Calendar


Fall 2013

August

T 8/27 "Beginnings"
Our Tasks
• Please explore the course web site concentrating on the syllabus and the calendar.
Primary: Please read "How Technology Wrecks the Middle Class" (PDF; 122 KB) (David Autor and David Dorn, New York Times, August 24, 2013.)
• After class, I will send you an invitation to join our wiki. Please respond to the invitation and add a profile with 48 hours.

Background:
Secondary: "Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, Part 1" (PDF; 132 KB) (Marc Prensky, On the Horizon, Vol. 9 No. 5, October 2001).
Tertiary: Don't Blame "Technology" for the Fall of the Middle Class (Matthew Yglesias, Slate).
Tertiary: Marc Prensky.
Tertiary: Marc Prensky - Wartburg College Commission on Mission.
Tertiary: Professor Wikipedia.

Our Goals
• To introduce ourselves. To examine course requirements and procedures with an emphasis on course goals. We will consider the framework for our course.

8/29 "The Trail of Thought"
Our Tasks
• Please read the Essay/Exam and the Question Formation assignments.
Primary: Please read "As We May Think" (PDF; 184 KB) (Vannevar Bush, The Atlantic, 1945.)

Background:
Tertiary: Memex animation - Vannevar Bush's diagrams made real.
Tertiary: Vannevar Bush.
Tertiary: Vannevar Bush and Memex.

Our Goals
• To consider whether the Internet mimics "as we may think".


September

T 9/3 "The History and Politics of Technology"
Our Tasks
Primary: Please read the Preface and Chapters 1, 2 and 11 from Technology Matters (PDF; 2.5 MB ) (David Nye, 2006).
Primary: Please read "Do Artifacts Have Politics?" (PDF; 295 KB) (Langdon Winner, from The Whale and the Reactor, 1986).

Background:
Tertiary: "Technology: The Emergence of a Hazardous Concept" (PDF; 283 KB) (Leo Marx, Technology and Culture, Volume 51, Number 3, July 2010).
Tertiary: "Authoritarian and Democratic Technics" (PDF; 957 KB). (Lewis Mumford, Technology and Culture, 1964).
Tertiary: Langdon Winner and examples of digital community.

Our Goals
• To define technology examine the relationship between technology and political ideology.

R 9/5 "Technology and the Literary Imagination"
Our Tasks
Primary: Please read "The Machine Stops" (E.M. Forster, 1909, Oxford and Cambridge Review).

Background:
Tertiary: E.M. Forster's The Machine Stops.

Our Goals
• To consider the role of the writer's imagination in conceiving and realizing technology.

T 9/10 "The 'Technium'"
Our Tasks
Primary: Please read Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4 in Kevin Kelly's What Technology Wants.
Email due (jim.collier@vt.edu) on your decision of exam or essay. Essay description due.

• Team 1 Members: Please post your questions on the reading to the Question 1 Forum on the wiki by 6 p.m. on Friday (9/6) (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
• Team 1 Members: Please post your Keywords on the proper forum on the wiki by 6 p.m. on Friday (9/6) (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
• Respondents: Please post your response to selected questions to the Question 1 Forum on the wiki by noon on Monday (9/9) (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
• Class Members: Please provide your assessment of the presentation within 24 hours (by 9/11) of the end of class (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
• Team 1 Members: Please post your Synthesis to the proper forum on the wiki within 48 hours (by 9/12) of the end of class (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
Background:
Tertiary: Kevin Kelly on The Technium.
Tertiary: TEDxSF - Kevin Kelly - What Technology Wants

Our Goals
• To discuss responses to the questions posed by the team.

R 9/12 "Pursuing Progress"
Our Tasks
Primary: Please read Chapters 5 and 6 in Kevin Kelly's What Technology Wants.

Background:
Tertiary: Kevin Kelly on the next 7000 Days - Taipei Spring 2012

Our Goals
• To examine the social cost of progress.

T 9/17 "Technological Inevitability?"
Our Tasks
Primary: Please read Chapters 7 and 8 in Kevin Kelly's What Technology Wants.

Background:
Tertiary: Kevin Kelly: How does technology evolve? Like we did.

Our Goals
• To consider whether technological development has a logic.

R 9/19 "Listening to Technology"
Our Tasks
Primary: Please read Chapter 9 in Kevin Kelly's What Technology Wants.

Background:
Tertiary: Michio Kaku: Tweaking Moore's Law and the Computers of the Post-Silicon Era
Tertiary: Kevin Kelly tells technology's epic story

Our Goals
• To explore whether we should think of technology biologically.

T 9/24 "Revolting Against Technology"
Our Tasks
Primary: Please read Chapters 10, 11 and 12 in Kevin Kelly's What Technology Wants.

