Tag Archives: DIGC335

Sex in the Digital Age

What would happen if suddenly the internet stopped working over the whole world, if we were all in the dark? Would we still be ourselves? So much of our lives are online, so much of our identity. The world would come to a complete stand still. Would the world end? With everyone and everything so connected, our social lives and identities have become, in part, digital. Our lives are so online, we are constantly connected to our smart phones. The cyber world is a part of our real lives. We can’t simply turn it off, they are extensions of ourselves, our mind. In saying that, what does this mean for our sexuality and relationships?

The internet, as we know, is a huge cyber space that we all interact with on a daily/hourly basis. It can be a great place for individuals to find people of similar interests. It is the beginning of sexual expression and the advance of cyber sexuality. Back before the internet an individual would have to go down to the local newsagency and pick up one of the dirty magazines, meanwhile experiencing a great deal of stigma. Yet, in modern society, the internet creates a space where you can access anything at any time anywhere. This is also enhanced in the last ten years by the smart phone. With the nature of the smart phone we have access to sex 24/7. We could be sexting a potential lover that we have met on tinder while in the middle of a university class discussing the power play of the global inequalities in the south west. Almost everyone in the western world has a smart phone. We rarely come across someone who does not own a smart phone, and when we do we ask questions like; Are you living in the 19th century? how do you cope? Do you have life? All kinds of questions like this.

Sex is a difficult and interesting topic to study because of the incredible amount of negative stigma that coats it. Yet we are all in some way experience cybersex. An important part of our online sexuality is that sex can be no longer a physical act. Sex can be through many different terms. For instance; video calls, texting (sexting) which can involve images and text. Online sex has a lot of dark areas and maybe even more than we have in the real world. Although we can’t really make a distinction between the real world and the cyber world because they are all one in the same. Our ‘real’ worlds have become/involve our cyber worlds. Sexting is an act of online sexual endeavour that has many different issues that evolve around it. Amy Adele Hasinoff’s TED talk on sexting highlights very key elements of the laws on sexting and that these laws are unfair to the act itself. The very nature of the internet creates some of these issues. One of the issues I want to highlight with sexting it this idea of sexting sexual abuse. We often find that people don’t seem to understand the concept of consent when it comes to sex online, not just in the flesh.

Firstly, we must talk about the online dating crazy that has occurred in the last four years called Tinder. Tinder brought online dating to a new level of accessibility by using the smart phone and creating an app. This created a whole new avenue of sexting and online sexual interactions. Tinder mixed with snapchat automatically have people a great avenue for fun and ‘carefree’ sexting. With Tinder people can talk to multiple people at once, even engage in sexual endeavours with difference people at the same time. This creates a whole new world of online sex. It created way for sexual expression and freedom, but it also created a way for harassment and abuse. There are many cases of these sorts of harassments, but there is also harassment that is never reported that is experienced very regularly. Tinder is an interesting forum to also have a look at the gender divide and the different way that men and women experience online sexual encounters.

To present all these ideas I am thinking of putting together some sort of visual representation on the different areas of cyber sexuality. Hopefully in a blog like format where I can clearly express certain areas of said topic in a visual and written way. I want to show come digital and modern sex has become and how much sex is just as part cyber as it is physical.

 

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When gambling and eSports collide

ESports has revolutionised the gaming industry over the past decade, with its following reaching astronomical levels across the planet. Over 150 million viewers engage in eSports worldwide and that number is constantly on the rise. The industry is currently worth approximately $700 million, while it is projected to break through the $1 billion barrier by 2019. The rapid rise in interest reflects the stunning growth of the industry, with which can become hard to control with new investors eyeing opportunity.

gamble

One of these additions to the industry is the rise of gambling on eSports. With betting being such a prominent part of society in the current day, particularly in Asia, it was only a matter of time before the two became acquainted. Gambling is only a relatively new sector of growth for the industry, with many prominent commercial bookmakers including William Hill, Sportsbet and Luxbet embracing the concept. The leader in the market is provider Unikrn, developed in 2014 with multiple wealthy investors, including Ashton Kutcher, engaging their financial interests with the company.

*eSports in this context is referring to any game that a wager can be placed on

While the market isn’t huge at this stage, its growth is inevitable and is expected to rise rapidly within the next decade. Markets are available on a large array of games including, League of Legends, FIFA, DOTA 2, Call of Duty, StarCraft and Heroes of the Storm to name just a few.

