iPod users turning into Cyborgs.

Xtremehkr

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 4, 2004
1,897
0
:rolleyes:

Link

Move over Michael Bull, there's a new "Professor iPod" in town.

Bull, a lecturer at Sussex University, is considered a leading academic expert on the impact of digital entertainment devices, earning him the "Professor iPod" moniker -- but now he has some competition.

Markus Giesler, a 28-year-old assistant professor of marketing at York University in Toronto, is fast becoming a bright light in high-tech consumer research.

A former record producer and label owner, Giesler has researched and written extensively on technology, consumption and marketing. He has published papers on topics as varied as the gift economy of Napster, risk taking in online file sharing and "post-human consumer culture."

Giesler is currently conducting a study of iPod users and their music-listening habits. He has set up the iPod Stories website to solicit tales of iPod consumption, which he will craft into an ethnographic study called "iPod Therefore iAm."

Russ Belk, a consumer behaviorist at the University of Utah, said Giesler is one of the best-recognized experts studying high-tech consumer behavior.

"Perhaps it was his earlier success as a musician synthesizing jingles for advertising, but Markus has a way of seeing harmonies and disharmonies between people and technologies," said Belk.

According to Giesler's preliminary research, the iPod isn't simply an updated Walkman. It's an entirely new beast: a revolutionary device that transforms listeners into "cyborgs" through a process he calls "technotranscendence."

Unlike the Walkman, the iPod taps into a "hybrid entertainment matrix," in which functions like random shuffle are a key construct, not just a cute marketing device.

"IPod and user form a cybernetic unit," said Giesler. "We're always talking about cyborgs in the context of cultural theory and sci-fi literature, but this is an excellent example that they're out there in the marketplace.... I have seen the future, and it is called the cyborg consumer."

The cyborg consumer, Giesler said, is one that uses several different technologies -- from cell phones to Viagra -- and is highly connected, technically and socially.

The iPod, for example, isn't just an MP3 player. It's an extension of the memory: storing the soundtrack of a lifetime, as well as names, addresses, calendars and notes.

Giesler notes that users give their iPods names, and carry them close to their bodies -- the vibrations of the hard drive makes the device feel alive.

"Consumers often say the iPod has become part of themselves," Giesler said. "The iPod is no longer just an instrument or a tool, but a part of myself. It's a body extension. It's part of my memory, and if I lose this stuff, I lose part of my identity."

Giesler argues that technological products like the iPod allow consumers to become "technotranscendent." Consumers transcend the here and now through the use of technology, like kids playing video games.

"They're not sitting in front of the TV, they're inside the game," said Giesler. "They're technotranscendent. They have transcended their existence in front of the TV through the technology of the game."

Giesler said that the iPod plugs into a "hybrid entertainment matrix" -- a complex network made in part of the iPod, a computer, the internet, online music stores, file-sharing networks and so on.

"The consumer is plugged into all kinds of technologies and networks that affect consumer behavior," he said. "As a result, consumption patterns change: from materiality to information -- the internet; from ownership to access -- file sharing; and from pattern to randomness -- the iPod."

Apple Computer exemplifies this new paradigm with its troika of the iPod, the iTunes software that manages it, and the online store for buying new music.

"Apple understood this," Giesler said. "It's selling a hybrid entertainment matrix -- iPod, computer and music store. The iPod is important, but it's only really useful when it's interconnected. It becomes great when it is interconnected."

Giesler notes that jacking into the entertainment matrix changes consumption patterns. Random shuffle, for example, isn't just a novel way to listen to music; it's one of the key constructs of digital entertainment.

Giesler said that instead of trading individual songs, users are starting to trade entire hard drives: giant libraries of music or movies. When interviewees are asked how they dip into these libraries, picking items at random is the most common answer.

"Shuffle mode used to be a gimmick. Now it is the most viable strategy to access information that would otherwise be lost," he said. "It reduces the complexity of consumption. It's a cyborg consumption strategy."
:rolleyes:
 

Raid

macrumors 68020
Feb 18, 2003
2,153
4,585
Toronto
virividox said:
SOMEONE CURE CANCER AND STOP STUDYING THE EFFECT OF THE IPOD
Ah... he's in marketing... it's kind of like asking an accountant to stop doing the books and come up with a solution to heart disease.

I'm currently trying to get into the York Universtiy Grad program (not in marketing though), and I think it's kind of interesting that they study this kind of thing. Sure the aim of this is primarily for marketing techno-gagets, but others could expand on this to examine changing social interactions (or the lack thereof) we have due to technology.

