Coinciding with a continued rise in public cynicism and a legitimate mistrust of mainstream media beholden to systems of power that are discredited, it seems most people turn to social media networks to get their news now. But this seemingly doesn't fix the problem. Rather than a "democratisation" of the media and/or a mass reclamation of investigative journalism (as technology pundits continuously purport), there's arguably been the opposite.

Now, with the convergence of closed social media networks that are beholden to nefarious algorithms such as The Filter Bubble and the personalisation of information, as an article in the Guardian explains, "Social media has swallowed the news – threatening the funding of public-interest reporting and ushering in an era when everyone has their own facts. But the consequences go far beyond journalism."

Twenty-five years after the first website went online, it is clear that we are living through a period of dizzying transition. For 500 years after Gutenberg, the dominant form of information was the printed page: knowledge was primarily delivered in a fixed format, one that encouraged readers to believe in stable and settled truths.

Now, we are caught in a series of confusing battles between opposing forces: between truth and falsehood, fact and rumour, kindness and cruelty; between the few and the many, the connected and the alienated; between the open platform of the web as its architects envisioned it and the gated enclosures of Facebook and other social networks; between an informed public and a misguided mob.

What is common to these struggles – and what makes their resolution an urgent matter – is that they all involve the diminishing status of truth. This does not mean that there are no truths. It simply means, as this year has made very clear, that we cannot agree on what those truths are, and when there is no consensus about the truth and no way to achieve it, chaos soon follows.

Increasingly, what counts as a fact is merely a view that someone feels to be true – and technology has made it very easy for these “facts” to circulate with a speed and reach that was unimaginable in the Gutenberg era (or even a decade ago).

Too much of the press often exhibited a bias towards the status quo and a deference to authority, and it was prohibitively difficult for ordinary people to challenge the power of the press. Now, people distrust much of what is presented as fact – particularly if the facts in question are uncomfortable, or out of sync with their own views – and while some of that distrust is misplaced, some of it is not.

In the digital age, it is easier than ever to publish false information, which is quickly shared and taken to be true – as we often see in emergency situations, when news is breaking in real time.

It's like the well-oiled tactics of the tobacco industry that have since permeated pretty much all industries---confuse the hell out of people so they don't know what's true anymore. It's a popular PR tactic honed over decades for social control and manipulation of democracy, and it's that element that exists and is especially reinforced online (particularly in real time), in the giant echo chamber of corporate social media networks, where the user is constantly subjected to streams and streams of information about current events---most devoid of context, analysis, or even significant depth in the time and space of a tweet.

The grounding that gives rise to physical reality and epistemological truths goes missing when we're tied to screens that simply reflect our projections.

In the words of Sherry Turkle, the issues facing our planet right now cannot be solved in the time-space of texting/tweeting. So if the way we understand, perceive and relate to the world through the prism of media (mainstream media and social media alike) is in decline, it should tell us volumes about the state of democracy...

Global Voices' adds: "The need for fact-checking hasn't gone away. As new technologies have spawned new forms of media which lend themselves to the spread of various kinds of disinformation, this need has in fact grown. Much of the information that's spread online, even by news outlets, is not checked, as outlets simply copy-paste -- or in some instances, plagiarise -- "click-worthy" content generated by others. Politicians, especially populists prone to manipulative tactics, have embraced this new media environment by making alliances with tabloid tycoons or by becoming media owners themselves.

UPDATE 29/7 -- Example, of sorts. "#SaveMarinaJoyce conspiracy theories about British YouTuber go viral." News reporting social media rumours, facts from source ignite disbelief and cynicism, confirmation bias at work, etc.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/jul...
The Conversation

The Apple Watch heralds a brave new world of digital living

Katina Michael, University of Wollongong and MG Michael, University of Wollongong

“The Watch is here” touts Apple’s slogan for its wearable computer, implying that the one and only time-piece that really matters has arrived. So much for the Rolex Cosmograph and Seiko Astron when you can buy a stylish digital Apple Watch Sport, or even Apple Watch Edition crafted with 18-karat gold.

If we believe the hype, one in four Australians plan to buy a wearable device by the end of the year.

Of its many features and functions, the Apple Watch is a music player, fitness tracker, communications device, payment token and digital key. And it also tells the time. We were surprised that no one claimed that it will also help look after our kids. But not for long. There’s an app for that. So is there anything this device cannot do?

Who would have thought that the power of an internet-enabled laptop computer, mobile phone, iPod, fitness tracker, bank card and set of keys could be neatly packaged and strapped around your wrist?

And unlike other futuristic visions of hand-held communicators, the Apple Watch won’t leave you stranded in perilous situations because it’s dropped, stolen or falls out of range because it’s literally always connected to you.

It has arrived! Apple

Invisible ubiquity

This raises a key question: how will we change our behaviour based on the fact that we are walking around with a fully-fledged computer – one that sits in contact with our bodies and communicates wirelessly with machines around us without us being explicitly aware of it?

