Cyberspace and Identity

In his chapter “Who will we be in cyberspace,” Winner raises some interesting questions. He encourages us to think about how our identity as American’s has shaped our unquestioning embrace of technology and cautions us about being vigilant about how technological artifacts shape our material practices.

In about a 100 words for each question, address the questions below paying attention to (a) Winner’s key argument, and (b) your informed stance based on the principles of self-expression, consent of the governed, the need for virtual communities, and what these should look like, and how do we achieve the principles of a democratic society in a virtual community.

1. What key factors shaped the American identity? How are these relevant today?

2. What are some key questions Winner encourages use to consider? Would you add any to the list? Why? Would any of those questions be redundant today in your opinion? How so?

3. What are the implications of the digital transformation of our society for different groups of people/ occupations/ ways of living? Can you add any groups or aspects that have been omitted or have become salient since Winner’s writing of the book?

4. What are some issues that we as informed consumers/critical producers of technology should be aware of? Why is it important for us to be aware of these issues?

5. What is Winner’s key thesis? To what extent do you agree? How would your argument on this issue look like?

8 responses to “Cyberspace and Identity

  1. 1.) Some key factors that have shaped the American identity are the fact that we are compulsively restless people, continually reinventing ourselves, and renovating our ways of living at the drop of a hat. These statements are all very relevant today. We are extremely restless in the fact that we always want more, we always want to be doing something different. We are continually reinventing ourselves and making ourselves better. We are always trying new things in hopes to find the best new thing. Lastly we are renovating our ways of living at the drop of the hat by how mobile we are and how we can just change almost anything at anytime.

    2.) Some key questions that Winner encourages us to consider include:
    Around these instruments, what kind of bonds, attachments, and obligations are in the making?
    To whom or to what are people connected or dependent upon?
    Do ordinary people see themselves as having a crucial role in what is taking shape?
    Do people see themselves as competent, able to make decisions?
    Do they feel that their voices matter in making decisions that will affect family workplace, community and nation?
    Do they feel themselves to be fairly treated?

    Another question that i believe could be added to the list would be is there a purpose to our actions or is this all a waste of time? I believe this is a good question because it is accurate when you really think about it. Is there a point in us tweeting or posted Instagrams? Will any of it matter ten years from now? I would like to say the answer is no, at least not in a good way. Although some of these questions are similar, I do not feel they are redundant because they help to get the point across.

    3.) There are several implications to this subject. The move to computerize and digitize means that many preexisting cultural forms have suddenly gone t liquid, loosing their former shape as they are re-tailored for computerized expression. The article notes that as new patterns solidify, both useful artifact and the texture of human relations that surround them are often much different from what existed previously. A great example mentioned in the article was the one talking about replacing the teacher, blackboard, books, and verbal interchange with computer hardware and software which eliminates jobs and changes the way of life as we know it. A few jobs that I feel have become salient since this article are those in factories. Many factory workers have lost jobs because their jobs can now be done by machines.

    4.) Some issues that we as consumers should be aware of is that with all the excitement there are downfalls. The digital liquification of social practices and institutions is leading to the erosion of former livelihoods of many working class and middle-class people. Structures that were formerly funded are now being defunded, liquidated as capital takes the opportunity to move elsewhere.Layoffs and downsizing are becoming obvious whether we hear it on the news or in our friends and families lives. Digital liquification is allowing financial and organization liquidation. It is important for us to be aware of these issues because we are blinded by the progression that sooner or later we are all going to be out of certain types of jobs that are being taken over by technology.

    5.) Winner’s key thesis is that for better or worse, the future of computing and the future of human relations are now being intertwined. He believes that the habits of technological somnambulism cultivate over many decades will not be easily overcome. He believes that choices about computer technology involve not only obvious questions about ‘what to do,’ but also less obvious ones about ‘who to be.’ I tend to agree with Winner to a certain extent. My parents harp on me all the time for constantly being on technology and they are right, I do not need to be on technology all the time. It is starting to shape who I am and that is not what I want. I believe it has gone overboard. I can not leave my house without my phone or else I feel like I am missing out on something. If technology keeps up the way it is, although it is helpful to a certain extent, it will start controlling the population more and more and we will loose sight to who we really are.

