Synthesis Assignment

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Walmart's logistical operations rely on the intelligence its "extensive network of data management systems" provides (Lecavailier). Walmart operates a huge network of stores, which enables the company to collect a significant amount of data. There is no need to persuade those using the data from the organization's perspective if the data only belongs to that one particular organization (Lecavailier). Abbate asserts that efficient, quick, and reliable data transfer across a network is made possible by packet switching technology. A successful example of the technical advancements produced by the ARPANET is packet switching. The demonstration network is being developed as part of the innovation work. Medina opined that cybernetic management should aim at developing a balance between vertical and horizontal control and communication. Lateral communication enhances the absorption of changes made in one system to adjustments made in others (Medina).

The infrastructure facilitates the transmission of data across the logistical system. In the case of Walmart, the company’s building is an information pathway that houses the firm’s servers (Lecavailier). Moreover, it stores and transmits the proprietary data of the firm. The building depicts a broad organizational network which acts as both information conduit and information receptacle (Lecavailier). Currently, worldwide data centers share common characteristics of permanent structures which integrate with the environment and relies on the landscape while altering it (Hogan, 2015). The complex infrastructures and the huge size of these data centers imply permanence (Hogan, 2015). According to Starosielski (2015) construction of various Fibre Cable Systems like the South Pacific Island Network (SPIN) aimed at providing diversity and a geographically disparate and redundant pathway which increases the reliability of the flow of traffic signal.

The seamless integration or merging of information, infrastructure, and building increases the speed of communication (Lecavalier). Despite being spatially peripheral, the infrastructure needs to be indispensable to the entire operations of an organization. This creates an intra-architectural relationship that enhances the flow of communication. (Hogan, 2015). Starosielski (2015) argued that the cable systems like the Arctic fibers enhance the insulation of the flow of information from environments, people, and other types of interferences that hinders networks.

Methods of Study Required or Encouraged by Each Concept

Hogan (2015) argued that a most of the data centers located in the US share a large number of characteristics viewed as a long legacy of the turnover of the industry. The data centers are big infrastructures with large spaces situated in small rural cities. While referring to Utah Data Center, Hogan (2015) claimed that the center is resource dependent and politically shaky. It is a site undergoing complete transformation while confronting its contradictions. The activists' pressures may unravel it to close the supply of water. However, the center may innovate itself within the context of its own secrecy and shifting of the surveillance reformation (Hogan, 2015).

Starosielski (2015) presented an equalizing and anthropocentric perspective of the global network infrastructure or cablescape. This viewpoint assumes that network cables just like human beings must be sustained in a central and accessible environment in an easy way. Besides, cables are extended to those group of individuals without connection. This shows that cable routes or network infrastructures are demand-driven because their extension is done in regions with surplus signals and fewer cables to ferry the signal. Accordingly, this approach assumes that cables routes tend to follow a geographic route that is shortest between continents to avoid segments of underwater (Starosielski, 2015). However, this approach fails to indicate the security and environmental impact conerns in developing cable routes.

Relation in the Communication Studies like Ideology, Politics, and Identity

Wide-scale surveillance designed by various organizations like Skype, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook have increased the privacy implications and the responsibility of the government on protecting privacy (Hogan, 2015). Individuals are generating substantial information and data through various online platforms and activities. For instance, through social media, like Twitter and Facebook and algorithm inquires like Google Search and OkCupid, individuals provide data that is used by the National Security Agency (NSA) (Hogan, 2015). With technological advancements, the collection of data has been made easier. The design of supercomputers has facilitated target-specific algorithms and strong encryption which further enhances the data flow and processing speed. The innovative process resulting from the tension between data and space and influenced by temperature, location, and geopolitics have led to virtualization. Virtualization enhances the ability of the physical servers to utilize its computational power and thus saving space. In this context, the virtual servers developed acts as unique physical gadgets that are more efficient and lowers the number of physical servers required (Hogan, 2015).

In terms of ideology, Starosielski (2015) argued that cable networks and infrastructure drive demand and not the reverse claim that ‘cable networks are driven by demand'. The laying of cable in this context entails securing of the infrastructure routes from the turbulent landscape and interconnecting the cables with existing technological and cultural circuits (Starosielski, 2015). Politically, the deregulation of cable industry through establishment of joint ownership and interconnection agreements led to the development of new club system alternatives. The privatization of monopolies owned by states and subjecting international communication to competition intensified undersea cable planning (Starosielski, 2015). This enhanced development of cables at lower costs and increased capacity in network coverage. Moreover, Abbate argued that strong political pressures dictated the conceptions of key technical innovations. For instance, the packet switching technology was conceived when both the US and the UK governments controlled and funded substantial computer projects and computing research (Abbate).

