Review: Shelly's Frankenstein and how the U.S. is creating a Monster, The Unanticipated Concequences of Technology, and Simumacra and Simulation
The most challenging part of this review for me is putting it in some coherent order. So, I'm going to take baby steps and review each article one-at-a-time.
The Unanticipated Consequences of Technology by Tim Healy does a good job of explaining its concept - obviously, the unanticipated consequences of technology - by breaking it down into sections. Initially he explains the differences between unanticipated and undesired consequences. I really liked this, and actually hadn't given it any thought beforehand. I figured all unanticipated consequences were undesired, but this was just a thought I had because I hadn't given the topic any critical thinking.
I enjoyed his 4th section of the reading, in which he tries to explain why we have unanticipated consequences. The first thing he mentions is complexity and dynamics. I'd like to add that Haely does his best job in this section of explaining his ideas (in my opinion). He explains that unexpected consequences to new technologies arise because of their complexity and their high number of "players". He gives the examples of the internet, and the freeway system. Each have large numbers of people participating in them, and it is almost impossible to predict their actions. He also uses his internet example to describe intransparence, explaining that intransparence is "any element of a system that cannot be seen." I would imagine that if you combine the complexity of new technologies with their intransparences (I hope that's a word), unexpected consequences would be common.
When Haely began to talk about "ignorance and mistaken hypothesis", I was able to relate this reading to the other reading of Frankenstein. I believe that Frankenstein could be used as an example of someone who had a "mistaken hypothesis". What's more, Frankenstein had a bias that his creation could only bring good to the scientific community. I thought that was a great example of an unanticipated consequence. Frankenstein did not anticipate that his creation would cause destruction because he either did not want to, or couldn't comprehend that something that he thought was so perfect could go so wrong. Now perhaps this is not a good example of a "mistaken hypothesis", and it may just fall more into the realm of a "bias", but I still believe it's true.
I will quote "Shelly's Frankenstein, and how the U.S. is creating a Monster" which in turn quotes Professor Waldman from "Frankenstein": "...They gaze on technology as a lover does on his beloved, seeing it as without blemish and entertaining no apprehension for the future."
And I can directly quote Allison McConnell, the author of "Shelly's Frankenstein, and how the U.S. is creating a monster", when she writes: "This attitude illustrates the separation of moral and intellectual values in and foretells the dangers of being overly optimistic about technology."
I can say I enjoyed Allison McConnell's article because I understood it and agreed with it. She did a lot of writing on how technology can "charm" people into forgetting the negative qualities that technology brings. It is important to understand and try to anticipate any consequences to new technologies, and the best way to do that is to understand that technology usually brings with it both good and bad qualities.
Moving on to Simulacra and Simulation.
Honestly I did not understand this concept. I tried to come to some conclusions to it, but I found that I could not. After reading it a few times, I realized that I had more questions than conclusions. Does Simulacra and Simulation exist, or is it science fiction? What stage are we at in Simulacra? The first, where there is a clear distinction between reality and simulation; the second, where the "ability to imitate reality threatens to replace the origional"; or the third, where the distinction between reality and simulation breaks down. If that is all there is to understand about the concept, then I understand it. But I can't determine if there is actually a possibility of moving on to the third stage.