Saturday, March 22, 2014

Does Social Media Make Us More or Less Connected?

(full paper here)

        This research project is about how social media affects the relationships between people, specifically, whether or not it actually makes us more or less connected to each other. This was done through both research and survey; research as that the researchers gathers resources to explore the question and try to objectively answer it through statistics, and survey as the researchers also gathered information from the people themselves to view the purpose on a more subjective level. Through both of these, the researchers have found that there exists many positive and negative effects with the presence of social media in our community that everyone should be aware about as not to harm themselves and their personal relationships with others. Also, according to the survey, most people do believe that social media does serves its purpose and makes people more connect in terms of distance, but it does not beat face-to-face communication.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Myth of Beauty: Reaction Paper on Imelda

            Imelda Marcos was not only a first lady to the country but one of the driving forces in its development in a crucial time of economic growth and political angst. The coined term “imeldific,” means to be extravagant and ostentatious. In her time in politics, acting as Ferdinand’s right hand, we can how this translates to her development of the industrial and cultural sectors of society at the time.

            Through the documentary, the class was able to get to know Imelda, first and foremost through her personal philosophy. She believed that the concept of beauty should translate into all states of affairs in the country, and that if one is beautiful or exposed to beauty, then that person will never be miserable. She claimed that it is not difficult to be beautiful, because beauty emanates mainly from the self. It seems, however, that her works and contributions pointed the contrary. As misplaced funds played a key role in her projects.

            Through her strong personality to get things done herself and her recognizable and star-like persona, she was given power and opportunity to translate her desire into tangible manifestations. This came however, at the cost of the people, and became a great contribution to the country’s plunge into debt. One heavily debated project of hers was the Cultural Center of the Philippines, which on paper, seemed appropriate as culture and heritage plays a big part in the identity and beauty of the people. Another such project was the infamous Manila Film Center, wherein rushed construction led to the death of several workers. Even though these projects were good intentioned, they were prioritized ahead of the essential needs of the people, as poverty was becoming more and more of an issue at the time of the Marcos administration. In one of her interviews, she claimed that when the poor see her, and she is beautiful, then this would provide comfort for them. Perhaps, this was the same train of thought she had in her when spending on these projects. In these respects, she had turned a blind eye to the immediate needs of the poor, and contributed to chronic problem of class marginalization in this country, only to make the city look aesthetically pleasing.

            Indeed, development in society is to be desired, but at what costs can it still be considered justifiable? Science and technology play a key role in evolving nations, but only when placed in the proper hands and only when properly prioritized.

Redentor E. Claudio 

Singularity: Of Men And Machines

Singularity: Of Men and Machines”

“The human process will achieve a kind of infinite velocity, everything becomes linked with everything else and matter becomes mind…” – Erik Davis

            Imagine having a time machine and dropping the latest Iphone or Samsung Galaxy inside, sending it back 60 years into the past, when computers cost over 60M dollars and were so massive, they had to occupy a whole room. How would the beholder of such technology react, finding a device equaling the size of his palm that had the same computing power as the computer then?

            Gadgets, technology, and computer sciences are facets of human society that are constantly being updated, revised, and improved at faster and faster rates. Through the years, functional machine intelligence has been getting smaller and cheaper, as reflected in advances in chip-speed relating to cost-effectiveness visible through the last 100 years. (Kurzweil 2001)

To put it in perspective: here is a graph calculated by computer engineer, futurist, and major proponent in the theory of singularity, Ray Kurweil. Here, he presents the aggregate calculations per second the average computer can make in different decades. You will notice that this processing power only grows as time progresses.

photo source:
What is Singularity?

              According to Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns, the spike in computing power will be expedited simply by the tendency of technological advancement to stack upon itself as years pass. Inevitably, as computers are tools for people and are becoming increasingly like us in the way they process information and react, we will give birth to superhumanly intelligent machines. This will catalyze a total shift in human society as whole, as machines will then be the most intelligent and powerful of all of us, and the exponential growth demonstrated above will reach heights unknown, as super intelligent minds will continue to breed other super intelligent beings. Consequently, new technologies, possibilities, theories, politics, and other aspects that govern human disposition will surely be compromised; the age of humanity will give way to a new era. (Vinge 1993) This is what futurists call “Technological Singularity” Kurweil predicts this event to occur at the year 2045. However, some argue that it may be much further off, since mapping the human mind into a machine means a full comprehensive understanding of human cognition and neural networks, which we have yet to achieve (Allen 2011)
              The singularity may be achieved in two ways: either through the birth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) or by Intelligence Amplification (IA). (Vinge 1993) The former suggests creating mentally superior machines that can carry out all the functions of a human being (robots) and the latter suggests assimilating the human condition, mostly through Nano and biotechnology – connecting technology to our skin and minds, and turning ourselves into super intelligent beings (cyborgs).


