week 11 summary

I have to confess that I just this moment realised that we’re meant to continue our tumblogs through weeks 11 and 12. As we Americans say, d’oh.

But I’ll soldier on with a few things I was thinking about in week 11, although displayed post-humously…

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The Big Bang Theory, a show that I am compelled to watch by virtue of being married to a physicist, does virtual presence. Coincidentally enough, Sheldon chooses this manner of being present in the hopes that he will keep his body alive until his consciousness can be transferred into a computer and can thus be immortal. Of course the virtual presence is foiled in the end by virtue of Sheldon wanting Steve Wosniak to sign his vintage Apple. What struck me about this was that the attitude the other characters had (and thus the audience were expected to have?) was a long-suffering incredulity about Sheldon’s self-centredness and unquestioning belief in technology. It wasn’t anti-modernism (‘look what kind of trouble tech has gotten him into now!’) or anti-humanism (‘look at his vain attempt to beat death’), but rather a neutral view of tech and perhaps a reaction to humanism–at least centred around one person…Edwards’ subject?

An extreme example of the person becoming a machine is the cyberman, something else I’m required by holy matrimony to know all about. In recent years, these have been given a bit of a twist: in one of the revival episodes (10th doctor, series 2, 2006 if you’re a serious anorak), a regular character is turned into a cyberman, but remembers her life as a human. She sees it in a completely dispassionate way and can’t understand why the humans are so distraught. Is this opaquely suggesting the impossibility of Sheldon’s dream of moving an intact consciousness into a machine, devoid of physical presence not to mention bodily chemistry? Or is it just the emotion inhibitor? (And why is there an emotion inhibitor? Because if there wasn’t, the brain would be so appalled at what had happened to its…person…that it would die.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, separation of body and mind is seen as simply an inconvenience (this scene and Rimmer’s permanent hologramatic state):

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Or an technicality to be exploited:

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In both of these extremes, however, we find another dichotomy–not just body versus mind, but body versus [robot casing, hologram, killing machine]…or, translated into the debate that seems to really be going on, body versus [Facebook identity, avatar, discussion board moderator, wikipedia contributor...or equally: university alumni profile, letter to the editor, report on the main exports of Uruguay...] It’s not just a case of whether the mind (or personality, consciousness, identity, etc.) can be separated from the body, but what it [the mind/etc.] is if that separation occurs. Lister’s mind is saved onto a highly improbably disc and dropped into a cup of tea–is the disc Lister? Is the war machine Nixon?

Jumping ahead in the future a bit–this approaches my assignment topic at a bit of a tangent, in particular my investigation into fan fiction. In this situation, we have the mind of the original author; the original text; a character (if we can assume that the character is ‘greater than’ the text…which, it seems to me, is the premise that fan fiction is based on, although I won’t draw any conclusions yet…); the mind of the ff author; the text that the ff author writes; the reception of that text by others with intricate knowledge of the first three. Are they all separate entities, or do they all work to create a transtemporal posthuman…?


hive mind mini artefacts

Twitter, #edcmooc

‘Thrilled to be part of the hive-mind that is #edcmooc . Am in awe of the brainpower of 32,000 online educators!’ @lizcable 17 Jan 13

‘Social Media: hive mind, privacy apocalypse, mind control, and social revolution http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52Ml_zax4A0&t=7m3s some books there I will read #edcmooc’ @hopkinsdavid 4 Feb 13

Urban dictionary

hive mind: pod people? the internet? community?

FaceBorg: collective consciousness…’threaten to assimilate your individuality’


Wiktionary definitions: sci fi, sociology

‘hive mind’ disambiguation page: collective consciousness; swarm intelligence; universal mind; group mind; groupthink

but what about…

1% rule (Internet culture)

Google search

“social media” “hive mind” (first page):

  1. hive mind = increased business (4)
  2. hive mind = collective intelligence (2)
  3. hive mind = social nervous system
  4. hive mind = crowdsourcing
  5. hive mind = democracy
  6. hive mind = ideology

Facebook case study

  1. increased business: Hive Mind Social Media
  2. not collective intelligence?: Dark Social
  3. social nervous system: The Rise of the Social Nervous System
  4. not crowdsourcing?: 3 links to find friends on home page; no way to search posts
  5. democracy: Baby named ‘Facebook’…  or not democracy?: Your Facebook status really made me change my political views…
  6. ideology: Conservapedia! …or back to number 1? (e.g. Ideology Marketing)