Bots/ Blog #2

I think it is because that I have not read enough E-lit till now, E-lit always surprise me when I read a new one. To illustrate, the Bots collection. At first, when I clicked the buttons and open the websites, I did not realized that those twitter accounts were the contents of the Bots collection as a E-lit. Therefore, I clicked and opened all of the twelve bots that were included, then I found out that this E-lit is made up with those twitter accounts. That is interesting!

Station 51000 exists as a unmoored buoy drifting in Pacific Ocean. The author of this E-lit gives life to this adrift buoy, endows it with personality and emotions, and tries to tell a story from the perspective of a buoy. The stories being told and the existence of the account itself combines realistic with ridiculous. Although some of the accounts is difficult to figure out how and where to start reading for me, I was able to kind of get the meaning and the idea the author were trying to convey. Similarly, there are some accounts exist as “objects” in Weibo, which is a social media common used in China. Many people leave their comments on those objects’ account, telling their stories and expressing their feelings.

On Bots

I missed a week of my Digital Alchemy class one week earlier this year. Think I wasn’t feeling too well, maybe the bed was too comfy, maybe a combination of both. But either way, I figured that I was mostly caught up and therefore could just come back the next week and pick up on the Twitter discussions in the meantime.

Big mistake.

For the next several days, I kept getting mentioned on Twitter by members of the class. Aw man, they kept me in the know! But the Tweets quickly turned from interesting, to nonsensical. Uh, just why did they need to send me that article over Twitter? Why are they asking me about how I felt about the idea of social media selling our private information to advertising? Is this what typical Twitter conversation had become in the one week I wasn’t there?

Turns out it wasn’t so dramatic after all. The class that week was just experimenting with bots, was all.

Bots are one of those few things that bring us closer and closer to Skynet every day; artificial intelligence programs that are designed to think and act a certain way, or even worse, like us. Sometimes they’re just simple automated programs, designed to make retweeting or simultaneous social media posting easier.

Reading through the Bots section of the Electronic Literature Collection however, felt significantly less mechanical then I would’ve thought. Several of the bots were Twitter bots, which I mentioned before. But these weren’t necessarily just scheduling Tweets, these were a little more advanced than that. Instead, each bot had a particular task it was put up to, and some were a bit more coherent than others. “Pentameteon” for instance, Hailing from “Stratford-upon-Internet”, as if the Shakespeare profile picture wasn’t obvious enough, is an algorithm designed to find phrases in Tweets and other words that compose a rhyming scheme that modern Eminem would be proud of. The Tweets don’t necessarily make sense when they rhyme, but sometimes there are some memorable combinations to be had.

Rap bars of the year.

On the opposite end of the bot spectrum is “ROM TXT”, who’s sole goal according to its Twitter profile, is “Searching video game ROMs, looking for words and sometimes finding them. For beauty.” And while the premise sounds simple enough, the actual execution results in a fragmented, almost creepy line of words and letters that don’t necessarily have any meaning to them.

Cryptic warning, or unused game text from Ecco The Dolphin? Maybe both?

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about these Twitter bots is just how normalized they seem to be just by being on Twitter; they have followers and followings, retweets and likes. The visual interfaces never force us to struggle, only the content they have presented.

Overall, this isn’t my first run-in with bots, but it always becomes more and more fascinating to see just exactly what they can be capable of. While Skynet is hopefully still just a fantasy, these guys are getting smarter and smarter, and hopefully they’ll continue to be used for the good fights…..and not Skynet.

This bot is programmed for fighting the good fight.

On Bots

I missed a week of my Digital Alchemy class one week earlier this year. Think I wasn’t feeling too well, maybe the bed was too comfy, maybe a combination of both. But either way, I figured that I was mostly caught up and therefore could just come back the next week and pick up on the Twitter discussions in the meantime.

Big mistake.

For the next several days, I kept getting mentioned on Twitter by members of the class. Aw man, they kept me in the know! But the Tweets quickly turned from interesting, to nonsensical. Uh, just why did they need to send me that article over Twitter? Why are they asking me about how I felt about the idea of social media selling our private information to advertising? Is this what typical Twitter conversation had become in the one week I wasn’t there?

Turns out it wasn’t so dramatic after all. The class that week was just experimenting with bots, was all.

Bots are one of those few things that bring us closer and closer to Skynet every day; artificial intelligence programs that are designed to think and act a certain way, or even worse, like us. Sometimes they’re just simple automated programs, designed to make retweeting or simultaneous social media posting easier.

