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Ch. 3 Response

The chapter first described how we have been blurring human and machines through artificial life and intelligence. Then, Paul speaks about how computers may change the way we think. “Perhaps this process can be seen as an evolution of the cooperation between man and machine or the vanishing boundaries between them, an evolution that is both a product of design and a process with its own dynamics.” I find this statement ironic as I sit at my computer with a cell phone buzzing in the background and iPod charging next to me. The cooperation of human and machines may not be to the intense level that the author alludes, but it seems to me that we are on the right track to be so reliant on machines. I already recognize that my computer is smarter than me, and it is only limited by my capabilities. Soon we will have personal technology that harnesses the so called “artificial intelligence.” I can not imagine this type of world except through the eyes of Hollywood directors who have developed movies, like iRobot, Artificial Intelligence: AI, etc.

The prefix tele- to most people just means telephone or telegraph. Paul describes tele- to having many more options. The one I found most interesting was the comment about tele-presence being an old concept of being present in various locations at the same time. She further commented that the internet is an arena for a telepresence environment. This made me wonder about what exactly the internet is, where it is, what its limitations are, and how it can exist without existing. I was not able to come up with any answers, but just thought through the questions I posed and wondered about the internet being tele-present.

Gaming has always intrigued me because I am afraid of it. I have many memories from when I was little watching friends and cousins playing games like Mario, GoldenEye, Duck Hunter, Madden, etc. for hours. My participation, beyond Duck Hunter, was obsolete. I expect I have always been fearful of losing at the games and that made me scare to try to win at them. I still see college friends playing games, but I do not understand how they get lost for hours in a game when their homework pile or to do list is growing exponentially. I feel that gaming has evolved from an interactive art form to an advertising tool. The original creation of make-believe lands, military battles, solving of mysteries, and mythical creatures were true art forms in the video gaming realm. Today, most of the articles or comments I hear about gaming regard the advertisements infiltrated into the games. The first game to have advertisement was one of the Tony Hawk games that Levi’s, DC Shoes, and others sponsored to have their logos within the game. I find this ironic that we now have to advertise, not just through tv and radio commercials, bus skins, internet pop-ups, street benches, or print materials, but through video games. It is just another way to get their message or if you want to call it “brainwashing” out into the world.

The artwork I chose from this section was “Giver of Names” by David Rokeby. I found this piece very unique. The ability for a computer system to describe the physical characteristics of an object in an attempt to name it is the beginnings of creating artificial intelligence. The piece was described to be “machine intelligence” being a technological experience utilizing semantics and language structure. The thought of “machine intelligence” made me wonder the limitations of computer and mechanical intelligence. If I were to visit this piece, I would experiment with placing objects for the computer to name. I may even place in multiple pieces to challenge it to coming up with a name. Paul described this piece as a reflection on how machines think and how we make them think, so I would do my best to accomplish that when I experienced “Giver of Names.” My final thought on this piece of artwork was if it would be possible to build on this idea and develop some sort of computer technology that could name people by scanning their faces and recognizing them. The modes of accomplishing this feat would be introducing, or essentially installing, yourself on the computer. This would be a step in advancing artificial intelligence.

~Amanda Rasmussen