Cultural Artifact Analysis Rough Draft

The Cyber-Cultural American Revolution

          Gazing upon the slick, darkly chromatic laptop I hold before me atop my jumbled and chaotic mess of a desk, I’m forced to ponder what our access to its utility has done to our society over the last decade and beyond. The personal computer is above all things a tool of immense and endless utility. The reason for this utility, however, goes hand in hand with its expressive capabilities. The personalized computer today has allowed any novice individual with the appropriate dosage of ambition of and eagerness towards learning to run a quick search on either how to guides or perhaps even videos so that they may begin their first steps in ascension toward the levels of proficiency they see our hardware and software artisans such as Bill Gates or Steve Jobs achieve today. This may not always be the optimal or easiest route by any means, but when one has exhausted every last physical outlet the internet is always available to anyone with an internet connection and a functioning computer. With this technology, we’ve been blessed with gorgeously ambiguous and infinite resources. Even if you’re unable to find a guide for something you’ve set out to accomplish, there is a very realistic possibility that there is a community of like-minded individuals that have set out to accomplish whatever it is you desire. The true beauty of the pc is that it has inspired the technology to unite these people under a common banner, whatever shape that may take. It would be more than fair to regard this as a golden age of global communication and collaboration amongst people of all locations in the world. Similar to mathematics and many of the sciences, both computer software and hardware are fields that build upon themselves. This realm of technology will only continue to expand as time progresses.

It is quite common to have naysayers when a topic regarding almost any form of change is discussed. Unfortunately, the personal computer is far from an exception to this particular corollary. The spectrum of fans and critics on the subject of the personalized computer ranges broadly from the vehemently opposed to the exuberantly supportive. While there are those who believe the personalized computer has opened up the gates of globalization transitively through the development of the internet among many other things, the critics would argue it has had negative effects against our society. More specifically, those in support would justify their allegiance toward technological progress via not only the countless occupations promising gargantuan paychecks that have saturated our modern job market, but also the contributions the pc has made towards modern art and entertainment. In modern day America and many other developed nations, any aspiring contributor may begin the process of promoting themselves to the entire human race through a plethora of venues, such as Youtube or  various web advertisements. Hardly uncommon is the charity participant who hosts a live stream of his or her activities, be they gaming or otherwise, for the purpose of raising money for those in need or perhaps for non-profit organizations.  Skeptics of the personal computer, on the other hand, would argue that technological innovation has taken its toll upon the millennial generation. Some may argue that our society has become less personal and social, clinging to their possessions rather than spending time with those around them. Perhaps one of the most common arguments is that texting- which was most certainly inspired by the pc- has done detrimental damage to our social culture. While this technology probably is not going to render traditional communication irrelevant, it most certainly has and will continue to change how we communicate.

For many people, especially those who did not grow up around such an atmosphere of  technological change- this can understandably be very frightening. While change is often intimidating, however, it is not always a bad thing. The barrier of distance between humans, for example, is already partially overcome in many instances. Today if you have a loved one, friend, or acquaintance, odds are you probably have the ability to contact them the very minute they enter your mind. Chances are, in fact, that you could probably engage in a face to face conversation with the second person to enter your mind in that same minute with minimal hassle.  Again, the applications of this technology extend far beyond the boundaries of social networking. Businesses as well as musicians often use similar technology to hold conference meetings or a window into live concerts as they happen for those unable to make the trip to wherever a concert may be held. This has extended to the field of education as well. In Charles Molesworth’s scientific article titled “Thinking About Computer Culture” published in 1998, he comments on society’s fear of the computer and its impact on American lives during that time. Interestingly, however, he personifies his excitement for the computer’s influence on education when he speculates “No one knows what electronic “textbooks” will look like; we can hope that great inventions yet impend.” While primitive forms of this were implemented as early as the 1970s through Project Gutenburg according to an article posted by The Guardian, the eBook has most certainly gained firm traction in today’s society. For example, my own highschool had set forth a plan to give the incoming freshman each their own individual iPads for academic use by the time I was on my way out from graduation. If you walk into a Barnes and Noble today, you’ll find they have their own marketing campaign directed toward their own particular brand of an electronic textbook reader.  What we’re finding at this point is that our science fiction decades ago is briskly evolving into non-fiction today.

The advancement of the realm of computer innovation in terms of both hardware and software alike, its room for growth is fascinatingly synonymous with the worlds of the hard and soft sciences as well as the literary universe in the sense that all of these have a massive population of interested individuals eager to learn of and improve upon these things. All of these fields build upon themselves- that is, the more you know, the more you are able to learn and improve. In the early days of computer science, our ancestors arduously toiled in order to produce enormous machines possessing a power back then rendered infinitely irrelevant by what modern calculators today are capable of. In that day, programmers of the time had used a code consisting purely of ones and zeroes known as binary in order to accomplish what we would view today as minimal. Just as our concepts of math and literary technique have developed over history, however, so too has our programming prowess. Today we have “functions”, or premade shortcuts to command a computer to perform in one string of words what in previous eras of programming would have taken years or perhaps a lifetime in some cases. The personal computer already has and is continuing to bring about a revolution of sorts. Just as the hard and soft sciences continue to persevere over millennia among the literary disciplines, the computer culture will continue to stampede forth at an unrelenting velocity. Just as music, science and literature continue to reshape and exponentially improve the existence of the human race over time, so too shall computer technology maintain equal stride.

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