The Global Nervous System

The global nervous system is a topic that I find very interesting. Although I still feel a little lost with the concept I must say that the way technology has been developed to create such a vast network is something we should be very proud of. However, it must be known that although we are constantly developing new ways to create different types of networks where by messages and information can be spread. We as a society are unable to keep up with what we have created.

Although we have created a system that has lead to phones and instant messaging it has also lead to split networks. There are three different types of networks, centralised, decentralised and distributed. Each of these networks provides a different element of how things work. In the centralised network you would have TV or the popular site Facebook, which mediates and controls what is being put in and out of it. A decentralised network allows for each entity to breakaway form the main source of information into smaller groups. A distributed network is one where each entity is connected to each other; meaning if one were to breakdown the network would still carry on as on unit. Torrent sites are made up of this network; this allows reappearing once being shut down.

networktypes.png

However, what I have found throughout the duration of this topic is that we are being pushed back to a centralised network, so that a level of control is maintained. Therefore, for my approach I decided to produce a podcast that used the main topic of instant communication along side popular notification alerts. This showcases the level of control we are under within centralised network, especially through the Facebook site, which is constantly mediating our messages and content, yet we still continue to use it.

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15 thoughts on “The Global Nervous System

  1. What you said is extremely interesting. To me I thought that Facebook allowed us to become more so decentralised and distributed as we make up a network of our own ‘friends’ and persona which is an open free forum. However, your statement of saying that Facebook actually controls and mediates our messages and content which we post onto ‘our’ own profiles is brilliant. How we are always connected to our phones, never having a spare moment for anything else but being controlled by these social media sites with them at the forefront of our lives. Your podcast also gave great support to your blog post and was extremely informative and funny.

    ~ krisesandchrosses ~

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it! I was afraid I wasn’t clearly getting my point across, but I’m happy that someone understood where I was coming from. It really is crazy to think that when this form of communication was first created was really just for important, life threatening messages but now I couldn’t tell you whats important and what’s not. We have this conception that anything we put of Facebook is ‘our’ own and wouldn’t be tampered with but in actual fact we don’t know if all the messages we send to our friends are actually getting to them. The whole idea of networks and the global nervous system is mind-boggling the more and more you look into it and realise there are so many avenues this can be taken.

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  2. I love your podcast! You’ve gone down such a creative and interesting path to not only discuss networks but give us an insight of networks in action.
    You are spot on in saying that media’s such as Facebook are forcing us to a centralised mode of networks because they control what is posted, who sees it and what algorithms are used to mediate our lives on the internet. However, how far does this go? In 2014, Facebook conducted a secret mood/emotions project where they manipulated the feeds of over 500,000 randomly selected people. It was found that people who saw negative posts were more likely to post negative things. This created an uproar because it was so easy for Facebook to control what we see, and in turn control how we act and react–forcing to light the real control Facebook and algorithms have on us. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/30/technology/facebook-tinkers-with-users-emotions-in-news-feed-experiment-stirring-outcry.html?_r=0
    In order to dismantle some of this control, countries such as Turkey, Russia and China blocked many of these social media sites such as Twitter and Youtube. However, it was the response from the citizens that make me want to believe that these social media networks may also be distributed because citizens were spray painting the IP addresses of public servers on walls in an effort to get around the ban. Therefore–one node is taken down, others pop up while the whole system around the world continues to run.
    These are current examples of control which works really well with your great podcast! Well done!

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    • Thanks so much for your input! I’m glad you enjoyed it! It’s definitely crazy how far this stretches and really we can’t even be sure that right now we’re not being manipulated in some form or another. But it makes you wonder if Australia was to go down the root of Turkey, Russia or China and block out these sites how would our society function? If it was done sooner then we wouldn’t know any different but if it were to happen tomorrow, would are lives be left as meaningless? Would there be up roars?
      It also begs the question if Facebook was a distributed network how would it differ from what its set out to be now? How would our communication methods change?
      So many questions, I don’t even know where to start looking!

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  3. Great blog and podcast, I found that they fit in very well together and create an interesting post. The podcast was a great way to incorporate the information about the beginning of communication and how we have managed to continually adapt since the invention of the Morse code. You mention that we are unable to keep up with what is being created, do you believe that as a society we will ever be able to keep up with technology? And is a controlled network the only way we will ever be able to control communication?