Reading through the Bots section of the Electronic Literature Collection however, felt significantly less mechanical then I would’ve thought. Several of the bots were Twitter bots, which I mentioned before. But these weren’t necessarily just scheduling Tweets, these were a little more advanced than that. Instead, each bot had a particular task it was put up to, and some were a bit more coherent than others. “Pentameteon” for instance, Hailing from “Stratford-upon-Internet”, as if the Shakespeare profile picture wasn’t obvious enough, is an algorithm designed to find phrases in Tweets and other words that compose a rhyming scheme that modern Eminem would be proud of. The Tweets don’t necessarily make sense when they rhyme, but sometimes there are some memorable combinations to be had.

Rap bars of the year.

On the opposite end of the bot spectrum is “ROM TXT”, who’s sole goal according to its Twitter profile, is “Searching video game ROMs, looking for words and sometimes finding them. For beauty.” And while the premise sounds simple enough, the actual execution results in a fragmented, almost creepy line of words and letters that don’t necessarily have any meaning to them.

Cryptic warning, or unused game text from Ecco The Dolphin? Maybe both?

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about these Twitter bots is just how normalized they seem to be just by being on Twitter; they have followers and followings, retweets and likes. The visual interfaces never force us to struggle, only the content they have presented.

Overall, this isn’t my first run-in with bots, but it always becomes more and more fascinating to see just exactly what they can be capable of. While Skynet is hopefully still just a fantasy, these guys are getting smarter and smarter, and hopefully they’ll continue to be used for the good fights…..and not Skynet.

This bot is programmed for fighting the good fight.

Bots/ Reconstructing Mayakovsky

I really enjoy walking through the bots collection. Glancing the Twitter accounts was so different from reading printed literature. The pattern, form, the way to display the texts, are unique. Everyword is like an E-dictionary that collects every English words. Real human Praise looks like a joke as it is ironic, but provides so much space for readers to think. I love the space created in every bot. All bots are not directly convey stories and plots. They are pieces of thoughts. These bots remind me of a similar kind of form of text in China. In the social media “Weibo” platform, there are also many accounts that were established for some particular and specific purposes and themes. Like a clock account, a forest account, or an account that only reports fake news.

Reconstructing Mayakovsky is a novel of future. The design of the visual effect gives me a sense of virtuality. Every text is gained through a innovative method. By clicking a cloud of keywords, I can enter different mechanisms. The author divides the narrative texts into several mechanisms such as “texts, audio podcasts, video and a live Google image search based on intangible keywords” (Michael Stevens, 2013). This exploration makes me feel surreal to some extent, but the postmodern attitude of this work is seen by this way.

The second experience in Elit improved my understanding of it further. There are much more innovative elements in Elit.

 

Works Cited:

Michael Stevens. http://scalar.usc.edu/maker/english-507/stevens-granulations-page1

Illya Szilak. http://www.reconstructingmayakovsky.com/

Bots. http://collection.eliterature.org/3/collection-bots.html

 

Voyage Forward

Discovering what electronic literature is capable of is truly riveting. Discussing the experience and thoughts of others about reading, or rather navigating, through a work of electronic literature in the class made a lot of things more clear to understand. I totally agree with the assertion that “when we are schooled, we loose our ability to make games out of life” and that “electronic literature is one way to bring that sense of fun back around”. Best example of this assertion would be the puzzle-solving aspect of its structure. Though, I do not know if this is absolutely applicable to every single genre of electronic literature, as I have yet to experience them all, but the fact that possibility is there.

Our next assignment was to examine the integration of computer algorithm into the presentation. Out of the two given options, I chose to look at Reconstructing Mayakovsky by Illya Szilak. This time around I decided to briefly write down my experience with this piece. Simply put, it is a multimedia electronic literature that examines the concept of utopia and the future of humanity. I was not familiar with Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky beforehand. Reading the line “Inspired by the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky who killed himself in 1930 at the age of thirty-six” in author description on the main page set a anxious mood before I begin reading it. Similar to Twelve Blue, this piece also relies on navigation. The first thing that it required me to do was selecting a media in which I would be engaging with the story. As a big fan of podcasts, my attention was immediately drawn to that particular category.

