AllSides: A New Online Dictionary

In the face of proclaimed ‘post-truth era‘ and ‘era of fake news’, there is an urgent need of investigation of language and exploration of its political bias. People use the same words in totally different contexts depending on their political and ideological views. Thus, the challenge is to disclose an author’s perspective and critically read information. From now we can also look to a new online dictionary, AllSides Dictionary, that provides a “balanced definition of 400 controversial terms, revealing how they are perceived differently by people with different political perspectives.”

AllSides is a news hub that offers guidance to readers on the potential political bias of articles and news providers. The Dictionary is a project work-in-process, created by contributions from various academic fields. The Dictionary may become the obligatory source of knowledge for students to develop their critical thinking and understanding of controversial topics.

One of the terms included in AllSides Dictionary is ‘Feminism‘ which definition begins with the following words: “It’s hard to imagine another word that invokes such strikingly different connotations than the word feminism”. Further, the definition provides the explanation of the word from two different perspectives:

“For many (most) on the left, the word feminism is a categorically positive reference to the larger fight for women’s rights and the overall push for equal rights and opportunity for women alongside men. For many on the right (not all), feminism has become a categorically negative reference to a vocal and aggressive minority of women pushing everyone else to allow them to ‘act the same as men.’ For some conservatives, the feminist movement disregards unique and special aspects of womanhood in favor for a universalized and androgenous view of gender. In addition to overlooking the distinctive female elements, feminism is seen as eradicating and even trying to destroy the distinctive and unique complementarity between men and women – as well as the traditional family”.

Beside ‘Feminism’, you can read about the words ‘Diversity‘, ‘Equality‘, ‘Refugee‘, ‘Terrorism‘, ‘Discrimination‘, and much more. The last word includes not only interesting explanation but also ‘Questions To Play With’, such as “Do you think discrimination is being over-applied and over-used, or under-recognized and under-seen?”, “Have you ever seen something labeled as ‘discriminatory’ or ‘discrimination’ in a way that you think was unfair or inaccurate?”, “Have you ever felt discriminated against? Did anyone question your feeling?”, “Have you ever heard someone say they were discriminated against and didn’t agree with their characterization of what happened?”.

Read more about AllSides Dictionary: 

Updated Edition of “Hamlet on the Holodeck”

The MIT Press is going to republish Hamlet on the Holodeck. The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace by Janet H. Murray. Updated edition will be released in March twenty years after its original publication. In 1997 Hamlet on the Holodeck was one of the seminal publications alongside such books as Cybertext by Aarseth (1997) and Hypertext by Landow (1992). Then, to a certain extent, it has been overlooked in a history of electronic literature and digital culture. Therefore, I am glad to hear that Murray’s book is coming back in the new edition. The first and the beginning of second generations of digital literature are represented not only by Landow, Bolter and Aarseth, but also by Murray whose contribution in this field is invaluable.

Janet Murray’s Hamlet on the Holodeck was instantly influential and controversial when it was first published in 1997. Ahead of its time, it accurately predicted the rise of new genres of storytelling from the convergence of traditional media forms and computing. Taking the long view of artistic innovation over decades and even centuries, it remains forward-looking in its description of the development of new artistic traditions of practice, the growth of participatory audiences, and the realization of still-emerging technologies as consumer products. This updated edition of a book the New Yorker calls a “cult classic” offers a new introduction by Murray and chapter-by-chapter commentary relating Murray’s predictions and enduring design insights to the most significant storytelling innovations of the past twenty years, from long-form television to artificial intelligence to virtual reality.


The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

George Walton Lucas Jr., an American filmmaker and the creator of the Star Wars, is about to open the museum called the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles. The concept design of the futuristic-looking museum in Exposition Park is astounding. It assumes that the house will collect his some 10,000 paintings and book, and magazine illustrations assembled over decades. Without a doubt, the museum will attract tourists, fans of Star Wars, artists, humanists, researchers, futurists, and many other!


Postdoc in Media Lab Helsinki at Aalto University!

