Neuromancer

February 27, 2012

“His vision crawled with ghost hieroglyphs, translucent lines of symbols arranging themselves against the neutral backdrop of the bunker wall. He looked at the backs of his hands, saw faint neon molecules crawling beneath the skin, ordered by the unknowable code. He raised his right hand and moves it experimentally. It left a faint, fading trail of strobed afterimages.
The hair stood up along his arms and at the back of his neck. He crouched there with his teeth bared and felt for the music. The pulse faded, returned, faded….” (233)

In this passage, Case and his consciousness is constructed by the artificial intelligence Neuromancer. As such, Case and Linda are both literally constructed in the cyberspace as beings of the matrix. As can be seen in the passage, Case is not only mentally in this place, but his physical body is created in the place as well, linking the worlds through both mediums. Case’s presence therein also makes him become part of the matrix in other way, such as being able to feel the other parts of the space, such as the music. Since this scene is a simulation created by neuromance, it may be that the visual imagery that Case experiences is only part of the simulation, but Case’s interactions with Linda suggests otherwise. This not only makes the simulation feel physically real, but also attests to the power of the artificial intelligence Neuromance in finding an appropriate simulation for Case and maintaining it, almost fooling him.

Creation of Facebook

February 22, 2012

Scene: Mark Zuckerberg, after speaking with the Winklevoss brothers and Divya Narenda, broaches the subject of creating a networking website for Harvard students to Eduardo. He asks Eduardo for money to start the website. Mark hopes to mimic the success of Facemash, but with an even bigger incentive. He identifies the exclusivity and community of the website as being the most attractive factors for users. Also, Mark states that by creating the Facebook, he and Eduardo will be creating a community that mimics college society and which they control, as they will hold the keys to the “club.”

This scene in the film encapsulates the idea behind Facebook as a sort of virtual community that mimics real society, at first, college life. Mark equates this online community to real society through seeing one another’s pictures and personal information. Also, Mark’s insistence that by just creating an online community that has a certain amount of exclusive users, it is only natural that others will want to get onto the website as well. This illustrates an understanding of the desire in human nature to attempt to rise to certain social levels, represented her by the exclusive online community of the Facebook. Just as Mark and Eduardo want to be a part of the Phoenix club in Harvard, and are manipulated by its members in order to gain access to the privilege of being a member of this club as well as the social perks it offers, Mark points out that the Facebook will also be such a club that will cause the same type of response in other people. This is again referenced in the explanation of how the Facebook supersedes a Texas college’s own social network by allowing access to the Facebook by other colleges in the area. The use of Facebook by these other colleges than sparks a desire for the other college’s students to also use Facebook in order to be on the same social and community level as their peers.

1984: Winston’s Machine

February 6, 2012

As soon as Winston had dealt with each of the messages, he clipped his speakwritten corrections to the appropriate copy of the Times and pushed them into the pneumatic tube. Then, with a movement which was as nearly as possible unconscious, he crumpled up the original message and any notes that he himself had made, and dropped them into the memory hole to be devoured by the flames.
What happened in the unseen labyrinth to which the pneumatic tubes led, he did not know in detail, but he did know in general terms. As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of the Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead. (39-40)

This scene in the novel illustrates part of Winston’s work involving the machine. It shows in particular how through Winston and other workers like him, the Party controls the past, present, and future of its people. Winston must alter any information that might be harmful to the Party’s role as the savior of the people of Oceania. The scene shows how far the influence of the Party reaches into their lives. In particular, the line, “Then, with a movement which was as nearly as possible unconscious, he crumpled up the original message and any notes that he himself had made, and dropped them into the memory hole to be devoured by the flames,” truly encompasses the hold of the Party on Winston’s life. As Winston is part of the cover-ups that the Party commissions he is privy to the information that the Party wants to get rid of. Even though this is the case, his “nearly as possible unconscious” application of the Party’s rules about his job, such as getting rid of not only true fact, but also his own opinion, “any notes that he himself had made,” only intensifies the depiction of the Party’s power. He does not take any sort of offense to the manipulative nature of his work, which he later describes as being the, “greatest pleasure in life,” (43), due to his understanding of what exactly the Party wants him to say through their use of Newspeak to communicate this to him.

Hello world!

February 3, 2012

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