The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

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Meet the Attendees – edcampoc § The generative web event / 2017-02-27 10:18:17

The Art of Verification

This is, by a wide margin, the coolest use of EPIC I have yet seen: A professor at Lehigh Carbon Community College in Pennsylvania sets it up as the subject of an exercise in critical media consumption and information verification. Nice use of a wiki, too. Note the contribution of student sleuth Jennifer Jones midway down.


I’ve done some work on epic and try to sell it as a case study for my business school HEC Paris… but with no succes.

This is great, the day i will teach you will get.

I’ve freezed image so to have easier analysis capacity.

Done the same with the copy done by Kleiner but didn’t get the time to publish it yet.

Anyway, it rocks and you must be proud.

R., what’s your take on the “Google and Amazon couldn’t possibly merge” response. I thought the McDonald’s/Wal-Mart merger analogy was a good one, but I thought it proved the opposite of what it intended–monopolies don’t become monopolies based on size alone. If Wal-Mart and Costco were to merge, I think the government might take a close look at it, because it would significantly reduce competition, but I don’t think a Wal-Mart/McDonalds meger would raise eyebrows (except in the media, of course, where it would be huge). GE can own CBS. Disney can even own ABC. Big companies can link with other big companies, antitrust law isn’t meant to keep companies from exceeding a certain size. It’s meant to keep companies from engaging in anti-competitive practices, and those seem to be more and more narrowly defined.

Right, I think you’ve got it. I am no M&A lawyer (whew) but I suspect there’s also something about market power — like, if Microsoft bought Dell, it might be problematic even though they are technically in different businesses (software vs. hardware). Hmm, at the same time, companies like Comcast own more and more of the very content they distribute… so I don’t know, maybe that’s not an issue.

I think Google and Amazon could absolutely merge (I don’t think they will, I just think they could) — they almost too-neatly fill holes in each other’s markets. (And, truth be told, they are VERY different companies: a technology/media company vs. an inventory/purchase-coordination company.)

So best. “After waiting for quite some time for the EPIC video to load, I came to my own conclusion that all computers are in a conspiricy against me.”

Virat says…

I liked your presentation and work. But i differ somewhere in between. You are right insense of information but the way this information is managed has to be changed….No one will be able to handle such a database and bandwidth. It might be google or Amazon. This database of indiviual information and extraction can’nt be centralized by one company or 10 companies. It has be distributed among the people.

i think only one dimension can change evrything may be google or amazon or we need new company for that matter. we need a system which can identify the intention of the person. See the intention is something which will filter millions of information and make sense for us. But right now things are not working that way. We might increase the volume of information but the quality will reduce. I do’nt know you have noticed it or not…from last 2 to 3 years Google quality is going down and 2 million results shown by google is useless to me. Coz it will require my one life time to see all those pages. and millions of minutes to process them by my brain…we need other systems to work. I will discuss them in personal with you.

Dan says…

Perhaps this is a function of the assignment, but isn’t it a tad bit alarming how many students didn’t recognize the genre of EPIC? Before one can delve into questions of authority and facticity, it’s necessary to determine what claims authors are actually making. Once one determines that EPIC is futurism broadly (whether distopic or utopic has never been particularly clear to anyone), the questions change—as some students who began parsing the film determined. It no longer becomes necessary to determine if Googlezon actually exists (although speculating on its feasibility is right on).

In general I think that genre analysis is an underappreciated tool (I will assert that without bothering to prove it — making my current genre: pompously proclaiming). So much can be told by determining what the standards of a genre are, and in what ways various intellectual products push against those standards.

Dan says…

Also, I’m with Gavin & Robin on the question of mergers. I don’t see anti-trust regulators making too successful a fuss over Googlezon. YahgoogaltavistaskjeevA9, on the other hand, might be more of a problem. But even then, what anti-competitive practices could a combo of search engines engage in? Could they drive up prices? Of what? Ads are all I can think of, and search engines are not the only ad sellers on the internet.

Rather, I suspect that any critical attention delivered to a search engine merger would come out of arguments that search engines have taken on the role of a kind of public utility, and that too powerfully centralizing such control could make it too easy for information to be blocked. The life insurance companies in the nineteenth century US were quickly made into privately-owned, semi-public trusts through the work of regulating state legislatures. In 1905 the life insurance companies were taken to task in a wide-ranging, year-long NYS legislature investigative committee for not having paid enough attention to their quasi-public responsibility of providing safe and secure life insurance at low costs.

But before that sort of reasoning could be applied to internet companies, there would have to be some new lawsw passed.

p.s. McDonalds already sells food in WalMart, don’t they?

I think your point about genre analysis is really interesting, Dan. My favorite TV show, Battlestar Galactica, makes some of its smartest & subtlest points in the ways it goes ‘out of bounds’ for science fiction — and you’d have no idea it was doing so if you weren’t familiar with the conventions.

Re: search mergers as public utilities, perhaps deserving of regulation, don’t forget Regulating Search.

Finally, for the record, “pompously proclaiming” is the genre to which most of this blog belongs 😉

Fernando Paulsen says…

I am a jounalist from Chile. I am currently working in mapping what I call news pregnancy, or how to detect the signs of future news while they are in its gestation period. The news event (a coup de etat, a dead corpse, an environmental mess) is always visible. The cooking process of that event was there but nobody sees it until the event takes place. Epic served me a lot, for it follows exactly the logic I am working in, best expressed by Eugene Ionesco when he said “you can only predict what has already happened”. Major news have happened long before they hit the front pages. We simply don’t know to interpret the signs during a news process. We focus on regularity and dismiss new data as being marginal. Until the dead corpse appears in the backyard. Then, we reporters investigate backwards, and discover the context of his or her death was apparent for months or even years. You take that journalistic investigative structure to issues that matter like poverty, environment, inequality, family values, technological changes, and reading the signs of news-in-the-making acquire a totally different social meaning. Epic is a great image of a future news story while it is still in its gestation period.

NEWS PREGNANCY! I love that!

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