All posts by ylee56

#10: Expository Writing & Its Importance

(Process of expository writing)

Expository writing is..

a type of writing that is used to explain, describe, give information, or to inform.

It is organized around one topic and developed according to a pattern or combination of patterns.  You cannot assume that the reader or listener has prior knowledge or prior understanding of the topic that is being discussed.  Since clarity requires strong organization, one of the most important mechanisms to improve skills in exposition is to improve the organization of the text.

At the start of our course, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. All my prior English classes consisted of reading and writing multiple page papers. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that in this course, we would be doing more than just those two. There was almost a sense of freedom in having the ability to incorporate different forms of writing to express what I wanted to say. Instead of just telling through words; I was able to describe my topic using pictures, videos, and sounds; the whole multimodal process.

It wasn’t until we got towards the end of our project when I able to notice a pattern and process with expository writing. There was a reason why our project was divided into multiple parts; each component curcial for the next step.

One of the most important parts of expository writing is to describe our subject in as much detail as we can. These may include characteristics and features, which provides information on how something looks, feels, tastes, smells, makes one feel, or sounds. The difference between creative writing (for example) and expository writing is that creative writing focuses on entertaining the audience, while expository writing aims to inform. This was a significant process in our object analysis and description, where we laid our focus on how our objects looked visually, and felt. Another important step of expository writing is the sequence, which is listing items or events in numerical or chronological order, which we did this through our timeline.

What I learned during this course was the importance of multimodality. Expository writing is sort of a slow gradual process of informing an audience. Like a 5 paragraph essay, it requires an introduction (our description of our artifacts), some type of a visual (including pictures or videos into our Twitter essays), a timeline, and a reflection. We use muultimodality on a daily basis, whether we notice it or not; so I think it’s important to notice how we use exposition in our daily lives.

What Influences Our Wants & Needs

(What makes us desire one over the other?)

Our emotions plays a huge role in what we desire. So, are what we desire natural? or are they influenced by an outside source? I believe that our preferences are influenced by both. We desire certain things based on what we like or dislike. With this basic knowledge, advertisers like to target their audience through emotional stimulation, thus increasing or decreasing our desires.

“One reason why advertisers often use humor, sex and other emotionally evocative stimuli in their advertisements is because of the assumption that the company will benefit from its association with those stimuli,”

There has been other factors studied that takes into consideration of why we desire certain things. For one, people desire what is forbidden. Two; especially if that desire is denied to us.

"Burning desire to be or do something gives us staying power - a reason to get up every morning or to pick ourselves up and start in again after a disappointment."

The two claims with these factors is that a) our desire is greater when the object is real and attainable; b) our desire is greater when the object is imaginary and unattainable. So, do we desire the one we have, or do we desire the one we imagine having, more?

Imaginary or unttainable desires leaves a person feeling as if they have an "unfinished business."

(Decisions, decisions..)

The desire is incomplete, or has not yet arrived; leaving the person desiring for it more. I think this is because it leaves us with a sense of hope that we might attain it sooner or later.

Something that is attainable needs no attention since it is likely to be perceived as being granted already. On the other hand, incomplete experiences, which are a kind of unfinished business, are more desirable because, among other aspects, they require more effort to be invested in them, which can cause them to be perceived as more worthy. In conclusion, we are influenced by our natural instincts, which are also influenced by outside sources, such as advertisements, that takes a dab at controlling how we think or feel. Do we really need or want these desires? Perhaps not always, but humans, I believe, are easier at adapting to changes, which allows for us to constantly crave new things or to reject them.

Sources

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-the-name-love/200910/what-do-we-really-desire

http://www.livescience.com/1788-greatest-mysteries-desire.html

The Meaning of Value

There was a brief group analysis done in a study, and the question that was asked was each person valued. While answers differed among each individual, there was one commonality, which was that value did not always hold a monetary significance. So, it can be said that value is based on the importance of one’s emotions.

Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. They (should) determine your priorities, and, deep down, they're probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to.

Our values are our greatest motivations for which we spend our time, and sometimes, money on. I guess, personally for me, the value of human life is what I choose to absorb into my life. Our life is like a treasure box in which we’re constantly adding meaningful objects, people, and memories into; removing harmful or toxic people at the same time. But in the end, they all leave some type of mark, and it makes our life story more interesting.

kintsukuroi3

(kintsukuroi)

There is a form of Japanese art where they take a broken bowl or a vase, and “glue” them back together with gold. The idea behind this theory is that repairing this broken pottery makes it much more beautiful for having been broken. Instead of disguising its cracks, it instead embraces them. Instead of getting thrown away, it now becomes an object of value because of its history and strength.

So basically, we give things value. Knowledge is important, but we give value towards education. I feel like knowledge is common sense, and it’s something we are all capable of, but we put a price on it making it something of value. As Ty mentioned on her post; we heavily influence how valuable something becomes. A plain t-shirt might sell better if a celebrity endorses the t-shirt, thus helping it to sell for over hundreds of dollars. So, the value of life, education, or things, is what we bring into it.

