All posts by James Adomako Baffour

Globalization

Globalization is the process by which the world is “shrunk” as a consequence of companies and cultures spreading all over the globe. When things travel across oceans or lands into other lands, new information is presented onto that new land. This new information makes the world a little bit smaller because the old land doesn’t seem so foreign. In the past, technology propelled globalization. The invention of the maritime travel made trading easier and much safer. And with new products being exchanged from land to land, new ideas and cultures were exchanged as well. And this was great because it allowed the syncretizing cultures to create new ones. The world is getting even smaller now because of the Internet and the companies that have sprung up as a result of it. Facebook connects billions and billions of people and even though facebook does some very questionable things, the connection it allows people is undeniable.

Algorithm

When I wake up the first thing I look at is Twitter, where they feed me my daily dose of “James”. “James” being the things I’ve liked or favorited over the years that have built my online presence. Twitter, Instagram and Youtube have all built algorithms that have been programmed to keep feeding me things I “like”. This isn’t healthy what so ever. But since it works no one is going to change it. All these apps do is feed me with “good” or things I want to see. And that isn’t what life is about. In the real world we get doses of everything in order to balance everything out. I remember last year I saw a data visualization that showed how different sectors of Twitter almost never intersect each other. These other sectors being Liberals and Conservatives.  This type of Isolation is the perfect breeding ground for extremism. When people with opposing views dont talk to each other, they are never able to express their views and try and empathize or sympathize with the other group. And the sad part is because this algorithm is successful, its going to be the base line for other similar tech of the future because that just how tech development works. They start with an initial somewhat successful tech and built from that. And the problem with that is those initial things aren’t always perfect and may contain some very serious flaws like the one Joy Buolamwini discussed in her Ted talk.

Prototype for triggering and playing different videos

For this week we focused on trying to trigger the different animations/videos to play using different things. We ran into a few problems. First thing was that p5 didn’t take large files. So we used “dummy” videos that matched  the file requirements. Then we coded the trigger in the online editor. We ran into a few problems there as well. Since we were using keypressed and mousepressed as our makeshift triggers we tried to get that to work. But the Keypressed never worked. Until Terrick the grad student helped us and told us we had to click on the canvas for it to work. So once we figured that out and got it to work, we downloaded our entire project in an attempt to run it locally using the atom text editor and chrome. But ran into problems there as well. Chrome blocked the videos.

chrome

 

So we ran the code in Safari instead.

atom

 

Food Factory Storylines

Doughnut man:

A stereotypical old man whose super bitter about everything and is very mad at humans picking up his friends because it reminds him of his impending doom.

Raechel (Pizza):

An annoying teenager who wants to do nothing but talk about her boyfriends and doesn’t care if you take her boyfriends away. She is always too preoccupied with her current boyfriend. Until she leaves them then she starts wishing for her old boyfriends back but its too late because they’ve already been eaten. And now she has to deal with the harsh reality of life and loneliness.

Dumpling man:

A fun, optimitic and very passive person. Even when you take his family away he doesn’t seem to mind that much. But the more you take the sadder he becomes but he wont show it because he’s very passive and prefers to see you happy than him sad or angry.

References

 

 

Light filter thingy

I tried to make a cool filter trick from this website.

https://creative-coding.decontextualize.com/video/

Instead. It ended up not working or just crashing.

kf

 

So I made this instead.

https://editor.p5js.org/jamesb/full/By_ECI8aX

https://editor.p5js.org/jamesb/sketches/By_ECI8aX

With the help of this website.

https://codeburst.io/instagram-filters-with-javascript-p5-js-83f28c9f7fda

Digitizing everything

I am definitely not a liner thinker. One second I could be thinking about getting some dunkin donuts coffee after school, then random thought about kids choice award winner Willem Defoe and the next thing you know I am writing a screenplay about Willem Defoe waking up as a Donut and becoming the Donut Man. This type of stream of consciousness is what makes me and billions of humans unique. Random events and topics popping in and out of the consciousness is what makes creativity a beautiful thing. And Hypertext is great for that reason. Sometimes, we don’t need to get to point A before we get to point B, sometimes we just need to get to point B without any stops and Hyper text is great for that.  And since the plan is to digitize everything, Hypertext is the best way to go. Although I don’t think everything can be digitized, its still out best bet.

Evolution of language

As humans were transitioning from Nomads to being settlers, they developed complicated languages with rules to help them communicate with each other.  Over time, written language or written forms of communications got developed as well and soon there were special positions or jobs for people who could write. These people were known as Scribes were the story tellers and the ones who collected data and recorded history. They used language the most. And in order to better communicate what they were writing, they often changed the rules of the language to better suit themselves. Most early civilizations had scribes and they all used the same reasons to modify their languages. Most of them chose to add small incremental changes to the rules rather than rapid, monumental changes to strive for universality. Perhaps because they had no foresight that other people might want to access their recordings or they wanted to keep access to that information as little as possible in order to make their jobs more valuable. Or perhaps they just didn’t see a reason to do that. They couldn’t foretell the power of a universal way of communicating. Communication is powerful when all parties involved understand each other. The Bible tells a story of a point in time when all the people of Earth spoke one language and with that power, they all came together and decided to build a tower that could go all the way up to God. God not being a fan of this. He decided to change all their languages and soon no one was able to understand anyone. And the tower was never completed. That just speaks to the power of universal communication that once their understanding for each other was lost they couldn’t complete a project. I think Simon and Garfunkel predicted correctly when they sang “Ten thousand people maybe more/ People talking without speaking/ People hearing without listening/ People writing songs that voices never shared/ No one dared/”. I see a future where people don’t have to use sounds. Maybe we’ll be able to speak telepathically or everything will be picture based or text based. Whichever one it is, it wouldn’t involve to much talking.

