Tuesday 26 February 2013

Humans and technology #edcmooc #MoocsAndMe

Week 3 of the EDC MOOC is 'Reasserting the human'
Some more films to review but now using my filtering system of less than 3 minutes, I watched the first two.
The first one was the Toyota GT86 'real deal' advert.  The opposition created here is between the digital technology as 'unreal' and de-humanising and the natural world as authentic and living.  What is real? As if everything is a fantasy world, which it isn't.  The good thing was that you broke out of the fantasy world with the technology so you can have technology in a real world.  The second film was the BT heart to heart advert which is obviously manipulating emotions to sell the product - they want to sell voice conversations.
I read today on twitter that the media does not have as great an impact on voters voting preferences as you might think it does so I'm hoping that the same holds true for technology i.e. that media and advertising don't have as great an impact on perceptions of technology as the media hope.  It would be poor state of affairs if everyone believed that technology creates a fantasy world and that we are all going to be living in it as unreal characters.
I then watched a video recording of Steve Fullers TEDx Warwick Talk - 'Humanity 2.0 defining humanity.  It lasted 24:08 so obviously my 3 minute rule doesn't apply to interesting and inspirational speakers.  The talk outlines the ambiguity of our notions of what is 'human' and that it is difficult to define what it is to be human.  Humanity is artificial in a positive sense and goes beyond what is required to survive and reproduce. The 'project of humanity' through the ages has not necessarily been good for everyone but it could be a collective project.  From the late 18th century there was a movement to raise the level of all humanity - concern for the poor, welfare, education etc.  An obligation to bring all into humanity.  There are many arguments against humanity and promoting the project of humanity and it would be easy to write it off and move on because it is too difficult.
How this relates to technology and MOOCs is, I think, that there is a moral obligation is to treat education and online education as a humanistic project in order to offer equality of access and democratization.  MOOCs do offer an opportunity to make information and learning open to all and I think this is their greatest benefit or at least potential benefit.  But is it learning that is accessible for all?  Or is it access to information?  

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