          What is life? In all likelihood, I think, it is a play between logic and world. It is a set of effective procedures on numbers or objects that represent ontologically necessary states of affairs, including the calculus of eating and being eaten and the need to reproduce, and that produces self-consciousness in the process of designing these functions. What is intelligence? Much the same thing, I think, but not bound up with biological and evolutionary history.” – Carl H. Flygt

           The entirety of the theory begs a philosophical question: at what line do we prescribe what is to be considered human? If a machine were to develop such a complexity of cognition that it learned to develop emotions and was encased in the blood, tissue, and skin of a human, how would you say it was still inhuman? There is reasonable evidence to doubt that being “human” resonates only to our biological roots.

         That being said, I do not think that singularity is something to fear. The machines and tools we make will in a sense only be extensions of us, like our children. Their future role in society as the superior class will only be likened to natural selection, which has been occurring since the beginning of time. Should singularity come true, it will only be simple evolution.
Redd Claudio


Kurzweil, Ray, 2001, “The Law Of Accelerating Returns”, KurzweilAI | Accelerating Intelligence., March 6, 2014

Allen, Paul, 2011, “The Singularity Isn’t Near”, MIT Technology Review, Mark Greeves,, March 7, 2014

Vinge, Verner, 1993, “What is Singularity?” Department of Mathematical Sciences, San Diego State University,, March 7, 2014

Flygt, Carl, 2007, “Philosophy and The Singularity” Conscious Conversation,, March 9, 2014

Hard Work Conquers All: A Trip to the Moon Reaction Paper

Silent films always amaze me.  Yes, it’s hard to make films, but it's harder to create silent films. It’s because you need to make sure that the audience will understand the message of the film you are showing to them. Though silent films tend to be exaggerated, it is still a good thing. Exaggeration is a must since dialogues are not allowed, so naturally, actors must exaggerate all their actions for the viewers to understand.

Anyway, the film A Trip to the Moon was a good one. Aside from being a silent film, the story line was also great. It showed a great deal of creativity especially when the heavenly bodies were shown as human beings too. It’s quite comical too, seeing the Big Dipper with a face and Saturn leaning out of a window in his ringed planet. There is really no wonder why it was internationally popular during its time.

Aside from that, the film also showcased certain values, like bravery and hard work. Bravery in the sense that the other five astronomers were brave enough to risk their lives just to go to the moon. Also, the film showed that everything is possible with hard work. During that time, no matter how impossible it was to get to the moon, the astronomers’ hard work to create a space capsule proved that indeed, hard work conquers all.

Bea Cristine T. Ledesma

The Unfairness of Life: A Time Enough At Last Reaction Paper

Upon hearing the title of the video, one would surely be curious as to what it is about. The title itself will give the viewer the reason to watch the video until the very end.

The video talks about the one kind of robber whom the law does not strike ate, and who steals what is most important to us men: TIME. Henry Bernis is a bank teller and an avid bookworm. Being a bookworm, he sneaks reading books like David Copperfield even during working hours, leaving his boss mad at him and even his wife. But a very strange thing happened because of this hobby. He was the lone survivor of a nuclear war that happened, all because he read a book inside the bank’s vault. He was depressed, yes; he even almost succumbed into suicide. But when he saw the public library’s ruins and found so many still intact and readable books, he wasn’t able t contain his joy. Now, he has all the time in the world to read books without being interrupted by his wife, or without being scolded by his boss. But sometimes in life, there are things that hinder you from doing what you wanted to do best. Unexpected things happen and sometimes, we can’t do anything about it – we just have to let it be. And this is what exactly happened to Henry. Just as he was about to pick up the first book he will read, he stumbled and his thick glasses, which is the only thing that makes him see, shattered – leaving him completely blind for the rest of his lonely stay in the planet surrounded by all the books he now can never read.

Certain instances in life will really lead us to thinking that it is unfair. Yes, it happens. It is undeniable that what happened to Henry was a disaster. But there are times when you can't do anything but  scream and cry and accept that life can sometimes be unfair.

Bea Cristine T. Ledesma

Reaction paper: Imelda

                Before I watched the documentary, Imelda is just a word to me. I did not know much about her except for the fact that she is the former first lady who owns numerous pairs of expensive shoes and Filipiniana dresses.  But as I watched the documentary I learned and knew more about Imelda.

                Imelda may have accomplished numerous things during her reign as the first lady of the country. She was the one behind CCP and PICC and also different programs and projects. But she did all of these because she just can, because she has all the power and money. And she wants Philippines to be a “beautiful” country. But when in fact the only “beautiful” that she consider is herself. She eventually became self-centered and things are suddenly all about her. She was always right even if the decisions she made for the country won’t do anything good. She became lavish that she made sure not to wear the same pair of shoes twice.

                After the documentary, I can say that she is not really the selfish or narcissist woman like what most people look or think of her. It’s just that because of too much power that was in her hands, she became one.

Regina Alyssa L. Bargola
2013 - 68055