Perception Minutes

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0:11 - 0:24 Introductions, set up

0:54 Roadmap of discussion

1:22 engineering our environment, filtering senses, decontextualization, not having to work as much, attitudes towards input whether it's been made for us or not; intermediary input through your body, design changing your environment around you, deliberate attention/meta programming; not about meat versus technology, what's the difference between senses taking in things because it's a learned response versus something that's completely designed; how is our selective attention changing? We're selectively not scanning web banners, how is that different from interacting with a forest, are you paying more or less attention to your classic senses? How do we create context/how do we deal with things out of context? Looking for firewood and looking for a file are becomming more similar - systems in which you're interacting; obligation that comes with thinking someone engineered something for you as opposed to Nature, don't have the same expectation that things are going to work for you

9:37 do you think that's true?

9:44 if people's refrigerators stopped working, they wouldn't know how to keep food cold

10:05 you're not going to say The River dumped me, you don't think Goddamn Bill Gates, you think the computer did it; talking about the anthropomorphizing of the computer

10:52 how willing are we to interact with things? What are we doing with the stuff around us? We don't really have a set definition for a Sense and what it is to take in and process data; how is our sense of the world around us changing?

11:59 Spaciality and Temporality are manifesting through electronic interfaces; as the way we sense space and time has changed, the way we interact with the world has also changed; we can now remove something from its original context, it becomes a simulation; we get so much more information now than we ever have, and we pick and choose what we want to form our personal narrative

13:58 We've always been surrounded by information, but we're good at pulling out what we need; there's so much going on in life that there's a lot of synchronicity if you look for it

14:44 we have so much information that it sort of creates an a temporal sense of the world - everything is manufactured, is as if it just appeared where it was, you don't see where it's coming from

15:13 you lose the context of it

15:15 allows for endless freedom through multiplicity of direction, but also easy to get lost; there's nothing to connect to

15:57 at the same time, you're always creating context; any time you see something and recognize it, your brain is equipped to process stored things (video, audio, etc)

16:24 we have a lot of news sources now, determine where you get your information as opposed to when you only used your immediate senses for what's going on around you. Now worldview is tinted by where you get your news, what spin they put on it; creating own context for all the information you're getting

18:00 Red Square, readjusting context based on new information, what can you get out of it for yourself

19:44 neat way to look at it - instead of having context taken away, we have ability to synthesize our own

19:57 each source has its own context its trying to place on you as well, but by seeing the agenda of different sources you can compare and see what's at the base, where you want to be on it

20:29 when you drive a car you can act with your senses or you can interact with the interface; because you're so used to synthesizing, are you more likely to say The Car Smells Funny or read the gauges?

21:04 use both; when you're driving a car you don't think about where the information is coming from because you've been doing it for so long; when you first start driving you're acutely aware of where each bit of information is coming from because it takes so much effort to register it (look down from road to dials); through use you start to trust things more; to the point with the feeds he follows, he knows where things are coming from and can trust them more as opposed to just following links and not knowing what's a front for a spam site, etc; trust the things to do the things they're designed for

22:44 presenting information in a way that has an agenda; all times have had context put on information, like the Church in Medieval times having control over the information coming out; knowledge produced with a certain group with a certain agenda, now we can seek out different sources, but a lot of people don't; seems to be threatening to humans to have a lack of context, there's comfort in having meaning already incorporated into the information you're receiving; a lot of people don't think about the interface they're receiving information through

24:15 being around design people (or being one) makes you acutely aware of how design affects you. Massive Change is a website, book, art exhibit that shows design is the way you view the world; we have this assumption that people who have nicely designed, easy to use websites are trustworthy, how are we choosing what to trust?

        From chat: Jake von Slatt: Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain.
        Jack: Funny 

25:41 trying to trust things by only having one story, creating mythology; trusting your senses instead of trusting what people are telling you

26:19 in order to find the spin you like, you have to go through a lot of information to get there, the stories other people were telling didn't match the personal experience, then bring the outside information in to support your own take

28:05 when you're looking for other bits of information to explain an out-of-context event it's like finding meaning; we always want to put things together coherently, we don't want to find the sources, we want to understand it

28:59 when are you looking at things and analyzing them, and when are you experiencing things viscerally? Difference between getting information from data and info from bodily senses is that when it's an online source (for example), you question where the information is coming from, what it means, etc.. whereas if it's your hand, you touched it, you know it; is there a way to process data viscerally

