Author Archives: Alex Marshall

Back to the Future: Cyborgs (2)

Cyborgs!Interesting topic. I’m glad I had a chance to dig into it, do some research, and imagine what the future holds. The interesting things I found is that cyborgs are not just a thing that we see in old comic books, of sci fi movies, the technology is actually here today. I was shocked to find out about a man, First Human Cyborgwho had a chip implanted into his arm.The youtube video goes into how he is able to control a robotic arm, turn on lightbulbs, and other technology all with only his mind. Fascinating. That not only implies amazing breakthroughs for the medical field but for all humans in general. If future years, don’t be surprised if you see fully functioning prostetic limbs, controlled solely by the individual’s mind. Also people may be able to communicate with technology and control lights, appliances, their televisions with nothing but the power of their minds. Cyborgs and this evolving technology leads to something of a superhuman race, which is amplified by technology.

The video I put together on the cyborg shows a lot of different examples of cyborgs. I used five different film productions to make my point. They are Star Trek, Elysium, Robocop, Spiderman, and Ironman. The video editing was an interesting experience for me because I used Microsoft’s Windows Movie Maker on Windows 7. Next time I will most likely use iMovie, just because it is a much better software for editing. Although the movie turned out pretty good, and I think it shows what a cyborg is in many forms, and presents many different ideas as to what impact it could have on our world. In Elysium we see this machine, connected to Max’s brain. When I saw that I immediately thought about the possibilities that this could imply. Imagine being able to download any sort of data straight into your brain, or have instant access to the internet. Elysium also paints an awesome scenario of how cyborgs can be useful in battle. Cyborgs may very well be used for the military in the future, giving us a more efficient and a much more effective way to fight our enemy. Interestingly enough as today I actually had the pleasure of watching Robocop (2014). IT made me think a little different about the subject. In the movie the Alex Murphy was blown up by a car bomb and woke up as a cyborg. The only parts that were left of him were his brain, his lungs and his hand. In the movie, the doctors who made his cyborg body, were able to manage his chemistry, his data and seemingly everything else. They could even turn him off. He being a Detroit city police officer was able to have the entire Detroit police database in his head, have video image of each case, and have ability to control his surrounding technology. He was like a supercop. The movie really made me question how much technology is too much, and can such enhancements take humanity away. During the film, Robocop had certain programs installed, certain protocols that were written into his modified brain, and the human part of him was overriding them. It did a fantastic job hitting the “human vs machine” point. The movie was also set in the future where robots fight wars for us, cyborgs are used as prosthetic limbs, weapons, and Alex Murphy became the first full human robocop with capabilities like no other . Very interesting movie, I recommend anyone watch it if you are interested.
To move on, spiderman 2 really did a great job with Dr. Octopus and his mechanical tentacles. It made me think about the bionic eye, and how this technology may impact the blind community. Also it really makes you think about the kind of impact cyborgs might have on the world if it got into the wrong hands. And Iron Man, one of my favorite movies of all time, certainly did a fantastic job of presenting the interface. J.A.R.V.I.S., this high tech artificial intelligence, personal intelligence computer was like siri, but with big data and the internet of things all put together. Could that also be something that we might see in the future. Super smart computers that enhance every level of our every day lives, with whom we could interact with. Iron man also has that future military potential, wouldn’t you think so?

In modern movies cyborgs are often presented as this fusing of human and machine, often to make the human more powerful through technology. When you think about it, our culture today is obsessed about self improvement. Cyborgs in my opinion is something that will definitely have a big impact on the world. The medical field, our military, and eventually into everybody’s homes. We are already obsessed and unable to live without the internet. People are constantly being connected to the web, always communicating, and sharing lives with other. Its obvious that there is already a movement to mend the human with the internet, the question is where is it going to be in lets say 30 years from now? I think the reason Hollywood has such a love for cyborgs is that they really see a possible future of us living with cyborgs, if not becoming one. Definitely an interesting though when you think about how far we have come in the past 10 years, and the massive impact the internet has had on our future.


Internet…Second Life?

So far this class has been quite interesting. We’ve talked about the history of the internet, created a website explaining the details of how it works, and now working on the impacts the internet has had on the world. One thing that we have yet to actually mention is virtual worlds such as Second Life and their impact. I first heard about Second Life in one of my first college classes, when a guest speaker mentioned that he knows people that have paid off their college tuition through Second Life. That instantly sparked my interest of how that is possible.

So what is Second Life? Second Life is a 3D virtual world imagined, and designed by its users. It even has its own economy. People can interact with others, make friends, flirt, build worlds, buy property, run businesses, recreate themselves and do virtually anything they want to. People are able to do anything they could do in a real world and much more. It is a place where peoples imaginations can run wild. Members can even be completely immersed into this virtual world through Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset for 3D gaming. Although it may seem like a game at first, one may argue that it is something far from it.

