Class Suggestions

I think that the first episode of Altered Carbon, Out of Past, would be an extremely interesting and fun addition to the class. It relates heavily to the upcoming technologies of artificial intelligence, privacy, and ethical implications. This first episode is one in which you learn about this advanced utopian world, going through both the main character’s past and present in flashbacks. Soon, you learn that the main character was a special soldier that worked for a lot of terrorist groups. Due to his actions, he has been “iced” or killed, but not really. This world considers a body and human form as a “sleeve,” but all your memories and thoughts are intact in a disk that is inserted in your spine near your head at age 1. As long as your disk remains and someone does not destroy it, you are capable of being alive. However, since Takeshi, the main character, committed many crimes, his disk was made dormant in a prison without a human form until a very rich man paid to have him put into a new body and released. He did not have a body for 250 years, creating some obvious issues.


This is extremely relevant to the articles of transhumanism. In class, we watched a lot about how robots may be taking over the world, and whether this should be allowed. Takeshi is not only implementing transhumanism with the disk itself, but also because his disk was specially made to be a soldier, in which he is more cognisant of small details and has the ability of seeing through the walls. Transhumanism is defined as “the position that human beings should be permitted to use technology to modify and enhance human cognition.” At this moment, transhumanism is about prosthetics, but I think that this episode goes beyond and exposes how our city could transform to flying cars, x-ray vision, and houses above the clouds in the future.

It is also relevant to “The Entire History of You” in a way in which the technology has gotten too advanced with people’s brains that it has created detrimental effects of allowing people to dwell in their past. Takeshi was “dead” for 250 years, but after being put into a sleeve, he could not help but continue replaying the memories in his head over and over again. In addition, I think that this new topic of freezing people and possibly bringing them back in the future is relevant to our society, as it is beginning to gain popularity, no matter what the stigma against it is.

Since the disks can easily be scanned, tracked, and played, this ties in to the themes of privacy. In a world like this, is that okay for anyone to pick up what is “you” and scan the disk to get all information about you? In the coming world, is this okay in doing background checks like this to ensure people’s safety, or is it too invasive? Anyone could find Takeshi’s history easily, and he was considered a dangerous man. Is this justified?

I would most likely assign the digital element of creating a poster or flyer to advertise something seen in the episode. I personally use the online website Canva a lot to make resumes, reports, flyers, etc. I think that this is a really easy way to get into “photoshop” without having to particularly learn the difficult functions and finding an aesthetic yourself. Millions of free templates online make it easy to make clean and relevant posters, which is a skill that I think many people in the class would find interesting and fun.

Analyzing the New Age of Technology

 

With the eve of a new forms of media through the technological revolution, the need for new definitions regarding scholarship is dire. With this, the American Historical Association gathered to create guidelines for digital scholarship. AHA defines this as, “scholarship that is either produced using computational tools and methods or presented using digital technologies.” Scholarship in general is any documented conversation of matters that have endured consequences. Many journal articles do not have trouble fitting into the AHA guidelines as they are the same style as analog, but the official journal is simply online.

Other forms of digital scholarship are more confusing, such as the example, “Digital Harlem.” Digital Harlem is a website that shows information “drawn from legal records, newspapers, and other archival and published sources” regarding Harlem in New York City. In this website, you are able to click on a map that represents different factors of Harlem such as churches, sports, number arrests, and nightlife. Clicking each of the sites bring captions and leads to other sites to learn more. This website comprehensively displays the distribution of each of these factors and the frequency of the categories. For example, for churches, it explains how churches historically chose the locations of their churches within Harlem. This website first fits the AHA guidelines because it is required that scholarship uses reliable forms of information through research of archival evidence that accurately uses innovation to advance knowledge of others. The AHA guidelines also state that many forms of digital scholarship are articles that are more comprehensive when digitized. This website fits under this category due to the fact that it is interesting to see which areas of New York are the most concentrated. Some of the locations also lead to a more comprehensive article, that also shows its alignment to the AHA guidelines.

The analog version of this website would be interesting to see. Because the sectors lead to separate links in which advertisements, old newspapers, and articles are linked, I would imagine that the analog version would actually be separate articles regarding Harlem. There would be separate papers on churches, sports, number arrests, and nightlife. The map is a better version of the representation of Harlem because all these aspects may be laid over each other and one is able to infer the story map of someone’s life during this time period of where they would go at certain times of the day. Due to this, the digital aspects of this website adds to the scholarship of this piece. I do not think that scholarship would necessarily be subtracted in an analog version, but it is hard to imagine an analog version that contains all these aspects because all the aspects are not connected, until they are shown on the map. Daily life would not be easily analyzed.

