3/5: Creative Industries/Microworlds I

Please post a question on the reading as a comment below.



  1. What does the cluster tendency of turtles and frogs in coding programs have in common with technology today? For example, everyone has to buy the latest and greatest Apple product as soon as it comes out. Do people tend to “cluster” certain products or brands more than others? Why?

  2. It says in chapter 11 of The Digital Media Handbook, on the section of ‘Pervasive Media’, that “In one sense the internet is now everywhere and anywhere. It can be regarded as a parallel and complete world, and yet we cannot live in it”(159). My question is whether this statement is accurate or not. Why can’t we live in the internet? Do we not already live in it? This statement and topic in particular sparked my interest because last semester i did a literature review on media ecology and ever since the ideas of Marshall McLuhan, the father of this theory has made me question technology’s effects on humanity as a whole. In his book Understanding Media: The Extensions of man, McLuhan (2003) stated the following
    During the mechanical ages we have extended our bodies in space. Today, after more than a century more than a century of electronic technology, we have extended our central nervous system itself into a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned (5). Having further analyzed this quote, i believe it could be possible that we live in the medium of the internet.

  3. I agree with Audrey regarding the cluster tendency of turtles and frogs in coding programs to the common technology we have today because we always seem to have to have the latest technology despite our actual need for the item. I think we tend to cluster onto Apple products because we acknowledge their presence in advertisements, television, and around campus forcing us to want to fit in with everyone else like it says in the text, “The lone remaining man feels uncomfortable and decides to leave” (87). Society has formed us to want to be a part of the cluster and in order to do that you must conform to these products.

  4. Resnick provides the example of virtual ants colony studies as a way to study collective nature, he states “Ant colonies have come to be viewed as a prototypical example of hose complex-group behavior can arise from simple-individual behavior.” How might taking control of such communities contribute to a greater development of understanding our own communities? Is there something lost when people manipulate the reality of things? This is really fascinating as it helps many people learn about the complex nature of community versus individual behavior.

  5. In chapter 10 of The Digital Media Handbook, the section ‘Consumers of Apps and video games’ I’m interested in what kind of role gender plays on selling gaming products and the marketplace? What kind of games do we see appealing more to women then to men?

    1. For a good start on your interest, I’d recommend http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_and_video_games . A couple of noteworthy elements that stood out from that article are that 47% of gamers are women, and the gap continues to close. However, as of 2010! 85% of playable characters in games were male, which can make it difficult for women to relate to the protagonist. Recent attempts to close the gender gaps revealed that women “prefer gender-neutral games such as Tetris, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, the King’s Quest games, The Sims, or Civilization to ‘girl games’.” This says that if developers want to engage women, they don’t have to create games like, “girl-oriented material … like The Baby-sitters Club, Barbie, and Nancy Drew”; instead create good quality, gender neutral games. Nintendo has already experienced success with this, stating that “50% of its users are female”–the ideal ratio.

  6. In chapter 13 of the Digital Media Handbook, Maria Stukoff talks about video game development. Stukoff explains the advancement in technology in the development of video games and where they hope to eventually take video games. She says, “we can envisage a scenario when your phone will collect data from you while you are on the go and when you get home it will upload to your console… all transactions for GPS activity may get transmitted to your online persona” (180). My question is, do you guys feel like video games invade too much on our personal privacy? Do you feel uncomfortable with this idea of video games tracking our every move, and are you concerned with the future development of them?

    1. Not necessarily. It depends on the type of game. For example, I’m using an app called “Zombies, Run!” as a running trainer to motivate myself when I go on runs. It charts your gps location and speed to monitor sprints. You then have the option to upload your runs to their site. I’ve then linked it with another site that awards points for your exercises, allowing you to “level up” like you do in a role playing video game. Others can then give you props (the equivalent of “likes”) which can be very motivating. The integration of GPS is therefore very useful as a game mechanic.
      That said, in terms of privacy, I like the decision to share or not share within these games. You don’t HAVE to share your runs with the public. In terms of video games, when things might become an invasion of privacy, then the public retaliates. An example of this is the Xbox One. Originally, there was a fear of the camera monitoring users, because it had to be plugged in and connected to the internet for the console to operate. After severe critical reception, these policies were changed prior to release. Users can now monitor what is or is not sent to Microsoft. It is the control over privacy that encourages the players to play without fear.
      I guess what I’m trying to get at is: people are okay with giving up their privacy so long as it is not forcibly taken from them. It’s all about that freedom of choice.

  7. the term recursion comes up on page 110, its about a chain of ever smaller things going on forever or not? but it seems to me that if something went on forever, (infinite) couldnt a possible awnser be that it does no even exist. Because it is contingent and always relies on something before hand?in regards to the recursive trees it seems like the having of multiple turles is the best solution because then there is no need for the turtles to backtrack.

  8. In chapter four of “Turtles, Termites, & Traffic Jams”, Resnick discusses using real insects and their natural instincts as a basis for developing computer progams, in this case, StarLogo. Using nature as inspiration for creating simulations is an interesting idea, but my question is, what is the point? Living creatures have basic instincts and functions that programmers can only artificially copy, but they cannot be expanded upon. In the example of ants, the author talks about the ants use of pheromones to get more food and to lead their other colonies that same way. Resnick then used his program to mimick those same functions, but I do not understand his reasoning. I believe that it is important to understand nature, but can we ever use technology to outsmart it?

