Elise Thomas writes at Hopes & Fears:

"Right now, in a handful of computing labs scattered across the world, new software is being developed which has the potential to completely change our relationship with technology. Affective computing is about creating technology which recognizes and responds to your emotions. Using webcams, microphones or biometric sensors, the software uses a person's physical reactions to analyze their emotional state, generating data which can then be used to monitor, mimic or manipulate that person’s emotions."


"Corporations spend billions each year trying to build "authentic" emotional connections to their target audiences. Marketing research is one of the most prolific research fields around, conducting thousands of studies on how to more effectively manipulate consumers’ decision-making. Advertisers are extremely interested in affective computing and particularly in a branch known as emotion analytics, which offers unprecedented real-time access to consumers' emotional reactions and the ability to program alternative responses depending on how the content is being received.

For example, if two people watch an advertisement with a joke and only one person laughs, the software can be programmed to show more of the same kind of advertising to the person who laughs while trying different sorts of advertising on the person who did not laugh to see if it's more effective. In essence, affective computing could enable advertisers to create individually-tailored advertising en masse."

"Say 15 years from now a particular brand of weight loss supplements obtains a particular girl's information and locks on. When she scrolls through her Facebook, she sees pictures of rail-thin celebrities, carefully calibrated to capture her attention. When she turns on the TV, it automatically starts on an episode of "The Biggest Loser," tracking her facial expressions to find the optimal moment for a supplement commercial. When she sets her music on shuffle, it "randomly" plays through a selection of the songs which make her sad. This goes on for weeks. 

Now let's add another layer. This girl is 14, and struggling with depression. She's being bullied in school. Having become the target of a deliberate and persistent campaign by her technology to undermine her body image and sense of self-worth, she's at risk of making some drastic choices."


Source: http://www.hopesandfears.com/hopes/now/int...

Distracted. Addicted. Alone Together. Emotionally dead. Disengaged from the real world. A parody of itself.

Animation by Steve Cutts. Music by Moby & The Void Pacific Choir, These Systems Are Failing.

Vint Cerf, the living legend largely responsible for the development of the Internet protocol suite, has some concerns about history. In his current column for the Communications of the ACM, Cerf worries about the decreasing longevity of our media, and, thus, about our ability as a civilization to self-document—to have a historical record that one day far in the future might be remarked upon and learned from. Magnetic films do not quite have the staying power as clay tablets.

At stake, according to Cerf, is “the possibility that the centuries well before ours will be better known than ours will be unless we are persistent about preserving digital content. The earlier media seem to have a kind of timeless longevity while modern media from the 1800s forward seem to have shrinking lifetimes. Just as the monks and Muslims of the Middle Ages preserved content by copying into new media, won’t we need to do the same for our modern content?”

As media becomes more ephemeral across technological generations, the more it depends on the technological generation that comes next.

Also, depends on the mindset of the generation that comes next too... What if we don't even want to remember?

Source: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/vint-cerf...

It never ceases to amaze me just how stupid screen culture is.

But now it's even parodying itself---in the way only the online spectacle can: by folding back into itself to keep us watching.

The problems and concerns, long since established, are all now just a big joke. Short attention spans. Superficial engagement with information. Advertising masquerading as content. The convergence of extremely powerful corporate empires that influence what we think, feel, and do, in a way never before possible. Distraction from the real world, while the real world burns.

The story of this first short is about the end of the world, and nobody even cares.  Could that be any more close to home?

There's also a short about an "Uber for people," invoking the themes of exploitation, surveillance, and the enslavement-addiction to technological solutions that parodies the screen culture of today---especially the mindset of "apps fix all."

Can we see this as one thing in terms of another?

Likewise with, "Enter the Hive Mind."

What will you do, when it's time you're asked to put your whole self into the global computer even more completely than now? What is your personal threshold? Will you continue to "breathe life" into the machine?

Source: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLuK...
A cocktail bar owner has installed a Faraday cage in his walls to prevent mobile phone signals entering the building. Steve Tyler of the Gin Tub, in Hove, East Sussex, is hoping customers will be encouraged to talk to each other rather than looking at their screens. He has installed metal mesh in the walls and ceiling of the bar which absorbs and redistributes the electromagnetic signals from phones and wireless devices to prevent them entering the interior of the building.

