Final thoughts

This course has opened my eyes and made me think about a lot of things that I have taken for granted in the past.

The advancements in media and technology over the past decade are astounding. And just thinking about what has been achieved in the last 10 years has me very nervous and excited to see where we will be in another 10 years. Will we be driving around in our self driven cars while fighting zombies in our virtual reality game ? When you think about it the possibility of this being a reality doesn’t seem that far off when you consider the technology that is already being worked on. It’s crazy to think about how our children and children’s children will be receiving their education. Will they still be reading books or will books have been replaced altogether. Will us as a society be able to keep up and adapt to the rapid advancements? Studies are already showing strong side affects of humans staying in a virtual world for too long. Is this something we will adapt to or something we will have to figure out how to work around?

The discussions we have been having in class have been eye-opening into everyone’s thoughts and opinions about what the future for media, technology and society hold.

I guess I have to agree with post digital people but only because I am scared of the digital. I have seen the way digital has taken a hold of my life and how it will affect my future career after Uni. And it has made me sacred. Don’t get me wrong I think media and technology is great and has its advantages, but I am not completely sold on the utopian view of it. But on the other hand I am not of the belief that life-like robots will take over the world and destroy mankind either. I guess this course has been a great way to measure up the positives and negatives. As media students heading out in the media workforce I think it is important to think about the many differing affects these future advancements will have on society.

I guess what I am trying to say is that this picture below perfectly depicts how I have felt continually throughout this subject and how I will continue to feel as I watch to world of Media rapidly progress in front of my very eyes!

 

62821409.jpg

Reference:

Davies, Russell (2011) ‘Again with the Post-digital’, semi-retiring, November 21, <http://russelldavies.typepad.com/planning/2011/11/i-first-talked-about-post-digital-at-an-event-called-thinking-digital-in-2009-in-gateshead-looking-back-thats-probably-wh.html>

Florian Cramer (2014) ‘What is Post-digital?’, hz journal, <http://www.hz-journal.org/n19/cramer.html>

Image created at: https://memegenerator.net/instance/62821409

 

Sense your senses because it just makes sense.

I have to start this blog off by saying that I am left feeling emotional and speechless after having just finished watching Bear 71.

(Image below created by me on SPRUCE)

spruce-image (1).png

I love documentaries. I love sitting down on a Sunday afternoon and watching whatever SBS has on offer. I love that documentaries provide me with a way to learn about things through an entertaining way. But today when I watch the trailer provided on moodle and watched/interacted with the full version of Bear 71 I was left absolutely speechless. I often come away from watching a documentary feeling more educated on a particular topic but never in my life have I felt the way I did after engaging with Bear 72. Not only did I feel educated but I felt immersed in the topic/issue. New technology is now taping into our senses to allow the audience to gain a deeper understanding of worlds and circumstances that are far from our own.

I actually couldn’t complete the trailer of Leviathan because of the physical reaction I had to the way the events were documented. The trailer actually incited  feelings of fear and helplessness to the danger of the rugged and wild nature of their work. The new way of creating documentaries that awaken the senses I feel will revolutionize the way an audience watches documentaries. After watching a doco an audience member tends to walk away from it with a few newly learnt facts but with new age technology allowing the documentary to attack the senses audience member will walk away with an EXPERIENCE.

I feel that this experience will make all the difference! For example after watching Bear 71 I felt a sense of empathy and urgency to do something about this issue. The problem with our generation is we can easily fall into the trap of being by standers of social and political issues due to being desensitized from the media. But this new way of documenting event/issues has the potentially to leave audience members with a strong sense to help and not be a bystander.

 

 

Below is a screen shot of my journey through Bear 71

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 4.17.28 pm.png

 

 

Reference:

Murphie, Andrew (2014) ‘Making sense: the transformation of documentary by digital and networked media’, Studies in Documentary Film, 8(3): 188-204

Jeremy Mendes and Leanne Allison’s (2012) Bear 71 at <http://bear71.nfb.ca/#/bear71> from Canada’s National Film Board (which has a wonderful collection of online resources, films etc at <http://www.nfb.ca/>)

 

 

Is data the new frankenstein?

From this week’s reading I was reminded of the movie I Robot. Could it be that Pasquale is Will Smith and data is the hidden danger? Pasquale’s interview about his new book “The Black Box Society” is an eye opening article about bad data, processing data and bad uses of  data. The readings also highlighted my lack of knowledge about the inner workings of data and also highlighted that society as a whole is in the dark about data. This is scary considering how much data is created per person per day. Which raises questions how is this data being used for us and / or against us? Considering even the experts say “Google’s search engine, are so complex that nobody understands them.”(UW Students Create Gloves Which Translate Sign Language into Spoken English – Breitbart, 2016) I doubt that I myself will ever come close to understanding the inner workings of data.  Also the readings made me consider whether if we really did know what was happening with our data would we still use all of the current devices and programs that we have become so accustomed to in our daily lives?