  2. 1. According to Winner, monarchy, individual liberty and consent of the governed, and material prosperity and genuine self-government all shaped American identity. These principles are relevant today when looking at the big picture of these trends. When new technology appears, the people of society have to use and reflect that technology to a point, just as the people had to reflect the principles that shaped Americans.
    I think this point that Winner makes is very true. People have the right to express themselves through technology or politics. Virtual communities exist because people desire interaction and democracy is apparent in these virtual communities through the users’ having rights in the community as well as participation by the users and finally executive powers governing the virtual communities.

    2. Winner encourages the reader to consider what people are connected to, if people see themselves as competent, if they feel if their opinion and voice matters in making decision, and if people feel fairly treated.
    I would ask what is the purpose behind the technology. Is the technology going to further us as a virtual community or is it a distraction tool from the real world? I think this needs to be evaluated because a lot of technology today seems irrelevant to our efficiency and productivity as members of a virtual community. Google glasses, for example, seem like a great new idea, but for what purpose? Will this new invention further us as a society or make us stand out from others? Are these technologies bringing us together as a virtual community or forcing us out?

    3.Our society is becoming more and more dependent on technology instead of learning social interactions. “Preexisting cultural forms have suddenly gone liquid, losing their former shape as they are retailored for computerized expression.”
    No one fully understands what this technology is doing to our society because we have grown so accustom to hearing a recording instead of a real person’s voice over the phone. Even commercials/companies nowadays use real-life telephone operators as a way to stand out from the rest of the competitors because it is so rare to call customer service and automatically speak to a representative. We do not see the implications of these technologies in the present day, but when we realize that we do not know how to be social with people through face-to-face interactions, is when we will realize that maybe technology isn’t the best thing for us as a society.

    4. As informed consumers, we should be aware that technology is taking over jobs that were once held by real people. For example, ATM’s have replaced x amount of bank tellers that work a 9-5 job, with a salary, therefore diluting the economy as a whole. It is important for us to be aware of these issues because one day we will try to find a more efficient way to complete every simple tax through technology, computers, machines, etc. which will take away jobs and opportunities for many. More people are already transforming their career paths to more Information Technology work because there is a vast need for these types of people to fix the machines that we are so dependent upon. Skilled workers are no longer needed because machines have replaced them.

    5. Winner’s key thesis is that human relations and technology are now competing against each other. Habits that our generation sees as ‘normal’ may not necessarily be normal, but just what we are used to. We are passing up the opportunity to have ‘lively conversation’ because we are glued to technology.
    I agree with Winner’s thesis because it is apparent even just by people watching on campus that everyone is glued to some sort of technology. We are missing what is right in front of us because we are so worried about what is going on somewhere else or in someone else’s life. I think technology needs to be limited at a certain point to make sure that we as a population learn to have human social interactions instead of living through a screen.

  3. 1.Some key factors that have shaped the American identity is that we are seen as being “compulsively restless individuals”. I think that this is relevant today because we have the drive to innovate, expand, and reinvent on existing ideas to better ourselves and our environment as technology advances.

    2.The key questions that Winner encourages us to consider are:
    What kinds of bonds, attachments and obligations are in the making?
    To whom or what are people connected or dependent upon?
    Do ordinary people see themselves as having a crucial role in what is taking shape?
    Do people see themselves as decision makers?
    Do people believe that their voices matter?
    Do people believe that they are being treated fairly?

    I think a question that we can add to this is:
    What is the purpose behind this?
    This question is important to ask ourselves because if we are taking the time to innovate and create these new ideas there must be an important use behind it. One of these reasons can be to multitask or even driving a task to be completed faster. I think that even though these questions relate to one another I think they are all important questions to be asked in order to see what you can do as technology evolves.

    3.There are several implications of digital transformation that are affecting our community. One of these implications is that our country as a whole is losing touch with face-to-face communication skills. As a community we are becoming more dependent on technology than on social interactions with one another. I also think it is affecting the community separating those who are on the opposite side of the digital divide excluding them from innovation. In this article Winner did not discuss those who have fallen behind the digital divide. He also didn’t include the jobs being taken from individuals and replaced with technology putting those qualified individuals out of the work force.