29:39 critically versus viscerally comes down to how the information is presented, how it is designed determines how closely you connect to it

30:26 you get a response and internalize it even if it's not visceral

29:50 violent episode, degrees of separation: if you're there, if you read about it in the newspaper, if you visit the website that has interviews with family of the victim, or see security camera footage.. all different ways of getting information, just different levels of visceral

31:42 many people don't know they need to seek stuff out

31:48 how much our brains make up of what we experience, fill in the gaps; difference between live performance and a recording. When you're experiencing something you're putting your own spin on it, when you know you can experience it again you can concentrate on certain points, desensitizes you; when you're in the moment all you can think about is the moment

32:46 the way visual stuff works, we don't know how completely; mirror effect and empathy, if you have connections to what you're watching due to previous experience you're more likely to relate to it

33:49 individuals are going to have reactions to any kind of sensation based on their history of interactions

34:11 object recognition, what happens when you're recognizing objects in an immersive game where it's designed to be recognized and interacted with as opposed to pulling specifically from your previous interactions with the world - being in a world where everything is made to be recognized versus being in a world where things are not necessarily being made for your abilities

       From Chat: Jack Prince: Perception versus imagination?
       or a cross between the two
       Willow Bloo: sort of
       you fill in perceptions
       Jack Prince: How do we avoid this?
       Willow Bloo: ooh
       Jake von Slatt: do you want to?
       Jack Prince: Is it possible to do one hundred percent

34:56 they're simulacra, a tree looks like a tree because it represents a tree

35:04 what's the effect of constantly wandering around in a simulacra?

35:11 games that are made for kids, if you don't know where to go, hints through mouse-overs; reduces need to interact with everything sitting on the table, things that aren't nailed down, only taking in that data set

36:07 how is that different than a Parkour lesson, where someone tells you a wall is climbable?

36:12 then there is experience behind it

     Jake von Slatt: doom vs. zork ?
     Willow Bloo: don't know zork
     relevent to discussion?
     Jake von Slatt: a maze of twisty littla passages, all alike?
     Willow Bloo: ah
     Jack Prince: Having that helping hand all the time could make us complacent or lazy.
     Jake von Slatt: zork is text based 

36:23 Sean from chat, Doom versus Zork; different level of interaction

36:24 Zork is you figuring out how to interact with things, Doom is very specific in what you can do and not do

37:09 Jack in chat then asks, does having that hand make us complacent?

37:12 yes

37:15 depends on the context of the situation

37:17 you're not needing to think about what to do

37:22 that's the way the game is set up

37:24 if anything, having that hand means the game is being complacent or lazy because the game is not set up for everything to be interactive, so they have to point out what is

36:45 otherwise it's Katamari

36:47 so you point out what is able to be interacted with

37:59 two versions of Zork, text based and GUI based; text are very difficult because you have to interact with the description

38:51 Abram joins us

39:04 text adventure games because you never know what will work, high level of interactivity because you have to do a lot more poking per object instead of it being easy to figure out; adds an extra layer to the world where your backpack is your inventory, gave an obsession with interactivity in the same way parkour does

39:59 overlap between data perception and sensory, when you play a game too much your finger twitches when you want to do something in the 'real' world, the overlap between data reaction and actual interaction

49:48 Second Skin documentary about WoW addicts, as you interact with a game 14 hours a day it changes the neuroplasticity of the brain, the simulation becomes more real, manifestations of fantasies that they're not having fulfilled in life; is this healthy? or just representing a handicap, not taking responsibility to fulfill risk in life

42:38 but then people file police reports when their characters are killed, emotional attachment, so there is risk

42:49 but not the same level of risk

42:54 with brain adapting to new environments, talk about incorporating new senses?

43:02 soon we're going to get fuzzier on where is the data and where are your senses; MIT blocks, moving them determines what you're doing, tilting your iPhone as an interface, shake the nano to shuffle, getting back to original interactions instead of hand on a mouse

43:56 marble answering machine being a tactile experience instead of flat technology; the more we build our technology to suit things we already understand the better we are at interacting with it, and we're also getting better at interacting with technology as technology; how does having oxygen technology that you don't have to think about change the way you interact with the world?

