This  is a “provocation piece” that interrogates the concept of Folk Theory as used in HCI publications. The article critiques the corrupted adoption of the term from anthropology and cognitive psychology. It argues that referring to user's perceptions as "Folk Theories" obscures the power relationships between technology makers and users.

The article argues for dealing with users' perceptions from an interdisciplinary approach, considering the fictional characterizations of technology as well as the socio- political and cultural specificities of user groups. Fundamental fractures in design arise when such complexities are flattened and terms start being used endemically without critical perspectives. 

 

In this case, “Folk Theory” could better be described as complex and interconnected socio-technical mental models. In a Global Media environment, contextual and textured understandings of user's opinions are essential for adequate design and can avoid costly polarizations in the public sphere.

FOLK THEORY IN H.C.I.

  The so labeled “Cartoon porn” is a recent grouping of different computer-generated videos with sexual content within the tube porn sites

   This essay focuses on 3DX, a sub-category of cartoon porn made with three dimensional computer generated graphic interphases. Through a narration of my own experience, I observe the ambitions and the reach of the premises of its visual and psychological representative power. 

In the first part of this text, I consider certain factors which condition the category of computer generated graphic narratives.

  Through  examples of three-dimensional digital adult animation – especially Girlfriends4ever- and the editorial pages of one of the main distributors, remarkably named affect3d.com, I examine how this medium and its forms depend on the interconnection between technical developments, inherited aesthetics from other media –namely 2D animation, hentai, porn and film, - and a network-based type of distribution. I briefly consider 3D as a form and examine the tools used by animators, which in conjunction with the current type of monetization of porn, determine the quality of the animated image and limit the possibilities of the 3D promise.

3DX: EROTIC TEXTURES IN CG PORN

   In this essay, I review the relationship between science fiction pieces depicting acousmatic computer voices and the gendering of commercial voiced assistants like Siri. I consider the computer voice as a cyborg acousmêtre-like object, existing both in commercial devices like Amazon´s Alexa, Siri or Google home. I do this through historiographical media analyses that provide a technical perspective on the technologies that come together in these voice assistants.

 

   The "assistant" powered by the voice of these connective appliances or services, is a result of calibrated design efforts. Companies build these products so they adapt to the interaction with their consumers through NPL. Through this process, the voiced A.I. assistants create an inflated illusion of sentience. This enables the device to pose as a subject itself, and thus interpellates users as "an-other".  It capitalizes on 1. the obscurity of the technological processes, 2. the marketed use of the cultural references, and 3. the integration of its elements into the domestic space.  In a way, these products promote a form of subjectivation through technological media.  Simultaneously, the voice devices participate in the optimization of automated service providers. How does the cyborg acousmêtre belong to a new economy of synthetic human voice and the so called Natural Language Processing?

VOICING MACHINES: NATURAL LANGUAGE USER INTERFACES VS. COMPUTER VOICES IN MEDIA CULTURE.

     For this research project, I collected a database of memes and cartoons addressing the relationship between India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, and Mark Zuckerberg with regards to Digital India and Internet.org/Free Basics.

Within the scholarly stream of Celebrity studies, I argue that there is an overlap between the personas of both political figures, and that this overlap is criticized by politically motivated memes and cartoons that shape the public opinion, and have real political effects.

  While the process of demonetization in India was carried to completion, the premises of Internet.org, a project promoted by Mark Zuckerberg to expand the Internet to rural areas in India, was put on halt after a controversy erupted online about Facebook’s interests in it. The subsequent essay raises questions about governmentality and e-governance in the landscapes of celebrity cultures, conceptualizing meme and content generation as part of the local democratic ecosystem.

PIXEL PERSONAS: POLITICAL AGENCY OF MEMES IN THE INTERNET.ORG DEBATE

   This essay follows discussions on forums like Yahoo Questions and Youtube commentaries to study how internet users in Latin America conceive of a staple song of Andean music, Ojos Azules (“Blue eyes” in English).

   The formation of national and regional identities becomes malleable in these spaces, when viewers-commentators realize that the song is not easily attributable to any specific country. Furthermore, the narrative is complicated beyond the question of authorship when responses lead to the song that inspired Ojos Azules, namely Ojos Bonitos. The latter song does not refer to the eye color, enabling discussions that borrow the rhetoric of postcolonial claims of authenticity.

 

This project is part of an ongoing interest in identity negotiations happening through casual online interactions between Spanish speaking net users.

OJOS AZULES AND THE ANDEAN: REMODELING REGIONAL IDENTITIES ON THE INTERNET

Sara Milkes 2018