    4.There are some issues that as informed customers and critical producers of technology that we should be aware of. One of these issues as stated of is that the development of technology taking away from jobs of working people. We also need to be aware of technology literacy in our environment. We need to ensure that everyone in the community is educated and able to use technology to their own individuals needs to better their life. These issues are important because recognizing this will prevent technology from taking over all of the working people’s jobs. It also will help us to realize that although technology is helping us to perform tasks quicker we still need to rely on individuals to manage and operate these technologies. If we rely on technology too much we will not be able to function properly as a society if the internet crashes.

    5.Winner’s key thesis is that technology is now taking over what used to be human relations. As a society we are losing touch with face-to-face communication with the emergence of new technologies. I agree with this statement because even through what I have experienced text messaging is taking away from everyday written and verbal communication skills. As a society we need to make sure to remind ourselves of common skills that we are losing sight of that are important to functioning effectively in the community.

  4. 1) Some key factors that have shaped the American identity is that we are seen as being “compulsively restless individuals”. I think that this is relevant today because we have the drive to innovate, expand, and reinvent on existing ideas to better ourselves and our environment as technology advances.

    2) Some key questions that Winner encourages us to consider include:
    Around these instruments, what kind of bonds, attachments, and obligations are in the making?
    To whom or to what are people connected or dependent upon?
    Do ordinary people see themselves as having a crucial role in what is taking shape?
    Do people see themselves as competent, able to make decisions?
    Do they feel that their voices matter in making decisions that will affect family workplace, community and nation?
    Do they feel themselves to be fairly treated?

    3) Our society is becoming more and more dependent on technology instead of learning social interactions. “Preexisting cultural forms have suddenly gone liquid, losing their former shape as they are retailored for computerized expression.”
    No one fully understands what this technology is doing to our society because we have grown so accustom to hearing a recording instead of a real person’s voice over the phone. Even commercials/companies nowadays use real-life telephone operators as a way to stand out from the rest of the competitors because it is so rare to call customer service and automatically speak to a representative. We do not see the implications of these technologies in the present day, but when we realize that we do not know how to be social with people through face-to-face interactions, is when we will realize that maybe technology isn’t the best thing for us as a society.

    4) Some issues that we as consumers should be aware of is that with all the excitement there are downfalls. The digital liquification of social practices and institutions is leading to the erosion of former livelihoods of many working class and middle-class people. Structures that were formerly funded are now being defunded, liquidated as capital takes the opportunity to move elsewhere.Layoffs and downsizing are becoming obvious whether we hear it on the news or in our friends and families lives. Digital liquification is allowing financial and organization liquidation. It is important for us to be aware of these issues because we are blinded by the progression that sooner or later we are all going to be out of certain types of jobs that are being taken over by technology.

    5) Winner’s key thesis is that human relations and technology are now competing against each other. Habits that our generation sees as ‘normal’ may not necessarily be normal, but just what we are used to. We are passing up the opportunity to have ‘lively conversation’ because we are glued to technology.
    I agree with Winner’s thesis because it is apparent even just by people watching on campus that everyone is glued to some sort of technology. We are missing what is right in front of us because we are so worried about what is going on somewhere else or in someone else’s life. I think technology needs to be limited at a certain point to make sure that we as a population learn to have human social interactions instead of living through a screen.

  5. 1) Some key factors that have shaped the American identity is that we are seen as being compulsively restless individuals. Seeing what people do with their life’s and their spare time is interesting. Agreeing with Winner, people have the right to express themselves in whichever way they want.

    2) Some key questions that Winner encourages us to consider include:

    Do people see themselves as competent, able to make decisions?

    Around these instruments, what kind of bonds, attachments, and obligations are in the making?
    Do they feel themselves to be fairly treated?

    Do ordinary people see themselves as having a crucial role in what is taking shape?
    Do they feel that their voices matter in making decisions that will affect family workplace, community and nation?
    To whom or to what are people connected or dependent upon?