45:30 we change the way we interact based on tools available to us; how we research things if you only have access to books versus keyword searches, two hours of work now done in 20 minutes; get in habit of just skimming, eliminating stuff in the way of information you want, thinking in short bursts instead of long interrupted strings

46:52 what if you spent the same amount of time on the paper you're writing using new tools, get an even better paper instead of just saving time

47:16 with the amount of information available now, you just run into repetition and regurgitation

47:21 immersive nature of that, just like with senses and not paying attention to what you're processing, do you do the same thing with data? And what happens to our fact checking as instead of interacting with the technology we're interacting with the environment through technology: HUDs, GPS, RFID readings

48:22 there comes a point where we have to trust it, and sometimes it's wrong but it's still giving me information; but if you're in an unfamiliar environment and you're using GPS you have to trust it

49:03 but what's changed with that? you have to trust gravity that you're not going to fall

49:18 when I'm in the wild and i have a map and a compass I can compare what's on th map to what's in front of me

49:39 the GPS tells you you're somewhere that your experiences should lend to letting you know if it's right or not

49:55 difference between error on a map and error on GPS versus an illusion where you see a mountain as being closer than it is

50:15 GPS being wrong; who is in control of the information? it's not the issue of the data but who's putting it out there; if we just have data handed to us then our minds will atrophy; without proper input you won't perform in a certain way

51:30 people who already do that, won't create more who do

51:41 some people think evolution is static, your brain is not static, it changes if you use it

52:51 your genes are the cards you're dealt, socialization is how you play the cards, but your social adaptations actually change your genes, which are passed on to your children; how is that relating to how we process the environments we're constructing?

53:33 unless it affects your ability to use MySpace to get laid, will it really affect your genetic output?

53:49 simple and complex nature, complexity hands you how to deal with things, makes you complacent; if it's simple and easy people get confused

54:32 good design and bad design

54:37 who's in control of the information

54:50 easy to find certain settings and fundamental pieces for your laptop, other things are difficult to locate; things the average user should be able to find are easy to locate, things you shouldn't get into unless you know what you're doing are more buried

55:25 evolution thing, we're the first generation that grew up with computers, they're intuitive; older people view it as too difficult

55:51 open doorway with grandma to talk her through things on the computer

56:15 what do you do when your data and senses sync breaks down? When your GPS isn't saying you are where you are, what do you do? Abandon the data and just use senses or do you troubleshoot more?

56:39 I don't think we distinguish between abstract data and sensory data, you just interact with things without thinking about things after you've dealt with them for awhile, don't think it's different than any other source of data we've ever dealt with in history

57:43 that's why it's natural versus designed because it's the only meaningful distinction at that point

58:00 depends entirely on context of situation; you don't realize you're using a hammer until you hit your thumb, until then it's an extension of self

59:02 pure procedural processing, nothing declarative about it

59:06 so follow GPS until it starts to go wrong, and then you think of it as a GPS unit and you start analyzing it instead of just using it as a stream of information

59:34 that's the level of interaction a lot of people that want to give you information are reaching for; how many websites do you not know which is an ad and which is a legit link? doing that actively; suspension of disbelief while watching a movie, snapping out of it, incorporating adverts

1:00:43 taking information, using everything you have to reconstruct what's going on in the world around you, and at some point your body stops and your environment begins, it's just about processing; Transhumanism to me is there is no fundamental difference between suiting up in things that alter how you see your environment and actually changing your environment; the question that started this discussion for me, what's the difference between having RFID tags on everything and having fancy goggles that tell you what things are? Still getting data feedback about everything

1:01:47 it's about the lag time; photoshop and creativity, less lag means what you want to do more closely matches what you intended

1:02:21 if you click on something and it doesn't immediately respond there's the breakdown (like the the GPS/actuality)

1:02:34 lag with direct stimulation of pain in the brain as opposed to less lag when you're actually experiencing it

1:03:29 lag and visceral idea, RadioLab thing on emotional reactions, you're not just reacting to your environment through your head, your body gets the signal first, so you're processing to how your body is reacting as well as when information your 'brain' is getting; body as context as well as your environment as context

1:04:23 feedback loop between what your body is experiencing and what your brain is doing; is your body going through something and your brain is coming up with an emotional response or are you having an emotional response and then matching it with bodily reactions

1:04:44 philisophical "what's real?"

