Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lanier #2

Discuss how the developments described in the article linked below might be viewed by Lanier (positive? negative? invasive? neutral?), given what he writes in Who Owns the Future? Your response is due before midnight, Sunday, March 30.



KellySeiz said...

It's hard to say how Lanier would view the "interactive automobile," if you will....the entire premise of his book is based on his belief that all data should hold a monetary value.

If the data they're receiving is a simple hand motion, would we, as humans waving our hands inside of our cars, be able to cash in on the way we wave? I don't know.

You could relate the universal hand wave to fifty women named Jennifer Miller's with Facebooks in Georgia who all posted the same status. Could you argue that each status has its own inherent value as an individual bite of information? I just don't know.

Lanier revisits his initial "sunny beach day" metaphor with his proposed humanistic approach. He builds a brand new kind of arch in the sand. It is replicated 58 times around the world. He profits from the replications and treats his friends to splurge-all lunch.

Since there are such strict limitations on the human input required by these interactive automobiles (namely, that only if you swipe your hand in a certain way will the car react), there's no individual value; no one's going to come up with a revolutionary way to swipe their hand, so no value should be assigned to the data the cars are receiving.

But, in the way the digital world is currently shaped, "it is Google that has the most to gain from putting gesture systems in cars," the article states.

"Computer giants like Apple, Google and Microsoft see a future here, starting with the licensing fees charged for each vehicle running their operating systems."

As a technology, only the industry-giants would benefit (or profit) from this kind of technology. It seems as if Lanier would find it neutral.

As far as privacy invasion, however, this would represent a Siren Server that gathers snapshots of you in your car. In relation to the "what if eHarmony determined you were gay" example he provides, what if you were trying to wave to a police officer for help because someone was trying to steal your car, and instead your "Driving With Friends" playlist started blaring and the police officer shrugged it off as one of those new cars the crazy kids are driving now?

"Consumer behavior in cars is all but virgin territory for marketers, and Google is positioned to cash in on it."

How is Google going to benefit from this? By charging car manufacturers to implement their operating systems.

But how is it going to affect us as drivers? No more reaching under the car to attach a tow-hook without the rear door whapping you in the face. No more leaning your chin on your hands without your car suddenly giving you more information on the random thing you googled in your car the last time you were in it. No more gesturing to your elderly grandma to speak up without the volume drowning her out.

I think Lanier would be concerned about a Siren Server that gathers gestures, but I don't see where they would fit in to his "every bite of information has value" schematic.

Unknown said...

I think Lanier would definitely view the developments in this article negatively. The article gives a grocery list of new advancements that make driving more convenient for us, such as Ford's foot swipe in case you have a lot of things in your hands. These new gesture commands are supposed to make it easier as well as safer for us, we can focus more on the road instead of turning a knob. It seems so nice of the car companies to be worried about their consumers. These advancements are hidden by the convenience they provide but are really a way to see how drivers act and what they like while driving. This of course is another form of data mining, so companies like Google can observe consumer behaviors and sell it to advertisers. It's insane to me that a company as large, advanced, and well known as Google makes 90 percent of it's revenue from advertising. Companies are saying they would keep it to twelve commands, anything over that would be “onerous”. Interface designers see the whole thing as too much work and too science fiction like. However, beyond the work involved and the science fiction features, Lanier would say this trade for convenience means another loss to our privacy. Lanier would also see this has another way for companies to rob our information without us getting any monetary value in return. The consumers would probably have to pay more money for the features that are actually spying on them.

Julia Tyles said...

I believe that overall Lanier would find the developments to be positive. He does find ‘big companies to be essential.’ It’s the big companies working on it like Microsoft and Apple. And big companies are the “flywheels and ballast of a market economy.” He was also one of the people to work on the Kinect project or ‘avatar camera’ in Microsoft’s research labs. Of course, technology was going to evolve and the reading of body movements wasn’t just going to be meant for video games.
Also he says as technology increases, it doesn’t mean advertisements are going to disappear. When it comes to the advertisements, like Google wanting to cash in on the idea of consumer behavior in cars, I believe he would feel neutral. Even though he’s not a fan of how Google does there advertising, because he considers it a “form of direct micromanagement of the options in front of a person form moment to moment.” But I don’t think he would find it invasive.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