While I was scrolling through this website, I thought about two things. I think that the AHA guidelines are way too vague. The guidelines are difficult to follow as they simply discuss and go back and forth about what different forms of digital scholarship could or could not be. They do not necessarily outline guidelines for every type of media, making it difficult to gauge. At the same time, I understand that this is a newly developing topic with more forms of media being created every day. I also realize that nearly everything should be considered digital scholarship if it educates people, as the Internet exists to assist people. Going forward, society must work on developing methods to analyze technology.

FAKE NEWS !

There are so many changes that have been made to society in comparison to 1990. I chose the launching of the Hubble Telescope as it was a monumental moment of history that led to many discoveries in the scientific community. This was the first time that pictures could be taken in outer space without the need for humans to be physically present to take the photos. In today’s times, there are many ways that the advertisement and excitement of this event could be shared. In 1990, people would be forced to watch this event on television. Today, thousands of people could have watched this moment on their portable phones. This would have created a bigger outreach. While this could have been considered a global event, this was an American telescope, so in 1990, this may not have been known to as many people outside of the United States. With the use of Twitter, thousands of people may have retweeted the “fake posts” and seen the coverage. Another change is the idea of the live stream. People are now able to broadcast their activities in real time, and live television is not limited to broadcasting networks. In today’s time, there would have been many live streams with different perspectives to show how the Hubble Telescope was launched. Due to the increase of personal live streams, the process behind the building of the Hubble Telescope may have been seen first hand by everyone. The down side to the changes of modern technology and social media is that while these experiences are more hands-on, many are prone to not know the real news behind events, and only see headlines as depicted in the fake tweets. Tweets are often too concise and short to convey full length articles or reportage, so the only information that people are getting is that the launch is occurring.

This relates back to the idea that most people only see their news on social media sites, as the article, “Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election,” insinuates. According to this article, as many as 14% of people see social media as the most important form of receiving news. The article also states that because of this, news outlets have effectively lost their source of power. People watching this Hubble Scope live stream would most likely not be watching the news at the same time, contributing to the current decrease in specifically paper news.

As I was creating these series of fake tweets to broadcast the event, I realized how easy it was to make these. I was able to create all three tweets in less than 15 minutes, which if frankly quite concerning. I have seen a multitude of posts on a spread of social media networks in which people argue in the comments as to whether the information in the posts has been photoshopped, made up, or in fact real. A lot of these comments are split between people who are outraged at the fake post, but there is a strong percentage of comments that are outraged because they believe the posts are real. This leads me to become concerned for the future of society, especially because the beliefs of these fake posts have contributed to the election of a corrupt president like Donald Trump. I wonder if there is anything that we can do to prevent the ease of such technology and the fast paced movement towards the prevalence of fake news.

Online Presence of Campaigns

 

In the year of 2018, Cuomo and Molinaro ran for governor. At first glance, one can look to their personal websites. For a first impression, Cuomo has more organized sections that can be scrolled over that state his beliefs, his dates for press conferences, etc. Molinaro is less organized on the website, but focuses a lot on donating, volunteering, and staying connected to him. The website shows that they are both involved in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube, seemingly displaying a wide array of online presence.

Looking closer to specifics of their social media, I looked to Twitter. Both candidates seem to post about 5 times a day, often reposting or liking posts that align to their interests. Their strategies seem to differ a lot on Twitter, however. Molinaro seems to post more emotional content, often including pictures of children, or even his own, in order to garner sympathy from his supporters. Cuomo tends to create more factual content, displaying what he plans or would like to get involved in. Andrew Cuomo has more online presence on Twitter, having 25.5K tweets and 852K followers while Molinaro has only 18.7K tweets and only 15.7K followers. In comparison, Cuomo gets more responses to his tweets and the followers seem to be more involved. Overall, both use Twitter for quick bursts of information and support for themselves, being more informal than other forms of social media.

Looking closer to a different form of social media, Facebook, the results are similar in that Cuomo has a larger following on his page. Both seem to post less on Facebook, about once a day in comparison to Twitter. The Facebook pages are more tailored to have comments and be an outlet for people to speak to each other rather than Twitter which is more informal. Cuomo is more backed on both forms.

A general trend is that Cuomo has more followings on the different online outlets. This obviously comes from the fact that Cuomo is the incumbent candidate and has been for a while. However, this exposes the reasons that the incumbent wins more often. The incumbent candidate is able to have built more continuous online presence in which additional people add to the followings from previous elections. It is quite interesting that different social medias are used in different ways that are tailored towards the audience of the social media platforms. Young people tend to be more on Twitter and like quick fast information opposed to Facebook which fosters an older audience that chats with one another in arguments. These different tactics obviously matter, as Cuomo has won for several elections.

