Welcome back, friends and family. Here’s Digitally Literate, issue #338.
This week I helped publish the following:
- 3D Printed Iron Gates: Celebrating an African American Artist Through a Transdisciplinary Lesson – Together with several of my research colleagues and students, we explore 3D printing, transdisciplinary, and education.
L. M. Sacasas with an essay on the premise that life online is lived in the past.
The essay is organized into seven points.
- On the internet, we are always living in the past – There is no present online, there is only recreation and memorialization of events of the past.
- On the internet, all actions are inscriptions. We steadily create digital versions of events to create documented reservoirs legible to humans and machines.
- On the internet, there is no present, only variously organized fragments of the past – We spend time, and effort looking busy by endlessly re-interpreting, reshuffling, recombining, and rearranging the past.
- On the internet, fighting about what has happened is far easier than imagining what could happen – We fight about the past, and because our fights are documented online, there is no resolution…only more conflict and overwhelming/silencing/canceling others.
- On the internet, action doesn’t build the future, it only feeds the digital archives of the past – I’ve written about this as digital breadcrumbs as we look to the trail we’ve created, as opposed to looking forward.
- Because on the internet we live in the past, the future is not lived, it is programmed – As we spend time documenting and digitizing our past, these data points are scooped up, aggregated, and form the structure that dictates future actions.
- On the internet, the past is a black hole sucking the future into itself – Our capacity to live in the present and imagine the future deteriorates as attention, energy, and creativity are devoured.
Two things are sticking out for me. First, I’m thinking about some of the focus in last week’s issue of DL in which we discussed reading and time for reflection and how this impact the way we think, interact and make sense of the world.
Second, it makes me wonder why I continue to write this newsletter. ┐_(ツ)_┌━☆ﾟ.*･｡ﾟ
In a recent issue of Charlie Warzel’s newsletter, he expands on the Sacasas post from above. Warzel is trying to move on from the tired trope of “social media is making everything worse” and instead identifies how the Internet has become a doom loop.
Because we believe that we need to live in the past and document everything digitally, there is a feeling of helplessness as we ignore individual and collective agency.
Warzel ends with a guiding question, as informed by Sacasas.
How do we train our attention on our present and future, when so much of our life is spent ensconced in dispatches from the recent past?
Is equality inherently a zero-sum game? A new Science Advances paper examines the persistent and pernicious misbelief that equality itself is inherently zero-sum.
Across nine studies, the authors examine the reactions of advantaged group members to equality-enhancing policies and find that they consistently and incorrectly assume that increasing equality harms their group.
These misperceptions persist even after interventions and prevail even as it incurs societal costs that harm everyone.
Chris Gilliard on the failures of school surveillance systems, no matter how expansive, intricate or hyped they become.
As these acts of violence impact our schools and other social spaces, they increase calls for more data, and more extensive surveillance, and move us toward a more dystopian future.
It’s been a while since we’ve discussed QAnon here in DL. For those of you just joining us, QAnon, is a conspiracy theory originating in forum posts on the website 4chan in October 2017 that believed that U.S. Pres. Donald Trump was waging a secret war against a cabal of satanic cannibalistic pedophiles within Hollywood, the Democratic Party, and the so-called “deep state” within the United States government.
A lot has happened since the December 20, 2020 disappearance of Q.
One of the things to pay attention to is the distinction being made between woke and being awake. Woke is an adjective meaning, among other things, alert to racial prejudice and discrimination. The word awake is becoming a far-right, 4Chan, and QAnon-friendly code for anti-woke.
Over the past year, I’ve been thinking more about optimism as I approach my work. I hinted at this somewhat in a recent research presentation and subsequent discussion on Bryan Alexander’s Future Trends Forum.
Technology is not inherently good or bad. But, how should we think about these changes from a techno-optimist’s perspective?
- First, optimists believe that the good outweighs the bad…and the distance between good and bad depends on how optimistic you are.
- Second, optimists believe in an affirmation of improvement, that is that things are always getting better.
- Third, optimists (and pessimists, for that matter) believe that we can actually measure good as a value to track. We can notice and name good as it relates to technological improvement.