According to the article, “To Change Tunes, a Nod Will Be as Good as a Wink,” the development of gesture technology will become more than just a gadget – once again, an example that shows how technology increases available information. Lanier would probably view this phenomenon with a negative outlook, for it just proves how technology is once again controlling our lives. Indeed, this article emphasizes the safety functions, comfort, and other positive attributes that this technology has to offer, but we are still falling for this idea of dependency and thus forgetting that we humans are supposed to be in charge. In other words, we are once again losing contact with human nature and giving in. Lanier mentions this notion throughout his novel and would consider this to be an example of our “technopoly” culture, since technology power is dominating and becoming an even greater threat to our free-will.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

I’m not entirely sure of how Lanier would view the whole situation but I am leaning more towards neutral. This technology is not a direct invasion of personal piracy and it does not take away from the individual. If you want to use the technology you will buy products that enable it, unlike the advertisements and information gathering of Siren Severs it is not automatic and invasive, you know you are using this technology. I also feel the Lanier does indeed support larger technology corporations and those are the ones that will benefit from this technology. At the same time though, there is no real way for the individual to benefit and this is one of Lanier’s points- that the individual must be able to sell their information, but here there is no information to sell. But, this technology is also not anything that would directly result in the decrease of the middle-class. There are no middle-class jobs in song changing on your phone or latch-lifting of your trunk, no one is employed to do the things the technology will do. This technology for the most part severs only for convenience. Instead of having to put down your groceries to open the trunk the car will do it with the swipe of your foot, instead of having to switch your songs by hand your phone will do it with the movement of your head- it’s all for conivence. Lanier does say that “the new attitude is that technology is self-determined, that it is a giant supernatural creature growing on its own, soon to overtake people,” so he clearly is aware that technology would someday get to this point, where our laziness is overtaken by technology that does not even require us to move our fingers. Seeing as this technology for the most part causes no real negative side effects- that I can see- I think Lanier would be neutral.

Unknown said...

I would say that Lanier views this article negatively but perhaps with some minor tweaks, could see it as positively. He believes in a information based economy. So if his idea of an economical shift occurred, I believe he would see no problem with this technology. But we as consumers would have to compensated for us willingly given our corporations to these major companies.

Unfortunately, that outcome appears very unlikely. In its current technological state, I'd say that Lanier is very much against this technology. The article even mentions how Google tracks the web activity of its users. Lanier explains what siren servers are that collect our data and create dossiers on our web activity and input. This gesture tracking technology would be an extra dimension of information for these dossiers. They would be tracking our "consumer behavior" in our vehicle. I have one large question to ask. Why on earth is that important?! The only data that could really be gathered would be what music or radio stations you listen to. Google with its technology, could add it to your Google Analytics business and provide more accurate ads for these users. So I guess there is some value in these technology. But an added element to this is the cameras ability to not only record your gestures, but perhaps your conversations on the phone or with passengers in your car. It's an Orwellian idea but it could possibly occur.

Because of the extra dimension of visual data being sent to these major companies, I believe that Lanier would be against this new technology. If this takes off, who knows? Maybe our homes will be outfitted with cameras that capture your face at any angle and allow you to turn on the A/C or the TV from anywhere in the house.

Unknown said...

It’s hard to say based on the content of “Who Owns the Future?” how Lanier would view the emergence of such technology. The majority of his book speaks about the price of information, and how our rights should be protected in regards to data mining. However I think Lanier, with his foresight could see how this technology could become invasive. Although Fords foot swipe technology is useful and applicable to consumers, the need to control a vehicles radio, car phone, windows etc. with a hand gesture seems unnecessary. Many automobiles currently offer voice activated command systems, which do not require a driver to remove his/her hands from the wheel at all. I would agree with Neil Postman during his early 1990s interview when he spoke about cruise control being offered in newer vehicles, “to what problem is this the solution” – or something along those lines. Lanier like myself may look at the implementation of a camera into a vehicle as a possible future threat to privacy. Who is to say in several years that cars will not be equipped with Internet (4G LTE etc.) and who is to say those cameras cannot be hacked and or monitored? I honestly would feel uncomfortable with a camera pointed at me for extended drives, it could be used to monitor your likes/dislikes, your in car conversation, and or your phone calls. I think Lanier like myself would not see this emerging technology as a current threat, however with the updating of software’s, terms of service agreements, usage policies and so forth, who is to say that this technology does not become another perversion with intentions to invade our privacy.