  9. In Mitchell Resnick’s “Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams”, Resnick talks about the difference between stimulation and simulation. He says that he prefers to think of StarLogo projects as “explorations of microworlds”, not simulations. Is it safe to say that coding is a stimulation? Do you believe that coding is one or the other or both?

  10. Resnick discussed the slime mold of how single felled organisms interact (50-52) Once they reach a certain population if tens of thousands, they then cease to act as individuals and begin “acting as a unified whole […] behaving as a multicellular creature” (51). This appears to be similar to how humans behave in societies and nations, when citizens unite to achieve a common goal. But are we indeed similar to these single celled creatures? If so, how are we similar, and how do we differ?

  11. Resnick continues talking about parallelism. As in, there is not one leader, but they (ants), when gathering and following food have a high-level of parallel interactions, where sequential behavior arises entirely from low-level (Resnick 65). Don’t you think this process can only work with ants and not humans? Doesn’t there always has to be someone to take control of patterns/activities? Also, I found that the traffic jams section was very helpful in terms of the flow of movement. Do you believe that technology can cure any “traffic jam” of sorts? I don’t not think technology could ever fix a traffic jam, just cause more distractions and more frustration.

    1. I don’t think there always needs to be someone to take control. My opinion is that we THINK that is the case. We have been so immersed in different versions of centrality that it is hard to think differently. The analogous examples such as “Turtles and Frogs’ indicate that we often make decisions based on interactions which create a snowball effect of further interactions.

  12. In The Digital Media Hanbook, chapter 11, Dewdeny and Ride state that “digital media practice operates on a kind of fault line between established forms of production and new and different forms of production. We also go on to say that one of the defining features of the medium itself is that the division between author and audience is challenged by digital media’s interactive quality” (kindle addition). What this is saying to me is that with digital media, the audience can manipulate it and transform it while the author is the creator of the original form of that digital media whatever it may be. With that being said, who is in control of the digital media? and Would it matter if we knew the who the author is if that medium can be transformed into different forms by many other people? Does that medium lose it’s authenticity or does it create a new form of authenticity?

  13. In chapter 11 of the digital media handbook, Dewdney states “how well, or badly, people perform on Twitter or Facebook social media or the quality of the content of personal blogs and websites is irrelevant to their existence within an unregulated global network of communication” (155). I understand that what he is saying is that there are no regulations or standards in what or how people can post – the fact remains that they CAN post – however, I disagree. I believe that the quality or overall attractiveness of either the contents or the poster are incredibly relevant to their existence within a global network – a post on the internet that is overlooked due to a lack of interest due to any given possible quality might as well not exist – and if no one reads or sees or cares, it essentially does not.

  14. In chapter 12, the topic of apps as artificial life simulation developed into the discussion of the app Technosphere. While the first few pages of the chapter focus on the processes involved in the creation, both on and off line, on page 171 it discusses the data management and design implications. This specific app gives the user control of a creature in a habitat and is responsible for that reality. Besides this being a resurrected trend (a la Neo pets in the 90’s) the point is for the user to create a reality using the designs and data provided to control an environment. I would argue that all apps are meant for that reason; to give the user a sense of control over a reality. More so, I ‘d also argue that we do not have control of these apps and it is actually an illusion of choice. We are given the premade designs of an app to tailor a “personal reality” that statistically speaking, will have to match some one else’s creation. I think this also applies to all forms of social/recreational media to a point. Our tweets, pictures, and fb profile will be very similar to another because we are given options to form our “creature.” In chapter 13 we dive into the video game production logistics and impacts. DO we treat video games differently than social media in the sense that we okay video games fro experience while we use apps for personal creation?

    1. Correction: Do we treat video games differently than social media in the sense that we play video games for experience while use apps for a sense of personal creation?

  15. Going back to the original question posted by Audrey, I think that we as humans have a tendency to cluster certain brands or products together. Apple has been a huge name brand for many years and they have in the past as well as today been known to be one step ahead in the technology field. Some of us cluster Apple products together and view them all as the “it” product. Because of this, their products are highly desired. We, people who yearn to have the latest products, find ways to purchase these products. Those in possession of the latest product can sometimes cluster together for having said product. There is a quote in our book that somewhat ties into this theory, “Schelling’s point is that extreme segregation can occur even in the absence of such individuals” (p. 87).

  16. In Chapter 3, Resnick talks about these sorts of “collective structures” in which traffic jams are an example of. He states that “collective structures often behave differently from the elements that compose them”. How can we relate this idea to the way in which our American society operates today in terms of the “American Dream”? I feel as if this sort of collective structure which we create as the American population tends to lean the opposite direction in terms of success as a group of people. We are undermining our own mantra and boarding up against our own people, therefore creating a backwards movement. Is this the idea that Resnick is comparing to when he explains this sort of phenomena?

  17. In chapter 2 of turtles, termites, and traffic jams Resnick says that “Observation and participation are not enough” and that we need a deeper sense of engagement. What are specific ways of engaging in a decentralized way? and as technology advances will these ways?

  18. In The Digital Media Handbook I found that the digital expereince can be linked directly to creative industries. I then wondered if such industries such as Disney and Disneyland would be what they are today without the “digital expereince”?. “This has meant that photographers, editors, muscians, sound engineers, layout artists, graphic designers, cinematographers and architects have aquired the skills of operating computer software programs.” (207) I find that these creative industries would not be what they are with all that the digital experience has to offer. I found that Disneyland would be one of the best examples.

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