Author Archives: Giselle

Yochai Benkler’s: Wealth of Networks

In the natural world our actions mean nothing.  Artificial world our actions mean everything and the artificial world depends on our actions. Whatever wealth the network has, it’s what we have given it.  Over the last decade or so the digital communications that we have developed have greatly expanded to becoming something of grave importance to our everyday lives.  While reading this introduction a birthday card that my mom got for my day last month stuck in my head.  Headline of the card reads “Before Google.”  Underneath it are a dog and rabbit sitting on the couch.  The dog says; “I just learned something new to day, and I wish I could learn more about it.”   The rabbits reply to this with; “That’s a damn shame.”

While first reading this I laughed my head off but after thinking about it for a bit, I find it troubling.  While it’s great that today’s technologies are so great and advanced for our times I can’t help and think about the experiences themselves that we miss out on now that we are all use to having computers easily accessible and at our finger tips.  And what happens when the computer breaks down… do we just stand there feeling lost and out of touch with society?  While the network is a wonderful thing and should be used as a tool to better society and interactions I think that we should always remember that it isn’t something that we build our lives around.

Oct 31: Ecotopia Emerging Response & Question

In chapter III of Ecology Emerging multiple possibilities for futuristic cities are created to examine the they way in which humanity might interact with the ecology of that speculative world.  With each scenario a different environmental aspects are exaggerated so that humanity must over come them to survive.  Some of the scenarios are purely imaginative while others have the purpose of showing how we would come up with solutions to the ever changing ecosystem.  This causes us to question how the world around us is changing and how we as the human race change it.

In the Grass is Green project the outer suburbs of London have set themselves up like a fortress in order to shield themselves from “carbon-positive” altruists.  In Metreepolis project plants have taken over and downtown Atlanta in 2108 has been set up as power plant that harnesses natural energy.  This eliminates wasteful urban energy consumption.  And in Vegetal City project they use bio-textiles, comparable to the silk of silkworms that capture solar power in order to supply the  energy required for heating and electricity.

Despite these and the other speculative futures having a real sci fi feeling to them they cause us to think about how we interact with our surrounding in order to survive as a race.   We look at how the world around us really is changing to resemble what was previously only dreamt of by the visionaries of the science fiction community.

When we watch old sci fi shows before our time we look at the technology as out dated and the reality of how things can be done.  But at the time that it came out, that was their future and the science of our present was the magic of their time.  So if this pattern continues won’t the sci fi of our time will eventually become the reality of the future?

A quote to think about from J. F Kennedy, “The problems of the world cannot be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.”