Unknown said...

I think the way we're choosing to say how Lanier would view the gesture technology discussed in the article depends on how we're interpreting what he has written in his book. I think in this instance it could go either way. Lanier does not want to stop the flow and development of new technology. In fact he wants us to be able to capitalize on it, to view it from the business perspective rather than the consumer's at times. By acknowledging the fact that "technological progress inevitably inspires demands for greater medicine than it has delivered at a given time" he is emphasizing his point about the disappearance of the middle class, that was born from these advancements, because of how far we continue to take them.

The foot-to-trunk gesture is something lets say we consider practical, it solves a problem no matter how minor. I'm going to call this progress. But the passage in the article about the gesture technology allowing users to participate in social media and even play games while driving on the road..well that's just unnecessary. Developing technology for technology sake is not progress. What problem is this addressing? It's actually creating a new one. The gesture technology is supposed to make simple talks while driving more simple and safer for the driver and passengers. Enabling as easier distraction is like going backwards, or at least staying in the same place. I don't think Lanier would agree with this kind of development.

Also, it will be furthering that class gap. This technology, because it will be a luxury (not like the practical trunk opener) prices for cars with these feature packages will skyrocket. And those who can not-or choose not to-participare in this new wave will further be left behind.

Unknown said...

I think that Lanier would view this article both positively and negatively. In Nach's 2nd paragraph he states that gestures "may one day find a higher calling, making driving safer and more enjoyable, judging by the amount of work being done to develop technology that would read hand and head motions as computer commands." Is this necessary?

Yes, these developments may seem positive but the overrall effect does not seem to look that way. These new gesture commands are supposed to make our lives simpler but they seem more controlling. Google wants to follow what we do and what we like. We've learned that they do this to sell it to advertisers. So that these advertisers can come up with he next best thing, or in other words, make our lives easier. When in reality their using our information to pay for all of it. Lanier stated "Google's true customers are the advertisers..." and that couldn't be more true.

I think Lanier would view our information as being payment. "Some people, the users are values mostly as data and potential for behavior modification, while others, the advertisers, are also sources of money." Lanier stated that perfectly and I couldn't agree more.

Anonymous said...

As I am reading Lanier, I don't think that he would be too pleased about what is happening in this article. I think that the use of hand and head movements to control things in your car is a pretty cool idea. But it is just proving Lanier's point. That we will let someone else rule us forever. Although Lanier talks about the need to charge for our information over the internet, this makes me think about the use of cameras and what people will be gathering just from looking at your face. Having cameras in your cars will not only let another set of eyes see what you are doing, but it will also let them know where you are at all times. It is just another way for everything in the government to spy on the "regular people". Lanier is big into making sure that people do not get scammed or taken advantage of for their information and I think he would think that this is just another way that people are going to be giving their information for free. I believe that he would also think that this form of technology is very invasive for everyones personal space. As much as I think the foot-under-the-trunk things is super cool and super practical, its just another way that us as humans can become more lazy and also another way for our information to be shared without us knowing....for free.

Unknown said...

Overall, I think Lanier would feel negativity toward the developments in the article. The developments described are excessive features including foot swipes and other gestures such as a potential wink or wave as a car feature. I believe Lanier would see these features as more unnecessary ways for the larger corporations to continue to have the upper hand and scrape information for the drive of money. Not surprisingly, the corporate giants Microsoft, Apple, and Google are the top players in the gesture technologies. Not only does the new technology continue to help the corporates grow, it also helps them track and invade our privacy more than they already do. Furthermore, this technology would only worsen Lanier’s theory of the shrinking middle class as we continue to support the corporations and jobs diminish.
I think Lanier would also have a problem with the convenience of the features themselves. As the technology grows prominently in our lives, we learn to rely and love our technology. What is most freighting is that we have this heavy reliance without seeing the implications of the technology. Lanier says, “Distant corporate machinations change your life in unfathomable ways.” We buy into the new technology because it is cleverly disguised by the “convenience” it provides in our lives. For example, the article mentions Apple potentially having the robot Siri in the car. Also, Apple has received a patent for using your gaze to control a computer. I mean is using a mouse too much effort? What else should technology do for us? Our society awes at how “convenient” and exciting these features are without realizing how lazy and reliant we have become, and the impact it will have as a whole.

