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Todd Suomela

Jaron Lanier on VR and empathy - the double-edged sword | Digital Bodies - 0 views

  • What Lanier doesn’t say here – though he is well aware of the issue from his work on social media – is that the way content production is funded will impact how VR is used.

    In social media, the loudest voices get promoted through the algorithms (and get the views). We’ve been fortunate in the early stages of VR that the medium has been in the hands of artists who care deeply about humanity. They’ve been self-funded, backed by grants from film festivals and other organizations, and relied on a lot of goodwill.

    That’s not a sustainable environment for creating immersive content. VR content is not going to be free but outside of specific professional areas (e.g., medical education) and corporate use (eg., Wal-Mart’s training program) we don’t have a working business model. Resolving this issue is not just a business question – it’s a content question. It will directly shape the types of virtual environments and experiences we’ll have in the future.

    Lanier makes the point in another interview on UnDark,

    Let’s suppose that after Gutenberg, there was this movement to say all books must be free. Nobody can charge for a book. But it’s okay for books to have advertisements. What we would have ended up with is advertisers determining what books there were.

Todd Suomela

Digitally Endangered Species - Digital Preservation Coalition - 0 views

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    "The DPC's 'Bit List' of Digitally Endangered Species is a crowd-sourcing exercise to discover which digital materials our community thinks are most at risk, as well as those which are relatively safe thanks to digital preservation. By compiling and maintaining this list over the coming years, the DPC aims to celebrate great digital preservation endeavors as entries become less of a 'concern,' whilst still highlighting the need for efforts to safeguard those still considered 'critically endangered.' "
Todd Suomela

The Promise and Disappointment of Virtual Reality | Literary Hub - 0 views

  • Of course, whether it is using VR for the treatment of vertigo and PTSD, or drawing our attention to unconscious biases like racism, it is possible that VR does have the ability to change our perception of the world around us, that the knowledge we gain from this technology can be transformative.

    But Plato’s Cave presupposes that those freeing the prisoner from their chains to reveal the true nature of “reality” are altruistic in their intent—that the world being shown the freed prisoners is indeed the truth. It is an allegory that does not allow for the world as it is today, or the pervasive desire to escape it.

    The continued commercial failure of VR may represent an unconscious resistance to jettisoning our connection to the real. Maybe we are waiting for that blockbuster game to drive mass-market appeal. Perhaps the technology simply is not good enough yet to simulate a truly authentic—and profitable—experience. In this sense we are trapped. We crave authenticity of experience but, despite the efforts of philosophers, authors and auteurs, our imaginations appear limited to what we can individually consume and identify with. While capitalism lumbers on, we cannot see anything but the shadows on the wall.

Todd Suomela

Digital History & Argument White Paper - Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media - 0 views

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    "This white paper is the product of the Arguing with Digital History Workshop organized by Stephen Robertson and Lincoln Mullen of George Mason University, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The two-day workshop, which involved twenty-four invited participants at different stages in their careers, working in a variety of fields with a range of digital methods, was conceived with a focus on one particular form of digital history, arguments directed at scholarly audiences and disciplinary conversations. Despite recurrent calls for digital history in this form from digital and analog historians, few examples exist. The original aim of the workshop was to promote digital history that directly engaged with historiographical arguments by producing a white paper that addressed the conceptual and structural issues involved in such scholarship. Input from the participants expanded the scope of the white paper to also elaborate the arguments made by other forms of digital history and address the obstacles to professional recognition of those interpretations. The result was a document that aims to help bridge the argumentative practices of digital history and the broader historical profession. On the one hand, it aims to demonstrate to the wider historical discipline how digital history is already making arguments in different forms than analog scholarship. On the other hand, it aims to help digital historians weave the scholarship they produce into historiographical conversations in the discipline."
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