Algorithmic control II: Hardware Platforms, Access Permissions and Ideologies of Control

This week, we discussed the ideology of hardware platforms, convergence and the connection of devices e.g. smartphones as a default device for surfing the web.

Let’s discuss a new idea, introduced by Jonathan Zittrain. This is the difference between as PC and an information appliance. The fundamental difference between a PC and an information appliance is that “the PC can run code from anywhere while the information appliance remains tethered to its maker’s desires, offering a more consistent and focused user experience” (Zittrain, 2008). Miles into the future when Steve Jobs released the iPhone, it’s selling point was the blending of the iPod, a phone, and a computer all in one (Zittrain 2008). These ‘pocket computers’ are so accessible and very available to the public. 

Apple vs Android is also a valuable debate to be considered. What Apple vs Android suggests is open and close technology. Henry Jenkins discusses convergence as the flow of content across media platforms. This sees mutations such as the ‘@’ and ‘#’ sign as Twitter and Facebook evolved based on audiences iterations. Well in Androids case this is a mirror image as android is a generative appliance in which anyone can write script, relating back to Zittrain’s ideologies. There is an open garden of apps in which any independent market can upload to. In a polarising effect, Apple tries to control the convergent nature of the internet to control mutations. The walled apps restricts creators to wait for approval, with cases of denied applications (Mitew 2019).

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