Mechanical Minds.


The idea of a mechanical mind. Sounds brilliant doesn’t it . In fact, the concept is not that abstract. Everything electrical we own has a mechanical mind. From a self scanner at a supermarket to a mobile phone , these minds were designed to do one job. They aren’t complex like the human brain .
Hans Moravec, Marvin Minsky, Rodney Brooks as well as others coined what we call Moravecs paradox which states that “it is comparatively easy to make computers exhibit adult level performance on intelligence tests or playing checkers, and difficult or impossible to give them the skills of a one-year-old when it comes to perception and mobility.”

Is this because a robot knows what we already know. We are home to so many skills we unconsciously exhibit. I may be a good cook whilst my mate might be a good mechanic. We really on our sensory motor…

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APIs: a Human Social Interface


Jay Cousin’s conceptualises Personal APIs as Social APIs. Put simply, a Social API is a means of creating an interface of yourself for organisations and groups. In his blog, his conceived Social API is a list of common responses to selected topics (like a FAQ), detailing his preferences for email length to comfort food. Cousin’s reasons that this presentation was conceived around the idea that humans have an interface problem. “I find this notion of Human as software interesting, I would like to make my own behavioural code open source, which could also make memetic and behavioural replication easier.”

The conception of a Social API as open source behavioural code suggests that the aggregation of personal data could assist in social interactions with the individual. The aggregation of data from multiple platforms would produce the quantified self. In Naveen’s commentary on his own API, he conceives…

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VoD Streaming In Australia

For my final blog post, I want to expand on an aspect of my topic that I haven’t mentioned much in these blogs or in my seminar presentation, but that I do wish to include in my research report. The rise of the streaming giants is having a significant effect on Australia’s media landscape. Australian’s are well-known for their excessive pirating habits of popular television shows and films – we have, for quite some time now, held the title of world’s most prolific pirates of Game of Thrones. 

However, the introduction of Netflix (and local competitors Stan and Presto) to the Australian market has seen these numbers decrease slightly, a nod to the willingness of the Australian public to legally access content as long it is in fact there to legally access. VoD services provide easy and affordable access to huge libraries of content that were previously harder to find – hence why torrenting figures were higher before Netflix and co were introduced.

While torrenting statistics have gone down, the number of Australian’s using a VPN has increased in recent years due to privacy concerns and the desire to access content from streaming services that are usually made unavailable to us. This leads to another issue that comes with the introduction of Netflix – and that is that it localises it’s content significantly. Netflix in Australia only has approximately 2000 titles in it’s library compared to the US Netflix library of nearly 6000Many Australian users enlisted the help of a VPN to gain access to libraries from other countries including the US and the UK and were disgruntled to find out that Netflix would be taking measures to stop this from happening. However, it’s likely that Netflix isn’t trying too hard to do this and one of their future goals appears to be to make all of it’s content globally accessible, but that just may take some time.

This news comes as a new report by the Australian Productivity Commission came out stating that “Australian consumers should be able to legally circumvent geoblocking restrictions that prevent them from using foreign online streaming services like US Netflix”.

The report also “urges a major overhaul of intellectual property laws” in Australia, proving what a significant impact the rise of VoD services is having on the Australian media landscape.

How Is Netflix Just So Damn Good?

This topic was decided upon stemming from the thought, “why is so much good content being produced on Netflix?”. Some of my favourite shows in recent years have been Netflix original productions (House of Cards, Orange Is The New Black), or Amazon original productions like Transparent. Shows like these have and continue to dominate prestigious Hollywood awards seasons, winning Emmy’s and Golden Globes year after year. The amount of VoD services that have original productions nominated and critically acclaimed grows every year. So clearly, my previously mentioned thought, has some validity to it, despite the fact that the term ‘good’ relative to content can be incredibly subjective.

I have realised that I’ve failed to mention that I intend on presenting my final project in the form of a research report. Therefore, I have also realised that I need to get crackin on a literature review. Luckily for me, I have come across an academic thesis written by Henry Zhu Tang in 2014,The Collaborative Filtering Effect of Netflix Ratings for Indie Films versus Blockbusters and Heavy Users versus Casual Users. This source is incredibly valuable to me as it incorporates many of the themes I discussed (and intend to expand on) in my previous blog post. Tang writes about the way Netflix uses recommendation algorithms to assist it’s users in finding content they presumably would be interested in and how this correlates to the type of content Netflix chooses to buy and also fund production of. Before reading this, I wasn’t even entirely aware of this connection. Everyone knows about the recommendation algorithms, love them or hate them, if you use the service, you are subjected to them. Personally, I don’t know where I stand on the privacy issue of Netflix knowing intricate details about my personality based on my TV and movie taste, but I do like a good recommendation. I hadn’t thought deep enough about the connection to how they utilise the recommendation algorithm for the type and quality content they offer. As it turns out, Netflix started out in 1997 as a service dedicated to providing more alternative content:

“In 1997, Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph founded Netflix, an online DVD-by-mail retailer that usurped the traditional brick-and-mortar model. At once, a wider library of titles had become available to consumers than ever before. Netflix introduced a proprietary recommendation system, powered by a collaborative filtering algorithm, to select movies to watch for its customers, a feature it continues to use for its global video streaming service today. This collaborative filtering algorithm would further highlight indie or niche films that could not be found (or were prohibitively difficult to find) in stores.”

Many of the ideas Tang writes about are connected to 4 of my 5 main talking points so far:

  1. Content with better diversity.

      2. Creators having more freedom around the production of content.

      3. VoD services content favouring audience viewing habits.

      4. Netflix buying up the rights to more low budget, yet ‘prestigious’ films at Sundance.

Due to how supportive this thesis is to my talking points for my report, I will likely go ahead and rely heavily on it throughout.

Better Half?

We are apprehensive of the upcoming future . We naturally fear change because we know what we were, but we do not know what will become.
As I progress and research more I find that my opinion shifts constantly. I find I dont support what I once did , what I once thought was a brilliant idea now scares me .

It is no surprise that A.I is getting smarter everyday . Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking have all warned us of the dangers of A.I .  Someone posted  “Ive seen things you people haven’t seen before” on the cyberccultures blog . This got me thinking if an A.I is uploaded with everything we know on snowboarding does that mean it now becomes better at snowboarding than us .Does experience really matter ? Does A.I care about a stupid subjective experience. ?

Ray Kurzweil, explains in a symposium held at Stanford during the  year 2000 that ‘neural nets’ which are inspired by organic central nervous systems are ever developing all the time. The web becomes more complext the more nets are consturcted which makes it difficult ‘to train’ but in turn expressing much more intelligent and deeper behaviour. They are learning to simulate the deep and meaningful emotions we humans are associated with. Exponential paradigm shifts have proven that we are learning to learn faster. Moores Law also brings into factor the idea of singularity that we are producing double the amount of transistors on an integrated circuit and just judging the data as a complete idiot you can ask this question. “At what point does the human brain become obsolete?” . Will these Synths and mechanical minds actually be preferred over a human mind. Ray also estimates that by the year 2019 $1000 worth of circuitry will rival the 20 billion connections a human brain will make a second . We can already touch and feel the technology that will potentially make us inferior. By 2029, $1000 cicruitry will equal 1000 human brains and by 2050 this circuitry would be able to compute the same amount of information that is computed in a second by every brain in the world .
Are Synths really the future. Our we going to be outdone by our better halves.
I highly recommend everyone watch this symposium.
Everyone goes nuts over a lineup of DJ’s at an upcoming festival, this here is a lineup we should be going crazy for . MooresLaw2


Hofstadter, Doug et al. “Will Spiritual Robots Replace Humanity By 2100?”. 2000. Presentation.

User Generated Content

elysium design utopia

When brands utilise fan made, or user generated content, it becomes the advertising equivalent of citizen journalism.  It promotes the idea of participatory culture, while also adding to the narrative of the brand identity, and creating a community of collective understanding, collective intelligence, and collective passion (or brand tribes) around the brand organisation.

Bruns (2007) outlines characteristics of produsage with these 4 main points:

  • Moving away from dedicated individuals/teams, towards broader generation and distribution via participants;
  • Produsers move between the roles of leader; participant; and content user;
  • The generated content isn’t necessarily a finalised product, but something which can still develop;
  • Deliberate blind eye turned from copyright, in order to build upon existing works for further engagement.

A great example of a brand utilising user generated content to tell a targeted narrative are the hashtags UOW promotes to highlight student culture: #ExperienceUOW (1 | 2

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Who do you say you are online?

elysium design utopia

Personal branding is something we all interact with in this digital age, whether consciously or not.  Creating a username for a site you sign up to is one of the simplest ways this can play out: that username you choose is meant to reflect you, your identity, and act as an identifier for others, alerting them to your posts and interactions.  Further signifiers such as your profile picture/dp/avatar and bio boxes solidify this identity, giving other people more information about the online persona.

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Let’s take a look at my own twitter profile and what I believe it says about me:

  • Cover photo/Background image: My cover photo was chosen because it reflects a moment of me accomplishing something huge; climbing up to the top of a dormant volcano, despite stress and anxiety at being unfit comparatively to the rest of my family.  While not all those who visit my profile know this backstory…

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