I was not so sure what to expect from a section titled Audio Podcasts in electronic literature. Since reading was supposed to be the main focus, my first guess was that transcripts of recorded podcasts would be listed here for reading. I was wrong. There were literary recorded audio files which you could select randomly and simply listen. I do not know why but the number 8 tends to be my choice when given, and that was the first audio file I selected. A narrator that sounded like Adam Driver began to talk about struggles of a woman with an inner voice that “infiltrated her mind”. This voice, if I’m not mistaken, correlates to the advertisement and slogans that people are often exposed to on media. The narrator described how uncomfortable woman felt with this voice affecting her thoughts. As I continued to listen, I noticed the voice of the narrator was actually digitally altered and I guess it was a way to portray concept of being hidden.

The narrator also described Mayakovsky in a very unsettling matter. This was possibly a subtle way to portray how people perceive or conditioned to perceive certain individuals with personal views that my be deemed radical. The overall theme of the work began to be clear around this point, especially with the analogy of a cruise ship that contained history of Russia. The theme was the dream of a better future and utopia. As I made a quick search online, I realized Vladimir Mayakovsky was poet in Soviet Russia and implemented “hidden” ideas and meanings into his writing. This particular electronic literature was bringing these ideas into a digital environment for readers to experience rather than read about them. It is a fascinating work.

Besides Audio Podcasts selection, I also examined Achieves. The implementation of algorithm was very evident as I believe the pictures displayed in this selection were randomly picked up from google search. The themes were more clear with the keywords listed on top; such as Freedom, Truth, Future, Revolution, and Utopia. I guess the algorithm picked up images that correlated with these specific words and crated a thematic exhibit. A question that comes to mind with this approach would be “Is the algorithm writing the piece rather than the author credited?” My answer to that question is that the author would be the featured painter, and the algorithm would be the curator of that painter’s gallery. The algorithm still serves the vision of the author.

This type of implementation, along with usage of additional medium such as podcast, in a work of literature made me go back to my question “Does literature require the action of reading in order to observe its essence and merit or can literature be experienced through multiple actions instead?” I’m beginning to think that it is possible to experience a literary work through combination of alternative media rather than focusing on sole ability of reading. Children tend to rely on many abilities that they posses to bring their games into fruition after all. I guess it is safe to say the same can be done in literature.

Bots/Blog 2

I feel like I am honestly having a hard time connecting with electronic literature. It probably doesn’t help that I am not a big fan of classic literature in the first place. With that being said, I chose to focus on the “Bots” collection, because I am not familiar with Mayakovsky. However, even the Bots collection the pieces leave me confused and flustered. I have explored all of the bots posted in this collection, one by one. I find myself totally confused. I think I understand the concept that a computer program uses some sort of algorithm to generate random posts. And sometimes they come together into something that is amusing. Call me a party pooper, but I just didn’t get it.

Funnily enough, the only bot that I somewhat connected to was the “How 2 sext” bot. The description says, “it plays on describing intimate messages between partners in often un-sexual language.” One says, “You quickly manage peer pressure while i stay focused on my studies.” Does this mean the author believes his/her peer quickly gives in to peer pressure while they manage to stay away from it and focus on their studies? My brain may just be too literal for this. I definitely need to stay late tonight and speak to my professor…

Bots

Bots is a lovely elit collection where accumulates artist and literary work associated with the social networks, such as Twitter or Facebook. There are eight bots in the collection. When I clicked any of them, there would be six blocks on the page. They are about the screenshot of the web, the web entrance, Metadata, Author Statements, Editorial Statements, and Downloads. Editorial Statements would be the first place I go to. It provides basic information and summary about this bot. I can learn the general information through the homepage and do not have to enter in if I am not interested in it. The Metadata provides hyperlinks. It shows the language and keywords of each bot. If I click the hyperlinks, I can find a list which collects the language and keywords of all the bots.

When the first time I went to Bots, I felt a little perplexed because it does not have a classification or a certain theme. It covers all the artistic and literary bots. It is very hospitable to the visitors and I assume it is in the progress. My favorite bot is the crossword. I used to play crossword games in the newspaper. However, the answer should be known in the next edition. It has a time delay for the game interaction. Tiny Crossword is a twitter account that you can follow. It will release the cross puzzles in advance. The puzzle is usually based on the important 21st-century repository, which means the database is updated. The combination of the crossword puzzle and social network somehow maximizes the utility of the game.

