Internet of things

This week we have been asked to consider the future of media and communications. More specifically, we have been encouraged to question whether the term ‘media and communications’ will still conjure the same meaning in the next five or ten years. In order to answer the latter question, I believe it is first necessary to address the first. In order to do so, I have consulted Craig Kanalley’s Huffington Post article ’10 Predictions for the Future of Media’(2011.) Here, Kanalley reports the findings from the 2011 Future of Media forum, where a panel of media, advertising and marketing leaders gathered to discuss future media innovations. Kanalley has compiled a list of the ten possible technological developments dreamed up by the panel. They are as follows:

1. MEDIA WILL BE WEARABLE- The forum revealed that in the future, wearable devices will move beyond the already available wristbands for IPods.

Perhaps taking ‘wearable media’ a little too far?

2. TV WILL BE DOWNLOADED- It was predicted that downloading television programs and watching them in real-time with your friends in different locations will become a mainstream practice. Companies including Hulu, Megavideo and Netflix have already started pioneering this trend.

3. RADIO WILL EVOLVE- The panel agreed that the future of radio is quite ambiguous, but Clear Channel Media CEO Bob Pittman suggested that radio may become an entirely online medium in the next 5 to 10 years.

4. YOU’LL TALK TO ADS- The voice recognition feature of the iPhone 4S may foreshadow the future of advertisements. The panel believed that you will be able to talk to advertisements and get a response.

5. CONVINIENCE > QUALITY-Pittman speculated that the quality of media may be sacrificed in order to give consumers exactly what they want, and quickly.

6. ROLE OF DATA GROWS- David Verklin from VS Ventures predicted that data will rise if significance in the future, and become “the new creative.”

7. ADS WILL TARGET NETWORKS- The panel considered that advertisers may concern themselves with the networks their consumers belong to, rather than just the individuals themselves.

8. USER EXPERIENCE #1- Pittman voiced that there is likely to be a shift in focus from the interface of the media device to the way the user experiences it.

9. ALL DEVICES WILL INTERACT- Another prediction from the forum was that in the future all devices will be interconnected

Will devices talk to eachother in the near future? Only time will tell!

10. IT WILL BE DIFFERENT- Seems to be stating the obvious, but the key point here is that there have been so many technological developments over the last few decades due to the emergence of the internet. Chances are, this will continue to occur (and on an even larger scale) in the next five to ten years.

I agree with each of the forum’s speculations about the future of media and communications, and believe that we will witness even more radical technological developments than those listed here. As for the second question, ‘ will media and communications still conjure the same meaning in the next 5 or 10 years?’- yes, it is likely that the essence of these terms will remain the same in the near future. However, I feel that as we are futher exposed to weird and wonderful media innovations, these terms will become more far-reaching.

This weeks’ reading has contributed to the development of my final research project by encouraging me to think about the future. As a result, I have considered how the self-tracking practice will change and develop in the next 5 to 10 years. I feel that as time goes on more and more online calorie and fitness trackers will emerge, not necessarily in the same format they are available in now.

Reference list

Kanalley, C (2011) 10 Predictions For The Future Of Media, The Huffington Post <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/05/predictions-future-of-media_n_996196.html>

Images

http://www.bornrich.com/entry/wearable-computing-devices-of-the-future/

http://weizhou.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/toys.jpg

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Open Science

In ‘Speculations on the future of science’, Stewart Brand draws upon five of writer Kevin Kelly’s five key points about the next 100 years of science (2010). Now, let me just preface this blog by saying that science is most certainly not my forte. By some strange miracle I was put in the Advanced Science class in high school, but it did not take long for my teacher to realize that I could hardly distinguish between a test tube and a Bunsen burner. Nevertheless, I will use Kelly’s musings about the fate of science (in relation to the emergence of new technologies) as an entry point to this mystifying topic.

Kelly’s first point is ‘There will be more change in the next 50 years of science than in the last 400 years.’ Wait, really? I mean, it seems unlikely that four centuries worth of scientific innovation could be condensed into just 50 years. But, by the same token we are living in a time where we are constantly bombarded with new advancements across all disciplines. I would suspect the dominance of technology in the 21st century would be the main culprit behind the now rapidly transforming nature of science. Kelly goes on to confirm this suspicion in the rest of his points. Clearly, we are science soul mates.

Kelly is an advocate of ‘Quantified Self’, a collaborative self-tracking website that demonstrates the unrelenting bond between science and the virtual.

