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[ontolog-forum] Technological (Ontological?) Intimacy

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From: Ali H <asaegyn@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2013 11:55:52 -0500
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Hello all,

You'll either find the following cutting to the heart of the (computational) ontology as part of science/society, or else as peripheral musings. In the latter case, sorry for the off-topic email. 

Otherwise, I'd like to highlight the following excerpts (and it might be more central to the project of formal ontology if you take Neil Postman's exhortation for us to claim responsibility as technologists/ontologists seriously, cf - http://w2.eff.org/Net_culture/Criticisms/informing_ourselves_to_death.paper ):

...There’s a great deal of emphasis on how my information-poor perceptions might be enhanced by integration with the internet — and how all manner of errors and inefficiencies will be ironed out along the way. Yet there’s little sense of how my ability to think my own thoughts, explore my own feelings or enjoy my own space will be similarly served, enhanced or encouraged. What’s on offer is, effectively, a smartphone strapped to my face.
This is all very well if my aim is to become a more effective operator of technological systems. However, if computing itself isn’t the primary objective — if I’m more interested in fomenting ideas and memories than in broadcasting a video of my daily exploits — the notion of wearable computing suddenly starts to seem, in this incarnation at least, not so much an escape from the desk and the sofa as an intensification of all that they represent.
Distance, difference, fleshy frailties: all these are to be erased, while actuality itself is useful only as grist to the mill of content-generation and sharing (video, photos, audio, status updates!). Similarly, rather than you — your whole, embodied being — what the world really cares about is ‘you’ as represented by your avatar, profile, inbox, image, account, uploads, shares, likes, dislikes, group memberships, search history, purchase, orders and subscriptions.
Ultimately, there is a symmetry between treating ourselves as disembodied and seeing our machines as a weightless other world. In each case, chains of true cause and effect are replaced by a kind of magical thinking, and the gifts of human illusion cross over into delusion.
Just like belonging to any ‘Audience’, it isn’t proper fun unless everyone has tacitly agreed the rules. If only one side knows what’s going on, it’s no longer entertainment: it’s a con trick, and a price is being extracted.

This struck me as particularly poignant, especially in light of the broader applications of ontology (outside of engineering, and into social relations):

and the representation of people (admittedly a toy example) as discussed on slides 19-26:


(•`'·.¸(`'·.¸(•)¸.·'´)¸.·'´•) .,.,

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