Technology Imaginaries…Disney theme parks

disney-magic-bandThe Walt Disney Company has been known for thinking outside the box and being ahead of the curve when it comes to their movies and theme park attractions. At Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida they are trying to get rid of tickets and turnstiles when entering the park. They have come up with called MyMagic+, and it is described as a “vacation management system” that will help track what you are doing and where you are going in the park. When I saw this article in the New York Times and several other news outlets I thought it was perfect for the topic of Technology Imaginaries.

The new turnstiles with MagicBands

The new turnstiles with MagicBands

Park goers will soon be able to wear wristbands called MagicBands, that will be encoded with all sorts of information from your hotel room, park tickets and fast passes for rides and even function as a credit card, so there will be no need to carry around a room key, money because it will all be on your wrist. I thought this was pretty smart of Disney to do and it doesn’t seem anyone else has ever done anything quite like this. But, I’m sure if it is successful for Disney many other theme parks will follow suit and begin to have something similar. MyMagic+ will also have a website and app, (My Disney Experience) that will allow you to get advance fast passes, seating for shows, and signing up 540972_10151417656888274_994888078_nfor character meet and greets.

There has already been some backlash about Disney overreaching when it comes to privacy and some opposers are uncomfortable with them ‘tracking’ what and where you are going. But I don’t think Disney’s purpose it ‘track’ you necessarily but I think it is to benefit them to see what visitors like and don’t like, and see what people are willing to wait in line for. I definitely think these bands are so cool and a great idea! I think once they do a trial run with them they will see if they work out but I personally think it will be great for Disney and its thousands of visitors! Because you think that just by having a band around your wrist you won’t have to worry about forgetting the tickets or losing your room key, Picture-8-500x367which is helpful especially when you have kids. As someone who has visited Disney more than several times, I would okay with wearing something like this because of how convient it is. The bands are also going to be customizable
and are coming in a variety of colors.

I just think this is such a forward thinking idea and Disney is definitely a company to get the ball rolling when a good idea comes along. They are using things like apps and Apple products to make park goers lives easier while they are in the parks. With Disney and Apple’s partnership they are doing a trial run currently with scanning in guests with iPhones and they are also starting to use them in stores to make check out easier.

Other articles and blog posts about the MagicBands and MyMagic+

Inside the Magic-Disney World begins testing RFID theme park entry at Epcot without turnstiles

Disney Parks Blog-Taking the Guest Experience to the Next Level 

USA Today-Disney’s new wireless wristbands: Convenient or creepy?

 

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Technology bringing us together

It is rare to find a person of our generation that uses a flip phone, let alone a dumb phone. Because most of my friends have a smart phone, specifically an iPhone, this causes an endless amount of ways to stay in contact with them. This one small device that fits in my hand allows me to update my Facebook status, send a tweet on Twitter, Instagram a picture, pin a new purse that I love on Pinterest and the list goes on.Image

All of this allows us to communicate with our friends 24/7. Some people see this as an overload of social media, but others see this as the advancement of technology bringing us closer together. Although we are not technically together physically, our cellphones, tablets, and laptops allow us to be with our friends and communicate with them while miles away. This is especially true for me and my friends as we are all away at different schools. We are able to call, text, and FaceTime all on our iPhones in order to stay in touch with each other.

I think that technology brings us together because it is allowing us to be able to stay in contact with those who are not with us or near us. If we did not have the technology today, such as Facebook, Twitter, or iPhones, it would make communicating with those away from us extremely hard. Yes, we are sitting behind a screen instead of face to face, but because of technology we have the ability to contact a friend or family member whenever we want.

My parents are not on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram etc. so they do not see what I have been up to lately. In order to communicate with them I have to pick up my phone and call them and sometimes send a text  message. My mom is one of the few people I know that still has a flip phone. My dad was the first in our family to get an iPhone and I FaceTime with him regularly to see him and my mom. If we didn’t have technology today then I would not be able to stay in touch with my parents.

 

Jamie Adams

Technological Determinism: Thinking inside the box.

I can see where supporters of technological determinism are coming from, in that technology is a driving force of society, but I also find many flaws with aspects of this theory. I think it would be hard to argue that technology has not been a driving force in our society (at least not after the 18th century). Technology absolutely has changed our lives, thus transforming society.

However, to say that it has done so outside the constraints of culture, politics, and human agency, is to me ludicrous.

If I have learned anything in my communication studies, it is that culture, politics, and the imagination and desire of humans are the deciding factors in whether a technology becomes known, much less used and adopted.

The second part of this argument I am more likely to consider. This is the idea that technologies come about because of inventors, engineers, and scientists, following an “internal, technical logic that has nothing to do with social relationships”. This could be argued either way, but there are certainly technological advances that are a result of research and experimentation in a vacuum, without regard for society or their potential uses for said technology.