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    • Those are both very tough questions, for which I’m not sure there’s a right answer (correct me if I’m wrong). But I think that we could catch up and potentially keep up with changing technologies but in order to do that we need to re-think the typologies our exisiting online services are in. Without this shift or re-design I think technology will always be one step ahead of us.
      As for the second question, I honestly don’t know. I’m sure big commercial sites would be able to find other ways to control our messages and online footprints but I think at the moment I sit comfortably in a centralised network to think of another way to gain control. Although, they could be looking into new ways as we speak! Technology is forever changing, but do we actually want to keep up with it?

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  4. Your post is a great remediation and summary of this weeks topic with a twist! I really enjoyed the format of your podcast, the intro really drew me in as i wasn’t expecting it! I do agree that we as a society are unable to keep up with it all, relating to that quote from the lecture about (cant pull it from the top of my head) early communication methods being too much to keep up with. However, may I just add that we as a society do just manage to juggle hearing about and seeking involvement with all these various nodes and platforms. Maybe more so us millennials. It overwhelms me, but some how I end up in the loop after all!

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    • At least that makes one of us! I always seem to be out of the loop until the story is last weeks news. But yeah I think the generational divide does play a part in how we view technology. We, as millennials have an easier time evolving than those of older generations. But that does beg the question, if the older generation were to really engage in the sites and networks we do would they find it an easy platform to use with lots of freedom or would they prefer something with more structure and meditation? Would they be able to explore a site like reddit?

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  5. That was a really interesting and engaging podcast! I do strongly agree that we struggle to keep up with this vast network we have created across the world and the volumes of information we are creating. Your podcast gave an example of this instant world we live in, which gave great context to the rest of your blog. I think that we are not so much going to back a centralized network but we are definitely in a decentralized network. Especially in 2016, we have access to so many different forms of social media alone, we go from one to the other with similar information across all these platforms. However due to the rising number of platforms it because more difficult for anyone to mediate once it has spread across these different platforms. I feel that the question to ask is, which kind of network do you think is best?
    Great job!

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    • I think that’s a very important question to ask, for which no-one has a the right answer for. However, I think each network has its own benefits, looking at this weeks lecture. The centralised network seemed to work really well when being online was only used by the defence force and those that could afford it but were also using it for professional reasons. However, now, with new technological advancements I think a distributed network is were we should look to be but ultimately we are being pushed back as governments want to keep us under a watchful eye.
      Why do you think we’re more in a decentralised network rather than mixing between the two?

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  6. Nice Intro! Your podcast to me artistically represented the way we are so connected and caught up by technology but at the same time restricted by it. It seemed like every time you tried to talk about the topic you were distracted by some message or another. I like how you then tied this in with the whole reddit vs facebook comparison. One is Chaos and freedom the true nature of the net and one is unified, neat, structured and controlled. Its a lot like the whole Apple v’s Android debate at what point is one too restrictive and alternatively is the power to choose too overwhelming for some. You will be surprised at how many people will give up basic freedoms like privacy for the sake of convenience.

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    • I couldn’t agree more, I think more people have a bigger problem with reddit than they do with Facebook due to lack of understanding and how to really engage in the media. I know personally reddit intimidates me, therefore I would prefer the clean cut atmosphere of Facebook. But then you think about it in more depth I like something more mediated because its easy, because it looks pretty and more professional when really the reality is Facebook it were I loose artistic control.

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  7. Awesome work – you really fulfilled your own brief of “making something creative.” You’ve managed to engage with the topic area without explicitly retelling it. Instant communication has revolutionised the way we communicate and you’ve showcased that in a novel way.
    Your take on centralised vs distributed network is interesting. I always thought of networks as computer architecture, rather than a platform such as Facebook. Perhaps both definitions are correct?
    Facebook content mediation is so scary, as it’s clear that social media platforms are sites where culture is determined. What’s produced and censored there has broad implications.
    Great work!

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  8. I absolutely loved your blog and podcast! They both complimented each other really well and the way you presented the topic through the podcast is so relatable and creative! It’s a good representation of how interconnected and instantaneous our world has become. I agree with your take on centralised networks and how we are pushed to always be under some level of control (i.e. as you pointed out with Facebook). It’s crazy when you actually think about it – we think we have control over our own Facebook pages and what we like and post; but really, it’s all controlled by some fixed algorithm. Overall, this was a good read!

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  9. Interesting blog post! What made you decide to include podcasts?
    Although it kept me entertained I didn’t really find out anything new or further explained from the lecture or readings, I’m just not sure what you were trying to get across with the podcast. Also for people reading that don’t know what some of the stuff you are talking about linking is always great!

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