One thing to consider is that an online presence is so difficult to gauge, especially after having read the article, Cambridge Analytica and the Secret Agenda of the Facebook Quiz. This article speaks about the methods in which personalities of people are marked, watched, and used to target dark posts and even normal posts towards certain audiences. The fact that Cuomo is involved with Working Families, Independents, and Woman Equality may be relevant as these audiences may be getting either more negative news on Molinaro and more positive on Cuomo. Personally, I have only really seen Cuomo be involved and have not known about Molinaro until doing research. This is important to note that the online presences of these candidates is very tricky because I am most likely not able to see all the sides, articles, and posts from each candidate. It is scary to see that it is becoming harder and harder to predict the outcomes of these elections because of this. The success is often measured by the public by comments made by candidates and actions done, but how can we know what to trust?

Below, are the actual results of the votes in 2018 in correlation to the fact that Cuomo seemed to have a larger online presence.

Marc Molinaro for Governor

https://www.governor.ny.gov/about

Snapchat’s Privacy Statements

I was unsure what to expect from the policy settings of any application on my phone, due to the fact that I never read them. I simply click “accept terms and conditions” because I am so impatient in getting to what I want. I have never considered reading them and did not think much about what could be hidden within privacy statements released by companies. This reminded me of “Skim Reading is the New Normal, because I realized how different the times are. Many people from older generations are more hesitant and aware of what breaches in privacy could do, but even as I was seeing the horrifying statements from Snapchat, I could only think about how I wanted to get this over with, finding myself glossing over the words. Snapchat even attempted to make the privacy policy more user friendly by using informal language. I cannot imagine how it would be to read Apple’s privacy agreements that uses complex words and about 50 more pages of fluff words to cover their ass.

I found that Snapchat collects all forms of information that is sent through the app, whether it be chats, pictures, or stories. The statement stated that it would maybe delete the pictures and chats automatically, but could not guarantee this. It stated that stories were kept for a longer amount of time, and locations that a person visited would be kept for up to 40 days. Snapchat continued by saying that many things were tracked, including filters used, stories viewed, and advertisements. This information could be exchanged between third parties in order to foster ads that are relevant. Snapchat states that information can also be shared to other snapchatters as well as their business partners and the general public. Snapchat additionally tracks what devices your phone is connected to including bluetooth devices, headphones, and laptops.

I think that the most interesting part of the whole privacy statement is that Snapchat states that you can limit a lot of these privacy functions BUT this will come with losing a lot of functionality. It is almost like it is a bribe in order to get the information out of you. It seems inevitable because everyone uses these apps, so to keep up with the times, it feels like you have to give in.

This is the kind of data that has been taken and passed on to support the last presidential election, as depicted inThe Data that Turned the World Upside Down.” The information from Snapchat could have been part of the information that is passed on to elections, who can literally find out interests from the number of likes on pictures and the clicks you put on the page, which is insane. This article really made me wonder if anything in the future can be completely fair anymore. With new technologies, there will always be subliminal messages on our feeds of social media and aggressive advertisements that cover the pages of our brains. It is crazy to think that the people who took our information from Facebook additionally helped the ultimate goals of Brexit as well as other revolutions. If this is true, people are well unaware of the way that innocent things like our phones basically make decisions for us.

Personally, I have never covered my laptop’s camera and never really considered to because I did not think that my information could be exploited, but after reading the Snapchat privacy statement and the articles from class last week, I realize that it is not necessarily a matter of whether they are exposing my information to the public, because that does not matter to me, especially because I do not have very provocative information. However, the issue stands to be that companies could use this information to affect the way I think and I would not even know it. This is scarier for me because it is hard to know whether my opinions, supported by things I read online, were strategically placed to me. Someone else may have made my thoughts. So what should I do?

Internet Stalking

Going into the assignment of looking into Professor Abdoney, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew that her academic background would most likely be online, but I wasn’t sure what else that I would be able to find. Interesting enough, I found a lot about how her personal life, including her relatives, her husband, and her child’s Facebook. It was also pretty easy to find her age, estimate when she graduated high school, and estimate the year she was born. Her past locations of her houses could be found as well as where she graduated high school, college, etc. While I was searching for any information on Professor Abdoney, a lot of sites for giving more information on her popped up. The free information would come with her past locations, relatives, and age, but it offered additional information if I wanted to pay for it. It led me to wonder how much more invasive information would come up if I had already been able to find where her son went to school.

Additionally, I was able to procure a basic profile of her political stance, finding that she seems to be of a liberal Democratic stance that openly supported issues such as literacy and feminism. I could also extrapolate that she often receives her news from Democratic sources including The Hill, CNN, and the Washington Post, following sources such as these. Only seeing retweets of Democratic opinions, I could see that this is most likely the bubble she lives in and the only articles she reads. I can see how people from the outside could easily stalk Professor Abdoney and be quick to label her into the boxes that society creates even though her online presence is not all that she is. I can’t for say sure that she lives in a bubble, but I can see the formation of “Echo Chambers” by scrolling through the retweets, likes, and comments on her tweets. A lot of the comments were by liberal Democrats fiercely agreeing and fighting anyone who did not agree with them. With one comment against the ideas of the post, were 10 other people supporting. While I can agree with the ideas of Professor Abdoney, I do not agree with outright attacking strangers who don’t support attacking the ideas of another human.