This is true in some cases, but the fact that a technology is invented free from human agency, politics and culture does not mean that those very things will not effect how the said technology is adapted to society and used by it. Technology can be created in a vacuum, but it cannot create change within it. It is those very things (human agency, politics, culture etc.) that determine if and how a technology is used. Just look at the Internet, which was created for military communication (and is now used for…well everything).

The other interesting argument that technological determinists make is that we define epochs of time and countries by their dominant technological artifacts. I am somewhat ambivalent towards this point, and although it is true, I don’t know that it really says anything concerning the direction of causality.

In theory, technological determinism seems viable and logical, but once considered outside of a strictly historical sense, we realize that it just does not work. Technology is not a changing force, the people who use it are. “technological determinism is as dangerous as historical determinism”. As Karl Popper stated in Volume Two of The Open Society and Its Enemies concerning historicism, “human progress, can be achieved only by…become more fully aware of the fact that progress rests with us, with our watchfulness, with our efforts, with the clarity of our conception of our ends, and with the realism of their choice”. I think the same applies for technology and the society.

 

Ali Ramee

 

edited by Grace Marlette

 

The New Aesthetic

The new aesthetic is an image-processing media that was originated in Britain.  It is a media that belongs to a small group at this time, but it is one that we should be interested in taking and using.  The new aesthetic is defined as “an eruption of the digital into the physical,” by Bruce Sterling in his article “An Essay on the New Aesthetic.”  The new aesthetic is the newest product of modern world of technology, and a share-able concept.

The new aesthetic is a means of telling the truth.  There are different forms of the imaginary that it allows for expression in this time period.  Thanks to all the new devices and machines we are able to create raw graphic innovations.  These are innovations that we are then able to open up to the world and allow to interact with. An example of how this technology is opened up and shared is the through its Tumblr entitled “The New Aesthetic.”

This wonderful new media has given us the ability to break down cultural walls and build connections.  We are also able to see the new aesthetic transpire in real time.  It exists wherever there is means to transmit information.  ThisYoutube video explains the New Aesthetic a little better:  Continue reading

The Smartest Car Yet!

There is an endless list of “uninvented inventions” that could make our hectic lives easier. It may not be considered a communication or media device, but a car that drives automatically I feel could better the lives of an enormous amount of people. But what would that do to our society? How could it help and hurt the way we interact with each other? For one thing, in theory, if the technology was flawless (which it never is) the self driving car would eliminate many accidents. Or would it? Could people trust this new technology enough to put their lives at risk? What are the obstacles we face when adapting to a new device? and if we were ever able to adopt this new technology, what would the effects be on our society?

These questions can not be answered easily, but media archeology helps provide an insight as to how to approach them. Media archeology is the recalling and rewriting of history as it pertains to culture technology. From a media archeologists stand point, it is important to look at how you experience technology rather than the technology itself.

So let’s go back to the self driving car. If we approach the device from a MA standpoint then the car is not what is important. What truly matters should be how we relate to it and create a connection the new device. How would it change our society for the better and for the worse? What would it do to our economy and other competitors of cars? Would it be man made or mass produced by a factory machine? Because this does not exist, it really does not matter how we answer these questions. What should be noted is that our relationship with our new technology is the most important.

self-driving cars figure 2

This picture is from http://www.edn.com/design/automotive/4368069/Automobile-sensors-may-usher-in-self-driving-cars and shows what our future cars may be capable of doing.

Another example from today’s culture is a cell phone. The phone only has as much power as we associate with it. The device itself is insignificant without the impact we allow it to have on us. Media archeology provides us with the background information necessary to understand how our relationship with technology is what is most important.

-Grace Marlette

edited by Ali Ramee

Technology & The Body

Technology and the body have always been interacting. Edward Tenner wrote in “Technology, Technique, and the Body” about the use of a steering wheel and how humans adapted to using a steering wheel when they first learned to drive.  Humans and technology both modify and change one another.

An interesting article by Ari Daniel Shapiro goes into what is being done today for future advancements with mixing technology and the body. “A small community of people who have magnets inserted into their bodies” is no April Fool’s joke. Shapiro introduces cybernetics professor Kevin Warwick and his goal to merge humans and machines.

The article touches upon people who have similar feelings as Warwick, like Rebecca Davey. She had a small incision in her finger so a magnet implant could fit under the skin. This way when she passes a microwave, she fills the pull and tingle of the magnet. Why, you ask? According to Warwick, just having the magnets in fingers can create a different way to interpret music.

Warwick makes a good point with how humans are not good with multi-tasking when it comes to technology. Driving and talking on cell phones have turned into a bad idea, no wonder more states are deeming it illegal to do both at the same time.