Mr Tyler said he wanted to force “people to interact in the real world” and remember how to socialise. “I just wanted people to enjoy a night out in my bar, without being interrupted by their phones,” he said. “So rather than asking them not to use their phones, I stopped the phones working. I want you to enjoy the experience of going out.”
Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/08...
AuthorJordan Brown

This short video explores how the online world has overwhelmingly become the popular outlet for public rage by briefly illustrating some of the many stories of everyday people which have suddenly become public enemy number one under the most misunderstood of circumstances and trivial narratives. With the web acting like a giant echo-chamber, amplifying false stories and feeding on the pent-up aggression of the audience watching the spectacle, The Outrage Machine shows how these systems froth the mob mentality into a hideous mess, as a good example of where the spectacle goes and how its intensity has to keep ratcheting up in order maintain the audience attention, in a culture of dwindling attention spans, distraction and triviality.

Filmmaker and author Jon Ronson also recently wrote a book about this topic too, which is quite good. So You've Been Publicly Shamed. His TED talk is essentially a 17 min overview:

And a longer presentation with interview and Q&A from earlier this year:

Ultimately, do we talk or not talk to journalists?

Many of us have been burnt by them, but it is the only way to get out of the ivory tower and to reach the broader public with our research. Some interviews are successful, where the interviewee engages in some serious dialogue with the interviewer, but even these may be considered mere profiles after an article goes to print having gone through the editing process multiple times.

We all know how modern journalism can work with the “grab” or the “hook line”. But the grab (similarly to the antecedents of surveillance) is at least as old as the “Let there be light”! But it is still worth the risk however it might make us look, if at least the grab causes some useful and widespread discussion.

I have often donated hours of my time to answering queries a journalist might have about a topic I have expertise in when asked. I cannot determine what parts of my contribution are cited or how they are cited. Thank goodness there have been more positive than negative experiences.

What matters beyond any aggrandizing of the self in the press, is that the journalist presents a balanced perspective in an article with the grabs from the different interviewees. We will not always be quoted in context nor will reference always be made to our “resume” or to the larger corpus of our work.

"According to University of Wollongong associate professor Katina Michael, it will allow wearers to ''share visual surveillance in real-time with people in underground networks of all sorts - for the distribution of child pornography, for grooming, cyberstalking, voyeurism and even for corporate fraud''.

As for my recent quote (above) in the Sydney Morning Herald in the article written by Asher Moses published on 23 March, I stand by it completely and absolutely with the only qualification that digital glass is certainly far more than those negatives of my quote and it will (in its positive applications) provide for extraordinary times in all spheres of our lives. To Asher Moses on 18 March I began with the following statement in response to an email inquiry:

"There are a number of societal implications of wearable computing technologies: some positive, some negative. When used for emergency response or ehealth applications, the advantages of Digital Glass are significant, remote step-by-step instructions through a digital eyeglass leaving both hands free and remote diagnosis of patients increasing doctor to patient ratios. 
But one has to ponder on whether the projected harms will outweigh these selective benefits. For example, one can quickly imagine this new technology being misused by cybercriminals- namely for crimes against the person. In effect, we are providing a potential capability to share visual surveillance in real-time with people in underground networks of all sorts- for the distribution of child pornography, for grooming, cyberstalking, voyeurism and even for corporate fraud where "the computer" is the ultimate target."

And yet, if anybody in our ICT community genuinely holds that my “grab” will not be part of the Glass legacy, they are seriously mistaken. Those corporations and vendors marketing and “selling the glass” without the caveat emptor, will have you believe academics such as myself are dangerous, backwards, and a threat to our bright future. Let me say to them, there will come a time when Dylan Thomas’ famous “rage, rage against the dying of the light” will come back to haunt you with the equally evocative and soul stirring, “rage, rage against the double-dealing of the glass.” I for one, along with those whose research findings point them to similarly cautious responses, will not “go gentle into that good night.”

We are headed for wonderful times with digital glass and we are headed for horrible times with digital glass. There is no utopia and there is no dystopia. I've always believed in the "via media" (centrality/middle ground). Importantly, philosophers who have contemplated on the question of technology and its impact on society, have argued that technology must be vigorously critiqued for the worst of all possible outcomes would be the dehumanization of the individual and the loss of dignity. One of the fundamentals of this literature is the profound comprehension that technology has not only to do with building but that it is also a social process.

But one thing I do know from almost two decades of active involvement in ICT- whether it be industry or academia and through my numerous research collaborations (especially with MG Michael)- is that where a technology can be misused, it will be. Then again, history itself is proof enough.