Science, Technology, Society – 2

Some pointers I noted from the first session of “The Role of Science, Technology and Arts in Predicting Social Phenomena” seminar, held by the Research Group for Humanity Studies (Faculty of Arts and Design), Institute of Technology Bandung on July 11th, 2012.

 

Forensic Linguistic

From the speech of Prof.Dr. Aminudin Aziz about the role of forensic linguistic in predicting and analyzing social-political phenomena in Indonesia:

A linguist is different from a polygot. A polygot has multi-language ability, a linguist has the ability to analyze languages without having to be able to speak many languages.

Analysis tools

A part of a forensic job is to place someone’s origin based on his/her name and speech intonation, to find a language’s data, to investigate whether a statement is actually made by a certain person.

How? Language has a regular structure. The speaker is consistent in his/her speech.

Patterns

Asian language structure has a circular pattern; the speakers tend to go around and around on a subject before coming right to the point. Anglo-Saxon has a linear pattern; the speakers straightforwardly state their minds. The Arabic language has a parallel pattern; the speakers present one important fact after another, so all these important facts come in a bulk to the audience/ listener.

 

From the speech of Roby Muhamad, MSc, MA, PhD:

Do we need Science to explain social phenomena?

If a scientist talks about social phenomena, he would likely get responds such as, “I knew that already”, or even “You went to school for that?”

This is because social phenomena can be responded by common sense.

Intuition is good to make sense, to give meanings, but not to understand the world.

Intuition is sometimes wrong, since it’s very specific, acquired from experience that is different from one person to another.

Social phenomena are unpredictable. The most possible thing is to predict the probability. It’s a matter of relevance, so the trick is to predict what is relevant.

It’s a matter of relevance

Internet untuk ilmu sosial adalah seperti teleskop untuk fisika, atau mikroskop untuk biologi. Untuk pertama kali dalam sejarah manusia, interaksi, perilaku dan sikan manusia terekam dalam jumlah besar di Internet.

Kemampuan belajar dan beradaptasi dengan cepat

lebih penting daripada mengantisipasi masa depan

 

Lots more interested things to be captured, but – as goes the saying – you’ve got to be there to absorb every detail 🙂

A happiness thermometer

Science, Technology, Society – 1

Some pointers I noted from the first session of “The Role of Science, Technology and Arts in Predicting Social Phenomena” seminar, held by the Research Group for Humanity Studies (Faculty of Arts and Design), Institute of Technology Bandung on July 11th, 2012.

From the opening speech by ITB Vice Rector for Academic Affairs and Student Affairs:

The Circle

There is a connection between cellular phones, motorbike-taxi, and the logging of Gunung Kidul forest.  Forest farmers cut down more trees of the forest, even the younger ones, to be able to afford cellular phones and motorbikes. These farmers, who used to use the motorbike-taxi service to get home, are now able to call their sons, who now now have their own motorbikes, to pick them up. The motorbike-taxi service gradually disappeared, and so did the trees, and – following – so did these farmers’ jobs, due to the diminishing woods to harvest. Considering this circle, it is obvious that (the desire for) technology influences social conditions.

The biggest challenges  faced by (American) scientists of today are health, material science and sustainable energy.

So far, engineers have been considering only the output of the technology: function, effectiveness,  and all other tangible and quantifiable results. They rarely consider the intangible result: the impact to society.

From the speech of Ir. Ary Mochtar Pedju, M.Arch:

Technologically excluded regions

Developed countries have science and technology-based economy. Developing countries will never cross the line that borders between industry-based economy and technology-based economy.

Technologically-excluded regions are within a poverty trap. These regions are prone to infectious disease, low productivity and environmental degradation.

Referring to MIT, the traditionally-segregated disciplines: Basic Science & Engineering/Technology and Humanities & Social Sciences, are merging and forming a new group called Science Technology Society, which solves complex, real societal needs/ problems.

We need reformed education.

Science Technology Society

Universities should have inter-disciplinary centers/ labs/ programs that drive the faculties (and then the hierarchic structure), and not the other way around.

An inter-disciplinary “center” should not be a mere physical office(!).  It should be a gate for all local wisdom, a hub for interaction for Government, Business and Academic entities, and should facilitate interdisciplinary projects.

We should examine the cultural & institutional context in which science and technology are rooted.

We need to write history books with broad-based analysis that include the use of technology and how it influence our society in all aspects: economy, politics, etc.

From the discussion session:

There should be a revolution to our middle-school education: eliminate the divisions of Science and Social majors.

Mother tongue: Indonesian?

The Indonesian language is, for most Indonesians, a second language, since it is common for Indonesians to speak a region’s language as their mother tongue. As the impact, Indonesians become non-critical to Indonesian language. Therefore, the term “Speaking Indonesian language properly and correctly” should be replaced with “Speaking Indonesian language appropriately and according to context”.

“We Provide Solutions, not Pollutions”

Bike.BDG logo

Several months ago I posted about bicycle line, intrigued by a documentary video about How the Dutch Got Their Cycle Path. And what would you call a dream come true, although it’s not yet perfect? It turns out that Bandung has its own bike sharing facility now, launched on June 10th, 2012. [Here’s a post about Bike.BDG launching event, etc. at BCCF website, in Indonesian]

Of course security and safety are among the main issues here, but we have to start from something, by creating a certain mechanism that works for our specific conditions. The various ground elevations of Bandung might make it less appealing for people to use bicycle as a daily transportation method, for its impracticality. So Bike.BDG offers a service that mainly aims for short rides, to its 10 designated points in town. Anyone interested in using a bike should first sign up as a member, then s/he is entitled to rent a bike for IDR 3000/hour. So far, users of Bike.BDG are mostly people who are spending a leisure time during Car Free Days, where roads are closed for motored vehicles for a certain amount of time (usually on Sundays, from 6-10a.m.), or people who really needs to reach a distance without relying on angkot (Bandung’s public minibus) and private cars.

Ideally, Bike.BDG aims to reduce traffic jams in weekends and holidays by offering these bikes to visitors, who are suggested to park their private cars at the hotels and take the bike instead to go shopping and sight-seeing. Here are videos that promote the project:

Like all newly-started projects, this one is naturally not free from hiccups, but improvements happen along the way. Perhaps, in this stage, the most crucial thing is to let people (re-)experience the joy of biking, and, further, to make it possible for anyone to use the service without having to buy/own a bicycle. Then, hopefully – as with the case in The Netherlands – even politicians, authorities and decision-makers of the city become familiar with the pleasure of having a city dominated by bicycles, so they can create policies that accommodate city bikes.

It never hurts to build up a dream. Salute to all Bike.BDG volunteers and activators, hope the bike sharing system remains and grows!

How it works

All images belong to Bike.BDG. Further info:

Bike.BDG site: http://bikebdg.com/

Bike.BDG Tumblr: http://bikebdg.tumblr.com/