The future for the merging of humans and technology is advancing, but unknown. Who knows, I may be full of magnets in 20 years and must avoid getting too close to a fridge…

ImageBy: Loren Springsteen

Edited By: Allisha Hemingway

Future of Communication Media

“Tomorrow’s world: A guide to the next 150 years,” is the title of the info graphic and it basically is a timeline for the next 150 years  and “predictions made by scientists, politicians, journalists, bloggers and other assorted pundits in recent years about the shape of the world from 2013 to 2150” (BBC). I think what is interesting though about this info graphic is how it is set up because it has different color coded predictions based on things like technology, business, science, computing and robotics, and, society. BBC FUTURE_non-editable-flat

It is about IBM’s vision for the future of technologies like computers or phones and how they will be able to use the five senses touch, taste, sight, hearing, and smell.  In the article it goes through each of the five senses and how things like computers will be changed and what will be the benefits to us, the users. Which I know has been something that people have been talking about for quite some time on how to break the barriers of like a computer or phone screen to make these technologies interactive.

But I think the craziest thing is that IBM is predicting that these technologies that will have the interactive ability to be her by the year 2018, which is in just five years!!! Crazy to think that their is a possibility of some of these inventions etc. could potentially come true. I know some of the predictions or inventions may seem a little out there or not possible at all but I think that is part of the fun of making these predictions and why we do it. To see what is really going to come true, how far out there are we willing to think.

The predictions are put onto one of two sides based on either how likely or not likely the predictions are to come true. What I think really caught my eye though was how with certain predictions that are given they link to it either leading to a dystopia or a utopia. Mentions of a utopia made me think of the Langdon Winner piece “Mythinformation.” Some of the predictions made in the info graphic line up with the utopian promises in the new age that Winner talks about in the article such a interactive aspect of technology and things that make our lives easier like electronic banking.

-Stephanie Benner

Are new technologies promoting racism?

Racism in Technology 

 

As technology evolves so does everything (culturally) surrounding it. The way we communicate changes because the way we have interacted with our communication device has changed. We can now say what we please on the internet and have seemingly no consequences. People can be inspiring and cheerful, spread messages of love and joy, and promote philanthropy and kindness. People can also promote hate, bigotry, racism and other types of nasty beliefs openly. This rise of racism on the internet has increased dramatically with the new forums people can write on. Many people may read this and think, “oh well no one would actually say that”, and I would have agreed– until ten minutes ago. By simply typing in the word “racist” in to my unused Twitter account an alarming number of accounts popped up. “The Funny Racist” , “Not Racist, But…”, and “Racist Jokes” are some of the least offensive of the 50+ results. 

 

Why is this okay? I am all for supporting the First Amendment but at what point must a line be drawn? Or how can we make people more aware of the hate messages they are sending? These technologies we created have just created another forum for people to spread nasty messages. People would be alarmed and outraged if a racist message was plastered above the fold of a daily newspaper, yet on the internet it is the norm. There needs to be a set of standards (or at least consequences) for people spreading these beliefs. 

 

With every use of technology (or anything, really) there are going to be those who abuse it as well. It is unrealistic to say that any internet provider should be held responsible for everything opinion posted on their site. This consequently puts the responsibility in the hands of the readers. If there is something promoting racism on the internet, leave the site. If you are willing and able, a complaint could have an effect. 

 

Grace Marlette

Are We Being Driven Apart?

Image

There are some who believe that technology is driving us apart, instead of bringing us together as others might believe.  Although there is that constant feeling of being connected while online, for those not “plugged in” it can feel very lonely on the outside looking in.  In an article by Turkle “Alone Together” a 15 year-old girl was quoted as saying “My cell phone, is my only individual zone, just for me.”

Although there are many who would say that technology has brought us together by providing different means of communication that above quote kind of changes that.  How close can we be if a child’s cell phone is where she feels most comfortable?  The fact that she feels most comfortable with her cell phone instead of with a friend or family member goes to what  Dr Rowan Williams , discusses in “The Telegraph” when he speaks on the growing obsession with social media, and the fact that its is creating “transient relationships” as well as “dehumanising” community.

In an article written by Loretta LaRoche for Enterprise News she is quoted as saying “It also becomes difficult to have face-to-face communications. Much of the technology today isolates us rather than brings us together.”  We are isolated in our one-on-one time with the technology that we are interacting with.  We no longer focus on those around us when we are engaged in our technologies leaving us separated from one another.

Now the question comes: Are we being separated by technology or brought together by it?

-Allisha Hemingway

Rejecting Technology?

Here is an image taken in the Amazon of a local surfing the web. Embracing technology, instead of rejecting it.