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Week 8 Blog

Stitching the Future of the AIDS Quilt: The Cultural Work of Digital Memorials

I am not sure how I feel about this article or if I can even relate to it. In the past 30 years, I’ve witnessed a few wars launched in the middle east that made me used to read large numbers of people dying and think that it is normal. They are looking for weapons of mass destruction, a million people can die in that process, that makes sense. These narratives never made sense, and the numbers I am reading now do not make sense as well. “While this number represents less than 1% of the worldwide deaths from HIV/AIDS since 1985.” This sentence shows me how some American think and how some of them spend tax money. Instead of helping the Iraqi people who lost more than a million life on the hands of the US army, they would spend the money on a Quilt. The US never found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and even if they did, Israel has it too. I understand that the AIDS epidemic was devastating to many, but I am puzzled sometimes by how people and governments behave when the loss of life is in a different part of the world. I also get the point of the article to see what technology can do, but I am over all of this stuff. While all these people are concerned with preserving and archiving history, I am too worried about global warming and the end of the world to the point that I cannot think of this as progress or enjoy the fancy tech. I see the process of how they arrived at making an app, but still, the whole thing does not make sense.

Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future

It is interesting to read about the original ideas of computer science or the algorithms used in the field. The first thing I thought about is how we take computers for granted nowadays, especially that I am using a computer to write this. It reminded me of my first computer that my family got when I graduated high school with a really high score that granted me a place at a top engineering school to study computer science. The computer we got then, in 2005, was equipped with the highest technologies of its time, and now that I think of it; my phone has more capacities than that computer. I also like how the writer included: “Each concept is explained without assuming any knowledge of computer science.” in the intro. This is something I often struggle with, which is selecting my audience and declaring that in my intro. Defining “an algorithm is a precise recipe that specifies the exact sequence of steps required to solve a problem” definitely clears a complicated sounding word to me. The definition of the word “trick” is also easy and clever. I like the way the writer is explaining things and trying to assume the readers understand what author means. The use of the analogy is admirable since I usually do not understand abstract concepts without examples.

ALGORITHMS OF OPPRESSION

The first thing I tried to do when I started this reading is to reenact the cover page and see what comes up. I googled “why are black women so” and I did not get anything. It seems like google has placed some sort of a restriction to its search bar suggestions, because nothing came up when I typed that sentence, but when I did it in Arabic, I got some results. Maybe it changed after the book was published.

This quote “While we often think of terms such as “big data” and “algorithms” as being benign, neutral, or objective, they are anything but. The people who make these decisions hold all types of values, many of which openly promote racism, sexism, and false notions of meritocracy, which is well documented in studies of Silicon Valley and other tech corridors.” explains one of my research arguments about mahraganat, and how the people who write about it come in with all kinds of prejudices and biases.

Also, when the author writes, “This monopoly in the information sector is a threat to democracy, as is currently coming to the fore as we make sense of information flows through digital media such as Google and Facebook in the wake of the 2016 United States presidential election,” it makes me think of how neoliberalism grants unconditional powers to the corporations of the world as the overall control of our lives is shifting from nation-state government to the hands of transnational CEOs. This is just wow: “We need all the voices to come to the fore and impact public policy on the most unregulated social experiment of our times: The Internet.” I would like to read this book or at least the parts on oppression and utilize it into my research.

Examining the Impact of Ranking on Consumer Behavior and Search Engine Revenue

Although the abstract and intro of this paper seems fairly simple, yet, it contains a lot jargon that makes it harder to understand. I am understanding that the search engine can offer a personalized ranking to each customer and the researcher is trying to understand that affect and its relationship to the revenue the search engine produces. This paper examines other variables that affect ranking and rating, but I was not interested in reading it at all. All I was thinking was what is the goal of this paper and who would it benefit. The answer was obvious to me, although others may want to complicate it. It benefits the search engines and the capitalist projects using its services. Comparing this reading with the previous one on the algorithms of oppression, I can see how research can go both ways. It can be critical, for the people, and offering a way of resistance against capitalism and corporations or it can help them directly or indirectly in their ventures. It is multiple sided.

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