Tuesday, November 3, 2009

IG Manifesto

The IG Manifesto
(Information Generation)
Survival Guide for the Instantaneous Society

By: Robert LaComb

We are entering a paradoxical time in human history. For all intents and purposes, we have already entered this time and I will speak as such is the case. This paradox can be defined in a very simple fashion; history is having a smaller and smaller impact on the present. The “way of things” is an idea that is taking on completely new meaning in a way never seen before. New generations are being immersed into new forms of communication and technologies that have no set of ethics attached. Without getting too in-depth into these technologies, I believe that a new set of moral conduct will need to be enacted or “subconsciously agreed” on by the whole of society. This new “techno-moral” code addresses problems that previously did not exist throughout human history. Having the ideology that no change is necessary will be detrimental to the psyche to this generation. This new code of ethics has been broken down into the necessary parts: Individual, Artistic, Cultural, Governmental. Finding the balance between these facets of life in our changing world is the main objective.
(Basic concepts and understandings that must become commonplace)

1.) First and foremost, Never lose sense of what is truly important in your life. As we create more and more technologies that have the ability to allow us to multi-task many parts of our lives; we often find ourselves “lost in the screen”. One must always strive to be internally vigilant to “recognize” the differences between the world we physically live in; and the digital world in which we conjure anything we like into reality. It obviously goes without saying that you must be cognizant of the “non-reality” of the Internet. Once we subconsciously get comfortable to this “place” in which we spend so much of our time, it becomes a lot easier to get addicted to the technologies that help us balance our lives.
1.a.) One must also be careful the “relationship” they have with their technologies. The end result of the technologies we are striving to create a “one-ness” of computer and mind. Without getting into psychological theories dealing with the mind as a computer, the statement must be made that we make every effort to separate personal, intellectual thoughts/life from the computer environment. This is in order to safeguard ourselves from a possible addiction to technology.
2.) If privacy is of particular concern to you, you must be ever-weary of how you portray yourself online. (digital world vs. physical world) ANYTHING you post, upload, text, send is being put into a database somewhere (as is anything in the digital world) so you must be always careful of what you wish you expose to the entire world. Yes, the entire world (in effect) can view whatever you decide to put on your facebook, twitter, flickr, youtube, etc. This is also especially important for the Artist or of any public figure (best recent example would be Michael Phelps).
3.) One must constantly be concerned with education. The definition of education is “the act or process of acquiring knowledge, developing the powers of reason and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.” With such a broad definition, we should always be striving for education. In an increasingly more “instant” information age, human value is measured by specialization of skills (plural due to the fact that it is becoming more and more custom that having one area of specialization is simply not good enough). It is easy to see the benefit in constantly adding to your compendium of knowledge. Not to say that someone should be taking part in higher education their entire lives, it can be something as elementary as the desire to play guitar. A lesson on any instrument is only a click away, why not employ every resource that is available. Employ EVERY technology that is accessible and sensible to you because ignorance can no longer be used as an excuse for anything, in any context, in this changing world.
4.) Forms of education must also change in order to adapt to the changing technological world. We are encountering a huge problem in education formally called ADD or ADHD. What we are trying to politely diagnose as boredom is simply an evolutionary side effect of the changes in technology. It speaks to reason that as we become a society more and more based on instantaneous information/instant accessibility, that we will eventually get to the point of boredom when being forced to learn in an rudimentary learning environment. The internet has spawned the ability to research (also to teach) almost anything you’d like to. Interconnectivity of information makes the thought of sitting in a classroom all day dreadfully boring to a large portion of adults, so why should it be assumed that children (and they are increasingly smarter and more knowledgeable than children of the past) would enjoy being spoon-fed information they can access whenever they want.
5.) Another concept we must be more acute to is the accuracy of the information that we “consume“. This is a relatively new problem due to the ability to almost anyone who has the gumption to make some sort of collection of information available to the public, can do so. This was not always the case, and the reputation of those who spent the time to give the general public important information was at stake if they presented the populace with false information. With an abundance of anonymous information stored all over the vast alternate universe that is the internet, we must always be watching and thinking carefully about the information we consume; its source, its credibility and of course it’s relevance to you. It may seem like this issue only comes up with a celebrity death rumor or stupid gossip. If the misinformation leads to false belief in something, false belief is capable of catastrophe.
5.a.) With there being a market for sites like Youtube or Digg or any site that collects information from a wide range of people, there is the danger of information saturation. I would describe information saturation as a problem similar to that of adverse selection in economics. Adverse selection is when firms will not give funds to borrowers due the existence of any risk in the marketplace for loans. In terms of information, we need to be conscious of where the risk is in what we take in. In other terms, we need to constantly use our logic and reasoning to see what information is false, what is misleading, and what is truthful. People need to realize that they must examine each facet of new media in the same light they would assess a news channel like CNN. Different news outlets are just like a marketplace, expect the product is information and its free. The obvious problem with free products is the lack of assurance of quality, therefore you must be weary about what outlets you trust. Otherwise, information overload may become a problem when you simply can’t stop the constant flow of crap that is going into your brain. With being part of an educated people, we must fight to identify when we are being fed crap. We must also demand that media outlets do not simplify important information as if we aren’t capable of handling complex situations. Transparency of information is vital.
6.) We, as citizens of the world, need to understand that in the last century, people have allowed governments to slowly expand the reaches of their power under this guise called globalization. We have, little by little, let them dictate, more and more, how we live large portions of our lives. We can teach about Locke and early economic and governmental philosophy but that isn’t the same as living the ideals he wrote about. Power lies not in the hands of the government, at least it shouldn’t. As things are currently, the government holds most of the cards. We must continue to create our own institutions (best example is the Internet) free of government constraint and policy. We need to make our own social and technological foundations and break free from the metaphorical chains that limit our potential for change. In order to enact any kind of change in this world, people must understand their value and live the change they want to see in the global atmosphere.