According to the marketing spiel, we’ll have a lot more convenience at our fingertips. But, in actuality, we may find ourselves reaching for the mute button, longing to be disconnected, and fed up with all the notifications interrupting us. That’s when the novelty effect wears off.

We have probably witnessed people who cannot resist the urge of pulling out their mobile phone to interact with it at the most inopportune times or who pass their idle time simply looking down at a screen.

Most do not realise they are even interacting with their personal computer devices for hours each day. The repetitive behaviour has almost become a type of tic disorder which is neurobehavioural.

We get a message, it makes us feel important. We reply and get a buzz the very next time it happens again. It’s kind of like digital ping pong. And the game can get tangible fast. The main reason this repetitive behaviour remains hidden is that the majority of smartphone users suffer from this, so it looks normal.

You can see people in public spaces immersed in virtual places. These Wi-Fi-enabled mobile contraptions can also trigger a host of internet-related addictions, whether used for gaming, answering mail, web surfing, online transactions, social media, we-chatting, or taking a tonne of photographs.

A typical day at the shopping centre.

According to experts, internet addiction disorder (IAD) can ruin lives by causing neurological complications, psychological disturbances and social problems. This is not to mention the potential for accidents when people are not looking where they are going or not paying attention to what they should be doing. In short, our need to be always online and connected has become a kind of cybernarcotic drug.

China’s ‘Web Junkies’: Internet addiction documentary (New York Times).

Little device, big data

Very few of us are immune to this yearning for “feedback loops”, so telecommunications operators and service providers pounce on this response. Information is money. And while we are busy interacting with our device, the companies are busy pocketing big money using our big data.

We are fast becoming a piece of digital information ourselves, sold to the highest bidder. And while we are busy rating ourselves and one another, the technology companies are not only using our ratings to learn more about our preferences and sentiments, but rating us as humans. In sociological terms it’s called social sorting, and in policing terms it’s called proactive profiling.

In days gone by, mobile communications could tell data collectors about our identity, location, even our condition. This is not new. But the real-time access and precision of this level of granularity of data gathered is something we should be all aware of as potentially impinging on our fundamental human rights.

Because they interface directly with the human body, watches have the capacity to tell a third party much more about you than just where you’ve been and where you are likely to be going. They can:

  • Detect physiological characteristics like your pulse rate, heart rate, temperature which can say a lot about your home/work/life habits

  • Determine time, distance, speed and altitude information derived from onboard sensors

  • Identify which apps you are using and how and why you are using them, minute by minute

  • Oversee the kinds of questions you are asking via search engines and text-based messages you are sending via social media.

Apple watcher

These watches will become integral to the fulfilment of the Internet of Things phenomenon: the ability to be connected to everyone and everything.

All in all, private corporations can glean what you are thinking, the problems you are facing, and they know your personal context. What is disturbing is that they can divulge some of your innermost personal thoughts, intentions and actions, and have evidence for the reasons we do things.

Many people immersed in the virtual world are too busy to be thinking about the very act of inputting information onto the internet. People value a life of convenience over privacy too much to be genuinely concerned what information is being logged by a company and shared with hundreds of other potential partners and affiliates.

And consumers are often oblivious to the fact that, even if they are doing nothing at all, the smart device they are carrying or wearing is creating a type of digital DNA about their uniqueness.

Today, we are asking to be monitored and are partying in the panopticon. We have fallen in love with the idea of being told about ourselves and don’t discern that we have become like prison inmates who are being tracked with electronic bracelets.

By the time we wake up to this technological trajectory, it may be all too late. Our health insurance provider might be Samsung, our telecoms provider may be Google, and our unique lifetime identifier could come from Apple. At present, these are the archetypal tech providers. But tomorrow, who knows?

There is no shortage of wearable devices these days that can track and log vast amounts of data about your activities.

And by that time, we will likely be heralding in the age of uberveillance where we posit that cellphones and wristwatches are not enough, that the human-computer interface should go deeper, penetrating the skin and into the body.

The new slogan might read “The Mark is Here”, herald the iPlant, that which gives birth to life, the one and only passport to access your forever services.

“You can’t live without it”, may soon no longer be just figurative, but a reality.

Katina Michael is Associate Professor, School of Information Systems and Technology at University of Wollongong.
MG Michael is Honorary Associate Professor, School of Information Systems and Technology at University of Wollongong.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Thanks KMA.

Yet more evidence that online MMRPG games are about more than just havin' fun.

But beyond the privacy concerns there are real concerns for physical harm as I noted in a Conversation piece last year.

 

This from a user:

"Well, one of biggest the dangers of Ingress is driving or stepping into harm's way while playing the game, and I know of at least one nasty car accident. And then there is the risk of losing your job or relationship or use of your thumb due to its addictive properties..."

Of course- we augment more than we can cope with and we might end up dead. 

Question: anyone want to talk about liability?

Source here

Thanks for the link to the Spaxels KMA. More here

Now compare with the flying Darlek in Dr Who.

Yes it's all sci-fi... well at least the Dr Who stuff is for now...



For the full article visit here

Posted
AuthorKatina Michael