Point two is ‘This will be a century of biology.’ Yeah, I’ll give him that one. I’ve always considered Biology to be the easiest domain of science, as compared to Chemistry or Physics. I’m not sure why this is, but Kelly attributes the dominance of Biology to the fact that it has ‘the most ethical importance, and the most to learn.’ He says other things too, but these made the most sense to me. Biology encompasses the way all living organisms function, down to their structure, function and evolution. Understanding these things are vital in learning how to approach human health issues.

Kelly also states ‘Computers will keep leading to new ways of science.’ Fair call, Kelly. But it’s not just computers in their traditional desktop or laptop form that will prove to be powerful in transforming the nature of science. So far, we will have already been exposed to technologies including smart phones, Ipads, Kindles and social networking platforms, all of which encourage the practice of open source publishing. This enables scientists to access and build upon the ideas of other likeminded people, constantly leading to new advancements.

The fourth point is ‘New ways of knowing will emerge.’ Kelly here provides the example of wikiscience and distributed instrumentation. If wikiscience is what we have come up with by 2012, who knows what other forms of cost-efficient forms of scientific collaboration will emerge in the next 100 years?

‘Science will create new levels of meaning’ is Kelly’s final point via Brand. Pretty much a concise summary of what has already been said. Kelly also suggests that the internet as a machine will likely surpass the human brain in terms of efficiency and complexity. I’m going to have to agree with this, as I feel that the internet in all it’s forms is and will continue to be the cornerstone of our modern lives. Furthermore, this continual governance of the virtual will have an extremely positive on all scientific fields.

Reading Kelly’s article inspired me to revist the Quantified Self website. I had checked out this online the website earlier in the course, but had forgotten just how useful the resource will be in the development of my final assignment. Quantified Self focuses on ‘knowledge through numbers’ and there are several posts that relate specifically to diet and exercise tracking projects.

Reference List

Kelly, Kevin (2010) ‘Evolving the Scientific Method: Technology is changing the way we conduct science’, The Scientist <http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/57831/>

Quantified Self (2012) <http://quantifiedself.com/

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Collaboration

This blog addresses the statement ‘human creativity has increasingly become a group process.’ I came across this quotation in Lehrer’s 2012 article ‘Brainstorming Doesn’t Really Work.’ Here, Lehrer draws upon the ideas of business writer Alex Osborn. As reflected in the quotation, Osborn believed working in a group environment stimulates creative productivity.  He pioneered the collaborative thinking process of ‘brainstorming’ which he described as “using the brain to storm a creative problem—and doing so in commando fashion, with each stormer attacking the same objective.” (Lehrer, 2012)

Lehrer acknowledges that team work has become a powerful constituent of creativity. He champions the idea that group interactions are especially necessary in the workplace. However, he does not share Osborn’s enthusiasm for brainstorming sessions. Lehrer’s disapproval of brainstorming stems mainly from its typical ban of criticism. He points out that many brainstorming sessions in the workplace will be prefaced with the ground rule that criticism is not allowed. The purpose of this is to avoid hurting the feelings of any co-workers. Lehrer puts forth the interesting idea that criticism is not as negative or destructive as it is often made out to be. He suggests that despite its bad reputation, criticism “allows people to dig below the surface of the imagination and come up with collective ideas that aren’t predictable.” (Lehrer, 2012)

Cain’s 2012 article ‘The Rise of the New Groupthink’ mirrors Lehrer’s contempt for brainstorming. Cain also challenges Osborn’s convictions, as apparent in the quotation “brainstorming sessions are one of the worst possible ways to stimulate creativity.” (Cain, 2012) She states that “decades of research show that individuals almost always perform better than groups in both quality and quantity.”

According to Cain and Osborn, brainstorming might not be such a miraculous form of creativity after all.

One of Cain’s main points is that solidarity and introversion are underrated characteristics in modern society. She points out that while many people are aware of Steve Jobs, introverted Apple engineer Steve Wozniak often goes unnoticed. While Cain realises that no man is an island, she believes that solitary thought can be an important stimulant of creativity (Cain, 2012).

