Murray Chapters 4-6

Janet H. Murray writes within her chapters 4-6 in Hamlet on the Holodeck, “”The more realized the immersive environment, the more active we want to be within it” (Murray 126), and she is right. Nowadays with the digital media we have, even back when this book was written, we had technology that people wanted to immerse themselves in because of how cool, or how distinct it was. Throughout chapters 4-6 of this book, Murray writes about how different aspects of technology bring us closer to the digital world, such as movies, avatars, computers that talk to us, etc. She also writes on different parts of the technology that is out there, and the things we can do with it, such as machines and “agency.” She explains that agency is “when things are going right on the computer, we can be both the dancer and the caller of the dance” (Murray 128). She also goes into detail about labyrinths and mazes that computers generate in order to work and communicate. Furthermore, she also details how computers shape software, and how computers shape whatever is given to them in order for them to work correctly. A very important point she makes in Chapter 6 is “How do we do this without overwhelming the interactor?” (Murray 156). This is a very good point, is the interactor being overwhelmed by the machine, or is the machine being overwhelmed by the interactor? For me, I think that it is the interactor that is overwhelming the computer or machine; the interactor gives the computer all of these directions and codes of what to do, that I feel as though the machine does feel overwhelmed from all of what it must do in order to complete the interactor’s task. “We no longer believe in a single reality, a single integrating view of the world, or even the reliability of a single angle of perception. Yet we retain the core human desire to fix reality on one canvas, to express all of what we see in an integrated and shapely manner” (Murray 161-62). No longer does the human mind see the computer the same way, we don’t even see the world the same anymore because of the computer, and what it has done for the world and the universe. The computer is now the canvas of the world, where we bring reality into the digital globe, and change it into whatever we want and need. The computer has significantly changed the lives of those around us, and from this, the world will never be the same.

“The kaleidoscopic power of the computer allows us to tell stories that more truly reflect our turn-of-the-century sensibility” (Murray 161).

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. dunnjc1
    Oct 25, 2012 @ 11:51:13

    Overall, I agree with what you are saying. However, I’m a little confused by your statement that “it is the interactor that is overwhelming the computer or machine; the interactor gives the computer all of these directions and codes of what to do, that I feel as though the machine does feel overwhelmed from all of what it must do in order to complete the interactor’s task.”

    Are you arguing that our demands are stretching past the capabilities of technology? I don’t necessarily disagree; it seems to me that this is the driving force of technological innovation. However, this is on a level of the technology as a whole, not on the level of individual machines. A machine certainly can’t feel overwhelmed–it can’t feel at all. It either is capable or incapable of performing the series of tasks. I suppose that’s why I’m a bit confused by your statement. Could you clarify this for me?

    Reply

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