“There’s a crack in everything – cheap oakleys that’s how the light gets in.” – L Cohen

IT’S very illuminating to read radical critiques regarding the role of technology and digital communications in advanced industrial societies.

Personal autonomy, they argue, is being diminished by technology, whose primary purpose is to dramatically accelerate the speed,  flexibility and efficiency of the information economy. They generally view this mission as sinister, exploitative and hegemonic. 

Whilst we might take issue with this gloomy view of the world, the implicit framework on which their critiques are based is nevertheless revealing.

So let’s do a simple exercise to tease out a set of polarities that underlie their critiques, as these may in fact come in handy when evaluating any digital communications system, whether it’s Google, Facebook or UltraNet.

  • Exclusive / Accessible
    Digital technology has the possibility of allowing people with disability – eg the sight and hearing impaired – total access to digital content, but design and coding guidelines set down by W3C are not often observed.
  • Centralised / Distributed
    High cost, centralised systems are devised that seek ‘to do everything’. On the other hand, the Internet cheap nfl jerseys itself is a distributed system, and even more powerful, independent and resilient than decentralised systems.
  • Narrow / Diverse
    Technology systems are devised to appeal to white, affluent, mobile, English speaking users, thus excluding the vast majority of the world’s population.
  • Hierarchical / Democratic
    Technology systems are devised from the top down, where all aspects are contained, managed and controllable. Counterposing this are such things as user generated content (blogs, wikis), social networking, email and VoIP (eg Skype).
  • Blocked / Transferable
    Propriety code locks content behind impenetrable walls and vertical controls, for example, Apple’s iTunes.  Transferable data and formats can be loaded into any system and cross over any platforms.

In the radical critiques, these polarities revolve around the extremes of good and bad, reflecting unwittingly, the rigidity of binary logic (on / off).

It’s far more helpful to see the polarities as contests, contradictions or fault lines where ‘cracks of light’ can emanate.

Indeed, technology has always been a contested space: between, one one side, the opportunities for social good and on the other, private commercialisation.

It’s like the proverbial public squares of old, where people gathered to chat about their work, weather and relatives. Then the operators came and set up stores and erected ads on buildings, bombarding the park inhabitants with their commercial dreams and desires.

<img class="size-medium wp-image-710" title="times square" src="http://transmoder.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/times-square-291×300.png" oakley outlet alt=”” width=”291″ height=”300″ srcset=”http://transmoder.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/times-square-291×300.png 291w, http://transmoder.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/times-square.png 580w” sizes=”(max-width: 291px) Wholesale Jerseys 100vw, 291px” />

Time Square, NY 1947

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One Response to There’s a crack in everything…

  1. […] On every score Ultranet breaches all the principles we have outlined in previous posts. See: Nothing lasts forever and There’s a crack in everything…. […]

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