The Machine is us/ing us | Web 2.0
Watching a video left me speechless about the anthropological perceptive of the internet. It was part of the classroom lecture during my data science course orientation. You can think of the video as an artefact from the bygone era.
The four-and-a-half-minute video, titled "The Machine is Us/ing Us", was created by Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University.
The video takes us through the metamorphosis of the internet by a combination of screen captures and short videos. Along with this, an informative tour of different platforms that were available on the internet at that time to show how it evolved into Web2.0
We see the creator's perspective of the ever-evolving internet with a well-intended background score "There's nothing is impossible" by Dues. Professor Wesch explains that "Content" refers to what a text says and "Form" is how, what it says, is arranged. The pen and paper illustration shows how form and content were before the digital era. And after the internet boom, it revolutionized everything.
The digital text was easier to edit and has features like hyperlink which can take you to another text on another location with just a click. It was no less than magic back then when the world was living on paper. Going further, the HTML form and content became inseparable; and XML was designed just to solve that problem. And after the separation of form and content creation became very easy and it revolutionised the whole web giving birth to Web2.0.
But this where it gets complicated. Are machines really using us? I don’t think so. Even though mainstream cinema makes the majority fear that if machines gained too much power, they will "overpower and destroy the human race”:
2015: Age of Ultron - Where Ultron was created with peace in mind, but it turned the tables on his creator.
2001: A Space Odyssey - Where computer HAL briefly controls a spaceship against the will of the human astronauts.
Even the title of the ‘Machine is Us/ing Us’ implies a pessimistic viewpoint creating fearful expectations in the audience's mind, with the question of human vanity behind it. Still, the constant cautions of ‘computer learning too much is something I don't agree with.
The most important part of the video is not to be afraid of "change" in internet technology but instead, be "aware" of it. I strongly believe while reacting to the godspeed evolution of technology with caution we should discuss it, test it, push it to its limits, see what happens, learn from it, and continue to do great things that change the world, for the better.
Come back here and tell me about the video. I bet you’ll have something to say!