Unknown said...

I've been hearing about this for a while now, and I do have mixed feelings about it--as would Lanier, I think. On the one hand, this technology has no inherent good in it. We are not curing cancer with hand gestures or feeding third-world-countries. So in that respect, I do believe that this could be filed under the label of "convenience." It reminds me of when Howie told us the story of his son not being able to fix cars anymore because they aren't cars--they're computers on wheels now. What these hand gestures dow provide is an ability to change the atmosphere within your vehicle without having to completely divert your eyes from the road. The problem I see is that, it's kind of sad that we need this technology to make us better drivers when all we really need to do is show some self control. But no. Of course we need every convenience at our fingertips, 24/7 or something is wrong. People in the comments write how this will be an invasion of our privacy, but honestly, we're already being watched in our cars. Between the satellite radio, Ez pass, our phones, and automatic start apps, I don't think these hand gestures (or foot gestures in Ford's case) are pushing some terrible threshold. W'ere there already. So in that respect, the gestures are just making it more obvious. The most troublesome part of this is the camera. Who controls what it sees? All those convoluted user agreements.... I don't care what anyone says. If this is implemented, give it a year of two before there's a scandal and breaking news about how one of the companies was taking pictures of the drivers to observe behavior for marketing. Maybe they'll take all the gay drivers who don't know they're gay and alert their families.
And here, I think I've found one the hearts of Lanier's argument. It's not necessarily the technology that's the problem, it's that the developers use this technology to watch us--sometimes without our direct knowledge--AND the fact that we don't particularly give a shit.

Unknown said...

I believe Lanier would view this technology as a convenience in which we sacrifice privacy to obtain (at least with Google's system). Excluding the foot-swipe trunk open, the functions listed as examples seem extremely trivial and do not address a "pain point" as mentioned in the article. Lanier would be against the inclusion of gesture tech because the entire concept behind its design is that of "creating a technology because we can." This mindset is the kind of elitist thinking that has resulted in America's class divide as shown in Lanier's book. I do not believe Lanier would see any potential good or justification for gesture technology in cars, especially in the case of the Google system which would essentially have a consumer pay for a luxury feature and as per terms of service allow Google to analyze said individual's behavior to be better advertised to. Thus, you would be paying Google to better sell you more things. "Cattle" is the only word I can think to describe consumers in today's market and I think Lanier would see this technology the same way.

Unknown said...

I would have to conclude that Lanier would view the ideas in this article as neutral. It is a technological development that does not necessarily exploit the privacy of the users in the way that Internet websites can and do much of the time. I feel Lanier might be neutral because of the fact that he is big on privacy not being invaded and for people to know what they are 'signing up for'; in the case of this article, people will be consenting to what they are receiving with whatever the automobile has to offer.

On the other hand, Lanier might not agree with the fact that the car tracks information and behaviors of the individual user to enhace the performance. This slightly relates to the concept of Siren Servers taking information from Internet users. However in that instance, they take the information to almost trick you into things like buying their product or products similar to ones you have bought before. On the other hand, they might just be taking your information to better your Internet experience, for example Pandora taking information to suggest more music you like.

If Lanier did actually have a neutral viewpoint on the ideas in the article, I can see him thinking that it might pose as a future danger to society in the privacy aspect. Based on technology patterns and it never being enough, Lanier might believe that these automobile features will one day be too invasive. Monitors and cameras being put into these new cars along with features possibly linked to Internet might be taken too far at some point; we see this in our modern day Internet (Siren Servers).

Mariah Brown said...

