Saturday, 23 November 2013

InBox as utopian view of technology #edcmooc

InBox is a light, enjoyable and positive film, which to me is by all means a projection of utopian vision of the role of technology in people’s lives. 

Did you notice that the two red boxes were connected when we saw them first time in the shop, so as designed in such a way as to be linked? Those beautiful boxes present a bright metaphor for modern communications technology, which brings magic into the life of lonely people, like Priya, who buys a cuddly toy to replace a friend but rejects any attentions and turns down every opportunity to engage in a face-to-face communication, and Karthi, who is jealous of people in relationship but is way too shy and unconfident to initiate a conversation. Two people, who got connected purely by accident and found themselves tempted to beat own fears and experiment with the boxes, had a chance to get to know each other better without leaving their personal comfort zones. They could exchange information and emotions, play entertaining games to flee boredom and loneliness.

Obviously enough, with all its magic such a communication cannot replace a physical presence of another person by your side. Once the conversation breaks for some reason, even for a short time, you feel left all alone and disappointed. Even though modern ICT allows for sound and video communication (which was not the case in the situation with the magical boxes), it is still limited in exchanging non-verbal signals, which are very important for passing on emotional messages. Moreover, technology can fail to perform at any time, as a torn box in this story, and the people can get disconnected and lost forever which was luckily not the end of the InBox relationship. No wonder Priya and Karti both wanted to meet in the real world after enjoying each other’s company online.

What is also positive and hopeful about this film, the characters were by no means forced to use the boxes (i.e. the existence of the technology di not inevitably lead to its use), but were in apposition to choose whether or not to go for that. That is so called audience determinism. In this short video technology is presented as neutral, neither good nor bad by its nature, and the only thing that matters is the ways in which the boxes would or would not be used by people.

The only tiny little doubt creeping behind all the positive thoughts is that of whether  the two young people, Priya and Karti, will enjoy communicating with each other  in the real world same as they did "InBox"? Did you notice that once met, they kept using sign language and sticky notes? By the last second of the film, they did not exchange a single word...

InBox reminds me about another fascinating short movie - Signs - which, at the end, bruoght up just the same concerns. The two films have a lot in common, featuring pretty similar story lines and reminding of web-based communication. Both with a happy ending and a hope that after the film's final line the characters would go beyond swopping sticky notes and smilies. ;)

Behind the scene
I loved the InBox film and had that very strong feeling of it being so similar to Signs, but I could not recall the title of the second one and spent ages surfing the Internet. One might tell I have wasted a lot of time, but guess what - I enjoyed a great deal of very similar short encouraging movies! Not all of them are linked to the role of technology in people's lives, but they are very positive and hopefull anyways, so there are quite a few new bookmarks on my PC - all with a smilies! :)

No new E-tools tried out this time either, but the post is within the word limit which I aimed it (just below 500 words) and less sophisticated - just as I set myself a goal when publishing the previous post. Better "value for time", you know, and probably much appealing to a reader (a pure guess, but hopefully there will be some comments to compare the two posts.)

No comments:

Post a Comment