Steve Wozniak- introvert and quiet achiever

I agree with the arguments presented by both Cain and Lehrer. By placing too much emphasis on collaborative discussion, the benefits of thinking alone are ignored. Lehrer discusses an alternative method of brainstorming where each person in the group goes off by themselves and composes a list of ideas. The group then reconvenes and compiles their individual ideas. I feel this is a more productive form of collaborative creativity as not only will there be a larger quantity of ideas, they will be more well-considered and higher in quality.  To return to the initial quote, yes human creativity has increasingly become a group process. But this does not necessarily mean that this is the most efficient form of creativity, perhaps it is just the easy way out?

The concept of collaborative productivity is something that I can apply to my final assignment. One of the key questions I intend to investigate is whether the collaborative aspects of online self-tracking devices are effective in keeping users motivated.

Reference List

Cain, Susan (2012) ‘The Rise of the New Groupthink’, The New York Times, January 13, <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/opinion/sunday/the-rise-of-the-new-groupthink.html>

Lehrer, Jonah (2012) ‘Brainstorming Doesn’t Really Work’ , The New Yorker, January 30

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/01/30/120130fa_fact_lehrer

Images

http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/b/brainstorming.asp

http://www.iphonehacks.com/2008/09/woz-pwns-iphone.html

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Organise

Both Usher’s ‘How Egypt’s uprising is helping redefine the idea of a “media event”‘ (2011) and Hirschkind’s ‘From the Blogosphere to the Street: The Role of Social Media in the Egyptian Uprising’ (2011) discuss the role of social media in the Egypt uprising. The two articles take two slightly different standpoints on the extent to which social network transformed Egypt’s political landscape.

Hirschkind  refers to the ‘spectacular mobilization’ (2011) that occured as a result of the online collaboration of activists. He also describes the role of social media in cutting through institutional barriers and forging a ‘new political language.’ It is apparent that Hirschkind believes that the impact of the ‘blogosphere’ in facilitating the Egypt uprising has been unprecedented.

Usher supports the standpoint that social media has been integral in redefining our understanding of a ‘media event.’ (2011) However, she points that it is not merely social media in it’s traditional form (websites like Facebook and Twitter) that has engendered this shift. Instead, social media platforms have worked alongside mainstream coverage and internet streaming to ‘provide a story to the rest of the world.’

However, Glanz and Markoff’s article ‘Egypt Leaders Found ‘Off’ Switch for Internet’ (2011) takes an entirely different approach to the mobilizing abilities of social networking. While it acknowledges the influence of social media, it also suggests that this was rivalled by the power of the Egyptian government. Glanz and Markoff refer to the five day internet blackout enforced by the autocrats. The article summarises this counter-attack in the following statement ‘For all the Internet’s vaunted connectivity, the Egyptian government commanded powerful instruments of control: it owns the pipelines that carry information across the country and out into the world. ‘ (2011) This suggests that the internet is a useless tool for rebellion if it is ultimately moderated by the opposition.

I personally relate most to the arguments raised in Usher’s article. The Egypt uprising is a great example of the dramatic impact of social media on the practice of rebellion. Another example would be the 2005 Cronulla riots, where mobile technology was used to assemble a large group of people. However, I do not believe that social media is the sole agent of change in shifting the nature of media events. Rather, it works in collaboration with alternate sources such as mainstream print media.

Jeffrey Ismail used his mobile phones to form a retribution gang during the 2005 Cronulla riots.

Reference List

Glanz, J and Markoff, J, ‘Egypt Leaders Found ‘Off’ Switch for Internet’, The New York Times <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/16/technology/16internet.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2>

Hirschkind, C (2011) ‘From the Blogosphere to the Street: The Role of Social Media in the Egyptian Uprising’,  Jadaliyya <http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/599/from-the-blogosphere-to-the-street_the-role-of-social-media-in-the-egyptian-uprising>

Usher, N (2011), ‘How Egypt’s uprising is helping redefine the idea of a “media event”’, The Nieman Lab <http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/02/how-egypts-uprising-is-helping-redefine-the-idea-of-a-media-event/>

Image

<http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/riot-fallout-jail-for-the-colonel/2007/09/26/1190486368639.html>

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Transversally

In this post, I will focus on the way that the production and distribution of music is being framed through the practice of live performance satellite streaming. While at my internship last Wednesday, I was given the great opportunity to conduct a phone interview with Cold Chisel front man Jimmy Barnes. Cold Chisel has just released their first studio album in 14 years and are also performing at the Hordern Pavilion on Wednesday. However, the article I was required to write was not merely about the band’s reunion. Instead, it focused on their unusual choice to stream the Hordern Pavilion gig live to cinemas across Australia via the CinemaLive program.

