Aaron and David
First, I have to say that I really enjoyed the readings you guys assigned. They were informative and entertaining.
Regarding David's reading:
I was surprised at the diverse applications of speech recognition. I was familiar with some of the basics, but I didn't know there was so much interactive work being done. I was particualry pleased to read about the disability services being developed with the technology. In our past readings we have discussed how technology has often been inaccesible to people with disabilities. In this case, the technology is not only accessible, it seems to be a tremendous starting point for bridging the disability divide. It is ingenious to develop software which mimics facial movements related to speech. Some of the other applications struck me as things people could easily do themselves, but the applications for teaching deaf people how to talk really seem revolutionary. I was wondering if users of speech recognition technology are often frustrated. I felt some frustration myself, simply in reading some of the user/computer interactions. As far as video games go, I did a little bit of research and found that there is a Tom Clancy real time strategy video game which is based entirely on voice commands, with your digital troops responding intelligently--contradicting the notion that speech recognition in games is often supposed to be inaccurate and goofy. I have to say that I tihnk the paranoid bot, Parry is pretty awesome. This is an interesting topic, and I was surprised how complex phoneme recognition software is to develop. Developers face all kinds of challenges including coarticulation, ambiguity, and ill formed input. I appluad their efforts.
Regarding Aaron's readings:
I enjoyed the range of opinions expressed in the news articles, from the nearly objective to the completely subjective (Fox News). As opposed to traditional forms, technology seems to have the potential to be the great equalizer in the world of cyber activism. Physical, syntactical, and semantic tools of Electronic Civil Disobedience seem to happen at hyperspeed when compared to traditional forms of protest which involve a lot of slow processes. An interesting point was the shift from the Deluzian argument that the nomadic is positioned as the other in society to the nomad as the source of power. With a computer and some knowledge, a person has the power to effectively champion a social movement. I also found the counter-activism tactics to be remarkably traditional. Categorizing online protests as hacking--making them illegal--as one example, and the notion that cyberspace is private space, and you can't say what you want. Well why not? That seems to be the question these cyber hacktivists are really asking.