The article “To Change Tunes, a Nod Will Be as Good as a Wink,” is very representative of how invasive technology has become. Extreme usage of technology is viewed as necessity. Gesture technology is a development that has been receiving much praise from large corporations. I believe it is another way for corporations to make money and increase patron reliability on unnecessary technology. I think Lanier would be strongly opposed to the idea of gesture technology. It is another way technology dictates a large part of our lives, one of them being mobility. There is an increased dependency with this technology, it is not needed. The article paints a positive picture of the benefits of gesture technology, but at the same it is intended to do that. The article should have mentioned the negatives as well. This is exactly what Lanier was talking about, he uses the term “technopoly”, technology is taking over and people are being misled to believe they need technology such as a gesture reading system.

Joe Nikic said...

First, I thought that Lanier would react extremely negatively because of our decision to allow car companies to invade our privacy even more with the use of gesture technology. But now that I think about it, I feel like Lanier would be neutral to the subject with a bias to the negative aspects because most cars already have invasive utilities in it (things like EZ pass and GPS systems). The reason I think he would maintain a neutral perspective is because we have already allowed privacy invasive utilities into our vehicles, so these additions are nothing new. They are just adding to an already messed up situation. Lanier would be disappointed in our decisions to just let this happen, but since it’s already happened there is not much he could do or say. As companies like Google and Apple come to deals with car companies to install their products, we are allowing them to extract that much more privacy from our lives. Lanier’s solution, in my opinion, would be to get rid of all of these forms of privacy-invading products no matter what their convenience.

Unknown said...

I believe Lanier would have a rather neutral but somewhat negative view towards the developments mentioned in the article. I believe that this would be absolutely no surprise to Lanier as he has probably seen this technology in its early developments. As mentioned in the article the Microsoft Kinect technology is one that is going to be incorporated in consumer vehicles. This is something that Lanier mentions that he saw in the earliest of the development phase. Although many of these gesture driven technologies seem rather ridiculous, I believe that they can perhaps promote safer driving habits.

Lanier speaks a lot about how technology superpowers create the winners and losers in society and how it is most definitely ruining the middle class. This is just another prime example of how the winners are making the losers into bigger losers. The winners, as they always do, will be gaining off the wow factor and the fact that consumers will pay more money to have these special gesture driven features. This is where I believe Lanier will have a negative view towards these developments. It is just one other thing that the human being will not be responsible for doing. This is Lanier’s eyes is a negative aspect.

Gianna said...

I believe that Lanier would see the developments of gesture technology to be negative for our society. Although the technology of the use of hand and head movements in order to control things such as your car are interesting ideas they just further cement Lanier’s ideas. The ideas that we will always allow someone to control us which will happen more and more with this type of technology. We will no longer be allowed to do anything ourselves we will rely and use barely moving and having the technology do the work for us. Moving around in our day to day lives will be troublesome with the type of technology because we can’t just reach out to open a door ourselves anymore we have to be able to stick our foot our so it can open for us. We’re becoming a society focused on the idea of the least amount of movement we have to do the better. The article makes it seem like it is all sunshine and butterflies but it’s the exact opposite. Today we talk about issues of people talking on the phone or texting while driving yet towards the end of the article t mentions “one demo of the feature shows someone opening video poker games on the screen.” Although this is only in South Korea right now it’s just a matter of time before we have these features hear. So you can’t talk on the phone or text but be my guest and play some poker. The way I see it is that the bare minimum capabilities of technologies such as gesture technology are pretty cool and even somewhat useful in their own way. It is how far the technologies will eventually be brought that makes me worry. Sooner or later these technologies are going to do more and more to dictate the things that we do and how we go about doing them. The extreme capabilities of these technologies are why I believe Lanier would view them in a negative along with the fact that we are conditioned to believe we need all of this. These are not things that we need in life they are luxuries we are lucky to have the issue is we don’t see them as such. We view them as necessities and companies play into that and build off of the fact that we have transitioned wants into needs.

Unknown said...

So the question really is, when will they ever be privacy? I mean, Lanier is very much a person who would not want people to tricked for their information and he would probably think that this is just way for people to be giving their information freely. I think, in a way this is a little bit invasive. Now, the of the Gesture technology, the foot swipe, the rearview camera, especially now with the new "iOS for the car" interface, all of this is going through a whole other level. This is pretty much a way for the government to view what's going on in someones vehicle or mainly the approaches for most of these people. No matter what you are the information, you are already putting yourself out there. You are sitting inside a computer.

Unknown said...

