Reflecting the reflection- pub 802

I was looking forward to taking PUB 802 when I was reading about the master’s courses on the SFU website. It definitely helped me not only to develop the opinions I had about technology but also to create new opinions on how to deal with technology on a personal and a professional level.

This course has made me really interested in learning about technology.  For example, before I started the course, I wanted to know more about the “tech industry” and how to get into the tech industry after I graduate. Instead, in week two, I saw a whole new point of view on the tech industry. I realized I have been a part of the industry without even noticing. Readings about how the web changes things, especially how there is no Tech Industry anymore in the world we live in. Readings about how the web changes things made me realize that technology is incorporated with almost every action we do

I enjoyed that we all had a chance to lead the class discussion. Because it is not graded directly, it gave me the opportunity to challenge myself by choosing a topic I did not know a lot about without fear of making mistakes. Week 4 and 5, when we learned about Internet Business Models, were the most interesting weeks for me. They opened a new horizon that allowed me to form informed opinions regarding the ongoing problems the publishing industry is facing. They also helped me understand that there are a lot of unexploited business models that can help the publishing industry get better results, and we should not necessarily follow or focus on the dominant business models.

Another aspect of this course that I enjoyed was using Hypothes.is to annotate. Although I was not the kind of user who made a lot of annotations all over the place, I appreciated the fact that I could read others’ annotations. It allowed me to see different perspectives on a single idea. Moreover, it made me aware of how people can look at things in a way that is different than mine.Hypothes.is also made me a better reader because I found myself stopping to think and analyze every time I saw an annotation. I am not going to lie here, sometimes I felt overwhelmed by it. However, overall, when comparing the pros and cons, this tool has been very helpful.

In terms of the weekly blog post, I felt those were a bit too much to be doing every week. They were very challenging for me because writing is not my sweet spot. I tried my best to incorporate the comments I received to new blog posts, but due to the delay in receiving feedback, I was not able to do this as much as I would have liked. As I write this reflection essay, I have received feedback on two of my blog posts and there are three after those two I still did not receive any feedback on. While I definitely understand that Prof. Alpreni was very clear that he was making an effort to get them back to us as fast as possible, I just wanted to clarify that this was challenging for me because I would have liked to receive more comments on how to improve. As a person who likes to work on herself, I will be waiting for the feedback and will be updating the published blogs simply because I want to get better at writing, even after the class is over.

Overall, I enjoyed this class. It was a class where we were all able to work collaboratively every week, which allowed us to develop new opinions about the structure of technology as a whole. Moreover, it allowed us to learn how to interact with different technologies while doing our weekly assignments.

My thoughts on the Never-Better, Better-Never, and Ever-Wasers

In Gopnik’s article, he classifies three different ways people respond to technological advancement which are generally defined as follows: the Never-Betters- the optimistic view, the Better-Nevers- the more pessimistic view, and the Ever-Wasers- the middle ground.

As a whole, I think that I fall in with the Never-Betters. I think technological advancement is generally a good thing, if it is tempered with common sense and left without altruistic intentions. I know that this isn’t often the case, but I think humans are capable of being good to each other and thinking of the common good.

As a society, I think we are divided pretty solidly between the three classifications. The older generations and the general news circuit usually fall into the Better-Nevers, as they focus pretty extensively on the failings of new technology and the dangers of the next generation of tech. Although there are negative aspects of tech, I think a lot of the media/political coverage about technology aimed at older people is an attempt at fear mongering. A good example of this is the recent Google hearings, where the head of Google was interviewed by government officials. Although the hearings did have an important purpose (to investigate how google stores private data, etc) it turned into a media frenzy, where older politicians asked incredibly ignorant and personalized questions about Google search.

Young people seem a little more optimistic about the possibilities of the internet. This optimism seems to be changing a little bit, with the current political climate and the state of social media. I think, more than being distrustful, the younger generation is more aware of the “rules” of technology. There are certain social norms on the internet that have grown, despite the “lawless old west” vibe it exudes. Generally, younger people know to double check their sources and to be more skeptical of the internet in and of itself, but they generally utilize new technology more than the older generations.

There have always been dire warnings about the power of new technologies. These warnings have presented themselves through the generations in books like 1984 and The Time Machine and now in TV shows like Westworld and Black Mirror. In many ways, 1984’s predictions have come into being, with devices like Alexa and the Russian bot interference in the 2016 US Election. These warnings make us distrustful of technology, but in a way that doesn’t disparage it completely. The robots in Westworld are often more human than the human characters. The robots in the show are used to hold up a mirror to society in a way that modern technology can be used to hold up a mirror to us.

I think a community’s view of technology often corresponds with what they want to see, rather than what is truly there.