I went to his site http://www.ipodstories.com/ and filled out his questionnaire. If you're interested and feel like sharing why not do so?... just put in a good word for me will ya? Maybe he knows somebody in the Economics department ;)
 

telecomm

macrumors 65816
Nov 30, 2003
1,371
8
Rome
dejo said:
Unless it turns out that iPods cure cancer... :D
That was excellent! Quote of the day! :D

I can definitely see my iPod Shuffle becoming a usual part of my day, but I'm not sure about this notion of "technotranscendence". Am I "technotranscending" when I imagine myself in the environment depicted in a realistic painting?
 

maya

macrumors 68040
Oct 7, 2004
3,225
0
somewhere between here and there.
virividox said:
SOMEONE CURE CANCER AND STOP STUDYING THE EFFECT OF THE IPOD

It's all in your head and nothing more. ;) :)


Too many doctors and scientists doing useless studies. We are all in trouble. :p :)


To think they are only advertising to pay of they school tuition debt. ;) :p
 

mvc

macrumors 6502a
Jul 11, 2003
760
0
Outer-Roa
dejo said:
Unless it turns out that iPods cure cancer... :D
I'd be careful with that sort of self medication.

Didn't you read point 2 on the original Apple shuffle page:

1. Music capacity is based on 4 minutes per song and 128Kbps AAC encoding.
2. Do not eat iPod shuffle.
3. Rechargeable batteries have a limited number of charge cycles and may eventually need to be replaced. Battery life and number of charge cycles vary by use and settings. See www.apple.com/batteries for more information.
4. Some computers require either the optional iPod shuffle Dock or a USB cable extender (sold separately).


Still, you might be able to use it as a suppository! :p
 

snkTab

macrumors 6502a
Nov 13, 2004
579
0
Cincinnati, OH
Xtremehkr said:
"post-human consumer culture."

a revolutionary device that transforms listeners into "cyborgs"

through a process he calls "technotranscendence."

"hybrid entertainment matrix,"

random shuffle are a key construct

IPod and user form a cybernetic unit

The cyborg consumer

The iPod, for example, isn't just an MP3 player. It's an extension of the memory

"They're technotranscendent. They have transcended their existence in front of the TV through the technology of the game."

Giesler said that the iPod plugs into a "hybrid entertainment matrix" -- a complex network made in part of the iPod, a computer, the internet, online music stores, file-sharing networks and so on.

Random shuffle, for example, isn't just a novel way to listen to music; it's one of the key constructs of digital entertainment.
*sigh*
 

the_mole1314

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2003
774
0
Akron, OH
Wasn't there some sort of device a few years ago that store names, photos, music, games, wasn't there one years ago......




oh yeah, it's the PDA. I forgot, it must have been the cloaking field held up by this guy riding the coat tails of a popular device.
 

Mechcozmo

macrumors 603
Jul 17, 2004
5,215
2
mvc said:
I'd be careful with that sort of self medication.

Didn't you read point 2 on the original Apple shuffle page:

1. Music capacity is based on 4 minutes per song and 128Kbps AAC encoding.
2. Do not eat iPod shuffle.
3. Rechargeable batteries have a limited number of charge cycles and may eventually need to be replaced. Battery life and number of charge cycles vary by use and settings. See www.apple.com/batteries for more information.
4. Some computers require either the optional iPod shuffle Dock or a USB cable extender (sold separately).


Still, you might be able to use it as a suppository! :p
Well.... I have to say... what about the Mini? They certainly look good enough to eat... :D
 

snkTab

macrumors 6502a
Nov 13, 2004
579
0
Cincinnati, OH
the_mole1314 said:
Wasn't there some sort of device a few years ago that store names, photos, music, games, wasn't there one years ago......

oh yeah, it's the PDA. I forgot, it must have been the cloaking field held up by this guy riding the coat tails of a popular device.
i had one of those digital dictionary things they made in the 80s. didn't make me a idiot prodocol droid with no personality.
 

snkTab

macrumors 6502a
Nov 13, 2004
579
0
Cincinnati, OH
anyway, having to reach into your pocket grab your whatever and then navigate and read it, then placing it back equals not transending into a digital world of cyborgism.

what comes close are the people that strap laptops to them and wear a small display in front of one eye (heads up display), immersive input device, that are connected wirelessly to the internet. now those are cyborgs that have transsended because they have changed (augmented) they own reality or their perception of the world.

IMO this guy is just trying to write a paper to sound impressive. like if someone were to write a paper on the guy that invented rubber flippers and said he was trying to turn us into fish.
 

Xtremehkr

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 4, 2004
1,897
0
Considering what I carry around right now on a daily basis. A product combination I would like to see in the future would have the following features;

Cell phone, PDA, iPod capacity and features, car remote functions, and garage/remote gate openeing capabilities. Even then I wouldn't feel like a Cyborg, just someone free of lugging around endless amounts of gadgets. If you could put all of that in a wrist watch/eye and-or sunglass combination it would be awesome. Maybe a stand along earbud for cell phone conversations.

