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...

This pompously narrated documentary nevertheless provides an overview of the television series Mr. Robot, exploring how the show echoes and has even predicted events in real life of today's technology-gripped culture. It is an interesting interplay of pop-culture and hacker happening, the blurring of the line between the real world and storytelling and visa versa. Using interviews with cast and crew members, as well as the opinions of experts and journalists in the fields of hacking and cyber security, Mr. Robot Decoded examines the technical accuracy of the Mr. Robot series, while also discussing the show's cultural impact.

Contrasted with The Hacker Wars, a film which explores the strange duality of the modern-day computer-hacker as a mischievous provocateur, but also in some cases, societal activists with underlying political fervour, serious or not. This documentary explores this by profiling some of the renowned characters that have tickled the secretive inner workings of corporations and government agencies, IRL, for various reasons—ranging from the nefarious and narcissistic, to the political and scandalous. Some do it for the lulz, others do it to prove a point, and others still do it to speak truth to corrupt power. In any event, many have faced severe punishments as a result. Weaving through this, The Hacker Wars touches on issues of whistleblowing, social justice and power relations, in a time where computer technologies represent extreme power and control. But for whom? And what? This poses the question in deciphering the personalities of the hackers themselves. Are they troublemakers driven solely by a need to instigate havoc and chaos? Or are they in part activists with good intentions?

Make note of the screen culture symptoms: lack of linear narrative, increase in speed, shorter attention span, skimming, less engagement with content/meaning, "efficiency", increase in scatterbrain, etc. Also, the descriptions about how this behaviour effects the perception of reality.

I watch television and films in fast forward. This has become increasingly easy to do with computers (I’ll show you how) and the time savings are enormous. [...] I started doing this years ago to make my life more efficient.

[...]

As I’ve come to consume all my television on my computer, I’ve developed other habits, too. I don’t watch linearly anymore; I often scrub back and forth to savor complex scenes or to skim over slow ones. In other words, I watch television like I read a book. I jump around. I re-read. Sometimes I speed up. Sometimes I slow down.

I confess these new viewing techniques have done something strange to my sense of reality. I can’t watch television in real-time anymore. Movie theaters feel suffocating. I need to be able to fast-forward and rewind and accelerate and slow down, to be able to parcel my attention where it’s needed.

[...]

We risk transforming, perhaps permanently, the ways in which our brains perceive people, time, space, emotion. And isn’t that marvelous?
Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/w...

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:

Source: http://www.canadianbusiness.com/lists-and-rankings/most-innovative-companies/interaxon/

Source: http://www.canadianbusiness.com/lists-and-rankings/most-innovative-companies/interaxon/

A great summation of uberveillance in relation to FitBit-style trackers by Richard Chirgwin of The Register. Article here 

 

Thought experiment.

Taking everything you know about the world of computers, the history of screen experience and the trajectory of emerging technologies—say with Google Glass, for example—combined with this culture’s love affair with instant gratification, recording, surveillance, narcissism, and control; what could one be left looking at?

The Entire History of You explores some of these ideas in a world where most people have an implant behind their ear called a ‘grain’ which records everything they do, see and hear. Memories can be played back either in front of the person’s eyes or on a screen—a process known as a ‘re-do.’

Nothing is off limits. Everything is recorded, archived, and scrutinised.

Scrutiny comes to social events too. ‘Re-dos’ are done with friends and family, analogous to the current culture of social media ‘sharing’ and the solipsistic sense of self lived vicariously through screens.

In this world—and of our own—what are the myriad personal, interpersonal and social implications? What do the profound repercussions for relationships and even individual existential experience look like?

The Entire History of You is part of a series of films called Black Mirror which explore different aspects of “the way we live now—and the way we might be living in 10 minutes’ time if we're clumsy.”

More to come...