• Team 2 Members: Please post your questions on the reading to the Question 2 Forum on the wiki by 6 p.m. on Friday (9/20) (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
• Team 2 Members: Please post your Keywords on the proper forum on the wiki 6 p.m. on Friday (9/20) (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
• Respondents: Please post your response to selected questions to the Question 2 Forum on the wiki by noon on Monday (9/23) (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
• Class Members: Please provide your assessment of the presentation within 24 hours (by 9/25) of the end of class (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
• Team 2 Members: Please post your Synthesis to the proper forum on the wiki within 48 hours (by 9/26) of the end of class (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
Background:
Tertiary: Ted Kaczynski
Tertiary: Industrial Society and Its Future

Our Goals
• To discuss responses to the questions posed by the team.

R 9/26 "The Direction of Technology"
Our Tasks
Primary: Please read Chapters 13 and 14 in Kevin Kelly's What Technology Wants.
• Please read the Considered Replies assignment.
Reply Period 1 runs from September 27 to October 11.

Background:
Tertiary: Kevin Kelly - "Web 3.0"

Our Goals
• To consider if humans are more than the sum total of explicit expression.


October

T 10/1 "Transhumanism: 'A Most Dangerous Idea'"
Our Tasks
Primary: Please read Chapters 1 and 2 in Allenby and Sarewitz's The Techno-Human Condition.
Reply Period 1 runs from September 27 to October 11.

Background:
Secondary: "Transhumanism" (PDF; 224 KB) (Francis Fukuyama, Foreign Policy, 2004.)
Secondary: "The ends of humanity " (PDF; 788 KB) (Ken MacLeod aeon, 2012.)
Tertiary: Bionics, Transhumanism, and the end of Evolution (Full Documentary)
Tertiary: Humanity 2.0 - Part 1/4 (please refer to all four parts).

Our Goals
• To examine the promise and peril of transcending ourselves.

R 10/3 "Technological Levels"
Our Tasks
Primary: Please read Chapters 3 and 4 in Allenby and Sarewitz's The Techno-Human Condition.
Reply Period 1 runs from September 27 to October 11.
Send exam questions to jim.collier@vt.edu by noon on 4 October.

Background:
Secondary: "Signs of the Singularity" (PDF; 224 KB) (Vernor Vinge, IEEE Spectrum, 2008.)
Secondary: "Singular Simplicity" (PDF; 896 KB) (Alfred Nordmann, IEEE Spectrum, 2008.)

Our Goals
• To consider particular approaches to human enhancement.

T 10/8 "On the Matter of Individuals"
Our Tasks
Primary: Please read Chapters 5, 6 and 7 in Allenby and Sarewitz's The Techno-Human Condition.
Reply Period 1 runs from September 27 to October 11.

• Team 3 Members: Please post your questions on the reading to the Question 3 Forum on the wiki by 6 p.m. on Friday (10/4) (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
• Team 3 Members: Please post your Keywords on the proper forum on the wiki 6 p.m. on Friday (10/4) (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
• Respondents: Please post your response to selected questions to the Question 3 Forum on the wiki by noon on Monday (10/7) (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
• Class Members: Please provide your assessment of the presentation within 24 hours (by 10/9) of the end of class (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
• Team 3 Members: Please post your Synthesis to the proper forum on the wiki within 48 hours (by 10/10) of the end of class (for reference the Question Formation assignment).

Our Goals
• To discuss responses to the questions posed by the team.

R 10/10 "Redefinition"
Our Tasks
Primary: Please read Chapter 8 and the Epilogue in Allenby and Sarewitz's The Techno-Human Condition.
Reply Period 1 runs from September 27 to October 11.

Background:
Tertiary: Humanity+
Tertiary: Transhumanism
Tertiary: Debating Extreme Human Enhancement
Tertiary: Neil Harbisson: I listen to color

Our Goals
• To examine the social and environmental cost of human enhancement.

T 10/15 "Understanding 'The Internet'"
Our Tasks
Essay/Exam Due by midnight. Please post, or link, your essay to the wiki. Send exams to jim.collier@vt.edu.
Primary: Please read the Introduction and Chapter 1 in Evgeny Morozov's To Save Everything, Click Here.

Background:
To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism

Our Goals
• To take up the notion of 'solutionism'.

R 10/17 "'The Internet' as Nonsense"
Our Tasks
• Please read Chapter 2 in Evgeny Morozov's To Save Everything, Click Here.
• Please review the Considered Replies assignment.
Reply Period 2 runs from October 18 to November 1.

Background:
Evgeny Morozov - On Silicon Valley Solutionism

Our Goals
• To examine the effect of the notion of "The Internet" on our thinking.

T 10/22 "Being Open"
Our Tasks
• Please read Chapters 3 and 4 in Evgeny Morozov's To Save Everything, Click Here.

• Team 4 Members: Please post your questions on the reading to the Question 4 Forum on the wiki by 6 p.m. on Friday (10/18) (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
• Team 4 Members: Please post your Keywords on the proper forum on the wiki 6 p.m. on Friday (10/18) (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
• Respondents: Please post your response to selected questions to the Question 4 Forum on the wiki by noon on Monday (10/21) (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
• Class Members: Please provide your assessment of the presentation within 24 hours (by 10/23) of the end of class (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
• Team 4 Members: Please post your Synthesis to the proper forum on the wiki within 48 hours (by 10/24) of the end of class (for reference the Question Formation assignment).