I think that Lanier would describe the beliefs described in the article “To Change Tunes, a Nod Will Be as Good as a Wink” as negative because of his belief that technology is taking over and controlling people’s lives. For example, the idea of putting siri in cars would be another way for technology to exist and take over the way in which a person live their life.

Another problem that Lanier would have with this article is that companies would have the ability to further obtain their customers information. The new technology would open up new doors to allow one’s personal information to be seen. Also, by placing cameras inside on a person’s car, these companies will now have the ability to see when and where a person is travelling.

Harris Yudin said...

I think for the most part, Lanier's view towards what is being discussed in this article would be neutral, although it would probably lean towards positive. His book mainly focuses on how technology affects how we are being fed information, while this article is geared more towards how technology makes our everyday lives more convenient.

Lanier does want to continue to develop and improve technology, and the advancements being made to cars do not impact how we receive information, simply our ability to perform tasks without compromising others. For instance, the foot swipe allows us to open the trunk of a car without dropping what we are carrying, and other Microsoft Kinect-like gestures allow us to keep our hands on the steering wheel and maintain our focus on driving.

He also is in favor of big business, and would support companies like Microsoft and Apple implementing new ideas to further the way technology can improve our lives. While it's not life-altering, being able to use your foot rather than your hands to open a car trunk is without a doubt helpful and convenient.

These particular advancements would not directly contribute to the disappearance of the middle class that Lanier discusses in his book. Therefore, he may not have any distinguished opinion on this topic, but he would likely approve of the continued technological advancements, especially from a big-business standpoint.

RogerG said...

I'm reminded of the story Postman told during an interview about his attempts to buy a basic car. When offered the option of Cruise Control, he asked the salesman what problem it solved. I don't think these gesture-readers solve any problems. No lives will be saved from its production; people won't even be made safer.

What it is is a slight convince. However, if I know anything about technology, small conveniences don't actually make the world a more convenient or efficient place holistically. The infrastructure that will have to be constructed to support this small convenience will cost the world money, time, resources and will hurt the environment. Just as Larnier speaks of companies like Amazon, and other Siren Servers such as securities-trading algorithms, jettisoning risk with the perception that this risk will just, y'know, evaporate into the ether, the resources that are saved by the gesturing-reading technology (small amounts of time) will just be jettisoned into the rest of the world.

I feel this is what Larnier was saying about jettisoning risk: Siren Servers don't view the world holistically enough. They must take into consideration the views of many aboriginal cultures that view the world as interconnected, instead of taking the more Western, dichotomy-based view.

In an increasingly-interconnected world, this view is becoming more and more important. In this world, the negative things one jettisons wash back on one's beach a lot quicker.

This is one of the problems Larnier addressed with Amazon. If Amazon becomes monopolistic (and, if it does, it will be the most all-encompassing monopoly the world has ever seen...I mean, if it isn't already) the company will have no out-of-the-way place to jettison it's risk TO. Amazon will be forced to reabsorb all the risk it had assumed was just disappearing.

But to actually address the question, I feel that Larnier would very much have a problem with at least one aspect of the new technology. The piece mentions that "consumer behavior in cars is all but virgin territory for marketers, and Google is positioned to cash in on it."

Larnier would find this intrusive. If you think about it and read between the article's lines, you relaize that a) yes, driving is one of the few times when you're not on the computer anymore, at least legally, so there is an untapped market there and b) the gesture-sensors would abviously be hooked up to some sort of GPS, meaning that Google would absorb information about every single place you were going in your car, and sell this information to advertisers. Did you happen to stop by the local porn shop on the way home from the office? Don't Google anything around your husband for a couple weeks.

I personally find this extremely intrusive, and I feel Larnier would to. This is me speculating, but I also feel that Larnier would dislike this technology because it accomplishes so little; it isn't innovative, necessary or even creative. It seems like SUCH a waste of time that it makes me wonder if the only real reason that it is begin developed is to cash in on this "virgin territory" (a phrase I'm really glad the article used, because it makes Google sound like a Visigoth rapist).

Furthermore, the technology doesn't even seem safe, and I feel that it is going to have to go through significant changes for government regulators to approve it. Which at least means that it won't be around for a while, and I will have to sate yen to be online while driving my illegally texting under the wheel.