 

One thing that I found concerning was that in the 21st century Google is everyone’s number one stop for information, but the information we are receiving could be altered to show us things that Google wants or doesn’t want us to see. This is scary when you start thinking about power house businesses or governments who could sway Google to portray certain aspects of stories or information and hide others. It feels like even when we try to inform ourselves and become more educated we are being mislead. There have also been examples of Facebook running secret psychological experiments on users to see if the changes in algorithms on people’s news feed can change their moods. For example Facebook altered some people’s news feeds to make sure the algorithms only allowed a majority of sad posts this in turn started to change the way user were posting statuses essentially making them become more negative and sad as this was seen through their status updates. (Rushe, 2014)

I think what we are dealing with here is an age-old issue that new technology is always developed by people/organizations with the financial capabilities to do so thus they use it in a way to reap finacial benefits for themselves. What should happen is we should all be honest people who use technology in a moral sense that is we don’t use it to profit off the loss of other people. But that deals with the bigger issue that money makes the world go around. On a lighter final note I found this video to better understand some of the risks behind mishandled use of data.

 

 

 

 

Reference:

Bogost, Ian (2015) ‘The Cathedral of Computation: We’re not living in an algorithmic culture so much as a computational theocracy’, The Atlantic, <http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/01/the-cathedral-of-computation/384300/>.

Mackenzie, Donald (2014) ‘Be grateful for drizzle: Donald MacKenzie on high-frequency trading’, London Review of Books, September 11, <http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n17/donald-mackenzie/be-grateful-for-drizzle>

Pasquale, Frank (2016) ‘Bittersweet Mysteries of Machine Learning (A Provocation)’, LSE, February 5, <http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/mediapolicyproject/2016/02/05/bittersweet-mysteries-of-machine-learning-a-provocation/>

Rushe, D., 2014. Facebook sorry – almost – for secret psychological experiment on users. [online] the Guardian. Available at: <https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/oct/02/facebook-sorry-secret-psychological-experiment-users&gt; [Accessed 30 Apr. 2016].

Selinger, Evan (2015) ’Frank Pasquale unravels the new machine age of algorithms and bots’, IEET.com, February 1, <http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/ selinger20150201#When:03:48:00Z>

 

 

 

Technology and people in need

In Bratton’s reading he talks about apps and interfaces which for me opened up a whole new way of thinking about the apps that I use daily. He eloquently describes apps as

“The app is a thin membrane on top of a vast machine, but one which nevertheless allows its user to pilot (and be piloted by) that machine with the slightest gesture. The app is the intersection point between two far more complex reservoirs of intelligence: the intentional user and the Cloud infrastructure upon which the little app is perched.”

(Bratton, 2014)

In particular the example he uses of his young son discovering the remote that turns a light on and off was a simple yet effective way of explaining interfaces.  Bratton explains  “that any effective tool has some “interfacial” capacities in that transforms, encodes, or transmits some worldly dynamic in specific ways.” (Bratton, 2014).   Ofcourse a interface that is disconnected from any relay has no interfactial power. Bratton explains that an interface is only useful if it has output and input which is particularly true if it is connected to a system via wire/ bluetooth / wifi. Also the user of the interface requires some knowledge of how to use it in order for the interface to be used to its full potential. So how are people creating new ways to use interfaces to better the world.  Two college students , Navid Azodi and Thomas Pryor, have recently invented gloves called ‘signAloud’ that translate sign language into spoken word allowing the deaf and mute community the opportunity to communicate to the broader community who may not understand sign language.

 

 

 

 

Virtual reality is another technology that is fascinating and something that will be very interesting to observe as the technology is developed in years to come. Virtual reality described as a multi sensory experience that allows users to experiences worlds real or imagined from the comfort of their lounge. Although it is well-known that many gamers are excited about the potential developments to enhance their gaming experience I personally am more interested in how developing virtual reality technology can help disabled and mentally ill communities. There are vast amounts of the community who have trouble taking a trip to the local shopping centre let alone taking trips to overseas destinations. In the near future it will be great to see how virtual reality will be able to give people suffering from disability experiences to travel the world from their wheel chair. Also in last weeks tutorial the class discusses game ideas that would be beneficial in someway. This got me thinking about how virtual reality and gaming experiences could help the broader community understand minority communities such as those suffering with autism. Autism is hard to understand if you or a loved one doesn’t suffer from it and it can be difficult to know how to react appropriately to people suffering from autism. Virtual reality could help people immerse themselves into a world of Autism. That is to say when using the head mounted display they could experience daily situations how someone with Austism would deal with it. I guess what I am saying is the that I am excited to see where the future of virtual reality and interfaces technology is heading and how it will be able to help people in need.

