Week 9-Lecture notes
New interfaces and changing forms of interaction:
Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, Interaction Design (and the Zero UI), Robotics, Artificial Intelligence …
New Interfaces and changing forms of Interaction: virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, interaction design (and the Zero UI), robotics, Artificial Intelligence (the end of the internet?, the decline of social media?).
What is interaction and how does it inform media change? As more interactive forms of mediation come into our lives, how does this change our concept of reality? Here we will be particularly interested in virtual reality, augmented reality, apps, the internet of things and robotics. Do these change the nature of the social?
How much of media and communication engagements is actually about producing a reality/getting to grips with ongoing change itself? Perhaps via new media and interactive technologies? Where are media and communications going now? Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, recently suggested the internet will disappear. What did he mean? In his recent novel, The Peripheral, William Gibson’s characters look back at social media and regressive because of their “low-connectivity”. Are the internet and social media as we have known them now out of date?
You’ll be doing group work, etc, as guided by your tutor. This may include some debates concerning the nature of reality, and the extent to which media and social organisation produce reality.
Start by reading the following:
‘The virtual designates something real that involves an unstable reality or difference’ (Adrian Mackenzie, Cutting Code, 2006:93)
If everything is going “virtual”, what does this mean? Is the virtual something new or was it there before? Are media creating new “virtual worlds”, or was the world already virtual, or both?
This week we think about the virtual. We also think about media technologies in two very different ways.
Firstly, we think about some technologies that allow us to make virtual worlds (Second LifeIWorld of Warcraft, Oculus Rift, for example).
Secondly, we think about media technologies in a slightly different manner, as enabling us to participate differently in the virtuality of the world.
“Virtual” means something different in this second case. It refers to those complex, and real set of potential relations that have always been around but that haven’t quite become actual at this point of time. Think for example, of the related term, virtue. We can’t see virtues, but they have the potential to influence how we act. When we are “virtuous” we are actualising a virtue (honesty for example) in our everyday life.
In all this, we will hopefully realise how important and rich a concept mediation is. Virtuality makes it clear that we are not just thinking of mediation as the effective transfer of a message from a sender to a receiver (as important as this might be sometimes!). It’s about shifting the whole field of human-social-ecological potentials as we move into the future, and changing the potential relations that are embedded in that future. In transforming the potential of the future, mediation also draws on the wealth of the past. As we saw in ARTS2090, mediation is also dynamic inter-connection, creation, transformation, feedback, productive delay and the building and accessing of vast archives. The move from older media, particularly broadcast media, to “new media” is in large part about accepting this dynamism and variety in mediation.
Required Reading and Explorations
[online] Kelly, Kevin (2016) ‘Hyper Vision’, Wired.com, April 26, https://www.wired.com/?p=1999666
Quote from this article, which shows how affect, flow, fields and many of the things we’ve discussed on the course so far come into new media technologies:
“ONE OF THE first things I learned from my recent tour of the synthetic-reality waterfront is that virtual reality is creating the next evolution of the Internet. Today the Internet is a network of information. It contains 60 trillion web pages, remembers 4 zettabytes of data, transmits millions of emails per second, all interconnected by sextillions of transistors. Our lives and work run on this internet of information. But what we are building with artificial reality is an internet of experiences. What you share in VR or MR gear is an experience. What you encounter when you open a magic window in your living room is an experience. What you join in a mixed-reality teleconference is an experience. To a remarkable degree, all these technologically enabled experiences will rapidly intersect and inform one another.”
[online] Davies, Char (2004) ‘Virtual Space’, immersence.com,
[online] Lewis-Kraus, Gideon (2016) ‘The Great A.I. Awakening’, New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/14/magazine/the-great-ai-awakening.html (this is long but good—see how far you get)
[online] Paglen, Trevor (2016) ‘Invisible Images (Your Pictures Are Looking at You)’, The New inquiry, December 8, http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/invisible-images-your-pictures-are-looking-at-you/
[online] Jorge (2016) ’10 Emerging Technologies That Will Drive The Next Economy’, Game-Changer, August 29, http://www.game-changer.net/2016/08/29/10-emerging-technologies-that-will-drive-the-next-economy/
You should be finding your own extra resources by now, but you might try the following tags (lots of good examples here!):
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