I am pleased to say that I have got a position as a postdoctoral researcher in Media Lab Helsinki at Aalto University where now I am conducting my six-month research under the supervision of Prof. Lily Diaz-Kommonen. My project, titled “Laboratory Beyond Science: Towards an Analysis of New Physical Place and a New Paradigm”, is devoted to the meaning, the operation and the idea of laboratory in media, culture and the humanities.

In the face of proclaimed crisis, the humanities has undergone many significant infrastructural changes. One of their implementations is building a new physical location that is ‘laboratory’ which radically modifies the nature of humanities. Since every workplace determines a type of research, instruments, and networking between actors, we need to focus on an investigation of the new physical place to realize how it transforms the way of conducting research, methodology, and knowledge production in the humanities where consequently, for me, a ‘cultural artifact’ is seen as a ‘sample’.

Therefore, my research is devoted to the analysis of laboratory beyond science: in media, culture and the humanities through the lens of the sociology of space and sociology of scientific knowledge. The goal of the project is to show that the ‘laboratory is considered as an 1) institutional change within the university, 2) a space of technological imagination and designing new society and culture, and 3) a new paradigm implying new practices, including new ways of knowing, new forms of sociality, and new forms of agency.

A primary research method is as a case study to investigate the laboratories in practice, seen as a physical space (Media Lab Helsinki at Aalto University), and a paradigm (Aalto LAB Mexico). In the coming months, I will also conduct interviews with heads of laboratories.

Humanities Commons

The Modern Language Association launched a project of Humanities Commons which is a nonprofit network where humanities scholars can create a professional profile, discuss common interests, develop new publications, and share their work. The network is open to anyone working in or adjacent to the humanities.

Humanities Commons was designed by scholarly societies in the humanities to serve the needs of humanists as they engage in teaching and research that benefit the larger community. Unlike other social and academic communities, Humanities Commons is open-access, open-source, and nonprofit. It is focused on providing a space to discuss, share, and store cutting-edge research and innovative pedagogy—not on generating profits from users’ intellectual and personal data.

The network also includes the Commons Open Repository Exchange (CORE) which is a full-text, interdisciplinary, non-profit social repository designed to increase the impact of work in the Humanities.

I have already logged in the network, so let’s experience a new platform for the humanities!

More about Humanities Commons:

Recenzja “Przekazu digitalnego”

W pierwszym numerze “Przeglądu Kulturoznawczego” (1/2016) można przeczytać recenzję książki naukowej pt. Przekaz digitalny. Z zagadnień semiotyki, semantyki i komunikacji cyfrowej (red. Ewa Szczęsna, Universitas, Kraków 2015). Agnieszka Przybyszewska w swoim tekście O klikaniu w odświeżoną teksturę, czyli od teorii do analizy digitalnej fikcji (i innych przekazów) po polsku bardzo pozytywnie wyraża się o publikacji, która wprowadza na polski grunt badań cyfrowych nowe rozpoznania dotyczące sfery semiotycznej i komunikacyjnej.

“Jednocześnie prezentowane w publikacji interpretacje, skupione w dużej mierze na innowacji komunikacyjnej, jaką wprowadza możliwość interakcji, po wielokroć nawiązują do kategorii interfejsu i problemów dookolnych. Zaproponowana rewizja poetyki i komunikacji wysuwa na plan pierwszy semantyczną nośność realnej (nierzadko cielesnej) partycypacji użytkownika w tworzeniu ostatecznej wersji przekazu, kwestię niezwykle aktualną w światowych dyskusjach, w Polsce niekoniecznie dobrze dotychczas rozpoznaną, zwłaszcza w literaturoznawczym, a także semiotycznym kontekście”.

Każdy rozdział publikacji poddany jest rzetelnej recenzji na tle światowych badań (głównie amerykańskich) poświęconych literaturze i komunikacji cyfrowej. Przywołane są takie nazwiska jak Alice Bell, Lori Emerson, Johanna Drucker, Jessica Pressman, i wiele innych.