When asked about this Barnes initially lamented the undeniable impact that technological developments are having on the music industry. “I don’t think you get that same rush watching a concert on a screen at the movies than when you’re in amongst everything at a gig,” he said. “At a gig there’s that intimate exchange of energy between the performer and audience. A lot of that is lost if you’re just watching the streamed version.” He also joked that the band had hired ‘atmosphere roadies’ to go around pouring drinks on the people in the back row at the cinema.

Despite his hesitation, Barnes did acknowledge that there are benefits to such a widespread music event. An element of inclusiveness is at the heart of the CinemaLive concept. It allows people who would not otherwise be able to attend the concert to have a simulated live experience. The CinemaLive website summarises their intended purpose as ‘Imagine experiencing the raw energy of a major rock band, the magic of a theatrical performance, or the unrivalled spectacle of a pop icon? These are shows you may otherwise never get to experience live.’ (2012)

In The New Music Industry is Not Coming (2011) Casey argues that we need to stop waiting for the arrival of the new music industry. Instead, we must acknolwedge that ‘the only thing that will change is change.’ New models will emerge and these will reshape the way that music is marketed and distributed and ‘continue to change the landscape’ (2011) I believe that the CinemaLive project is a perfect example of one of these models. It manipulates the concert experience by enabling it to be disseminated amongst a mass audience. However, it differs from watching Youtube video footage of a gig because it maintains the element of liveness.

Reference list

Casey, T (2011). ‘The New Music Industry is Not Coming’ Music Think Tank <http://www.diigo.com/bookmark/http%3A%2F%2Fwww.musicthinktank.com%2Fblog%2Fthe-new-music-industry-is-not-coming.html?tab=people&uname=andersand>

CinemaLive (2012). ‘What is Cinemalive?’ <http://www.cinemalive.com/>

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How do we know what is real?

“To celebrate my success, they take me to the “restaurant”, where the maitre’d shows me to a table in a luxurious country club setting – lots of polished wood and an extensive menu.”Two women” come over and ask if they can join me – one looks around 40, the other in her teens. They both present themselves as “real people”, who have visited VR a few times but who still feel quite excited about it all.”

Above is an extract from Kellogg’s description of his lucid dream in Virtual Reality Dreaming: Wave of the future?’ (2002). ‘Lucid dream’ is a term coined by Frederik van Eedan which refers to a dream where one acknowledges they are dreaming. Lucid dreaming often leads to the phenomenon of out-of-body experiences. Here, the dreamer experiences somatic sensations like vibrations and paralysis, as well as the distinct feeling of ‘leaving’ the physical body.

Lucid dreaming ties in with the idea of virtual reality because in many instances dreamers interpret their vision as vividly ‘real’. They experience a sense of hyperreality as they are unable to distinguish an elaborate dream from a simulation of reality. Notice, in Kellogg’s dream scenario he makes reference to the term ‘VR’. This stands for ‘virtual reality’, reflecting Kellogg’s belief that the world manifested within his dream was really an extension of his everyday reality.

Shifts in consciousness are not the only means through which a virtual reality can be experienced. In ‘Augmented Reality Overview’ (2009) Grayson discusses the augmentation of reality via technology. He points out that augmented reality can used for commercial purposes, and provides the example of Ray-Ban’s virtual mirror and furniture retailer TOK&STOK’s in-store kiosks. These retail ‘customisation devices’ reminded me of the ‘Coke Freestyle’ device I saw in a McDonald’s in the United States. This interactive appliance was introduced in 2009 and has been called the ‘fountain of the future’. It enables customers to use the touch-screen to select from over 100 choices to create a custom beverage.

Well, if i'm going to rot my teeth I may as well do it MY way!

I feel that lucid dreaming and its association with virtual reality could provide a solid foundation for the upcoming research proposal and essay. Another topic I have considered for the assignment is the impact of subliminal messages (in film, music or advertisements) on thought, perception and memory.