(When I say artist, I mean that in a far-reaching, extremely broad sense of the word. Anyone who uses their creativity to make a living; I consider an artist)

7.) No matter how much technology changes/improves/simplifies our lives, creative thought will always be rewarded by society. If you believe your talent may be something that strays from the norm, ignore the status quo and take advantage of your unique talent.
8.) Tradition has dictated that the artist, for the most part, must be inaccessible. This is no longer the case, the Artist’s original work (ex. - painting, lyric, poem, novel, movie) still has importance, but its interpretation and how it affects culture and evokes a response from the mediums in which we compare art forms. Therefore the Artist is no longer a mythical figure, (the painter hidden away in desolation, the writer in his log cabin) the Artist is part of the cultural conversation and must accept the responsibility of social relevance to combat the increasing irrelevance that comes with giving every individual the technology needed to create their own “art”.
9.) The Artist must remain tied to their work. Similar to the concept of the inaccessible artist; when the art is separated from the Artist, the personality of their art can be lost. Their act of creativity has become something tangible; something sellable. The way in which we, as a culture, market the Artist’s product is atrocious for the future development and encouragement of new art (or any creative thought). The art must be sold with the Artist better, a great creative mind should be directly tied to his works in order to obtain a better understanding of Art. In order to further the arts, the Artist ought to aspire to remain connected to all their art and not allow corporations own portions of their creative output.
10.) If you find the medium in which you created your art changing, instead of denouncing technology and risk being out of touch culture and society, adapt. It is instinctual and natural for you to adapt to your changing environment, it’s one of the few good traits we have. Adapt to an ever-changing artistic domain with ever-broadening conceptual view of what is considered art. Never forget that your ability to express your unique thoughts is what makes you valuable to society. Not any pre-conceived notion of success based on numbers, your relevance to society is where your worth lies. Constantly strive to acclimate yourself to the changing social environments that cause art to be meaningful.

(Or as a culture, to ensure we reflect the best nation we can be to the world)

11.)As a country we must always strive for better and better forms of education. Education should not be an enterprise with profit margins and students as consumers of knowledge. Stop jamming the information down the throats of the American college(or any level of education) student and teach them how to better “inhale” all the information they are being bombarded with. The fastest growing industry in teaching is specialized distance learning, these are statistics we need to pay attention and respond to by encouraging more and more revolutionary teaching methods.
11.a.)Not only must we continue to progress in teaching methods, we must also always encourage every generation to pursue higher education. Poverty decreases as education increases. If we really want to continue to improve the life of the “every-man“, we must continue to educate everyone we possibly can. Knowledge is the ultimate tool we have as humans, we have our ability to reason and use our knowledge of the world to live our lives the best we know how. The best gift we can give to future generations is a sound education.
12.)We must always encourage the progression of technologies to help advance our society. We must spend tax dollars accordingly. We should hope to not be living in a world of war, so as a country we need to stop devoting money to regressive policies worldwide and start the appropriation of funds to the scientific, education, engineering, computing and other technological fields that will be responsible for the advancement of our information driven world.


13.) Most importantly, Governments must get back to what they have always been intended to do, which is do their best to protect the people of their country. Partisanship has ruined our political system, plain and simple. If the government doesn’t begin to recall where they obtain their “power”, then they are doomed to fail in the future.
14.) That being said, the fashion in which those elected govern needs to be changed. Democracy is not having elections and sending the elected off to govern in a remote location. In a relative sense, They don’t have to even deal with most who have elected them, at least for a couple years. Those who “rule” should always be subject to the people, not just once every 2, 3 or 4 years. Democracy has become a joke in the United States, it would be laughable if it wasn’t for the constant disappointment that people are becoming accustomed to.
15.) From the perspective of the government institutions, our goal should be to maximize the potentials of our country while making sure to respect the well being of neighboring countries and peoples. I mean this GLOBALLY, not just in American relations. Money and Power should not be objectives, direct or indirect. Governments should be STRIVING for the approval of the people. When a main objective of the individual elected official becomes re-election, there is a serious problem at hand.

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