The introduction of eSport gambling is a shift in the way people consume gaming. Instead of just viewing, consumers are able to financially invest into their interest. The viewer’s experience is significantly amplified, with emotional investment enhanced by placing a wager.

With gambling and money involved come certain negative implications on eSports. Gaming is a form of entertainment that naturally appeals to the younger generation. Due to this, many competitors within the actual betting markets will be under the legal gambling age of 18 in Australia. This provides multiple concerning issues for the industry. Firstly, young teens are being surrounding by the concept of gambling at a younger age, even if it is not direct contact. Secondly, as a result of eSport gambling being a new platform, there are initial uncertainties surrounding it in that wagering is a highly regulated industry.

gamble 2.jpeg

Match-fixing has already entered the industry, with one key example occurring in Korea in relation to a StarCraft 2 competition. In this incident, two of the game’s greatest players were convicted of fixing matches for financial gain. In future players are sure to be approached to fix matches, with particular concern for younger plays that may have immense pressure placed on them to do so. Basically, its a seriously hard industry to regulate and successfully monitor.

The particular area of interest that sparks my attention is the ability to exploit the fact that eSport betting is a foreign concept to the gambling industry. I will be devoting a large quantity of my attention to how punters can gain a legal advantage over betting agencies. There must be betting strategies that have not been discovered/regulated by agencies that can be exploited by people having a wager. The key to this investigation will be the LEGAL manner in which this is possible.

For my digital artifact I’m aiming to develop a project that builds awareness of how the eSport gambling concept works. As aforementioned, it is a relatively new addition to the industry, with many gamers and non-gamers having very minimal idea of what it actually involes. While I haven’t decided on an exact platform to deliver my artifact, it is likely to involve a real time video of me gambling on a live-streamed eSport.

Gambling on eSport has changed the way people consume games. It is a foreign concept to the industry with plenty to be explored before it inevitably becomes a major aspect of gaming. I intend to shed light on the nature of betting on gaming, how it will develop over time and how it can be exploited in its early stages of existence.

References:

Platt, G, 2015. “eMatch-Fixing: Why Poverty and Chaos is Driving Pro-Gamers to Risk Everything,” Vice, internet article, viewed 23/03/17. https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/ematch-fixing-why-poverty-and-chaos-is-driving-pro-gamers-to-risk-everything-105  

Porter, M, 2015. “Odds are eSports are here to stay,” Vice, internet article, viewed 23/03/17. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/its-odds-on-that-esports-betting-is-here-to-stay-420 

Zacny, R, 2016. “Match-fixing report shows how gambling has ruined Korean StarCraft,” internet article, viewed 23/03/17. https://www.kotaku.com.au/2016/04/match-fixing-report-shows-how-gambling-has-ruined-korean-starcraft/

Kresse, C, 2016. “Unikrn CEO Rahul Sood: “You cannot be relevant in eSports by simply dropping numbers in a sportsbook,” blog, viewed 23/03/17. http://esports-marketing-blog.com/unikrn-interview/#.WNNJbmR94y4

 

“Real Enthusiasts Drive Their Own Cars”

Jesse Max Muir

As someone who is undeniably immersed in both physical and online car communities (and having blogged about both on several occasions) I have had extensive experience with both past and modern technologies. My first car was from 1962, it had no airbags, no power steering, now power breaks, a cable based clutch, manual transmission, and carbureted fuel supply as opposed to modern electronic fuel injection. Despite the almost primate nature of this car, the experience of driving it was best described as raw with the driver in complete control. Alternatively, I recently had experienced my most modern car to date with a 2013 Abarth 500. This car had ABS, an automatic transmission, reverse parking sensors, disk brakes, Bluetooth, airbags, power steering, and most importantly an ECU, which amongst other things, would prevent the driver from shifting gears at a time it did not deem safe and would not let the…

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Politics and Ideologies of Data Visualisation

Introduction

The following progress report on my research into the politics and ideologies of data visualisation, begins with a brief overview of my academic, scholarly and industry-relevant research and includes concise summaries of arguments to be shared in related DICG335 projects.


I am a Bachelor of Arts undergraduate student, majoring in sociology and minoring in design.  Questions of politics and ideology, broad public policy positions and related agendas overlap and concern the agendas of social policy analysts.

My undergraduate training brings the academically relevant study of neoliberalism, population geography and statistics to bear on the progress of my current project.  Relevantly, since 2011 I have conducted independent research into the politics and ideology of data visualisation in examining the social issue known as forced adoption.  I have also undertaken independent historical research into 20th century Australian state welfare policies and practices. This background knowledge informs my current research and provides the interim results of an ongoing case study.  Significantly, I have also sourced the collaborative subject blog, Cybercultures, where  Dr. Christopher Moore recently introduced me to Accelerationism, theories of systems decay, entropy and more.

