Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Review -- "Cory Doctorow in Helsinki"

For direct link to video, click entry title.

Cory Doctorow's ideas about the future depending on the concept of self-determination hits head on. THis concept explains why things like copyright restriction software and certain logistics hold us back. In his lecture, Doctorow explains how new technology is in many ways disabling us by depriving consumers of things we could otherwise supply for ourselves and even create. He compares the lack of self0determination as being on the same basis as a child/inmate. By exploiting the power of self-determination, we can make a difference by overcoming challenges simple geography slows us with today. A big point brought up about determination was the power of the computer. Today, we can manipulate things using our own ideas to make something even greater. Taking the computer for example, we use it as a tool to communicate, create commerce, and be our own controllers. With self-determination comes self reliance and ingenuity.

Even with all the functions the modern computer has, however, there's so much more that it can do that it's not giving us access to. It's understandable that computer designers know what they're doing more than the average person, but most of us either are competent enough with computeres to avoid catastrophe, or realize that it would be a bad idea to take things into our own hands at all. Currently, computers have arrays and arrays of defense mechanisms, against even their users. Currently, the only way to acheive complete and undisputed power over your computer's functions is by learning command-line and installing Linux. This should not be the case. Doctorow makes another convincinv argument when he describes how the advertisement industry hold a giurative fun to the heads of the "carriers". In his talk in Helsinki, he's referring to cell phones. I'm not sure how he moved from computers to cell phones, but his argument stands up just as well when he applies it to computers. He says that the real power that the carriers have is not media, but connections. The best thing that a netowrking company can do is make better network. In computers, the average person does not see data storage, or mathematical calculation, but rather the Internet. And that's exactly what the Internet is: a huge network.

I think Cory Doctorow's analogies, quips, general points, and overall lecture leave something to be desired. Perhaps it is coherency that I seek.
What I took from the video:
1) Self-determination is what matters to everyone.
2) Self-determination is good.
3) Without self determination, we are nothing, we have no hope, no fulfillment, and "no desire to go on".
4) Self-determination is the foundation of everything we fight for, live for, and depend on.
5) Self-determination is the cases of the Enlightenment, democracy, progress, and capitalism.
6) Geography and gravity are bitches.
7) People like Wikipedia, because they get to edit the articles.
8) Children, inmates, prisoners, and slaves have no self-determination.
9) Moore's Law is the outcome of self-determination.
10) Computers are built by people.
11) Faster computers are also built by people.
12) Dogs that bark the "Star-Spangled Banner" are what's really the driving force behind all of our technological advances.
13) Technology today is created to restrict our self-determination and to control us.
14) You can't do anything useful with phones these days without permission.
15) The field of creativity is very limited today.
16) Anti-features.
17) We want to remember the mp3 that we lost it to, rather than the mp3 we lost our computer to via rootkit.
18) Copy restriction will essentially be the downfall of mankind.
"Romanticist" is the word that comes to mind after watching the Cory Doctorow video. Can romanticists be correlated to activists? Did I mention he writes Sci-Fi and blogs for a living? Should anyone really be taking this man seriously?
I think Doctorow is getting a little mixed up between the whole idea of "self-determination" with concepts such as: independence, applied convenience, life... everything he could possibly think of.. I understand where he's going with this, but he's ridiculous. Detailed points will be delved into during Thursday discussion. (I'm sorry my part of the entry is so discordant with my team member's)

This is what Cory Doctorow wears.

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