The Machine is Us/ing Us.

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Michael Wesch, assistant professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University has created an interesting video about the way the Internet has changed human interaction. Though it begins with a foray into back-end technology by contrasting HTML and XML, it quickly becomes accessible even to those with a limited understanding of the technology that powers the Internet.

For those who have heard the buzz-word "Web 2.0" and not understood its meaning, it is essentially the inter-connectivity represented in the video. Wesch's video makes two very important points:

  1. That recent technological revolutions have worked to divorce form from content.
  2. That the Web is becoming so vast and the connections between people and ideas so easily made that institutions like intellectual property, copyright and even one's identity seem to be in the process of changing.

Regarding the first point, I have recently been having a small amount of difficulty in keeping with APA citation style (as some of my past courses have used LLSA, some MLA). I was thinking how wonderful it would be if I could write a paper in XML, create entities for all the necessary information, and then pass that XML document through a parser that would generate a document in the appropriate style. What a neat programming project that would be. Naturally, I would have to work on it after my Master's because, right now, I just don't have time for something of that scale.