Key conceptsin Human-Machine Interaction from Taylor 2006 Offline/Online Virtual Reality (VR) or computer generated immersive technologies. Virtual World/Environment – simulated world in real time – Cyberspace . The term coined by William Gibson’s 1987 in his book, Neuromancer. Gamers, Power gamers Avatar, Digital Body, Cyberborg Self , Identity, Second self/life Virtual Sociality
Blurring of distinctions…. The conventions of the computer game are followed and even though this quest is “live” and offline, it unfolds much like the online “virtual” version. People line up to “hail” actors who are actually imitating artificial intelligence characters from the game. The loop of having a simulated person in the form of a game character now being imitated by an actual person in the hotel lobby is quite a twist on the real/virtual distinction. The participants speak words as surely as if they had typed them in the game online (Hail, Sir Gandry)
Digital (cyber) Culture involves the study of …. What new forms o f social construction of reality and of negotiation of such construction are being created or modified? How are people socialized by their routine experience of the constructed spaces created by the new technologies? How do people relate to their techno-worlds (machines, reinvented bodies, and natures)? If people are differently placed in techno-spaces (according to race, gender, class, geographical location, “physical ability”), how do their experiences of these spaces differ? Finally would it be possible to produce ethnographic accounts of the multiplicity of practices linked to the new technologies in various social, regional, and ethnic settings? How do these practices relate to broader social issues such as the control of labor, the accumulation of capital, the organization of life-worlds, and the globalization of cultural production?
S & T as Culture… Examines the construction of science and technology as cultural phenomena. It explores the heterogeneous strategies and mechanisms through which members of technical communities produce these cultural forms that appear to lack culture. Human subjects and subjectivity are crucially as much a function of machines, machine relations, and information transfers as they are machine producers and operators. From this perspective, science and technology affect society through the fashioning of selves rather than as external forces.
Digital vs Analogue The term 'digital' when used in computing discourse, while necessary in the 1940s, has now become inappropriate as it has lost contact with its early engineering application. Digital computers had many technical advantages over the analogue computers. They were more precise than analogue devices, because they counted values rather than measured quantities. They were more versatile because they worked with stored programs and data. They were more powerful because they offered language-like command sets and large addressable memories. As the technical and cost problems of storing data and instructions were resolved, the substantial advantages of digital design prevailed. In fact, analogue computers have very little in common with what we call computers today.
Computers as Media Technology While the term 'digital computer' has dropped from common usage, the term 'digital' is often used quite loosely around new media technologies. It seems to refer to anything 'high-tech' or 'computerised' - digital futures, digital classrooms, digital images, digital revolutions and digital artifacts. Today computers function largely as media technologies - mechanisms for distributing and displaying texts, sounds and images.
Computers were human… The second word in the phrase 'digital computer' is also anachronistic. The term 'computer' originally referred to people whose job it was to perform tedious manual calculations, handed down to them from people above them in an organisation. Calling electronic calculating devices 'computers' was an anthropomorphism, equating machines with these humans. This usage was loaded with hierarchical connotations, since the human computers of the day were most often tied up in social relationships of delegation. Senior people called on juniors to do repetitive time-consuming calculations. This cultural derivation - by which non-human components substituted for human computers in chains of command - is also largely forgotten.