Month: February 2016

Profession Issues: Jaron Lanier

Jaron Lanier is the author of ‘Who Owns the Future’ from Berkeely CA. He is a computer scientist and has worked on projects with virtual reality, such as the Xbox’s Kinect. Or with parts of the brain. For this blog, I will be focusing on him as an author because of his book ‘Who Owns the Future’.

The part that I found most intriguing was the idea of putting a price on the information we give out. When he began saying that it’s really just a competition for “who’s got the biggest computer?” and that whoever does that, whether it’s Google or Facebook or whoever owns the power. That if we were to taken the 20th century route, and fight for the workers rights, like when they defended their ability to use the transport trucks if they had to swap from using horses, that if we did that now with the information we give these huge companies that it simply would not work.

I think we do need a levy to stop this information being sold off to companies who are making money off our information for nothing. However I do not believe that there is a way that we could sell off our information, but keep the same system. I think that if this was proposed the big companies would simply move on to a different route or cut their loses rather than that.

For example when he began talking about health insurance and the ‘siren servers’, I began thinking about how the technology would cause faults to the information given out. For example if I owned a pair of Google Glasses and I shared a smart car, however I lent my glasses to a friend who also owns the car and they crash it. Then this siren server might think that I was the cause of the crash, thus increasing my health and car insurance because of the Google Glass.

I don’t like the idea of some major parts of my life being interfered with through lifeless technology. I can deal with the pop up advertisements on ‘cheap cinema tickets’ because I go to them sites regularly. But for technology to keep advancing, and in some ways surpassing, the way we live and to interfere by replacing our jobs (such as Kodak and Instagram) or judging our lives I believe to be wrong and will cause problems in the future for the way our society deals with technology and the major corporations.



Culture & Society: Moral Panic

The moral panic I am going to write about is one of the biggest ones to affect me and enrage me personally. The one I am talking about is the ‘refugee crisis’. Circumstances in Syria and other eastern countries were steadily on the rise, until recently when it seemed to explode in the news and throughout Europe. Everyone suddenly knew every detail and fact about what was going on. Or so they thought.

When I say this I am talking about the people who jumped to the media’s stories and conclusions in certain cases. For example with the attacks on women in Cologne Germany. The media reported it as being linked to the refugee intake from Germany and that the blame should be pointed at them. Even though it turned out that out of the 56 people arrested, only 4 of which were refugee’s. Although it was reported that some of the men involved in the attacks did not speak German or English, it did not mean that it was the refugee’s. This was a conclusion people and the media jumped to.

The reason why I chose this moral panic is because I live in Balbriggan, which is beside one of the towns which was planned to be used to house the refugees. This affected me personally because of when I would talk to other people about this and hear their opinions. Although none of the opinions I heard were based out of solemn racism, they were all misconceived in my opinion. It was words I read in the newspapers being said back to me through them. This and the ‘Paris Attacks’ were the only times in recent years that a moral panic happened I could relate to (since I was too young to understand 911 at the time it happened).

I would hear people in work, straight up blame the refugee’s for the problems in the world (the same as the media does) and say that ‘they should come back where they came from’. With the media coverage of the Islamic state and the refugee crisis increasing in recent years I do not blame them or think of them as stupid for this response, however I do feel as though they do not understand all the facts. I think they read one or two of the articles on terrorism then jump to understanding all sides of what is going on in the world.




Professional Issues:Technology Takeover

When we were talking about technology replacing jobs, the one job that kept popping to my mind was ‘the postman’. Maybe its because I know one personally or perhaps because  I have grown up with the evolution of the internet, I can see this being the next job to become extinct from the ever growing technology being ‘the postman’. My initial thought for this is because of my own life. Every day I receive approximately 20/30 emails a day. Even though most of this is random websites sending me “amazing offers”  from that one time I bought something off them. I still feel confident in saying that the few practical emails I get still replace the regular mail every day.

So with emails replacing regular mail, the only reason I can see for a postman nowadays is for the more practical post, such as packages. However I predict that with the advancement of the 3D printer technology that this will soon replace that. If instead of sending physical items through post we can simply send them a file to print in a 3D printer, then I do believe that this will (figuratively speaking) be the last nail on the coffin of the job of the postman.

I think the evidence supports for itself from past examples, such as factory workers. Even if this is not the route taken, an alternative is the ‘drone’. This aspect of delivery is already being tested by Amazon for delivering goods. Literally cutting the postman out of the equation. It does look like the postman job is ready to be replaced any year now.

Culture & Society: General Election

So not knowing much about politics in Ireland in general I decided to use the website given to us in class called “smart”, to narrow down the most suited candidate for me in my are which is Fingal. After answering all the questions I arrived at the conclusion ‘Barry Martin’.

So I first found out a little bit about him such as, he lives in a town close to me called ‘Rush’ and he is one of 40 members of Fingal. Then I decided to try find out as much as I could about his interaction with the community, especially online. I found him quickly on Twitter, with 265 followers. He seemed to be very active on Twitter tweeting around 2 or 3 times a day with important information, such as gathering people for the march against the water charges.

On Facebook however he has 1232 likes on his page, 12 of these I knew. In his posts he can be vary from common to uncommon, with a post a day for a week and then a week of silence. However his posts are very engaging with the public, half the time though it is to ask (very politely) for help with his campaign such as handing out leaflets.