Below is a video of how virtual reality is currently helping hospital patients. It’s great to see technology such as virtual reality being developed not only for gamers but for hospital patients. Being in a hospital for a short stint last year I can value and appreciate this form of technology and how it would enhance a patients time in hopspital.

 

 

 

 

Reference:

 

Anon, 2016. UW Students Create Gloves Which Translate Sign Language into Spoken English – Breitbart. [online] Breitbart. Available at: <http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/04/26/uw-students-create-gloves-which-translate-sign-language-into-spoken-english/&gt; [Accessed 30 Apr. 2016].

Bratton, Benjamin (2014) ‘On Apps and Elementary Forms of Interfacial Life: Object, Image, Superimposition’, Bratton.info, December, <http://www.bratton.info/projects/texts/on-apps-and-elementary-forms-of-interfacial-life/>

Davies, Char (2004) ‘Virtual Space’, immersence.com, <http://www.immersence.com/publications/char/2004-CD-Space.html> (a great essay by one of the pioneers of VR art) [originally published in Space: In Science, Art and Society, François Penz, Gregory Radick and Robert Howell, eds. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press (2004): 69-104]

Dourish, Paul (2004) ‘A History of Interaction’, in Where the Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press: 1-23.

 

 

 

 

The death of funniest home videos

 

 

This week’s topics were about affect and viral media. It’s safe to say that we have all watched, shared, liked and re-watched plenty of viral videos by now. What used to be the Friday night family activity of sitting in front of the TV to enjoy the weekly episode of funniest home videos has died out and morphed in something far beyond the family TV thanks to the Internet and Affect. Affect is a simple yet complex idea to understand. We encounter Affect on a regular daily basis. Massumi explains, “Affect is seen as fundamentally delusional. But its illusions are useful. Affect is the domain of mere feeling.” (Massumi 2015, p.85)

 

When thinking about the rise of the viral video one starts to wonder why a viral video goes viral. When you pull apart this idea you are left wondering if viral videos go viral because they strike a chord with something intrinsic in all humans, which is why we share the video because it represents a shared human experience or if it something more socially constructed. I resonate with Massumi when he discusses if Affect is a feeling that is irrational rather than rational. Affect is also seen as the relation we have with others and the world around us, how our every day interactions shape people and the world. How we understand this in relation to viral videos is the more the content affect people and the world around them (in this case the world would be for example YouTube or Facebook) the more the content is likely to go viral. The more they go viral the more they become virological and networked.

Another way to think about Affect is to focus on its affect it has on our emotions. Next time I am watching a viral video I hope to take more notice on the affect it has on me. Why do I enjoy cat videos when I don’t particularly like cats?

Why does that video of someone doing something stupid make me laugh? Is it because it makes me feel better about itself or is it simply because it is funny?

Below is a video that gives the top 10 tips for making your video go viral. When watching this consider how the role of affect plays into these top 10 tips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference:

 

Murphie, Andrew (2010) ‘Affect—a basic summary of approaches’, Adventures in Jutland, January 30, <http://www.andrewmurphie.org/blog/?p=93&gt;

Massumi, Brian with Aryal, Yubraj (2015) ‘Ideology and Escape’ in Massumi, Brian. Politics of Affect Cambridge: Polity: 83-111

] Pybus, Jennifer (2015) ‘Accumulating Affect: Social Networks and their Archives of Feelings’ in Hillis, Ken, Paasonen, Susanna and Petit, Michael (eds.) Networked Affect Cambridge, MA: MIT: 235-249

Week Four Blog: Attention and Power

 

 

 

Just a quick note about last week’s blog. From watching Danah Boyd’s Web 2.0 New York talk I have realized that the official term for what I was trying to explain is actually called ‘Homophily’. As Boyd explains that bigotry, intolerance and racism are baked into our media uses. Technology does not disintegrate social division. Instead it reinforces them and could even go as far as to say it encourages it.

 

Also a quick side note of the irony displayed in this week’s readings on attention. All web links with articles about attention had quite large pop up ads in between the paragraphs of the article or to the side of the article. Very ironic!

If you begin to think about human consciousness being the flow of a river and partner that with the flow of communication, technology and information it can be easy to become overwhelmed. But it also makes it easier to understand why the need for our attention is so important if not priceless.

