Nugget #4: Computer Lib/Dream Machines

“Knowledge is power and so it tends to be hoarded. Experts in any field rarely want people to understand what they do, and generally enjoy putting people down.”

I thought this was funny because I’ve been trying to research the technology that goes into Pandora and have found nothing. Last week’s nugget pertained to man-computer symbiosis, and the extent of interaction between man and technology when someone is listening to Pandora. As we’ve been doing some preliminary research, I’ve been dying to find something that will tell me what exactly Pandora does by itself and what is accredited to Pandora’s employees. To my dismay, I’ve found nothing on the subject. This nugget stood out to me because I’m now wondering if this is the case with Pandora. I know Pandora has never released their annual profit, so are they keeping this information private as well? Experts in any field rarely want people to understand what they do. Perhaps they are being protective of certain information so that another Internet radio company doesn’t get a hold of it (since knowledge is power). Or, maybe, the technology is genuinely very minimal and there’s simply nothing to research. I’ve proposed the idea before that Pandora employees just group together music and advertisements, and the channels will randomly pick from these selections with no rhyme or reason. This sucks, though, because it would really benefit my inquiry project and would be so interesting to find out if there was more to it. I suppose this knowledge will be hoarded.



Mahsa‘s nugget related to mine in that she discussed how difficult it is to understand how computers work. Computers are so complex, and sometimes you simply have to be an expert in the subject to know what’s going on.  Pandora, it seems, is trying to be one of these complicated technologies that are difficult to understand. I have gotten a bit of feedback from some professors on this nugget, however, and perhaps I will start looking in different places to crack this code. I’m hoping I don’t have to be an expert at all.

I really enjoyed Sara’s nugget and agree with her 100%. Technology is so embedded into our culture that it really is impossible to take it out of our lives. Instead, as Sara said, we need to use it in moderation, “just like food and water and sunlight.” I’ve never related the three, but I like the solution of conserving our use of computers the same way we moderate our food intake or anything of the sort.

Cabouniv200’s nugget, on the other hand, related computers to food and books. The same way that food does not dominate our lives, or books do not dominate our lives, should be the same concept with computers. I think this student got a little confused by what Nelson was saying in this nugget though (and I might have too if I had not read Sara’s nugget first) so I’m not sure I agree with everything (s)he said. Technology definitely has its advantages, but being unfamiliar with it is not always a dangerous ignorance. Someone could be perfectly fine never knowing what Pandora or Facebook was, for example.


3 responses to “Nugget #4: Computer Lib/Dream Machines

  1. You might be able to work your way into the topic by looking for information related to the “music genome” Pandora employs folks to apply to various songs.

  2. byzantiumbooks

    You could also dig into the financials of the parent company, which is publicly traded. Try as a starting point.

  3. Lyndee Cabo

    I did not relate the internet to food and books, Nelson did, but I still find it suiting. Nelson also used the phrase “dangerous ignorance” in his article. I think plenty of people can be perfectly content without Pandora and Facebook. My point was that Facebook, Pandora, and the internet are useful tools that can better a person socially and provide easy access to knowledge. To ignore this tool is a disadvantage, maybe not a dangerous one, but still ignorant.

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