From his social media I also found he does the research needed for his job. He shares links of useful information and insight for people such as a blog post titles “democracy is a fragile flower”. Although the amount of likes on his posts can vary from one to a hundred, his online presence on both of these platforms seems very strong. Also from seeing which of my friends have liked his page, I have noticed that they are all my own age. He seems to connect with the younger generation, he even went visiting the local Loreto school. Another aspect I had looked into which really confirmed this for me was that when I began looking at a few of the comments directed at Barry, there was a like or reply to the comment, meaning he is listening back.

I do not think that this is a page run by someone else as a PR stunt, it seems too personal, especially in the photos uploaded. Although he is not the most well known candidate I do predict him doing well in the future, however not as well as he should in this election due to the attitude of young people (his main audience) when it comes to elections.



Professional Issues: Copyright

When we started watching the movie ‘Remix’ about the morals of copyright laws, I was intrigued to see the difference in my opinion change. From the first video of ‘Amen Beat’ where my opinion was so strong that the guy should be allowed to take that little bit of music created, change and warp it to make something new from something new.

Then to see Mickey Mouse being changed into a cartel member and getting sued, my opinion immediately changed to be behind Disney and that they were right. I suppose my main thought was that it really depended on how the content was used and how the original creator feels.

Although the music companies were trying to stop this infringement of their material being reused I just thought, ‘What’s the point? They are creating something new and good from something so small’ but then when Mickey Mouse was being used I was thinking that it wasn’t fair on Disney. My main point being that if the reuse of the material is to blatantly slander the original creators work it should be able to be fought against or removed. But in the case of the reuse of the small clip of drums which was used in a positive creative way to make something new it should be allowed.

Culture & Society: Popular Culture

Popular Culture is the ideas, perspectives and attitudes within the mainstream of culture

I would see popular culture in my own life as being very colorful and artistic, in a good way and a bad way. Both through the way I observe ‘high culture’ such as my brothers art exhibitions, with the “please be quiet” signs and the well dressed individuals admiring the different meanings you can take from the forms on a canvas. And ‘low culture’ with the street art throughout my town, which expresses such passion and skill, yet is rewarded with the scowl’s of the locals.

I’m sure that there are many other forms of popular culture both high and low around me, such as the fancy restaurants I never dare to ask for a price or the local football team screaming every foul word possible as they play beside the local church, however I am much more interested in the arts.

For example, the numerically popular Kardashian’s. I can’t cope with hearing their name or seeing their faces plastered on a news headline. However I do understand how their popularity works, how it is skillfully plastered to gain media attention. Everyone knows who they are and what they do (or don’t). I see this as being a big difference from the world 10 year’s ago, with the less developed internet and social media. In that world I cannot imagine, people going home to log onto their computer and have to search for an update on the Kardashian’s, rather than having them appear in your hand on Facebook, as you commute home with your smartphone.

However their is the kind of popular culture that I prefer more which is the ‘critically popular’. When I think of this I think of a more hard earned or deserving aspect of society such as upcoming actors like Tom Hardy. Ten years ago Tom Hardy was still acting. Debuting in classic movie’s such as ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Black Hawk Down’ his climb to fame was not a catapult effect similar to other actors, it was hard work that made him a critically popular character in the media. This is the type of popular culture which I prefer most, the type where regular people like me decided as a whole, rather than the media circulating certain characters such as in numerically popular characters or popular aesthetic characters such as the boy band ‘One Direction’.

I am so sick and tired of hearing about “this latest boy band” that all teenage girls will go into screaming fits for, or give away thousands of euro to get a ticket to their gig. Whether it’s Justin Bieber, Jedward or One Direction, these characters who try to make themselves popular, are marketed in such a way to appeal to this single audience makes me so mad at society. It is as if society feeds this train of “popular aesthetic” people so that the minute they are recognized they are already more know than the likes of “Arctic Monkeys” who have worked hard, earned a good name for themselves without the help of the media.

Again without the way the media is today, with the internet being accessible anywhere and in some cases inescapable (such as when Kim Kardashian’s photo “broke the internet”), I feel that ten years ago I would not have such views. I would of heard of the Arctic Monkey’s through word of mouth or perhaps smaller advertisements, whereas the Kardashian’s or One Direction I could happily avoid. But now on Facebook you cannot go ten minutes without them being plastered on some news site for a ridiculous reason such as a restaurant they ate at.

From researching online I have found that the best examples of ‘popular culture’ in 2016 are; Leonardo Di Caprio winning the Oscar for ‘The Revenant’, Rihanna’s new album and ‘the dab’ dance move.

Pop Culture



Professional Issues: Information Overload

The weird thing about when I started watching the video was that I waited to see if it was a video that I actually needed to watch. When I saw that it was a man doing a presentation I automatically went back to doing some drawing on Illustrator, stuck the ear phones in and just began listening to it.

Then he began to talk about ‘multi-tasking’. This was when I really began to listen to what he was saying because he stated that multi-tasking was a myth. Initially I thought, he’s talking crap and that I was doing fine multi-tasking right now! When he said that I was wasting time by doing this I began thinking to myself whether he was right or not? I thought I was working good, listening to this video while getting another project done?

But then I realized that as I was doing this my attention was really not on either of the subjects. That he was right in saying that I was getting less done this way. I really didn’t think about it before but after he said this I began to realize that there were a few times when I would have to rewind the video because I was too focused on my illustration, or I lost my next step in my picture because I was trying to take in all the information I was hearing. It was an illusion (as he describes it) that definitely worked on me.

So I guess the main point of this is that I should try to not multi-task as often unnecessarily, but to focus on one subject and try do well in it and then do the other (remembering about my 15 nap or break!).