However, I am thinking about the literary or pedagogical level of using Bots. It seems to be something absent that is able to get readers into somewhere. I feel like Bots in some ways is more like a recreation. Our readers can have fun on the Bots but I want to figure out more literacy meanings in using Bots

Bots

I really enjoy walking through the bots collection. Glancing the Twitter accounts was so different from reading printed literature. The pattern, form, the way to display the texts, Real human Praise looks like a joke as it is ironic, but provides so much space for readers to think. I love the space created in every bot. All bots are not directly convey stories and plots. They are pieces of thoughts. These bots remind me of a similar kind of form of text in China. In the social media “Weibo” platform, there are also many accounts that were established for some particular and specific purposes and themes. Like a clock account, a forest account, or an account that only reports fake news.

Seeking Utopia in the Virtual World: Reconstructing Mayakovsky

“Let us compose an elegy for the PASSING OF what defined us as human. LET US LAMENT BECAUSE WE ARE still HUMAN.” – Reconstructing Mayakovsky

The world has never been perfect before. Will the world become better in a virtual world?

In Szilak’s book Reconstructing Mayakovsky, humans can live in a virtual world called OnewOrld with the help of the Oracle system. Click the “Mechanism” tab, the reader can see some white spinning words and some star-like spots on a black background, with a background music much like the sound of the outer space.

Click the rotating word “Movies” in the “Mechanism” tab, an advertisement of OnewOrld will show up. The ad shows the audience many disadvantages of living in a real world, such as cost lots of money, waste too much natural resources, expose to terrorist attack and diseases, etc. Then, the ad commits that living in OnewOrld can avoid all those issues and make people happy.

Click “Archive” in the “Mechanism” tab, many pictures will show up. Put the mouse on one picture then the information in this picture is presented. Click the picture, however, will bring the reader into one of the random e-book chapters. Click a globe sign in the right corner will bring the reader to an outer link, which is the source of the picture itself.

Click “audio podcast”, the reader can see chapter numbers hanging in a black background, they move while the mouse moves. Put the mouse on different numbers, the reader can hear different sounds, sometimes men singing, sometimes children playing, sometimes a woman mimicking a cat. Click on the number, the reader can hear an audio record of one of the book chapters.

Click “Manifesto”, there will be some brief philosophical sentences, such as “THE DEATH OF ONE GOD IS THE DEATH OF ALL”. These sentences are the main ideas of this book.

Click “Theater”, an invitation to join the Revolution Nostalgia Disco Theatre will appear. To me, the invitation letter does not make much sense. It is like a piece of random work created by machine.

Click “Mechanism B”, the reader can see some black words with its chapter numbers floating in a red background. Click on one of the words, it will take the reader to the chapter where it is from. Those numbers do not show up in order. They move with the mouse.

Click “Attributions”, it will bring the reader to a page where the author says other information about the creation of this book.

I read several chapters in “Mechanism B” and “Archive”, listened to some chapters in “audio podcast” including the first chapter and the 45th chapter. I can get the main idea and the macro-context of the world in the book. The heroine is called Vera, whose avatar has silver-gray eyes and bleached golden hair. Vera falls in love with Mayakovsky who already passed away, so she tries to reconstruct him in the virtual world.

After viewing the entire website, I realize that Utopia is impossible to achieve in the current world. Whether humans live with their physical bodies or with their virtual avatars, as long as there are human desire and hatred, the world cannot be perfect.

Bots && Reconstructing Mayakovsky (Blog 2)

I learned so much from reading this short collection in the volume. Mainly its relation to elit as a genre. I will admit that I didn’t know much (anything really) about using robots to generate language. A bot is considered “a chatterbot that engages users in conversation through text entered and displayed in a computer terminal.” This was all very interesting, even so,  I still remained apprehensive about the thought of creating my own elit using this technique. I clicked all of the Bot links and followed the accounts on Twitter. It was interesting also to see that this technique is used in most of the social media platforms that I already use, such as Twitter and Tumblr. The short bio also mentioned that this artistic and literary tool created for social networks has grown exponentially.” 

My favorite reading for this week was “Reconstructing Mayakovsky” by Illya Szilak. The epigraph quote describes it as a novel of the future. The floating stars in the main page served as a table of contents.  As I clicked each word it revealed context and information to a story. I preferred to download the paper version of the text. Additionally, I also loved that the design resembled galaxy. In another part of the literature words were floating around and when I clicked on each work it revealed a chapter of the story. I didn’t get read the entire book, unfortunately, but I enjoyed the experience. 

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