Monday, August 29, 2016

Laboratory rats.

“These creatures you call mice, you see, they are not quite as they appear. They are merely the protrusion into our dimension of vastly hyperintelligent pandimensional beings.”

Douglas Adams.

It was the mouse which brought me to computing.

Little did I imagine that it would become a protrusion into my own privacy, a threat to our freedom.

Learning management.

I looked at the data available to me on the learning management system.

I tried, I honestly did try, to see if I could do something with all that data to help my pedagogy.

I quickly gave up, I didn't have time to teach, I was an unwilling or incompetent data analyst.

How the hell were clicks more telling than a learner's pace of breathing, posture, expression, smile, sigh?

The data came into its own for those who had the ear of the management.

No doubt they had less time for sighs or smiles and more time for numbers.

Who, after all, has the time to really listen to each student, to each teacher?

I have a feeling that I am failed as a teacher (that should read ambiguously).

Data brokerage.

I was reading up on the deal I have "agreed" with Facebook.

"98 Personal Data Points That Facebook Uses To Target Ads At You."

I have come to the conclusion that as far as the silicon valley is concerned  I am a lab rat.

I am:
  • a Facebook Lab Rat, 
  • a Google Lab Rat (but not a Google certified teacher), 
  • a Twitter Lab Rat. 
  • an Amazon Lab Rat. 

I can even choose the feed I get from Facebook by editing the info they have on me.

Oh joyful squeak!

I get to modify the feed!

I suppose this is "personalised learning."  

Erggh..spit, spit.

I am:
  • a well trained Lab Rat.
  • a MOOC badged Lab Rat.
  • a Life Long Lab Rat.
Which good researcher/marketer/government agency is extracting the data?

What the hell is the difference between a researcher/marketer/government agency?

Aren't they all part of the same system?

Aren't they all "vastly hyperintelligent pandimensional beings"?

I go and install the Ghostery Extension on Chrome.

I know that it won't be long before I trash it again.

It feels oppressive.

I watched with horror a short documentary about data brokers.

For which data brokers are we lab rats to?

Aren't we all lab rats to some agency?


I fell upon a page of quotes from George Orwell 1984

"Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting  both of them."

Doublethink:  I am a servile lab rat banging on the cage while expressing 'freedom' of speech here.

"Ignorance is strength."

Ignorance, Isn't that the most comfortable state? Doesn't a critical mind make you weak?

Ignorance, Isn't it that which is enabling the rise of racist, populist, fascists?

I read Foucault.

“The strategic adversary is fascism... the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us.” 
Michel Foucault

"Fascism in us all?" I prefer to ignore it.

Ignorance - so much bliss.

"The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind happiness is better."

Freedom: Do I seriously want freedom? I am not so sure.

"Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until they have rebelled they cannot become conscious."

Rebellion: What is the price of consciousness? How can one rebel while remaining a lab-rat? (one can't)

"He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past."

History: Who controls this history of mine? Who is aware of my fingers tapping on the board?

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."

Picture: Do I really want to be conscious to such a picture?

I am somebody's lab rat.

I find a quote of Foucault.

"Maybe the target nowadays is not to discover what we are but to refuse what we are."

"Freeish Speech".

I go and find a panel discussion between Noam Chomsky, Glenn Greenwald, and Edward Snowden (in a distant unspecified location) on the question of privacy.

I refuse to accept happily being an ignorant lab rat.

I am weakly conscious of my state.

I shall bang angrily on the cage.

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