#7: Forming Emotional Bonds with Objects

My object is a brass ammo buckle, which has a carving of an eagle symbolizing the U.S. marine's. Upon first glance it may not seem like much, and it was really difficult to find a lot of information on the ammo buckle itself because of its rarity, but from the little information that I did find, it really helped me to form a deeper connection to it. I realized that, even though its outer appearance was not as captivating as the other objects, its history was what it helped to make it stand out. Most importantly, since it left me a lot of room for personal interpretations, I was also able to form a personal bond with it based on the ideas that I have added. I felt like, since my object was most likely overlooked compared to the other objects, I sort of felt sorry for it. Since it also did not have a lot of information on it, I felt like it was misunderstood. I started to wonder why we form these bonds with objects, even though the relationship is one-sided.

Based on a study in 1979 by a psychologist and security object expert, Richard Passman, he had termed the idea of "essentialism," which is an idea that objects are more than just their physical properties.

"Objects are emotional."

If I were asked to replace my object with another object, I would decline because I have already formed an emotional connection to it. I would feel like I was betraying my object, especially when I had spent so much time observing its entire form and history. This is called the "endowment effect," where people tend to value things more when they feel ownership over it.

"Part of the story of what happens with touch is it almost becomes an extension of yourself. You feel like it's more a part of you, and you just have this deeper attachment to it."

A study in 2008 by the Journal of Judgement and Decision Making revealed that people who held onto a mug for 30 seconds before bidding for it in an auction, offered an average of 83 cents more for it than people who held the mug for 10 seconds. This brings us to another idea that our tendency to love objects goes beyond the soft and cuddly. We also form a connection with an object based on its texture. The study also found that people who loved the feel of a squishy gripped pen preferred this particular pen compared to another similar pen without the squishy grip.

Questions

1. What qualities helped you to form a connection with your object? Was it due to any personal reasons?

2. If you had the option to switch your object with another object, why or why wouldn't you?

Equality and Artificial Intelligence

An artificially intelligent robot that can play a game of chess, serve drinks to guests, detect emotional needs, and even provide companionship with humans, will become a reality within 10-20 years. With this dramatic increase in robotic technology, people have raised the question of whether A.I. robots should share the same equality as humans. As you can imagine, this topic has created a huge debate on whether it is as ridiculous as it sounds. But what makes something capable of receiving rights while others do not? According to Guido Jouret, Cisco's chief officer of emerging technologies (a multi-million dollar company investing in A.I. robots) has quoted:

“A key question we should ask ourselves is — is it intelligent? Is it capable of learning? And if the answer is yes then we should extend the same privileges and rights to those non-carbon based forms of intelligence that we extend to other fellow human beings.”

According to Kate Darling, a researcher at MIT, she states that our actions towards non-humans reflect our morality. If we mistreat animals in inhumane ways, then we become an inhumane person. This logic extends towards the treatment of robotic companions as well.

"Granting them [robots] protection may encourage us and our children to behave in a way that we generally regard as morally correct, or at least in a way that makes our cohabitation more agreeable or efficient."

But where do we draw the line? Even if robots were capable of inhibiting human-like characteristics, they are simply just robots programmed to act out what its programmers have controlled it to do. If an A.I. can be programmed in such a fashion, and regulated to function only a single task (e.g. chess), is it really sentient in the same way that humans are sentient?  Even if it has the ability to learn and understand its programming, but holds no power to alter the rules its creator set up for its behavior, is it really conscious in the same way that humans are? 

(image from the videogame Mass Effect 3)

In the videogame Mass Effect, there is a battle between the people of Citadel and the A.I.. This gameplay depicts a world where the "synthetic" (robots) have no use for the "organics" (non-robots) because they do not share the same needs or drives as biological creatures, thus they have no need to trade resources or information with them. This storyline made me uncertain of the future concerning companionships with A.I.'s. Although they are programmed to be human-like, they will forever be only robots that are only made to cater to human needs, and not vice versa.

#2: Cuteness is Evolutionary

What makes something or someone cute? According to ethologist, Konrad Lorenz, cuteness consists of having huge eyes, a small body, and round cuddly features. Looking at something  cute triggers our pleasure centre in the brain called the Nucleus Accumbens, which gives us happiness due to the released dopamine. Why we perceive certain traits as "cute" could be due to evolution. Humans have developed a strong bias for what features are considered cute, that we automatically disapprove of anything else as "ugly." It has gotten to the point where we have bred our pets to look and behave in a certain way that relates to being cute (e.g. playful, child-like, unaggressive).

"Babies didn't evolve to be cute. We evolved  to think that babies are cute."

Cuteness triggers a nurturing instinct in adults to look after anything that resembles a cute little baby. The qualities of cuteness transfers to non-human creatures and objects as well, such as the Hello Kitty doll. This makes me question whether cuteness always relates to nurturing. Anything that looks helpless and innocent is viewed as cute, and we always want to cuddle it and take care of it. In a study done by the journal, Frontier, they concluded that "The effect of facial appearance on cuteness and attractiveness was shown to be tied to human interest in infants and motivation to care." The reason why we define some things as cute or ugly is that we are using a criteria that have evolved to help us evaluate our own species.