Prompt 2: Importance of Materiality and History to the Study of Communication and Media

According to Hogan (2015), the new materialist approach is significant in the manner in which it adjoins the dynamic non-human and human materialities The framework prioritizes the agency of matter over data dominance by machines. Materiality in this context was compared to leakages, flows, condensation, wetness, evaporation, and containment of water. This aspect reflects the current state of surveillance as reported by both social media organizations and NSA. The Utah Data Center represents the material infrastructure designed by the government. The infrastructure is characterized as impenetrable, fragile, and agential (Hogan, 2015). In French, Mailland showed that the implementation of the Minitel infrastructure was influenced by the centralized culture of the country. The government jump-started the Minitel project which is the basis of the today's Internet. Minitel reflects the current media industries in French was subject to the content restrictions like television newspaper, and radio. The Minitel's broadcast and print publishers used this opportunity to increase job creation and industrial growth (Abbate).

Materiality has promoted the aspect of privacy. In the case of Utah Data Center, a number of lobbies and activists like Greenspace airship and the Tenth Amendment Center and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have been protesting against the illegal spying done by NSA (Hogan, 2015). Accordingly, these groups are against the unconstitutional searches and help American citizens to be aware of the privacy rights. Despite privacy aspects, these groups lobby against surveillance and encourage corporate protests, environmental activism, and local resolution. This shows that internet materialities interconnect issues of surveillance and privacy. Unlawful spying and unconstitutional searches show the degree to which humans are overlooked in favor of Bug Data collection. The designed capabilities of mass surveillance and continuous generation of data is done to the extent to which individuals forget that their bodies are immersed in material world. This material world is being compromised at a slow rate when information concerning human being is being watched, archived, and detailed. In media studies, these practices raise the question on the link between surveillance, social media, and ownership and control of data (Gitelman, 2013).

Another area of concern in the media studies includes the concerns of new materialist and materialist aspects that complicates immaterial or tangible on one hand and the complex environment on the other hand (Hogan, 2015). Materialist framing shows the necessity of water in digital life management. Despite cooling the servers that make the backbone of digital data, water holds both politic and poetic aspects of life. The current web is viewed as the oceanic water with characteristics like networking, streaming, upstream, pirating, phishing, torrenting, data and media flows (Hogan, 2015).

The architecture of Walmart’s Supercenters was designed in such a way that the floor and roof surfaces enhance communication. The roof supports the communication infrastructure like the satellite disc and a number of security cameras. The satellite dish forms the primary link of the Supercenters’ satellite networks and facilitates the connection of the store with the headquarters of the company. This shows that the architectural design of the roof of Walmart’s Supercenter aimed at facilitating communication and flow of information from the stores to the main headquarters. The highly secured infrastructure of Utah Data Center depicts the protection of the critical data of the company. The same case applies to the NSA’s key storage site of data which is guarded by cameras, and dogs (Hogan, 2015). Therefore for political or intellectual security concerns, data warehouses and infrastructures should be highly protected. Accordingly, a number of organizations are secretive when it comes to their data infrastructure.

Starosielski (2015) points out the increasing concern of policymakers in the global network systems which solely lied in the docket of telecommunication companies. The failures of public cables led to the formation of an integrative stakeholder summit, the Reliability of Global Undersea Communications Cable Infrastructure Summit (ROGUCCI) which entailed technical experts, policy agents, players from the financial sectors, and telecommunication firms. This summit discussed the ways of increasing the resilience of the global network infrastructure. Among the resolution made, the summit identified the weakness resulting from individual connectivity done with private people with varying interests. As result, they suggested for the development of a robust global connectivity network that led to the global internet (Starosielski, 2015).


Abbate, J. Inventing the Internet. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Gitelman, L. (2013). Raw Data Is an Oxymoron. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Hogan, M. (2015). Data flows and water woes: The Utah Data Center. Big Data & Society, 1-12.

Lecavailier. Buildings: A Moving System in Motion. Chapter 3, 62-84.

Mailland, D. Embedding Culture in Architecture.

Medina, E. Cybernetic Revolutions: Technology and Politics in Allende's Chile . Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Starosielski, N. (2015). The Undersea Network. Durham: Duke University Press.

March 10, 2023

Business Economics

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