James’ Emboniment

Our body is probably the most essential tool that that aids in understanding our world. As we learnt from our old readings, our hands aren’t just made for holding. They feel, weigh and do so much more. Without it our understanding of our surroundings would be severely limited. Even though our brain takes all those interactions and processes them, it would be impossible to understand the world if it wasn’t for the body. The body is like a  computer. We use a computer’s hardware/body to communicate with the computer’s software/brain similarly we use our body’s to understand our environment. However, computers don’t have emotions or at least emotions like how we understand them. We humans on the other hand have emotions and these emotions help us make decisions. For example I wouldn’t lie to my mother because I am afraid of the deep remorse I’ll feel when she finds out I lied(which she always does). Our emotions are like consequences or rewards for the decisions we make. When something positive is done we are happy and the brain releases the dopamine. When we make bad decisions and we deal with the consequences, we are rewarded with debilitating retrospection. The only way we can help computers understand our emotions is by using A.I.. We can just feed the A.I. with human actions or decisions and their consequent emotion.

Computers and morality

We turn constants into variables. Things that wont change. Things that we might measure or change are things that require human interaction or things that communicate something to the user. I can speak for everyone but for me personally the Bible is my moral compass. I was raised by it and its what I base my decisions upon. And even though there might be a lot of rules, it all breaks down to the golden rule. “Do unto others as you want to be done to you”. Yes sometimes technology makes morality a bit hard. To paraphrase what Louis C.K. said in an old Conan interview, screens make us loose empathy. When asked why he doesn’t let his children use smartphones, he said something like, in real life when they say something mean to someone, the person on the receiving ends face changes giving his daughters immediate feedback that what he did was wrong. But when they say these things behind a screen they don’t get the privilege of enjoying that real time feedback so they don’t comprehend the consequences of their actions.  Technology or the internet in particular, no matter how privacy invading it is, has brought us a significant amount of anonymity. This anonymity allows us to hide behind our screens and do things that we wouldn’t do in real life.

Indicator for Your Friends who just can’t stop tapping their legs

I dont know about you, but I hate it when my friends cant calm down, and keep tapping their foot. It makes me anxious and makes me start tapping my foot.

Merge Records Lionheart GIF by H.C. McEntire - Find & Share on GIPHY

And most of the time these people don’t notice what they are doing. So I decided to make an indicator to tell them to stop.

This is how it was going to work

sketch

There was going to be one side of the switch underneath my sneaker and the other side on a pad.  And the code was basically going to say if the counter is greater than 40 in 30 seconds the led turns on.

code

Above is the code with just the counter sketch and no time.

code code

Above is code with time.

The code basically says if the switch is pressed more than 5 times in 2 seconds, then the led turns on.

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Then I tried to make the pad where the tapping was going to take place.

ml

But the shop didn’t have copper tape so I improvised and used my laces.

jo

But it didn’t work.

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Because my aluminium foil and gaffer tape just wasn’t cutting it. But the basic idea is there so when I have the right resources I’ll properly make the pad.

Interaction vs Story

Media is basically the plural for Medium, so computational media are the tools that help us understand complex and complicated concepts that are usually reserved for machines whiles traditional media are tools that help us understand human emotion, thoughts, ideas and motivations these are music, t.v shows, videos, drawings etc. Interaction is what needs to take place before a story is told. Interactions help make the story happen and they are what makes sure a story is told. For example when a guitarist wants to write a song, he needs to pick up his guitar, place his fingers on the frets then strum. The interaction takes place when he fingers the chords and strums the guitar but the story is the chords being played. Sometimes the interaction can become the story itself.  For example Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa has gained fame for its revolutionary slow drying technique which was the interaction that took place in order for the painting to come to life. Usually people who know a lot about a particular medium create things for everyone else to consume. A universal machine is a machine that anyone anywhere can use. Use don’t have to be specially trained to know about it or waste a lot of time trying to figure it out. In my mind the closest thing to a universal machine is a pencil. It doesn’t take a wealth of knowledge to know how to use it and it doesn’t need other things to make it work. You just grab it and write anything on any surface and its relatively cheap.

Dear computer, please see me

When the lighting is right and the camera can distinguish my dark skin from the background, a computer sees  my face as a bunch of binary. Just a series of zeros and ones. Then it interprets that binary as an object and maybe it’ll define my face as human. It’ll probably notice that my face has a darker hue but it wont know what that means for me in context of the society I live in. Thats not necessarily a bad thing. Thats actually good because a computer wont judge me or impose its stereotypes on me based on the color of my skin. Maybe a more ideal device is one that is able to identify me more easily. Sensors and cameras always have a difficult time distinguishing me from the background and it’ll be nice if there were a device that could “see’ me more easily.