The earning money part is quite interesting. Second Life has an economy, in which its paid members receive a stipend of $X amount Linden dollars (Second Life currency). With that money, members are able to create products or services and sell them to others. Those linden dollars, believe it or not can be traded for real currency. The info-graphic below will shine some more light on some staggering fact and statistics taken at Second Life’s 10th anniversary. There is a massive list of other impacts that Second Life has had. How Second Life Affects Real Life

Week 5 Forcasting

For the week concerning the future of the internet I liked the idea of us actually using cloud computing and creating free accounts. As far as communicating, I think that we should all meet up via google hangout. Topics such as cloud computing, internet of things, wearable technology, 3d printing are all a part of the future and should be discussed. As far as the actual presentation of the content. We can make a great, thorough explanation of everything in a wiki and possibly extend our timeline into the future.

Moving Forward!

Looking back at week three, I think that the project came together pretty well. The most interesting part about it to me was definitely working with CSS/ HTML, domains and etc. I still would like to see how the internet course site actually works and how it is set up to integrate everything. The way that we decided to explain the content was good because there is an overwhelming amount of information that could be expanded within each section of how the internet works. Steven did a great job leading the class, and I am excited to see the final product.

Now this next week, I am definitely looking forward to some great discussions. Social, political and economic impacts of the internet is a topic that I originally chose to lead before teaming up with Kimberlee to do the History of the Internet. To me, this is probably one of the most interesting topics of this entire class because it directly affects many aspects of our lives. Today the internet is very much woven into the fabric of our everyday lives. It affects business, social relationships, networking, politics, economics, news, media, time management, education, dating, crime, innovation, and so much more. My anticipation is to learn some eye opening facts about how the internet has changed the way we live. Hopefully we can bring an outside speaker to speak with us like we did last week.

Few ideas for next week  that we can brainstorm and possibly take into consideration:

1)Create a thought provoking, informative, youtube video sort of like a movie trailer that shows our research and explains the topic in question. We can use graphics, music, and create something that would generate millions and I do mean millions of views on youtube.

2)Another idea is that we shoot our own TEDx talk and post it to youtube. Hmmm… does this class have its own channel yet? TEDx talk can incorporate our major points, stats, google mapping, and shine light on all of our findings. Approach it in a Pareto’s law kind of a way. If you don’t know what pareto’s law is, click HERE

3) Create a comparison of negative impacts vs positive. The internet has done a lot of good (economic. Social, political, etc.), but also has hindered our social interactions, created a daily distraction, Cyber bullying, crime etcyber bullying, crime etc. It would be interesting to talk about that.

Extra Content: Here is a link that will take you to a channel on TED talks devoted to shining some light on how the internet and social media are affecting our relationships, personal lives, and sense of self. Our Digital Lives


Lets Reflect on the History of the Internet

As we continue to learn about the history of the internet, I am continually fascinated with how this massive giant we call the internet came to its existence. It is mind blowing that this is even in existence today. I definitely have built a new appreciation for the internet. One of the most intriguing facts to me is how far back these ideas go back. These pioneers saw the future and potential of technology way before it ever existed.

I am confident that the collaborative effort of the class, fueled by the enthusiasm of the instructors will result in a masterpiece of a timeline.  I love the fact that the torch will be carried on by future classes. I promise you that I will be checking back months from now to see where this thing goes, and what it evolves into. The Google Hangout with Howard Rheingold was very interesting. In all honesty, there is nothing that beats a 1st person point of view. Through the power of the internet, we could possibly link up with many more speakers that may give us 15-20 minutes of their time, and put us back in time so to speak. I don’t know if we will have an opportunity to speak to others as the class proceeds, but it would be exciting to hear from experts, and thought leaders on the topics we study. It would even be great if we could prepare questions to ask the speakers. Now that would be research. 

p.s. Thank you everyone for all of your hard work! 

How Domain Name Servers Work

In today’s day and age, anyone who goes on a website goes through a DNS, or a Domain Name System. This is the technology that allows us to go from a domain name to an IP addresss. The authors compare the Domain Name System to a GPS system for the internet. They give lots of great examples to explain how DNS works. For instance, the process is similar to that of dialing a phone number to get connected with the person we are trying to reach. On a cell phone, we don’t have to keep our own record of telephone numbers, but rather just click the name and the phone takes us to the number we are trying to reach. When we type in a certain web site, due to DNS, the IP address to that web site is found through a DNS server, which is essentially a big domain name IP address database. The process is called DNS name resolution. Just like a dialing the number on a phone, we are able to get to a web site by typing in the actual IP address right away, but domain names are much more practical and easier to remember. The authors explain how your computer knows what DNS server to use and dive deeper into the complex process of dns name resolution. How Domain Name Servers Work

Domain Name System


Andrew Blum: Discover the Physical Side of the Internet

What is the internet? Where is it really?   Andrew Blum is a best selling author, who went on a two year journey to explore the physical infrastructure of the internet. In his book, Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet, he states, “I have confirmed with my own eyes that the Internet is many things, in many places. But one thing it most certainly is, nearly everywhere, is, in fact, a series of tubes. There are tubes beneath the ocean that connect London and New York. Tubes that connect Google and Facebook. There are buildings filled with tubes, and hundreds of thousands of miles of roads and railroad tracks, beside which lie buried tubes. Everything you do online travels through a tube.” His journey started when a little squirrel bit his Ethernet cable and killed his internet connection. From that day, he ventured into a two year journey documenting giant data centers, yellow fiber optic jumper cables, switches, routers, and even underwater cables. This video gives a better understanding of what actually goes in into making this network of network possible. 

