparison of speech, writing, and code
•    Code: synecdoche for information
•    Emergence
o    25: “This term refers to properties that do not in here in the individual components of a system; rather, these properties come about from interactions between components.”
22: “Even if code is not originally ontological, it becomes so through these recursive feedback loops.  In Wetwares, Richard Doyle makes a similar observation about the belief that we will someday be able to upload our consciousness into computers and thereby effectively achieve immortality.  Doyle comments, ‘’Uploading,’ the desire to be wetware, makes possible a new technology of the self, one fractured by the exteriority of the future….Uploading seems to install discursive, material, and social mechanism for the anticipation of an externalized self, a techno-social mutation that is perhaps best characterized as a new capacity to be affected by, addicted to, the future.”
33: “’Remediation’ has the disadvantage of locating the starting for the cycles in a particular locality and medium, whereas ‘intermediation’ is more faithful to the spirit of multiple causality in emphasizing interactions among media.”
33: “I want to expand its denotations to include interactions between systems of representations, particularly language and code, as well as interactions between modes of representation, particularly analog and digital.  Perhaps most importantly, ‘intermediation’ also denotes mediating interfaces connecting humans with the intelligent machines that are our collaborators in making, storing, and transmitting informational processes and objects.”
Chapter 4: Translating Media
•    If the text is stored accurately on a second storage medium, the text remains the same though the signs for it are different
o    Braille v. Print versions: the text is the same but the sensory input is very different
•    “The materiality of an embodied text is the interaction of its physical characteristics with its signifying strategies.”
101: “With electronic texts there is a conceptual distinction—and often an actualized one—between storage and delivery vehicles, whereas with print the storage and delivery vehicles are one and the same.  With electronic texts, the data files may be on one server and the machine creating the display may be in another location entirely, which means that electronic text exists as a distributed phenomenon. The dispersion introduces many possible sources of variation into the production of electronic text that do not exist in the same way with print, for example, when a user’s browser displays a text with different colors than those the writer say on her machine when she was creating it.”
102: “Certainly the time lag is an important component of the electronic text, for it determines in what order the user will view the material.  Indeed, as anyone who has grown impatient with long load times knows, in many instances it determines whether the user will see the image at all.  These times are difficult to predict precisely because they depend on the individual computer’s processing speed, traffic on the Web, efficiency of data distribution on the hard drive, and other imponderables.  This aspect of electronic textuality—along with many others—cannot be separated from the delivery vehicles that produce it as a process with which the user can interact.”


Suchman’s Plans and Situated Actions

Lucy A. Suchman
Plans and Situated Actions: The Problem of Human-Machine Communication
Area: Digital Media

•    All activity is fundamentally concrete and embodied
•    The circumstances of our actions are never fully anticipated are continually changing
•    Mutual Intelligibility: the relation between observable behavior and the processes not available to direct observation, that make behavior meaningful
•    The goal is a machine, given some input, reacts/produces the right output behavior by simulating human cognitive processes
•    Suchman uses the terms “interaction” and “communication” interchangeable ⇒ troublesome to me…
Chapter 2
•    Turkle: alive v. not alive; machine v/ person
•    All the things one designs v. all the things with which one communicates
•    Machine operation becomes less a matter of pushing buttons or pulling levers and more a matter of specifying operations and assessing their effects through the use of a common language
•    Term “partner” or “user” in person-computer interaction??
o    “User” isn’t applied to a participant in a conversation
Chapter 3
•    For cognitive science, the background of action isn’t the world as such, but knowledge about the world.  Researchers agree that representation of knowledge about the world is a principal limiting factor on progress in machine intelligence
Chapter 4
•    Indexical Expressions: rely on the here and now
o    Example: “That’s a nice one”
Critical moments in the text
3: “I argue that artifacts built on the planning model confuse plans with situated actions, and recommend instead a view of plans as formulations of antecedent conditions and consequences of action that account for action in a plausible way.  As ways of talking about action, plans as such neither determine the actual course of situated action nor adequately reconstruct it.”
7: “Historically the idea of automata – the possibility of constructing physical devices that are self-regulating in ways that we commonly associate with living, animate beings – has been closely tied to the simulation of animal forms.”
8: “Cognitive science, in this respect, was a project to being thought back into the study of human action, while preserving the commitment to scientism.  Cognitive science reclaims mentalist constructs such as beliefs, desires, intentions, symbols, ideas, schemata, planning, and problem-solving.”
49: “A point of departure for the challenge is the idea that common-sense notions of planning are not inadequate versions of scientific models of action, but rather are resources for people’s practical deliberations about action.  As projective and retrospective accounts of action, plans are themselves located in the larger context of some ongoing practical activity. As common-sense notions about the structure of that activity, plans are part of the subject matter to be investigated in a study of purposeful action, not something to be improved upon, or transformed into axiomatic theories of action.”
50: “[Situated action] underscores the view that every course of action depends in essential ways upon its material and social circumstances.  Rather than attempting to abstract action away from its circumstances and represent it as a rational plan, the approach is to study how people use their circumstances to achieve intelligent action.  Rather than build a theory of action out of a theory of plans, the aim is to investigate how people produce and find evidence for plans in the course of situated action.  More generally, rather than subsume the details of action under the study of plans, plans are subsumed by the larger problem of situation action.”

January 2019
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