    3) Our society is becoming more and more dependent on technology instead of learning social interactions. “Preexisting cultural forms have suddenly gone liquid, losing their former shape as they are retailored for computerized expression.” A great example mentioned in the article was the one talking about replacing the teacher, blackboard, books, and verbal interchange with computer hardware and software which eliminates jobs and changes the way of life as we know it. He replaced jobs with technology.

    4) Some issues that we as consumers should be aware of is that with all the excitement there are downfalls. The digital liquification of social practices and institutions is leading to the erosion of former livelihoods of many working class and middle-class people. Structures that were formerly funded are now being defunded, liquidated as capital takes the opportunity to move elsewhere. Layoffs and downsizing are becoming obvious whether we hear it on the news or in our friends and families lives.

    5) Winner’s key thesis is that human relations and technology are now competing against each other. Habits that our generation sees as ‘normal’ may not necessarily be normal, but just what we are used to. I agree with this because people are constantly growing and so is technology. But with evolution occurring, I think and know technology will constantly be a part of the lives of people.

  6. 1. There are many factors that have shaped the American identity. Some of them are that we are compulsively restless people and are continually reinventing ourselves and renovating our ways of living at the drop of a hat. The way we view things is that there is no idea that is too out of reach or too far fetched to achieve. We are always trying new things and seeing how they work. The United States has gained renown as a laboratory for the exploration of human identities and relationships that later spread to other parts of the globe.

    2. Some key questions that Winner encourages us to consider are
    “Around these instruments, what kinds of bonds, attachments, and obligations are in the making?
    To whom or to what are people connected or dependent upon?
    Do ordinary people see themselves as having a crucial role in what is taking shape?
    Do people see themselves as competent, able to make decisions?
    Do they feel that their voices matter in making decisions that will affect family, workplace, community, nation?
    Do they feel themselves to be fairly treated?”
    I think this list is pretty sufficient in looking further into this. I think one of the questions that would be redundant would be “do ordinary people see themselves as having a crucial role in what is taking shape” because I think that most people realize that it is the ordinary person that determines what takes shape and that the ordinary person is the audience that things are being created for.

    3. Winner says that along with the excitement and sense of limitless possibilities arise some serious misgivings. As the sweeping digital liquification of social practices and institutions proceeds, one sees closely associated processes of economic liquidation that erode the former livelihoods of many working class and middle-class people. He is saying that the funding of things will change and that will negatively affect a lot of working class people. I think this is what most people will relate to because the majority of people come from working class families.

    4. Some issues that we need to be aware of as consumers is that the way things run is changing. Technology is becoming more integrated into the work place and that is affecting job availability. As technology becomes more advanced it will be able to replace jobs that were once held by people. This is something that we all need to consider as we go out into the “real world” to get jobs because we need to be aware of the decreasing number of opportunities.

    5. Winners thesis is that the future of computing and the future of human relations are forever connected and intertwined with each other. I agree with him because technology has become such a huge part of our every day lives that there is no going back from it. We have integrated technology to the point that most people would not know how to function without it. I think that changes the way we approach things and respond to things and the connection between human relations and computing will only become stronger in years to come.

  7. 1. Key factors that have formed the American identity are the fact that we are a impulsively restless society, continually reinventing ourselves, and renovating our ways of living almost instantly. We are restless in the fact that we always want the latest and greatest and want to be the best. We are continually reinventing ourselves and making ourselves better. We are always trying new things in hopes to find the best new thing. Lastly we are renovating our ways of living by how mobile and intelligent we are and how we have the ability to make adjustments to nearly everything and do it whenever we want.
    2. The key questions that Winner encourages us to consider are:
    What kinds of bonds, attachments and obligations are in the making?
    To whom or what are people connected or dependent upon?
    Do ordinary people see themselves as having a crucial role in what is taking shape?
    Do people see themselves as decision makers?
    Do people believe that their voices matter?
    Do people believe that they are being treated fairly?
    3. Our world is becoming more and more dependent on technology inplace of learning how to socialize and become “humans.” “Preexisting cultural forms have suddenly gone liquid, losing their former shape as they are retailored for computerized expression.”
    I feel that our society does not fully understand what is going on around them because they are so used to the greatest technology. As a whole, the day that we realize that we don’t know how to act like humans anymore, will be the day that we realize we are being controlled by computers and games, not ourselves.
    4. Some issues that we as consumers should be aware of is that with all the excitement there are downfalls. The digital liquification of social practices and institutions is leading to the erosion of former livelihoods of many people.. Layoffs and downsizing are becoming obvious whether we hear it on the news or in our friends and families lives. Digital liquification is allowing financial and organization liquidation. It is important for us to be aware of these issues because we are becoming blinded by the progression of technology and becoming so accustomed to it that it literally has begun to run our lives completely.
    5. Winner’s key thesis is that human relations and technology are now competing against each other. Habits that our generation sees as ‘normal’ may not necessarily be normal, but just what we are used to. For instance, the fact that we cannot do anything in today’s society without using the Internet is some shape or form whether it is looking up directions or even taking a picture and uploading it. I agree with this because people are constantly growing but growing the wrong way. We are growing through technology and not through each other. It will come back to haunt us one day.

