Christina's LIS Rant
Sunday, October 26, 2008
  ASIST2008: Opening Session
ASIST2008: Opening session
1pm, Sunday, October 26, 2008
Genevieve Bell
Intel Corporation (October 2008)

(introduced by Brenda Dervin, responses by Howard Rheingold and Andrew Keen)

Technology and social impacts. Relationship of people with information – people society structure and meaning – transformation…

Internet – embodies the place where it was invented… ways technology got created encoded values but not everyone’s value. notions of participation, structure of information.

“internet goes feral” – moves from PCs to other devices, the technology and what it enables/prevents… things are moving forward and backward – immersive experiences on PCs, but more simple factual (my word) searches on mobile devices

internet > us & uk, pc > tv, mostly women 25-45, not the typical “early adopter” of technology

users may use the internet and take advantage of quick access to information without ever touching a computer, having power, or being literate

new internet users – US will forever not be the majority. Not Anglophone, not understanding Western metaphors, languages,… more cross cultural communication… example, way Chinese publish and escape sensors is to find another word that sounds familiar, and use the image for that… v. difficult to search for.

Different system of knowledge/information – knowledge through piety? through work? through study? through experience?

infrastructure – fat pipe – speed down vs. speed up… if equal, greater civic participation, if unequal more about consumption…. what about countries where you have to pay for speed and quantity to download, or capped internet (Australia, UK)… irony that you don’t know what you’re going to get. “killer app” BBC backfile slowed internet in the UK 30-40%, very compelling everyone downloading video. In Africa – internet you visit, not something you bring into your home – other things in internet café, social experience…. everyone doesn’t have the same kind of internet

regulating the internet: Indonesia – very well wired, effort to bridge digital divide, more mosques than telephones, so decision to use mosques (program never thrived)… we think of libraries for internet access, but in other cultures, where?

Who are stakeholders? in New Zealand, spectrum allocation and aboriginal peoples; religious leaders in Cairo… linking internet/technology usage to good citizenship, modernity by leaders in Singapore, South Korea.

Gov’t control/filtering of internet. We imagine the internet flows freely, but there is more control rather than less as we go.

socio-technical concerns.
old: privacy, trust, security, risk
new: reliability, access, reputation, participation, authenticity, authorship. ownership, surveillance, cultural health (digital literacy, dumbing down , distinctiveness)

there is no fixed notion of “the web”
new challenges and questions
- make sense of users, non-users, former users (not due to cost)
- disconnection & switching-off
- recognize emergent socio-technical concerns and alternate knowledge practices.

H.R. – response
liberty is a problem we don’t see – some people don’t miss it.
knowledge of cultural values
important impact of internet – whatever it is – is lowering threshold to collective action – doesn’t see a change in this
find an answer to any question by posing it correctly, and how can you trust it – reputation is more important
networked society vs. internet society – networked society has been around forever and there have been barriers and pipes for information

A.K. – response
why would people buy more chips? why would Intel win based on what she’s learned? apparently not bcs. lady in Indonesia has outsourced internet
given her “lack of conclusions” and that she is a “senior insider” where is this going? where is technology
don’t think she told the whole story – only the good looking half, he’d like to talk about the other half.
internet as philosophy, internet as ideology, internet as theory
from counter culture to cyberspace by turner on ideology of internet…
internet driven by counter culture group, it is a series of ideological statements of technology liberating people, idea of free market..
this is a challenge to hierarchy, religion, authority
the internet is not the real world – it is an idealized version – grants complete freedom, does away with barriers… the real world is increasingly ugly… world of profound inequality and injustice,… crux of digital revolution is teaching us an idealized way of operating in “a” world, but we have the reverse, the real world…
all of GB’s challenges go under the heading “individualism”
he’s worried about digital fascism – we’re in a time like the 1920s when people reacted against industrialism which changed society and community (I think he said) – he’s not worried about us, the professionals and insiders, but the 2 billion new users in the next x years – their disappointment with the lack of the internet world to connect with their world.

GB – response to response from AK
always hears “that’s nice sweetie, but what do you do at Intel?”
she thinks when next 2B people encounter the internet, unlikely that the ideology of the internet is sustainable… places where next 2B people come from don’t have the fetish of the individual, more collectivist cultures, and reputation of village or family or lineage. There may be the types of conflicts you imagine but different resolutions.

terms of the origin of the internet, won’t necessarily be the terms under which it carries forward.

- we’ve made the internet seem special in this talk, but it is another instantiation of technologies making changes in society

HR – response to both
watch deterministic language, need discussions of human agency… it’s not about the technology of the printing press, more about whole set of practices about teaching reading… what about appropriation of technologies for different uses…

Audience questions –
Dan Russell from Google – how people conceive of the internet (he thinks about how people come up with questions for google)… how do people think about “the internet”?
GB – technologies were complete symbol sets, you can’t be a person without x, internet became like other objects (example of tradition of burning paper objects for ancestors in after life), Indonesia, mobile phones = modernity, symbolic resonance – a story you want to tell about a better you. also about infrastructure, instrumentalist, … kiosk – people come up and can do one of 5 things, queries sit on the kiosk til it’s picked up carted off to connection, downloaded answers, and then brought back with answers… this version of immediacy is different. imagined as repository like library, temple, or my grandfather’s shed, you would find things eventually but not immediately or all at once

Jana Hartel from U Toronto – internet center of your research – but the world is bigger than the internet, so it is dangerous to think of the internet as the center of human experience…
GB – internet might be the least important thing, fetish made of new technologies, interested in the persistences as well as the changes

AK – internet is an old-fashioned term, need something else to describe this ubiquitous media
students more relying solely on internet
GB – no it’s not.. many places around the world, many learning trajectories where there’s no internet at all – it won’t always be, if you want to learn the answer go to the internet… in fact, most of the places she’s been, you don’t go to the internet for answers you go to the wise person
HR -- what is it that makes us human, we use symbolic communication to organize collective action (paraphrase)… symbolic communication is easily reprogrammed…. changing the way we transmit these symbols…

Gary Marchionini, UNC – notions of identity – personal identity – digital diaphragms/condoms/ sanctuaries on the internet… are there things happening now that can help us take control of our identities
HR – the degree to which we can’t control how our identities are on the internet
GB – we hold multiple e-mail addresses and we give them to different people depending on use… other places one e-mail for the household… we think of all of these accounts and things being about us individually, we present a particular identity, but there are multiple offline identities… we’ve always maintained multiple fragmented selves, and technology has mapped on to this
AK – not convincing that these traditions are represented in this new technology, it’s different and revoluationary


What about the detail that "going to the Internet" often IS "going to the wise person"? Just a wise person who doesn't happen to be geographically close by.
some things lost in my translation - notes... this was wrt people whose use of the internet was through telling son to write e-mail when he went to internet cafe... so yes, you're right, but there was a little more to it
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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

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