Looking at the information available to me about Professor Abdoney caused me to wonder how much is available about me and caused me to be slightly afraid. It’s interesting because following looking for Professor Abdoney, I began to receive ads through Google and Facebook for sites that would help me find people, or find more information about criminals, or reuniting families. If the amount of information that I found did not scare me, the ads did, constantly reminding me how Internet and social media  has changed from being a place of sharing pictures and fun stuff to following people, tracking clicks, and collecting data. Facebook is willing to release the information that we as people upload to pretty much any company that is willing to pay. Learning this has made me more conscious, but I think I will continue to put my information online in order to keep up with the way that the world works today. It also allows for me to easily participate in events and learn about events I cannot attend or would not have known about previously. By putting my information out there, I am able to actively help causes I believe in. I am glad that I learned how exposed my information is, and I have learned that I can either use what I put out there to my advantage, or it could be my detriment.

Perils of the Internet

Over the course of the day, the majority of my Internet use can be sourced to homework through my phone, though it is often required for classwork. Aside from the amount of Internet use for my homework, the next highest amount of time I use is for social media. Aside from Twitter, I am currently involved in nearly every kind of social media available, including Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Instead of spending a certain amount of time checking my social media or texts, I found that I check it often, in short periods of time, nearly constantly, making it hard to track and causing me to realize that all the minutes add up.

This stands to be the norm for many modern day teenagers. Though it sounds quite cliche to to say that the world has become a sadder place that is constantly glued to their phones, there is a lot of truth to this. Personally, I have checked social media an average of about 4 hours a day. While I find myself being thankful for being able to connect with people, I mostly use it as a method of distraction, checking it mostly while I am doing work. Before I sleep, I often check it for hours, looking at funny videos or memes, preventing myself from sleeping (30 minutes before I sleep). This may be correlated to the perils and situations depicted in the Black Mirror episode, Nosedive. In Nosedive, the images depicted scenes of a culture in which social media and ratings from other members of the community represented one’s worth. It was all that everyone thought about, constantly watching their rates, never doing even work. If one had a lower rating, there were severe lack of benefits, causing the main character, Lacie, to go insane. I don’t believe that this could be out of question for the future. Unfortunately, girls will take photoshoots for Instagram pictures, and many implement Facetune in order to make their pictures “perfect”. I, too, am guilty of going through hundreds of pictures taken at events and only posting one, stating that all the other ones were “bad”. I am also completely guilty of looking up people before meeting them and attempting to determine who they are as a person through social media. I saw the potential perils of falling into the situation of Nosedive because of my day.

Nosedive, leading me to me see the importance that people place in how others view them, reminded me of a time that my friend posted a politically charged sign regarding the Women’s March. It was a sign that read “Thou shalt not take my reproductive rights, Fallopians 2:11”, based off of the Bible’s commandments. Parents of people she didn’t really know commentated angry remarks and long paragraphs that because she was Indian and did not believe in form of Christianity, she couldn’t use the Bible. On Instagram, she lost nearly 20 followers. This reminded me of the Political Bubble article and how people prefer to view things that have the same views as them. Angry comments were also left on her Instagram, causing her to decide not to post her opinions in the future. She was limited in her opinions like in Nosedive, although the problem did not rest with her. People simply are not educated in the idea that diversity of ideas are important. My use of social media got me to think in this way.

The most amount of time I used for the Internet was to do homework, adding up to about 5 and a half hours. I used Google Docs, Sakai, online textbooks, and my Outlook throughout the day. Things are a lot easier than when I would be doing homework in middle school, where I constantly would be required to bring all my textbooks. I would also have to bring notebooks for every subject, rather than taking notes on Google Drive. Things are easier, now, especially for group projects where we can work on the same document at the same time, rather than saving and emailing the project; however, there are cons to the use of technology. A con would be that there is less of an excuse now that everything’s online. One cannot blame a snow day or not having the textbook for not doing the work, because it is always available. On a more serious note, technology has taught us to be distracted. With the availability of multiple tabs, notifications, and constant communication, I have realized the multitude of ways that I could be more efficient.

I could set off time in which I check my phone for entertainment after I maximize my schoolwork time. I could additionally try to use my phone less. But, I have learned that I have gained so much dependency on my phone that I do not have much of an urge to use it less. I wake up to an alarm from my phone and check it in order to wake up in the morning. At night, it is the last thing I see for entertainment and for making an alarm for the morning. Unfortunately, out of this experience, I felt while there are a lot of detriments to the use of Internet, it is inevitable that I continue to use it, and perpetuate the stereotypes of the modern age.