This week I really enjoyed listening to sociologist Danah Boyd’s talk. I admire the fact that she wasn’t talking about the future of the Internet in positive or negative way but rather used not emotive language by stating facts and highlighting some of the dangers if the Internet is used by humans in a similar fashion to how we use the rest of the world around us. I agree with the point she makes about power. With the birth of the Internet also came a sense of the people taking back the power. Boyd notes that

 

“Power is no longer in the hands of those who control the channels of distribution, but in the hands of those who control the limited resources of attention, that is, each and all of us.” Danah Boyd (Web 2.0 expo talk)

 

So here we see there is a shift of power but still opportunities for large corporations and government to once again take hold of power but in a different way to what we have seen before. Michael Bryne’s article talks about attention noting that whoever finally figures out a solution to the attention problem will end up being a very rich and powerful person. That then leads to the question who will be using these powerful attention-grabbing techniques. Surely whoever does will be the ones with all the power.

If we think back to the image of two rivers, one being our mind and the other being information, it’s no wonder that our minds will be more likely to react to some information over others. Boyd defines this as trigger attention. We give our attention to things that trigger a reaction. Where the fault lies in this is that as humans we do ourselves an injustice by only reacting to trigger information as this doesn’t inherently mean it is the best information for us. What this means is that we as a society are consuming content that isn’t good for us. Much like the human body needs a healthy balanced diet so do our minds.

 

 

Reference:

Guillaud, Hubert (2010) (on Danah Boyd) ‘What is implied by living in a world of flow?’, Truthout, January 6, <http://truth-out.org/archive/component/k2/item/87704:what-is-implied-by-living-in-a-world-of-flow>

Konnikova, Maria (2014) ‘Being a Better Online Reader’, July 16, The New Yorker, <http://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/being-a-better-online-reader>

Byrne, Michael (2016) ‘How To Break the Information Age Trance of “Continuous Partial Attention”’, Motherboard, January 17, <http://motherboard.vice.com/read/welcome-to-the-age-of-continuous-partial-attention>

Blog two week 3:   A connected and educated ecology?   or   A naïve and falsely educated social bubble/ Umwlt?

 

spruce-image
Created by Monique Campanella on http://www.tryspruce.com/

 

Throughout this weeks readings I couldn’t help but notice the mostly positive tone in which the articles were framed. People are often quick to jump on the idea that the Media ecology that has opened up throughout the 20th and 21st century have many positive attributes in terms of us the audience becoming the new ‘big brother’ in terms of news, government and corporations.

 

“The concepts of transparency, participation and collaboration are all producing profound culture change – information that was once protected by insiders and vested interests is now potentially available to all. Big Brother is us.” (Deitz, Milissa (2010) ‘The New Media Ecology’)

 

While this could ring true for some I fear that some audiences might be under a false sense of enlightenment when it comes to global issues. Is it true that as an audience we are more aware and educated on global and political issues?

 

Jakob Von Uexkull opens his study by painting a picture of the idea of stepping into a beautiful garden where we can breath in our surrounding environment. He then talks about zooming in and focusing on one tiny little soap bubble that represents a small creature’s understanding of their surroundings.

 

I would pose the question about how much the average media user knows and understands about the media ecology at large. From this weeks readings I couldn’t help but think about media users being stuck in their own media bubble, their own little Umwelt. I feel this poses a problem if we only receive information from within our own bubble and not by and large the whole media environment. Thus giving a false sense of being up to date with current affairs. Yes I agree that a PROACTIVE media user can become a ‘big brother’ like being. Of course this could be done by cross checking sources and searching far and wide for lots of differing information and opinions on global / political issues. But I would suggest that not allot of media users are always active. Some might take on a largely passive role. That being that they only receive information from their own little media bubble. One’s media bubble or surrounding is made up of opinions and ideas they already hold as their own.Therefor trapped in their perceptual and effector world.

 

For example with the elections happening in American right now are Americans as a whole more politically educated because the rise of media and the internet? Or have they surrounded themselves with media platforms that already hold the same view as them thus reaffirming their already held opinions. For example republicans would be likely to have friends and family who hold same political views as them therefore there Facebook newsfeed would contain a high majority of pro republican based opinions, news articles, pictures, memes, videos, click bait as well as potential advertising. Adding on to that the sorts of people they would be likely to follow on Twitter and Instagram would be again reaffirming their ideas. Hence one is only exposed to the sorts of information that one allows to enter into their own media bubble. Giving a false sense of being informed and educated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference:

Bateson, Gregory (2000) ‘A Theory of Play and Fantasy’, Steps to an Ecology of Mind Chicago: Chicago University Press: 177-183

 

Deitz, Milissa (2010) ‘The New Media Ecology’, On Line Opinion: Australia’s e-journal of social and political

debate<http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=11410&page=1>

Media Ecology Association ‘What is Media Ecology’ <http://www.media-ecology.org/media_ecology/>

 

Milberry, Kate (n.d.) ‘Media Ecology’, Oxford Bibliographies, <http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199756841/obo-9780199756841-0054.xml#>

 

von Uexküll, Jakob (1992 [1934]) ‘A stroll through the worlds of animals and men: A picture  book of invisible worlds’,Semiotica, 89(4): 319-391