Resources that have guided the development of my topic thus far are hyperlinked in the following draft outline of my research report. Each of four headings below open with a related concise summary of related arguments to be shared in Assessments 2 & 3.  These summaries have been informed by DIGC335 course material suggests and are paraphrased as block quotes below. The following research has relevance not only to the industries of social work and child welfare but education and software development.

Data visualisation, history and cyberculture

I will argue that data visualisation technology looks to the past as much as it does to the future in thinking about cyberculture and the types of technological, corporate, political, social, and legal changes that have been represented in popular culture.

Politics and ideologies of data visualisation 

I will argue that governments and bureaucracies have significant authority in the relationship between the user and the computer, aiming questions of cyberculture at the legitimacy of related structures of command and control.

Case study: Towards a statistical and contextual analysis of forced adoption (unpublished and ongoing)

This emancipatory research was undertaken to examine the statistical grounds for viewing ‘forced adoption’ as a ‘product of the times‘ (see mores of society, predicated by legislation prohibiting their taboos).

It will be employed in the current research to exemplify how the politics and ideologies of data visualisation speak to the limits and affordances of our technology infused realities.

  • Significant findings:
    • Illegitimate children are a known targeted group (para 2:14, p.34, Senate Report).
    • Statistical analysis reveals trends at odds with what social scientists regarded as indicative of social mores in 1976 (see Kraus).
    • Forced adoptions peaked between 1953-4, contrary to hegemonic discourse.
    • Historical practices and policies consistently correlated with exponential trends in annual proportions of adoptions to ex-nuptial births.
    • Evidence of a  crisis between 1965-72 and an exponential increase in welfare payments to unmarried women aged 17 and over 1971-72.
    • Underpinning ideologies, such as  euthenics and eugenics (White Australia Policy), suggested systematisation or automation of social and political policies of illegitimate child removal.
    • National and state exponential decline in adoptions circa 1971-2 may be due to social entropy.

Imaginaries and Futures

Scholarly research will be employed to argue that the politics and ideologies of data visualisation speak to a broad range of issues and concerns which have arisen as a result of the proliferation of digitally-enabled communication, networked computation and media technologies and practices.

Header image:

Infinite Unknown, 2017, retrieved March 16, <http://www.infiniteunknown.net/tag/history/&gt;

Employment and living with AI

When it comes to artificial intelligence, there are many people who believe that the introduction of artificial intelligence and robots could lead to a  dystopian world similar to that portrayed in “Terminator Salvation” (p.s. Terminator Salvation is a terrible film), where robots have enslaved humanity. Whilst not entirely implausible, the threat of unemployment is a much greater moral concern  surrounding unemployment, with the World Economic Forum  suggesting that as many as 5 million jobs, from 15 developed and emerging economies could be lost by 2020 (Brinded, 2016). In fact, many people are already starting to lose their jobs to machines with self-serve checkouts being a major example of the way machines have been able to do a job, previously undertaken by human employees, but with greater efficiency and lower cost.  However, I am more focused on investigating the threat posed by human-like robots, rather than machines in general. Why? Because that’s what society imagines when you mention artificial intelligence. They imagine machines that replicate our human bodies.

terminator-0-0
source

In countries such as Japan, many more jobs are now being done by robots. In fact, there is a theme park in Nagasaki, Japan that is about open a “robot kingdom” section where over 200  robots will work as bartenders, chefs, luggage carriers and more.(Niinuma, 2016).  At the 2016 Milken Institute’s Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, many of the guests confirmed that robots are slowly becoming employed by various companies, at the expense of us humans (Japan Today, 2016). The idea of robots or sentient beings in relation to the workforce, leads to a greater moral question: Could humans and robots co-exist peacefully?

In his book ‘Digital Soul: Intelligent Machines and Human Values ‘, Thomas M. Georges hypothesizes how the introduction of sentient beings in society might be received by humans. Georges states that “learning to live with superintelligent machines will require us to rethink our concept of ourselves and our place in the scheme of things” (Georges 2003, pg. 181). This statement raises many philosophical questions, which I will explore in my next blog post alongside an in-depth look at the 2015 film ‘Ex-Machina’. Georges’ statement does, however, imply that unsurprisingly living with robots would cause some conflict and would not be a smooth transition for humans. Having said that, many will say that we are already living amongst various forms of “weak” AI such as Siri or Cotana, smart home devices and the somewhat annoying purchase prediction. However, these are forms of “weak” AI and we are still a long way away from a society where humans co-exist  with sentient beings. All we can do, for now, is worry and imagine.

