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Archive for May, 2005

What will 2014 read like?

Tuesday, May 24th, 2005

Breaking my blog-fast for a moment to point you to a flash video from the future describing the media landscape of 2014. As the New York Times is reduced to a pamphlet for the “elite and elderly”, a Google/Blogger/Amazon/TiVo collaborative app called EPIC serves customized content to each user based on a complex blend of personal information. Special algorithms scrape single sentences from blog and news articles to create a limitless torrent described as “narrow”, “shallow”, and “trivial.” In other words, asserts the narrator, “it’s what we wanted.”

A colleague of mine recently described the Internet, and the knowledge of its attendant young generation, as a ocean two inches deep. Does the pursuit of semiotic democracy and participatory culture require deeper scrutiny? Does a diversity of voices lead to a lack of expertise and the devaluation of all information?

I maintain that as access barriers weaken, public education must strengthen in proportion. To responsibly wield the democratizing software tools being created, a population must have the intangible tools of critical thinking and media literacy firmly in place. Do our cultural values presently reflect this need?

Holiday from the Blogosphere

Thursday, May 19th, 2005

Several projects concluding concurrently are forcing this blog into hiatus until June. In the meantime, be sure to read Derek Slater’s criticism of Fort Culture. Ultimately, we seek the same result: an increased diversity of (compensated) voices. When copyfighters support the filesharing of copyright-protected content through either a tacit wink-and-nod or explicit encouragement, do we dilute the strength of our arguments against a limited-liberty future?

Fort Culture raises the flag

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005

Today, Fort Culture goes public. I hope that a resource like this will elevate the general online discourse around issues of digital rights. To achieve the depth and accuracy we want, we need as much feedback as possible. When you have a few moments free, browse some of the topics, find your area of expertise and leave some comments!

If Fort Culture piques your interest, be sure to investigate the other exciting projects Downhill Battle has been engaged with for the last couple of years.

(PS: For the technically-minded folks wondering why we didn’t base the site off of wiki software, we found that the deployment of a flexible WordPress install fit better with the user experience we hope to encourage. For example, as we delve further into link-streams, integrating with will be much easier.)