Przybyszewska poddaje również analizie moje artykuły naukowe zawarte w tej publikacji, między innymi Wstęp do cybersemiotyki oraz Literatura cyfrowa a literackość i komunikacja literacka. O drugim tekście wypowiada się następująco:

“W kolejnym szkicu Pawlicka, odświeżając Fishowskie pytanie „czy na tych ćwiczeniach jest tekst?” (sprowadzając je do formuły: „czy na tych ćwiczeniach jest literatura?”), interesująco kreśli panoramę problemów z defi niowaniem i charakteryzowaniem literackości w zdigitalizowanej komunikacji literackiej. Autorka, wychodząc od przypomnienia, jak w ogóle bywała ona opisywana (z uwzględnieniem i nowszych ujęć), prowadzi czytelnika ku teoriom jej rozmywania, wskazując – słusznie chyba – na istotny w rozważaniach o współczesności kontekst kategorii postmedialności. Jednocześnie podkreśla instytucjonalny i intencjonalny charakter cyfrowej literackości”.

Mam nadzieję, że publikacja pod red. Szczęsnej pobudzi badaczy do dalszych analiz literatury cyfrowej (i nie tylko), eksploracji nowych przestrzeni i rewizji dotychczasowych rozpoznań. Tymczasem zapraszam do lektury książki Przekaz digitalny!

Doktorat obroniony!/A PhD thesis defended!

Z przyjemnością dzielę się informacją, że obroniłam pracę doktorską pt. “Literatura i nowe media. Teoria i praktyka” w Instytucie Filologii Polskiej Uniwersytetu Warmińsko-Mazurskiego w Olsztynie. Praca przygotowana została na podstawie dorobku naukowego i obejmuje czternaście tekstów opublikowanych w pismach naukowych, monografiach oraz tomach pokonferencyjnych. Mam nadzieję, że publikacja doktoratu w formie monografii naukowej ukaże się już niebawem. Póki co, z niecierpliwością czekam na oficjalne nadanie tytułu “Dr”! 🙂

I am pleased to say that I defended my PhD thesis under the title of “Literature and New Media. Theory and Practice” in the Institute of Polish Philology at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn on 8 July. The paper consists of fourteen articles published in peer-reviewed journals, monographs and conference proceedings. I hope my PhD thesis will be published very soon. Meanwhile, I will be waiting for officially granting the title of “Dr”! 🙂

To kill, or not to kill?

Driveless car faces moral dilemmas which should be solved by ethics or data? The research about the ethic of driveless car is undertaken by Media Lab at MIT and  Culture and Morality Lab at the University of California Irvine where researchers try to address the following issues: “Should the car risk its passengers’ lives by swerving to the side—where the edge of the road meets a steep cliff? Or should the car continue on its path, ensuring its passengers’ safety at the child’s expense?”

Shariff and his colleagues from Media Lab MIT launched a Website called “Moral Machine” to help gather more information about how people would prefer autonomous cars to react in different scenarios where passenger and pedestrian safety are at odds. At this website, you can take a test “start judging”, that is to say, you need to decide where the car should hit and consequently, whom it should kill to save the others. Do you prefer to save young people or seniors? Women or men? Doctors or robbers? Should the car kill two passengers or five pedestrians? Take a test and help to gather the information about a human perspective on moral decisions made by machine intelligence, such as self-driving cars. And also be sure that it is an interesting experience to get to know your preferences and ethics!

Poetry for Robots

For the first time, we do write poetry for robot and not vice versa! “Poetry for Robots” is a digital humanities experiment instigated by this Imaginary Papers blog post and sponsored by Neologic Labs, Webvisions, and Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination. The goal of this experiment is to build a database of metaphors and poetry language in general for which source is poetry written by a user. By writing poetry, we can help to improve a “robot language”.

The task is simple: click and image and write a poem. You can be inspired by palm trees, a bridge in the fog, New York station, grapes, keyboard, mountain and much more. Your poem will be stored in the database with the picture as ‘poetic metadata.’

In the next steps, scholars will investigate poetries and try to reveal a “pattern of metaphors”. We’ll see if the robot has learned how we see, describe, and feel the world. Eventually, they aim is to write an algorithm generating poetry filled with metaphors.

So let’s help the robot to learn a language poetry!