References

Berge, S. & Levitan, L. (2007). ‘Lucid Dreaming FAQ. Version 2.31’ <http://lucidity.com/LucidDreamingFAQ.html&gt;

Grayson, Chris (2009) ‘Augmented Reality Overview’, GigantiCo <http://gigantico.squarespace.com/336554365346/2009/6/23/augmented-reality-overview.html>

Kellogg, Ed (2002) ‘ Virtual Reality Dreaming: Wave of the Future? , The Lucidity Exchange <http://dreamgate.com/pomo/kellogg_virtual.htm&gt;

Lucid dream- Virtual Reality <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcEsA8a_Jzw&gt;

Pollock, W.(2010). ‘New Custom Coke Machines Will Let You Create Near Infinite Flavours’ Asylum <http://www.asylum.com/2010/05/26/coke-coca-cola-freestyle-machine-test-drive-results-in-soft-drink-innovati/&gt;

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Embodied

This blog focuses on the key concepts of mnemotechnology and thought control, as introduced in Stiegler’s ‘Anamnesis and Hypomnesis: Plato as the first thinker of the proletarianisation’ and Pamoukaghlian’s  ‘Mind Games: Science’s Attempts at Thought Control’ (2011).  Thought control is also touched upon in Dalton’s Youtube video ‘e sense.’  While these concepts immediately stood out to me as interesting, I have contextualised them in terms of my own experiences in order to acquire a more thorough understanding.

Stiegler simply describes mnemotechnics as the externalisation of our memory. However, mnemotechnology more specifically relates to our growing dependence on technological forms for memory. One of my friends (let’s call him Steven) was recently perusing Facebook when he came across the internet meme ‘Sudden Clarity Clarence’. Just to clarify, an internet meme is a virally-transmitted social idea or concept that is propagated via the World Wide Web. These memes usually feature a photograph accompanied by a witty/appropriate caption. When Steven discovered this particular meme he noticed that the male in the background kissing the blonde female looked suspiciously like him. He then realised that the main figure in the foreground (Sudden Clarity Clarence) had a striking resemblance to his friend ‘Louis’. Upon doing some research into the background of the meme, Steven realised that the photograph had been taken on the first night of the 2009 Schoolies festival held in Queensland. Steven, Louis and their friend ‘Nathan’ (who is partially visible in the top right corner) had all been in attendance at this event, thus confirming that it was them in the photograph.

An example from the 'Sudden Clarity Clarence' internet meme series. The photograph originally accompanied a newspaper article about the 2009 Schoolies festival in Queensland's Gold Coast.

This realisation highlights the heightened role media technology plays in manipulating one’s memory and sense of self. Steven has no recollection of his intimate experience with the young lady in the photograph, presumably as a result of typical Schoolies alcohol and recreational drug abuse. However, as a result of photographic and online media the moment has been captured and broadcasted to a mass audience.  This meme caused the subjects in the photograph to reconsider their own perception and memory of the Schoolies event, something that they had previously taken for granted. Steven and Louis also experienced an identity crisis as they struggled to consolidate the ‘selves’ in the photographs with the ‘selves’ they are familiar with.

In ‘Mind Games’ Pamoukaghlian discusses how mind control has developed since its origins in early Communist China.  Meanwhile, Dalton’s video ‘e sense’ illustrates the idea of the ‘extended mind’ by showcasing a brain-computer interface experiment. Both of these sources reminded me of the ‘mind ball’ game I participated in at Bodies: The Exhibition in New York last year. As can be seen in video below, the two players are required to wear a headband with electrodes, which are connected to a table top. The electrodes have been wired up to a biosensor system, so the winner must maintain a calm sense of mind to move a ball to the opposite end of the table via Electroencephalogram waveforms.

In correlation with my own experiences, these readings demonstrate that a mutually influential relationship exists between human thought/memory/experience/sense of self and technological forms. Technology like online media can have a prominent impact upon an individual’s recollection of events and perception of themselves. At the same time, the scientific phenomena of thought control enables brain activity to make its mark upon technology.

References

Dalton, S. (n.d.) ‘e sense’ <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHTtri5jGDc>

Pamoukaghlian, Veronica (2011) ‘Mind Games: Science’s Attempts at Thought Control’, Brainblogger.com, December 28 <http://brainblogger.com/2011/12/28/mind-games-sciences-attempts-at-thought-control/>

Stiegler, Bernard (n.d.) ‘Anamnesis and Hypomnesis: Plato as the first thinker of the proletarianisation’ <http://arsindustrialis.org/anamnesis-and-hypomnesis>

Image and video

Sudden Clarity Clarence (2001) <http://knowyourmeme.com/photos/263433-sudden-clarity-clarence&gt;

Mindball on ABC (2007) <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dJwvjq6eik&gt;

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