  8. 1. The key factors that have shaped the American identity is that we are always reinventing or thinking of something new. According to Winner, we are restless peoples and are thinking of new ways to renovate our living. This section really talks about how there is no limit on where we can go next. Someone is always going to be thinking about the next new revolutionary product. The propensity of this revolution including personal and social revolutions date back to the 18th century and since that point it has skyrocketed. These are very relevant today because we see it happening everywhere. Someone is always thinking of a new invention or just trying to make the new one so much better than the previous product. There is never a limit on where to go next in the world of technology. The world we live in is just going to continue being a fast pace culture and in my opinion we just have to accept that fact sooner than later.
    2. Some key questions Winner encourages us to consider are around these instruments, what kinds of bonds, attachments, and obligations are in the making? To whom or to what are people connected or dependent upon? Do ordinary people see themselves as having a crucial role in what is taking shape? Do people see themselves as competent, able to make decisions? Do they feel that their voices matter in making decisions that will affect family workplace, community, and nation? Do they feel themselves to be fairly treated? I would add some questions about if technology wasn’t available to anyone would they be able to interact socially? I would also ask how would we be shaped socially if these instruments were not around to get attached to? The final question I would add to this list is if everyone did not have technology, would the work playing field be more equal? The reason I would add these question would be too really delve into wondering what the world would be if no one had technology. I really wonder if it would be more fair because no one would have a technology advantage. I do think the first question is redundant in my opinion. I feel as all of the questions evolve around this one about what kinds of connection and bonds are in the making.
    3. The implications of the digital transformation of our society is that it will continue to improve and change. According to Winner “The move to computerize and digitalize means that many preexisting cultural forms have suddenly gone liquid, losing their former shape as they are retailored for computerized expression.” As new advancements happen, old ways of doing something will eventually vanished because of new technology. Peoples’ occupations and living would change just because times will also be changing. The world we live in is changing every day with technology and I do not think that will ever stop. I would add the groups of people who do not have technology and in result cannot receive jobs. Technology is rapidly changing but if some people do not know how to use it then are they just out of luck when looking for improvement? If there are two qualified people in a room but one of them has more technology experience than the other person than most likely they would receive the job.
    4. Some of the issues they should be aware of is the liquid liquification. Everyday someone is inventing the newest and greatest product. In result, people will lose jobs because of the younger people coming in with more technology skills. Another aspect of this is that machines will take over people. Businesses are going to stop hiring people that a computer could do the job. It is important to be aware of these issues because that is where the world is headed. There is no trying to escape it because sadly it is reality. As technology advances, it is going to become more of a machine world than it already is.
    5. Winner’s key thesis is how technology is taking over human relations. He explains how technology is battling up against humans. Technology in a way is controlling the world and an example of this is they are taking jobs away from people. As technology grows, the world is going to continue to be like this because that is where the future is headed. I agree with Winner to a certain extent. I do believe it is taking over human relations because I have seen it. However, I still think you need human relations skills to succeed in life. If you have great computer skills that would be great for some jobs but if you do not have people skills then that could also hurt you. My argument on this issue is that you need both skills. Technology is obviously important because of the world we live in but you also need to know how to talk and relate to people.

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