Imperfect future…

My digital artefact.

Following responses which identified issues of stereotyping; commodification; exclusion; and elitism in Productivity Future Vision and A Day Made in Glass.


15 Responses to “Imperfect future…”

  1. Nikki Bourke February 9, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    I liked this presentation a lot. It ties together all of the issues you look at in a coherent way. I thought that the inclusion of The Stepford clip was very apt. Really enjoyable!

  2. suriya puegpunt February 10, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    Howdy Carr
    I am a student at coursera and try to learn about digital artefact but I’m not clear.

    • Steph Carr February 10, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

      Hi Suriya – welcome to my tumblog!

      Is it this particular digital artefact that you’d like to learn about? Or is it digital artefacts in general?

  3. Steph Carr February 10, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    Thanks Nikki. It’s not as complex as I’d have liked it (I wanted to blur the faces for instance to suggest a bland homogeny) but I’m not that comfortable with visuals and visual tools as yet. A steep learning curve.

  4. Julia Beck February 11, 2013 at 1:27 am #

    Hi Steph, I love your presentation and the discovery of a new tool I’ve never come across before. I think your representation of stereotyping and commodification is quite splendid.

    • Steph Carr February 11, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

      Thank you very much Julia. Glad you like it.

  5. Sunil Gunderia (@DigitalMasala) February 11, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    I like the format you have used to present your position. I find the negative sentiment towards the corning/microsoft ads enlightening. I did not look at either as a utopian/dystopian view of the future. Rather I took the slickness of both as a result of the message being a sanitized marketing/sales message being presented for a certain audience, e.g. investors, partners.

    The comments on the technology gaps, diversity, gender equality and inclusivity are real concerns and not handled well by the companies that created these spots. However, is society not bettered by dreams of a future where technology is used to enhance our lives and enrich our experiences. Or is that completely lost because of the lack of sensitivity in the message?

    • Steph Carr February 11, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

      Hey Sunil, thanks for the comments.

      They certainly are slick and sanitised, and I think you’re spot on with the expected audience.

      I think you raise two very interesting questions. I think I have concerns about whether adverts like this actually only raise aspirations for certain parts of society – and other parts of society may feel alienated, like this kind of future maybe couldn’t and wouldn’t ever be for them. And I also think that the potential reach of technology is much more organic and disruptive and accessible than these corporate representations would have us believe.

      I really liked E. John. Love’s comment about the potential for including elements of Corporate Social Responsibility within the ads. Even if this was a cynical marketing ploy, at least it would address some of the imbalances and make the messages at least a little more sensitive and inclusive.

  6. Candace Nolan-Grant February 12, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    It’s just occurred to me that our looking to corporations for visions of the future (fortunately, in this context, critically!) is itself a bit dystopian–we’re relying on them to make these great commodities available, with the explicit result of a better life. This is certainly true in the Stepford Wives clip–none of them are from Oxford or MIT–they’re mostly from private corporations. So to what extent are we reliant on the capitalist system itself to enjoy the benefits of technology? Is this a mind-blowingly obvious question? : )

    I do agree with Sunil that the marketers who created these videos were probably just thinking about potential investors, etc. and had probably identified this demographic in quite the same way that the Stepford people identified theirs…

  7. Jen Ross February 13, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    Good question, Candace – as some in the MOOC have pointed out, it is actually surprisingly hard to find utopian representations of future technology, and a lot of them do have something to sell. Sian said something the other day in a roundtable discussion that’s been rattling around in my head – that those of us who teach and study online don’t have the luxury of thinking we are outside corporate & capitalist systems – our environments are often already compromised, and we have to figure out how to deal with that while (hopefully) maintaining critical perspectives.

    That’s what I love about this artefact, Steph – it embeds its critical responses within the imagery of the advertising so cleverly. Even your use of (presumably?) stock icons from thinglink, like the shopping cart, is knowingly done.

  8. cmeckenstock February 14, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    Hi Steph, I do like the way you have layered the critical messages over the ‘utopian’ images. And the selection of quotes from the various participants is varied, namely from different background, in step with the theme of inclusion and exclusion. We could do this for every advertisement, a kind of visual literacy that Rose talks about in her paper.

    • Steph Carr February 17, 2013 at 10:36 am #

      Thanks Chantelle. I haven’t got round to reading Rose yet – but certainly will do.

  9. Steph Carr February 17, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    Candace and Jen – I really do have a hard time reconciling my own love of, and reliance on, elements of technology, which are now so representative of consumerism and profit. And when I realised that Corning provided the glass for my i-Things, I wondered about the hypocrisy of my critically evaluating their adverts. However, as you both say we are inextricably linked to prevailing capitalist system and that’s not going to change soon. I actually think that because we benefit from this system, we have a moral responsibility to question it – and the huge companies which run the show.

    Interestingly, it seems that Apple are a bit reticent in acknowledging their connection to Corning – I wonder why?

  10. Steph Carr February 17, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    And yes Jen – the shopping cart is a stock icon. V. handy indeed!!!

  11. Aldona February 24, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    Very good. I like it.

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