Reply Period 2 runs from October 18 to November 1.
Our Goals
• To discuss responses to the questions posed by the team.

R 10/24 "Meaningful Judgment"
Our Tasks
• Please read Chapters 5 and 6 in Evgeny Morozov's To Save Everything, Click Here.
• Please read Part 1 (Individual Norms) of the Manifesto assignment.
Reply Period 2 runs from October 18 to November 1.

Background:
Evgeny Morozov: 'Google and Facebook get away with things other companies wouldn't'

Our Goals
• To question the kind of democracy brought to us by Google.

T 10/29 "Social Problems, Technological Solutions?"
Our Tasks
• Please read Chapters 7 and 8 in Evgeny Morozov's To Save Everything, Click Here.
Reply Period 2 runs from October 18 to November 1.

Background:
The Limits of Technology in an Imperfect World.

Our Goals
• To explore the issues related to mass data gathering.

R 10/31 "Easy Answers Equal Lesser Humans"
Our Tasks
• Please read Chapter 9 and the Postscript in Evgeny Morozov's To Save Everything, Click Here.
Reply Period 2 runs from October 18 to November 1.

Background:
Evgeny Morozov: The Risks of Advanced Information Technology .

Our Goals
• To examine whether technology should be question based.


November

T 11/5 "What's the Story?"
Our Tasks
• Please read the Preface and Chapters 1 and 2 in Douglas Rushkoff's Present Shock.

• Team 5 Members: Please post your questions on the reading to the Question 5 Forum on the wiki by 6 p.m. on Friday (11/1) (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
• Team 5 Members: Please post your Keywords on the proper forum on the wiki 6 p.m. on Friday (11/1) (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
• Respondents: Please post your response to selected questions to the Question 5 Forum on the wiki by noon on Monday (11/4) (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
• Class Members: Please provide your assessment of the presentation within 24 hours (by 11/6) of the end of class (for reference the Question Formation assignment).
• Team 5 Members: Please post your Synthesis to the proper forum on the wiki within 48 hours (by 11/7) of the end of class (for reference the Question Formation assignment).

Our Goals
• To discuss responses to the questions posed by the team.

R 11/7 "Storing Time"
Our Tasks
• Please read Chapter 3 in Douglas Rushkoff's Present Shock.

Background
Douglas Rushkoff on Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now.

Our Goals
• To investigate the temporal aspects of digital truth and action.

T 11/12 "Pattern Recognition"
Our Tasks
Part I (Individual Norms) of the Manifesto due to the wiki.
• Please read Chapter 4 in Douglas Rushkoff's Present Shock.

Background:
WebVisions New York 2013 - Douglas Rushkoff

Our Goals
• To outline and address issues associated with immediate feedback.

R 11/14 "Surviving Ourselves"
Our Tasks
• Please read Chapter 5 in Douglas Rushkoff's Present Shock.
• Please read Part II (Manifesto) of the Manifesto assignment.

Background:
TOC 2013: Douglas Rushkoff, "Present Shock".

Our Goals
• To re-imagine time, and progress, in a digital age.

T 11/19 "Thinking about Technology"
Our Tasks
• Please read Parts 1 and 2, including the first and second interludes, in Jaron Lanier's Who Owns the Future?
• The class will have 20 to 30 minutes to work on Part II of the Manifesto assignment.

Background:
In Conversation: Jaron Lanier talks to James Bridle on Who Owns the Future

Our Goals
• To consider questions regarding how we do, and ought to, value our selves and our technology.

R 11/21 "A Question of Wealth"
Our Tasks
• Please read Parts 3 and 4, including the third and fourth interludes, in Jaron Lanier's Who Owns the Future?
• The class will have 20 to 30 minutes to work on Part II of the Manifesto assignment.

Background:
Book TV: Jaron Lanier, "Who Owns the Future?"

Our Goals
• To examine the political economy of digital networking.

Holiday Break


December

T 12/3 "The Big Data Scheme"
Preparation
• Please read Parts 5, 6 and 7 including the fifth and sixth interludes, in Jaron Lanier's Who Owns the Future?
• The class will have 20 to 30 minutes to work on Part II of the Manifesto assignment.

Background:
Who Owns The Future? | Keen On...

Our Goals
• To explore whether big data is like Wall Street.

H 12/5 "Is Facebook a Price We Must Pay?"
• Please read Part 8 including the seventh interlude, in Jaron Lanier's Who Owns the Future?
• The class will have 20 to 30 minutes to work on Part II of the Manifesto assignment.

Background:
Jaron Lanier: Why Facebook Isn't Free

Our Goals
• To consider a humanistic alternative to our current conception of a technological future.

T 12/10 "Futures"
Preparation
• Please read Part 9 and the conclusion including the eighth interlude, in Jaron Lanier's Who Owns the Future?
• Please be prepared with any questions you have about the course and the Manifesto assignment.

Background:
This Is Water (video set to excerpts from David Foster Wallace's commencement address for the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College).

Our Goals
• To tell our story.

W 12/18 "Endings"
• Please post the Manifesto to the wiki by no later than 4:05 p.m.

Well Done!

Living Through Technology