1:05:11 whole other conversation

      from chat: Jack Prince: Response first adrenalin later 

1:05:16 cockroach is running when you turn on the lights even before it knows its running; Nathan's experience at the dentist

1:05:34 Nathan's story about just having a bodily response with no emotional context, having it explained meant being able to control bodily response

1:06:32 pure experience of one without the other

1:06:57 control bodily reaction when you have context

1:07:12 difference between stage fright and anticipation of desperately wanting to be on stage, it's how you interpret the reaction

1:07:42 how you import the data, interpret it, how you perceive things; trying to find meaning

1:08:11 shaky bridge experiment, romantic feelings increasing after being in a dangerous situation; associate you with the feelings they're having

1:09:10 how does that affect your idea of data processing? created senses?

       from chat: Jake von Slatt: "Fight or flight" but so much of our world requires "chill" which our bodies don't know how to do.
       Jack Prince: A lot of times that is correct.
       Willow Bloo: yes!
       Jake von Slatt: result is stress. 

1:09:36 Jake says, fight or flight, but our current world requires chill, which we don't know how to do; when we're looking at what's happening in Dubai we're supposed to remain calm, we create different contexts in order to respond the way we're 'supposed to'

1:10:17 Pseumatic Marker Affect, long emotional time to react to the event, triggers response every time you're at the corner; browser doesn't have lag time to develop an emotional response, so you just absorb images but don't have emotional response to build up, get desensitized

1:11:12 what determines that desensitization? as you interpret it differently; difficulty distinguishing between truth and fiction

1:11:51 personal experience changing how you interpret things

1:12:02 in dreams, you can experience things like you're there; ability to empathize based on previous experience

1:12:25 easy to learn something if it's based on previous context, otherwise it's rote memorization first to create the context and then you add on

1:12:37 empathy as a skill, you're better at it if you use it; person crying on sidewalk being ignored because you have to be to work or do you sit down and figure out what's going on?

1:13:21 click the link!

1:13:24 does the pointer change shape as you hover over them?

1:13:28 you are exceptional in sitting down with them

1:13:37 just as an example

1:13:44 it's a lot about choice, what do you choose to spend time on, that alters your response; opting in and out of interpretations

1:14:07 reframing to deal with anxiety, dealing with planes because of something that didn't have to do with planes but happened on one

1:14:42 meta programming

1:14:46 there is a choice in how you do things

1:15:04 multiplicity in how we deal with information, through science we know how we deal with things can change, and that changes us; brain is plastic

1:15:39 make or break anything, imagination to see what you do, fill in blanks; if you don't use it it atrophies

1:16:15 and then it's Fox News

1:16:20 using different sources to see what spin is going on, filter through agendas

1:17:18 when dealing with actual versus designed worlds, how much do you get to impose your own framing? More or less confident going into what someone else has designed? You know someone has constructed it so do you look out for it more?

1:17:34 in the natural world you don't have data providers, designed world everything has an agenda, still be able to reframe

1:18:04 concept of authority, the first time a human asked another human "what do you feel about this?"

1:18:26 ethical issues; tv with 10 minute narrative of the world, try to paste that into your world and what it means to you, don't have freedom to go out and explore sources; don't have time, or leisure time spend exploring sources

1:19:17 Gin and the Cognitive Surplus (Clay Shirky), interactive society - building wiki instead of watch TV

1:20:00 some people don't know there are other options

1:20:12 what does it mean to trust your senses when you're in an interactive game?

1:20:20 other senses beyond the 5 we usually think of

1:20:27 we're all smart enough to know we lead a pretty meta experience, we're all always kind of in an interactive game. You can go through a day where all you do is respond instead of analyzing it; whether in life or in WoW we're presented with information and we respond to it whether or not we are paying attention to it

1:21:45 simulation becomes just as real as reality

1:21:49 we can rely on senses in immersive video gaming because our senses help us predict patterns and so we have things we can expect as a consequence of actions; that's the overlap

1:22:25 we are pattern seeking beings

1:22:28 we change patterns to step out of cycles

1:22:43 we're constructing patterns, those patterns are changing

1:22:56 patterns of advertising allow us to skip them

1:23:00 we can see the manipulations so clearly

1:23:07 word of mouth as best advertising because we skip everything else, advertising learning you, data mining

1:24:11 also noting what you click on and what you don't, detect trends, behavioral pattern of a group

1:25:27 closing remarks

1:25:52 "every technological extension is a biological amputation"

1:26:13 medium is the message (or medium is the massage); studying telecommunications completely desensitizes you to being influenced by mediums

1:27:32 tangent

1:30:34 Jake's final point is that you have to make a decisions about what to trust, if you don't trust anything you won't make any process

See Also