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PAATOM

The online edition of 'PAATOM' Magazine founded by MN Vijayan -

In the Context of diffusion of imperialist machinery into the Indian Communist movements PAATOM raises indignant resistance against the hell of ideology and praxis vitiated by the pseudo Marxist goons of imperium.

'PAATOM' is a resistance from the deepest of the racial sanctity of humanity nursed by the leftist political ethos. "PAATOM" is the voice of honest determination, that means to uncover the treacherous objects concealed beneath the mystery of hegemonic jargon.

We offer a laborious contribution to the truly humanist interventions that would enlarge the circumference and depth of emotional and intellectual perceptions.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Digitization of experience: Have machines become more humane than humanity?

Digitization of experience: Origins in the power of media, information and data hiding 

As we know, mind tries to rationalize every experience and generate a united sense out of it. Everyman's mind exist in conjunction with its own past and a greater memory which may be called racial / collective. Hence we can say that our mind and body is conscious as long as they are able to unify experiences in a moment with its own vast set of memories. This act of unification of experiences happen in every piece of experience in every singular entity in space time. 

Digital devices and social interactions are worth investigation in relation with this. Digitization or digital technologies employ efficient and state of the art encoding of information. It can be information about a particular aspect of space, time, symbols, ideology and so on. Information from a continuous signal or experience is first quantized / discretized and then encoded as per our convenient processing rate as a preliminary state to digitization. This post does not aspire to go into the internals of the signal processing here.

Digital Ocra by Daniel Dionne on CreativeCommons

Instead, in this article we are interested to see how the digitized information influences the people who consume it.  When we engage with a digital data, we tend to think that data is the same as our continuous signal. It is the first and foremost significant difference. Digital data is not the same as the analogue / continuous signal. Hence it is highly customized / encoded and as a result highly ideological and influential. There is a relative limit to understanding condensed information. This cognitive capacity will be relative to each person and different cultures. When this limit is reached people tend to become subordinate to digital experiences and become just subservient consumers. From there onwards the discretion on taste / distaste, good/bad/ugly are lost. This can be termed as a decoding threshold. 

In addition to the data, the machine interfaces and interactions of digital world are highly customized for capturing human attention. This has a huge impact on the human cognition in the digital experience. Thus digital data and interfaces are highly customized and condensed to gain maximum attention span and focus from the consumers. And it will have repercussions on all the phases of digital experience. Thus data, velocity of data ( Like Twitter) , variety of data ( Like FaceBook ), value of data ( Like Newspaper) and veracity of data ( Government and popular media ) determines the decoding of digital experience.  If we visualize all these entities of data abstraction, data hiding and polymorphism on data it will render a complex information architecture. 

Digital Overload by Keoni Cabral on CreativeCommons
However, key factor is not in the differences between analogue and digital medium, rather the fact that people are not able to distinguish it while they experience them. People tend to spend hours in front of computers and video games confined in a single room. The same people may feel highly irritated on spending half an hour in the same room without a digital device or interaction even if there are some familiar people around. Has machines become more intimate to humans than their own genetic mates? Has machines acquired so much humanity than human beings themselves? This is a very unique situation where we are robbed of every sense and sensibility to distinguish real from illusionary. 


We term machines as dumb terminals. It is no more true. Nowadays, in communicative interactions, machines and digital devices are able to retain the human attention than a familiar human face. Thus human cognition and re-cognition is now highly controlled by the digital environment. But all is not lost for human sense and sensibility. The roots of the problem lies very much within us. We incite the addiction to digital devices and interaction in our social processes and education system itself. If we can devise a logical time slot for digital devices it is not going to take you away from your social life and social senses. Our human mind is still equipped with enough potential to rationalize digital experience as long as we prepare it upfront. Our brains no bounds when it comes to the complexity of neural nets and synaptic processing. We can still be humans!