Week 5: Beginning Stages of JavaScript

Hello again,

This week we will be touching on some of the things that were discussed and learned this week, including Rushkoff and Montfort’s answers to the “Why program?” question, giving a run down of the idea of a “weapon of math destruction”, and then also telling you all how I will be starting up a JavaScript page in the near future.

For the JavaScript page, out of the three pillars that are used in order to construct the page, I will be taking into account the topic first and foremost, this way I have an idea of what exactly I’m doing and what I’m going to be featuring on the page. Once I decide a clear cut topic, then from there everything else, the Thing and Tool pillars, will transition seamlessly.

For the answers to the “Why program?” question, Montfort describes programming as not always being clear to everyone, that it is related to the methods in which artists use to model the world. With this in mind, he thinks that understanding coding and programming on a basic skill level can allow researchers to further analyze already existing sets of data, methods and theories related to computation. Rushkoff brings it to a more human level, talking about the idea of being programmed versus actively programming something, how we’ve gotten to a point where those lines are very thin. There is truth to both of their answers as today, not only are more people getting into coding and programming then ever, it is very accessible as well, which leads to a lot of room for folks to be able to learn about it at least on a basic level and gain awareness on what is actually going on within a program. We also have the idea of the Social Dilemma (like the documentary) that we are presently in, where algorithms have gotten to a point of being almost destructive to livelihoods.

Which leads me to the idea of a “weapon of math destruction” as coined by Cathy O’Neill, the idea that algorithms are based on an opinion imbedded within math, that they are at a point where it is controlling our livelihoods. In her book of the same title, she investigates extensively the construction behind these algorithms and how they affect our daily lives, like getting a job, advertising, criminal sentencing, etc. Depending on the construction of a program there are a plethora of bias’s that could effect the outcome of the data set being published. Some of the most integral examples of these include facial recognition, which indiscriminately affects Black and POC individuals who are falsely identified in cases where the software is used.

I hope that you all think about the last one in particular as it is an important one to discuss. Thank you as always. See you soon.

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