You could use your eyewear as a visual display, the earbud for phone conversations and maybe one of those nifty virtual keyboards projected from the watch. Though advanced voice recognition software would solve that unless you wanted to send something that you don't want to say out loud.

Maybe an all in one PDA with the ability to display through eyewear or a screen would be the best combo.

I do feel this guy is making a silly argument though, no one has ever accused books/PDAs/Organizers of being the same thing and yet they serve a similar purpose when you carry them around.

The possibilities are endless though.
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,777
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Xtremehkr said:
Cell phone, PDA, iPod capacity and features, car remote functions, and garage/remote gate openeing capabilities.
That's a good idea, although it really needs to be head-mounted and have some sort of laser tracking device on it. ;)

Really far OT, but I was at a Camper Van Beethoven concert last night, and they were using a couple of PBs on stage, and before the show, they kept playing this*loop of a synth'd voice counting digits backwards, with a kinda creepy filter effect. I was like, is it just me, or am I being assimilated? :eek:

I do have to admit that I go into an iPod daze sometimes. I saw a friend getting coffee in the hospital atrium the other day, and I waved to her, but apparently she called after me and I ignored her after that, and the barista was like "he's ipodding -- you can't reach him right now." :eek:
 

busasa

macrumors member
Feb 2, 2004
40
0
Hehe, i actually had my undergrad done in York University majoring in communication studies. I would have to say I'm not surprised by the perspective that Giesler had toward this study. There is nothing mainstream coming out from this left wing school. :D
 

mymemory

macrumors 68020
May 9, 2001
2,495
0
Miami
"The iPod is no longer just an instrument or a tool, but a part of myself. It's a body extension. It's part of my memory..."

No is not, I do not own an iPod! :rolleyes:

But what he says about people conected to things is true but that is here in the US specially where is culture is so technologically freak (Japan still having an strong spiritual innerself).
 

homerjward

macrumors 68030
May 11, 2004
2,745
0
fig tree
Xtremehkr said:
hmm...there could be a mini speaker thing built into the part of the glasses that goes behind your ear and one of those cool mics that pics up cheekbone vibrations but somehow make it like ultra-sensitive so you could just whisper. hmm...put bluetooth in there and a little receiver in the garage so you just have to pull in your driveway to open the door, same with the car, or maybe use rf like that mercedes "keyless go" thing, and a little belt clip with a 1.8 inch hard drive in it. 3840x2400 should do it for the display and it could run off your body's kinetic energy like a watch. it'd be pretty awesome if it had a built in airport express that could get music and put it on the built in ipod from any network it comes across, then a mini-stylus you can operate with your eyelashes and the ability to put it in a dock and connect it to a 30"acd and play doom3 at 2048x1536 in a window while editing video in final cut and folding and watching 6 movies in vlc. hmm...i bet apple could charge 25 cents for it, with a free 2-button bluetooth mouse with clickwheel built in and noone would buy it because it "doesnt have pci slots" [/ranting]
 

Xtremehkr

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 4, 2004
1,897
0
homerjward said:
hmm...there could be a mini speaker thing built into the part of the glasses that goes behind your ear and one of those cool mics that pics up cheekbone vibrations but somehow make it like ultra-sensitive so you could just whisper. hmm...put bluetooth in there and a little receiver in the garage so you just have to pull in your driveway to open the door, same with the car, or maybe use rf like that mercedes "keyless go" thing, and a little belt clip with a 1.8 inch hard drive in it. 3840x2400 should do it for the display and it could run off your body's kinetic energy like a watch. it'd be pretty awesome if it had a built in airport express that could get music and put it on the built in ipod from any network it comes across, then a mini-stylus you can operate with your eyelashes and the ability to put it in a dock and connect it to a 30"acd and play doom3 at 2048x1536 in a window while editing video in final cut and folding and watching 6 movies in vlc. hmm...i bet apple could charge 25 cents for it, with a free 2-button bluetooth mouse with clickwheel built in and noone would buy it because it "doesnt have pci slots" [/ranting]
More great ideas. My car has the programmable garage/slash gate opener thing as well. Considering how cheap it is I am surprised that more cars don't come with it, just little buttons imbedded in the sun visor, they are convieniant though. Most of the time I walk to class, so it could still serve a purpose cause I take my iPod with me. I can't wait until front doors can be opened using a similar device.

Security comes to mind, that is easily solved as well. The digital lifestyle could make life a lot easier in the future. I can't help but think that everyone is going to need an embedded identification device though, but given the abuses that something like that could lead to, I don't think people would take to it unless their security could be provided for. It all comes down to privacy, which should be a constitutional right.
 

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