The Machine is Us/ing Us – We are the Web

This is the video of the week! Everyone is talking about this video, which was created by Professor Michael Wesch and his class of Digital Ethnography students at Kansas State University.

Some of the important statements he makes in this video are:

  • XML allows us to separate content from form. This is important because content can then be moved around, reformatted, repackaged, reused. How does that impact our understanding of authorship, copyright, etc? How much does context effect meaning?
  • We are the Web. The social nature of Web 2.0 technologies means that information we view is not static. It can constantly be rewritten. How does that impact our understanding of authorship, copyright, and truth?
  • Text is no longer the medium of choice. Video and audio are now prevalent means of communication. How does this change our experience and understanding of information? Of ourselves?
  • He says, “We are teaching the machine. Each time we forge a link between words, we teach it an idea.” When read in the context of the last video I posted on regarding Google’s use of personal information, what does this mean for us in terms of privacy and identity? Who is writing the code that allows the “machine” to learn?
  • “The Web is no longer linking information, it is linking people.” In the end, will we no longer recognize any authority? How will we identify authority?