Our Future

This week we read two perspectives on how the tech revolution has influenced the way we think. It seems like a bit of a way out of the conversation, but I think I agree with both of them. I can recognize the value in the anecdotes presented by Carr and can see the connections he is making between the ease of research and information access via the web that ultimately makes us distracted and negatively affecting our ability to “deep think”. In the same sense Shirkey I agree with Shirkey that this perspective offers the worse case, gloom and doom, Luddite perspective without offering suggestions and solutions or even thinking of alternative forms of deep thinking (Carr seems to suggest this only occurs with focused reading). The end of our classroom discussion seemed to be going in a good direction of acknowledging that the web and the use of computers have made is think differently (as have many technologies in the past) and thinking about ways we still deep think, how the web has been a positive influence, and what can be done to not let the pendulum swing all the way to one side (as it seems to inevitably/scientifically). I hate to sound like a politician, but I do believe it all comes down to education. I am by no means an expert on educations, but perhaps those that are should help drive the way we continue to teach in primary education to both retain deep thinking value and skills and integrate technology education that is so necessary in today’s world (which we have also learned, may positively influence the education system itself).

Augmented Reality

For Theory and Audience Analysis this week we explored augmented realities, their possible applications, and their likelihood of success. Our assignment was to attempt to create our own based on a tutorial. Here’s a screen shot of the tutorial itself working. 

From here we were given the task of changing the 3D model. After tinkering with adding the Golden Gate Bridge unsuccessfully a classmate and myself found another tutorial online. Through a process of trial and error we realized we could easily change the image placed on a 3D sphere to alter it in the rendering. I choose to make a rotating moon by finding a flat texture map of the moon. Below is the video of the AR working, the challenge that I am still having is uploading the flash file to the internet to allow others to use it.


There is a lot to be learned from Lessig’s perspective on the internet, how it should be controlled and how it can be harnessed. I think that Lessig brings up some great points about control in “Code” and what it might be able to do for freedom on the web, but in the same sense I think these controls really only impact freedom on the web itself, I would argue against Lessig in saying that controls would increase access. For those that already have an internet connection, yes this might be the case, but increasing these controls won’t increase the acces concretely, unless perhaps these controls also started regulating the companies that offer this service. Lessig is not really touching on this in his writing, but I think it is an important thing to talk about, what easier way to control the internet than to control the companies who provide its services. And in this way you might be able to increase equal access across the board.

In “Remix” Lessig is more so discussing economies and how the internet can affect them and perhaps create rich partnerships through hybrid economies, those in which a company profits, but does so utilizing a community; the key being collaborating with the community, not abusing them. I think his thoughts here are very interesting and if they can be accomplished successfully actually create rich economies because there is buy in across the board. In the same sense, these hybrids can also turn ugly, in reference to digital sharecropping. I think the key here is striking the balance between a companies self interests and profits and the community that they are working with. Also, if more companies could understand that often more profit comes with employing these techniques then perhaps we wouldn’t have such a cut throat economy as it is.

As I mentioned in class, someone that I think is doing this correctly is Imogen Heap. Her fourth album is built upon the foundations Lessig is talking about. Each song has had different ways for the community to be involved, but all have been successful at drawing in the community and making them feel a part of the process and in turn I think her fans are the most excited they have been about this album over any other. It is still to be seen the actual impact this process will have on her overall success as the album is not yet complete.

Research Paper

Here is my research proposal for Theory and Audience Analysis:

Crowdsourcing and the Public Good

“Simply defined, crowdsourcing represents the act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined, and generally large, network of people in the form of an open call. This can take the form of peer-production when the job is performed collaboratively, but is also often undertaken by sole individuals. The crucial prerequisite is the use of the open call format and the wide network of potential laborers.”[1]

Crowdsourcing is now an often-used technique to solve problems, complete projects, and compile resources. Most of the prominent examples of crowdsourcing are for its use in the for-profit sector. The purpose of this investigation is to complete a case study of prominent examples of crowdsourcing from both sectors, for and non-profit, and from it devise high impact practices for its application to the non-profit sector in particular. In addition, the study looks to explore the possible advantages and disadvantages of crowdsourcing’s application to the world’s biggest problems today. The hope of this investigation is to illustrate many possible positive applications of crowdsourcing impacting public good.

For the case study, the investigation will explore many examples of crowdsourcing. Examples in the for-profit sector will include, iStockphoto, crowdSpring, and Kickstarter. iStockphoto is an example of a “microstock” agency that looks to provide cheaper stock photography by allowing anyone to upload photos and charge what they think it is worth, essentially lowering the price of stock photography. crowdSping is a “spec design” site where clients can post prompts for graphic design they need, and users can submit graphics to the client. The client chooses from numerous submissions and the user whose design is chosen receives a monetary sum from the client. Essentially the site increases the number of proposals to the client, without increases the time, effort, or cost to the client, combined with a lowering of the overall cost of the graphic itself. Kickstarter is “the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world. Every week, tens of thousands of amazing people pledge millions of dollars to projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields.”[2] Non-profit examples will include the Pepsi Refresh Project, The Fun Theory, and the HopeLab.

One issue the investigation will cover is the debated helpfulness versus hindrance of crowdsourcing in the for-profit world. This debate hinges around whether crowdsourcing is beneficial or just another form of outsourcing. The investigation will explore both sides of this debate and compile the opinions of experts on each side. Then look at how it might be applied to crowdsourcing’s implementation to the non-profit sector and how that might affect the debate itself, as monetary compensation might be removed from the discussion.

Overall, this study looks to explore what makes crowdsourcing efficient, effective, and how it can be applied to the pursuit of impacting the public good.

[1] Schenk Eric et Guittard Claude , « Towards a characterization of crowdsourcing practices » , Journal of Innovation Economics, 2011/1 n°7, p. 93-107. DOI : 10.3917/jie.007.0093

[2] Taken from Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/, 9/15/11


Since turning it in I have shift my focus from a generalized look at crowdsourcing, to actually executing a full case study on the Pepsi Refresh Project itself. In doing research for the above proposal I found that this was a significant gap in the research and I am proposing filling that gap.