Andrew Blum: Discover the Physical Side of the Internet


Understanding the Internet: TCP/IP, The Internet, Intranets and Extranets

Chapter one , from a book called Understanding the Internet: A Clear Guide to Internet Technologies by Keith Sutherland, talks about some of the things that make the internet work. The author explained TCP/IP, intranets and extranets. He explained that the TCP/IP stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. Communication between computers on a network is accomplished through this protocol called TCP/IP. It creates the rules for how data is passed through the internet. I found it interesting to learn about the architecture of the TCP/IP. It has a 4 layer system: application layer (email, FTP, the web), Transport layer (TCP), Internet Layer (IP), and Network Layer (ethernet). The author elaborates on how everything works.

Additionally, the author goes to talk about the intranet and the extranet. The intranet is a private, internal network that uses TCP/IP for its own internal use. Extranets is simply an intranet that has internet connection, but with added security of an intranet network. The chapter has great illustrations to aid in understanding the concepts.

TCP/IP, The Internet, Intranets and Extranets

Where is the Cloud? Geography, economics, environment, and jurisdiction in cloud computing.

Cloud computing, what is it? Who uses it? Where is it? What rules govern the cloud? These are the questions that are answered in this article. Cloud computing has recently sprung up and is changing many facets of computing. The authors describe that cloud computing is where users can store, access and share data in the cloud or on the internet instead of on your own hard drive. Cloud users, especially within organizations have the benefit of focusing on their core competencies and not have to deal with the headache of purchasing, configuring, administering and maintaining their own infrastructure.  The authors explain three ways in which cloud computing can be used. First, the cloud just holds the application of the user. Second way is batch processing. This is where the user is able to transfer a large quantity of data over the cloud. Third way is cloud bursting, the short term use of cloud computing services along with the use of the user’s existing infrastructure.  Next the authors talk about where the cloud is located ? They explain the geographical, environmental, economical, and jurisdictional considerations that cloud providers have to make when looking to build and operate one of these massive data bases. The biggest issue with regards to cloud computing is the question of what rules govern the cloud? From the users point of view the issues are: access, reliability, security, data confidentiality/ privacy, liability, intellectual property, ownership of data, portability, and audit ability. Since these issue are important to the user, they are just as important to consider to the provider. Other issues include: legal jurisdiction, government intervention, and costs of doing business. All of these factors go into where the data center will be located. The main point is that cloud computing portrays the centralization of data and resources, which is vulnerable to being controlled by outer forces such as the government. The political infrastructure is not yet in place to sustain this new economy. Many issue have to be resolved still.

Cloud computing allows us to connect with people across large distances, analyze data and create solutions. Also, people will be able to store, access, and share date which is accessible from anywhere. This new technology is emerging fast. Imagine if organizations, governments, schools and communities all adapted cloud computing.

Where is the Cloud? Geography, economics, environment, and jurisdiction in cloud computing.

Internet Biographies: J.C.R. Licklider (1915-1990) – Internet Visionary

This article is a biography of one of the internet’s most important pioneers, JCR Licklider. He was the visionary that planted the seeds which grew into this massive giant, which we call the internet. Before Licklider had any sparked interest in computing, he was a researcher, and a scientist. Liicklider worked on the first interactive computer, PDP-1. Licklider saw computer technology as potentially having the power to give quick, automated support systems for decision making. He envisioned computers as a tool to augment human intellect. He put his ideas into a few articles and books which inspired many and gave path to the future of the internet.  (Man-Computer Symbiosis” and “The Computer as Communications Device)  He also wrote a book called the “Libraries of the Future.”

In Man-Computer Symbiosis article he states, “In not too many years human brains and computing machines will be coupled together very tightly, and the resulting partnership will think as no human being has ever thought and process data in a way not approached by the information handling machines we know today.” He saw the future of computing.  He wrote about internet publishing, tablet computing, speech recognition, network computing and many of the thing that were created decades after. He imagined the reality in which we live in today. In fact, the reason that we do live in such a digital age, is mostly due to the mind and vision of this man. In Licklider’s, The Computer as Communications Device, he states, “In a few years, men will be able to communicate more effectively through a machine than face to face.”

His biography shows how he communicated his vision throughout the IPTO, and how that vision was continued and carried on into the invention of the ARPANET,  and eventually the Internet. In many ways his vision is still being carried out.

The biography takes us through his life experiences, his accomplishments, through his forward thinking ideas.

Biography of J.C.R. Licklider pages (156-161)