Extra Credit

If there are digital media-related events this semester that will count for extra credit, this is where you will post your 300+ word accounts. These are due by the last day of class but ideally you’ll write and post them immediately after the event. It’ll be useful for us to hear about events we don’t all make it to and hear about what you learned!

4 thoughts on “Extra Credit

  1. Extra Credit Movie Response
    The Imitation Game sheds light on the incredible advancement in technology by the ingenious Alan Truing. Recounted from Turing’s perspective after he has been arrested for being a homosexual. He recalls the story of his work with the government in a confidential operation, set in England, shortly after the start of World War II. It is interesting that he repeats the phrase when addressing the audience, prefacing his tale, “I am in control,” making reference to his hand in a large advancement in the technological revolution – the creation of the computer. While the German forces attack England this team with Turing at the heads leads the effort in cracking the code known as “Enigma” a machine that methodically scrambles encryptions in order to communicate with thief forces throughout the globe. It is seen as the impossible problem but Turing, who has been working on the idea of the “universal machine” a theorized machine that could solve any problem. It wouldn’t just do one thing but everything. It wouldn’t just be programmable but reprogrammable. Human brains can compute large sums very quickly; but creating an electrical brain to be smarter to make a calculation and then to determine what to do next – like a person does. Together they do this and employ the machine, known as Christopher, to scan through the possible solutions to the codes. Unfortunately it still takes too much time, keeping in mind there are 159,000,000,000,000,000,000 outcomes and the program resists every night at midnight. By finding a similarity in the transmissions they are able to isolate the words “weather,” and “Heil Hitler,” this is the game changer. They are able to find the codes by using Christopher and within the day identify the position of every enemy fleet. But the most interesting part is the game didn’t stop there, they couldn’t reveal their hand, alerting the German’s to the breaking of Enigma. Instead they continued to play a game of strategy and planned attacks that would be the most efficient for the advancement of the war all while keeping the Germans in the dark of their discovery. In the end we learn this operation cut the length of war by two years and saved over 14 million lives. And this stayed a government secret for 50 years.
    It is crazy that out of this tool of war came our digital computer and from a mind so ingenious but misunderstood socially. In the scene of interrogation Turing and the detective share a conversation about the computer’s thinking that also alludes to his isolation from the normal, I’ll paraphrase it here.
    Do machines think? Could computers think as human beings do?
    Most people would say no.
    You’re not most people.
    The problem is you’re asking a stupid question, of course computers don’t think the way humans do a computer is different then a person hence they think differently. The interesting question is just because something thinks differently then you does that mean it’s not thinking? We all have a different preference and ways of understanding the world. Each of our brains all work differently – why can’t there be a brain built of copper and steel.

  2. I decided to go to “What is Research in English: Incorporating Material Culture” which featured Cheryl Higashida, Jill Heydt-Stevenson, Lori Emerson, and Adam Bradley. I got to see Cheryl and Lori talk during the presentation. It was very interesting to see a new take on research opportunities at CU. As an engineering STEM student, I typically think of research in a very one track way. That the only possible choice for research is through science which results in testing things over and over again to check your math or science. Hearing about Cheryl traveling the world to Italy to find relics related to a novel to gather a deeper understanding and appreciation for it and to help her write her own novel was amazing. I love the way she thought as it was very different from how I react to novels typically. I enjoyed how she dove into specific words and how they highlight the greater importance in the world and how these words can be applied in many different ways and gave historical examples for each. I also thought that Lori’s presentation was very interesting. Lori’s was more in my passions with technology and this being the second time I have heard about it, through Introduction to Digital Media, I felt like I got a deeper understanding of the Media Archeology Lab. I think oftentimes in our society we continue to look forward to what we can do for technology and how it can solve the world’s problems. But we rarely take a moment to look back and see the amazing progress we have made, and to appreciate the historical aspect of technology. We think oftentimes that past technology is dead, useless and gone. But the more we understand the past of technology the better we can do as a society in designing and creating technology. Just as we do with the history of the world, we should apply the same with the history of technology. (Also the sandwiches were delicious.)

  3. I attended “What is Research in English: Incorporating Material Culture” and listened to Cheryl Higashida, Jillian Heydt-Stevenson, Lori Emerson, and Adam Bradley speak on the subject. This was very interesting for me because three of the speakers mentioned have previously been, or are currently, my professors here at CU. As an English major, it was very interesting to learn about the research opportunities that are associated with that field because I had no previous knowledge that work in research could coincide with English major studies. It was especially eye opening to realize that some of the professors I have studied under have so much experience in the field of research in English and that I could use the knowledge I have acquired from them to discover my own path in finding how I would like to apply my English major to my real life and my future career path. Also, hearing Adam Bradley discuss his new project of acquiring research to be able to author an autobiography about Tupac was truly inspiring to me because I had never viewed my current path of studies as something with the ability to be so broad and embrace a vast majority of my other interests. Hearing his background story and the inspiration that guided him to where he is today is the thing that stuck with me most after leaving the discussion panel that day. I had never before considered combining my interest in English studies and ancient literatures with my personal interests, for example, of music and travelling. Hearing those professors talk about the travels and experiences they have lived through because of the paths and directions their research has taken them forced me to think on a broader scale about the many different directions my English major has the possibility of taking me.

  4. Hidden Figures was an amazing and motivating movie, that truly showcased and highlighted on the history of computing in NASA. This movie for me had an important message of adaptation. In the movie, as a viewer, I grew to love the main characters who were “computers” and did the computational mathematics of NASA. During the entirety of the movie the International Business Machine which we know watching current day would very quickly have the women in computing be unnecessary as the computer would be able to do their work quicker and typically without mistake. In the movie, it is stated, “Progress is a double-edged sword.” Dorothy Vaughan seeing this machine as a threat learns Fortran, the coding language used by the IBM. This was even difficult for her to do as an African-American woman because the only book available was in the “white” section of the library. Every hurdle that is placed in her way she bounds over and does not allow it to bring her down. This message was important to me because instead of being scared of future technologies and their potential to take away our jobs, as many people are, instead of being scared, adapt and motivate yourself and learn about the technology. This could save your livelihood as it did for Dorothy and the women of computing. It also shared the importance of persevering even when there are hurdles to jump through to be able to do so. These women are an inspiration to me personally, especially as a woman in engineering. I am happy to have heard their story and have had the opportunity to learn about these women and their story, which was not possible because their accomplishments were hidden from the public eye. These women deserve recognition for what they did and I am glad that in today’s society we were able to spread this message to the masses through this movie.

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