References

Brinded, L 2016, “WEF: Robots, automation and AI will replace 5 million human jobs by 2020”, Business Insider Australia, viewed 4th May 2016, http://www.businessinsider.com.au/wef-davos-report-on-robots-replacing-human-jobs-2016-1?r=UK&IR=T

Georges, T. M. 2003, Digital soul: intelligent machines and human values. Boulder, CO: Westview Press

N/A 2016, “Rich and powerful warn robots are coming for your jobs.”, Japan Today  Viewed May 5, 2016, http://www.japantoday.com/category/technology/view/rich-and-powerful-warn-robots-are-coming-for-your-jobs

Niinuma, O 2016, “Theme park’s ‘robot kingdom’ seeks to upend Japan’s service industry”, Nikkei Asian Review, viewed May 5 2016, http://asia.nikkei.com/Tech-Science/Tech/Theme-park-s-robot-kingdom-seeks-to-upend-Japan-s-service-industry?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link

Authentic

Does authenticity exist in social media? Probably not would be my answer, we all glamorise our social media profiles in some way or another. I’m not saying that it is bad that social media is unauthentic but rather trying to draw that people need to be aware of the truth behind what people post. Exaggerating on social media by portraying this perfect persona of our life through filtered lenses is the same as celebrities who look beautiful but have actually spent millions on plastic surgery, except for us theres no surgery, instead strategic lighting, angles and filters.

Have you heard of the social media application called BEME ? Bebe is an application that was launched in 2015 that promises to free people from the snobbery behind what they post. Authenticity is in short supply online, says application founder and creator Casey Neistat with social media forcing us to present over-stylized and over-perfect versions of ourselves to world. Bebe is an app where the user can only record and post video when the front of their phone screens are covered up, the suggested ways for this are to press the front of the phone to your head or chest so that a 4 second clip can record your surroundings and post it automatically without you being able to edit or filter.

Here’s Kevin Spacey talking about Beme

I tested out the app and it honestly felt a little weird, it even felt a bit invasive as i posted videos without having any control over them. I did find it interesting watching other peoples posts as it was like I was living in their shoes momentarily. It was nice though when posting to not have to worry about filtering or planning the image.

However I don’t necessarily think that Beme, although is achieving to create an authentic social media app is actually succeeding, because we can still choose when and what we post. Like I could only Beme when i’m doing excersise, or run for 2 minutes and post it to Beme without actuating running? Social media isn’t authentic, but are we as humans actually authentic? We all act differently when we’re around certain people, I’m probably more “authentic” around my family as I feel more comfortable around them, however I might try to be more happy, fun or interesting if I’m around new friends or people I’ve never met before. Social media is just another part of how humans want other humans to perceive them. It’s way we talk, dress, act and now thanks to social media what we post that helps others define who we are. I make sure my instagram feed makes me look like a happy, fun, adventurous not because I want to falsify who I am but because I want my followers to enjoy the photos I post.

tell the truth

We all know that digital media has become embedded in our everyday lives, and have changed the way we engage in communication, creative expression and how we produce knowledge. I plan to argue that instagram and other social media’s are negatively effecting our identity construction, especially in young people, under 25.

Rachel Brathen, a “instagram celebrity,” shared in a TEDx talk in 2015 that she slowly became famous on instagram from posting photos about yoga, health, food and happiness. However when she posted a photo of tequila with the hashtag “long day” her follower slammed her for being a hypocrite.It gave her the realisation that she wasn’t being completely honest with her followers. It is one of the dangers of social media, what we share and orchestrate our lives to be is what people actually believe to be true, not everyone see’s through the filters of social media.

Tell the truth. What is the truth? Social media is so often used to construct the idealistic online lifestyle. Adolescents in 2016 are having their identity influenced or even are finding it through social media. An identity isn’t something we are born with but is rather a socially constructed attribute. Who we are isn’t only determined by internal factors but also external, this is where social media comes into affect. Social media has become an extension of our identity formation. Part of identity formation is thinking about the type of person we want to be and social media allows for people, especially adolescents, to use this constant flow of information, photographs, videos, celebrities to be a guide for their own social comparison. Ideas and values that teenagers are developing of the world through social media aren’t always necessarily how the real world actually works. Likes don’t actually correlate to the future success of a young person.