With the rapid growth of the digital world, I was pretty surprised to find out that this is the first year this module has been running. You know that feeling when you know something is just too good to be true? This is how I felt with this class. Hold up, let me explain! I’m sure that many of you (like I once ignorantly did) would interpret “Reading the Digital” as an exploration into online material. Boy was I wrong. I’ve got to say though; I was pleasantly surprised and am now a huge fan of the first book studied, Philip K Dick’s, Do Android’s Dream of Electric Sheep? Nowadays, we’re all supporting limbs for the technology that never slows down in developing. In fact, my friend always jokes that everyone has their own online personality from how tightly we’re being held into it. It’s actually a miracle that we are not yet fully robots. Dick offers an explanation to spare the dreadful thoughts. He claims it is empathy that splits the two; the two assets that humans supposedly have over Androids. However, my question is this; what if a human doesn’t have empathy? Is that even possible? More importantly, does it make us bad people if we lack the empathy we think is enough? Surely that applies to the character of Phil Resch. This clown literally kills because he can… So apparently, according to Bourg, empathisers are better readers. Don’t know about you but I personally cannot empathise with such a person. What do you guys think?
Perhaps this is ingrained into us and ultimately separates us from Androids but I’ve got to admit, they’re catching up fast. Bots are pretty impressive. It fascinates me how, although of course we all know that it’s programmed, just how empathetic they can be! They’ve been programmed to adapt to vast ranging crisis and emergencies. This is best shown through a website I’m part off where I’m a “Listener” to all those anonymous people in need of help. Of course, aside from the smart bots, this shows that the Digital can really help people through; However, it’s not all that it seems. The extreme check in on “sensitive” issues makes it impossible to communicate without getting into trouble. As the digital advances have changed, there is more security on harassment and more options for trolls to pretend they’re getting harassed. This basically means that I’m one button from being banned from the site. If you want to see how the site operates, check it out at:
The idea is great for the public’s protection, yet there are still hackers around? In fact, a lot of texts studied in the module show how hacking just cannot be avoided. Douglas Couplands’ Microserfs, demonstrates just how easy it is to be hacked. Imagine all these anonymous chats that are private under contract, leaked. What a catastrophe. It has happened before with phone hackings and app hacking and I believe it will happen again. Let’s be real, if something as bad as dating app conversations leaked, many of you would potentially turn single again. But on a serious note, I really do not think placing ethical boundaries on hacking will make it any better. Sorry Godfrey but then we just can’t win. Do you think that stopping it altogether will work? Literature, in all its forms and glory, would not function if the Digital world was put on a halt because of potential risks of danger. Danger cannot be avoided, only limited, as some people just can’t handle the responsibilities once they’ve got the power.
Let’s not forget the online trolls, who we all call keyboard warriors. Perhaps this is why I loved the serious gaming narratives; So that these ninjas can put their keyboard skills to good use. I found this session so interesting, probably because it is something I would never have really expected to affect the literature world. It does make sense though. Children are now glued on computer screens from as little as the age of 5, so it’s always good to try to incorporate a cheeky dose of narration alongside the beauty of the graphics, colours…you get the jiffy. Sometimes, all it takes to create the scene is a spooky conversation and a cliff hanger. Yes, yes, much like “Annie96 is typing…”. Through playing some of these games first hand, including pretty graphic ones that kids can easily get access to, I learnt that there are limited boundaries placed on games. The digital world can expand that much but not even put security measures on gaming narratives? What has the world come to?!
There is no doubt that this module opened my eyes (and mind) to all forms of readings towards the digital world. It will only expand, so it’s better that we’re prepared now. Even if it doesn’t, my theory is that we’re all slaves to technology. Sometimes, that makes us turn a blind eye to really important matters. However, it is what you make of it in the end. Of course, there come many luxuries with it such as voice commands, easy access to information and knowledge and so forth. But don’t you think that we’re getting lazy by being so reliant on these changes? Gone are the days where one would seal a letter with melted wax, and most defiantly, gone are the days where we dictate the digital world rather than letting it dictate us.
7cups.com, (n.d.). [online] Available at: http://www.7cups.com/.
Coupland, D. (1995). Microserfs. New York: ReganBooks.
Dick, P. and Parker, T. (2011). Do Androids dream of electric sheep?. Los Angeles, CA: Boom! Studios.
Storiesforyourscreen.com, (n.d.). annie96 is typing…. [online] Available at: http://storiesforyourscreen.com/annie96-is-typing/.
Vesey, G. (1978). Consciousness and the physical world. Nature, 271(5647), pp.709-710.