Consciousness of our surroundings

What is ethical? Are humans becoming more ethical?

Ethics is quite a heavy handed topic, but it short term ethics is a way in which humans can look at the world and see what is fair and just, and tries to pin down what is required to do right for not only humans but for all beings living and non hat occupy the same world

Discussing the ethical behavior humans have towards animals and our environments is becoming a more prevalentHumans are slowly becoming more aware of their impacts with the growing trend of dietary trends such as vegetarianism and veganism. It seems to be that as people there are a few here and there who are changing their lifestyles to better help the world that keeps us living even whilst we poison it.

By changing your diet from meat staples to vegetarian and vegan meals can slowly start to change both the minds of those around you as well as affect the impact on the environment.Not only are herbivores addressing the way in which animals are treated but are also changing the way in which humans impact the world in the long run, by reducing carbon emissions

“Average US consumer switching from a typical American diet to a vegan diet with the same number of calories saves 1.5 tonnes of carbon per year” Eshel G, and P A martin 2006 “Diet, Energy, and Global Warming, Earth Interactions in press”

When tackling the issues of global warming; changing diets seems to be the hardest thing to let go of, a common excuse seems to be that they simply couldn’t live without the comforts that their diet provides, or where will I get my protein from, or I just don’t like vegetables. It is the mindset of the majority that needs to be changed, to assure meat eaters that a vegetarian or vegan diet isn’t as boring or unappetising as is assumed

Even still being vegetarian or vegan sadly isn’t enough. Our lifestyles need to change and although change is hard, we need to make an impact before its too late. We are making our way with electric cars and renewable energy and on going environmental projects, yet it is still difficult to make a large enough impact to not just fix what humans have done but what we continue to do.

 

References

Eshel G, and P A martin 2006 “diet energy and global warming, earth interactions in press”

Singer, P. 2009″The Ethics of What We Eat” WilliamsCollege,14 Dec

 

The Selfish Selfie

Are we growing to be more selfish? Does this correlate with our obviously growing narcissism. Does that mean we are happier for it?

A growing trend and now necessity in the majority of people accessing their virtual lives through visual platforms is the act of taking a selfie. And though the act of doing so may be judged I can guarantee that every single one of you reading this has taken one. Whether it be a guilty pleasure, a group selfie or the shameless “in public, looking flawless, its ok its for my snap chat streak”

Its become a requirement of social media. And it definitely has, because I can tell you, If some tries to add me on social media and their display picture is a car or aspirational quote… then no thanks maybe never.

For people not caught up in this world of self-love and mastery of filters the obvious question comes to mind; how can this benefit anything?

Selfies appear selfish especially for those who don’t partake of the highly broadcasted self-interest and admiration. But are generations who have immersed themselves in this virtual culture more selfish than the generations before?

When it comes down to it the manner in which social media functions makes it appear as through its users are selfish,; constantly looking for likes and making themselves appear “more beautiful” than their average selves. However this is how humans behave. We crave attention and admiration as they bring with them endorphins and dopamine. Molly Soat of Marketing News discusses this social media drug in “Social Media Triggers a Dopamine High”

In the article she mentions Mauricio Delgado, associate professor of psychology at Rutgers University in Newark, N.J., who states that “The same brain areas [that are activated for food and water] are activated for social stimuli,”

He discusses the “like” and “share” function of social media stating that the initial dopamine kick is received from the act ie working out or eating dinner., a secondary kick is received from the sharing and liking aspect  “It’s a daisy chain of dopamine.”

Now that humans have the means to look for this high constantly and with ease, does that make us more selfish?We are simply aware of what makes us chemically happy and how to obtain it.

A study by Hui Bing Tan and Joseph P. Forgas on the selfishness of humans and how that relates to our happiness draws on some interesting findings. The study drew from three experiments where the mood and how this affected their fairness was monitored. Interestingly when people exhibited positive moods, selfishness was increased and people with negative moods were more inclined to be fairer.

The results were as follows;

Microsoft Word - TanForgasJESPJan2010RevisionWithFigures

Can this then mean that in fact the generations subjected to social media constraints and norms are indeed prone to higher levels of selfishness, considering that they are chemically happier with each burst of “like/share” fueled dopamine

One aspect that needs to be addressed is the truth as to whether our internet soaked generations are in fact happier.

Viewing this from social media stance, Id say definitely, however we all know that in between the amazing instagram pictures of loads of people gallivanting through pristine scenes with flawless skin and even more flawless friends could well be, an all but exciting life.

The pictures, selfies, and posts that make the cut to social media all hold qualities that we admire, they are the best of the best, not the average and boring. Our social media profiles have become our brands, it is what we use to show other people the best of ourselves, and we sure as hell aren’t going to show our “depressed, cant get out of bed and only ate slices of plastic cheese for a week” selves. If its not desirable, it wont be published.

I truly don’t believe that even though public spaces online depict immaculate people with bountiful lives, that they are happier for it.

Geraldine Bedell, editor of Gransnet, discussed the growing rates of mental health issues in the last 25 years. Stating that “Rates of depression and anxiety among teenagers have increased by 70 per cent in the past 25 years. The number of children and young people turning up in A&E with a psychiatric condition has more than doubled since 2009”

Every aspect of social media is constructed, and therefore should not be taken as entirely true. If we are not truly happy does this then indicate that we are not as selfish as we may appear when immersing ourselves in this simulated lifestyle?

References

Bedell, G. 2016 “Teenage Mental-Health Crisis: Rates Of Depression Have Soared In Past 25 Years” Independent, 27 February 2016

Fareri, D.S., Martin, L.N., Delgado, M.R. (2008) Reward-related processing in the human brain: Developmental considerations. Development & Psychopathology, 20(4): 1191-1211.

Hui Bing Tan and Joseph P. Forgas When happiness makes us selfish, but sadness makes us fair: Affective influences on interpersonal strategies in the dictator game

Soat, M. 2015 “Social Media Triggers a Dopamine High”Marketing News, Nov 2015

 

A troll is a troll. But what is a troll?

“The most essential part of trolling is convincing your victim that either a) truly believe in what you are saying, no matter how outrageous, or b) give your victim malicious instructions, under the guise of help.”

Trolling is a time old tradition passed down from generation to generation. In simplest forms most people have been a troll throughout their lives. A troll doesn’t have to be a disguised individual scouring the multitude of platforms and chartrooms waiting for their next victim.

The blossoming new era of trolling has indeed changed dramatically. With the ability to disguise oneself behind a screen and play the intellect, the internet has allowed the existence of the troll to morph into something we cannot control.

The greatest group of trollers has to be anonymous. No limits, no identity and with power and control to back them are unstoppable. Developing over the decades it has always been known as legend however still prevalent today. Successfully pulling off mass trolls anonymous stands as one of the powerful trolls, sparking revolutions in the world of intellectual pranks.

A game based on deception, it has spread rapidly to every tiny space of the internet. It works like a virus. The aim is to not get caught, to win players must out match their opponent, some players or rather victims don’t even know whats happening.

The changes in platforms particularly the lack of consequences involved with anonymous Internet usage has allowed players to morph the troll in to something else.

The sad truth is that, where once was wit and sharp thinking, is now bullying and pestering. The true nature of a troll has been lost.

Will it become extinct, replaced by easier forms or entertainment? Most likely involving less skill or thought.

Colemn, G 2014. “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistle Bloer, Spy: The many faces of the anonymous” Verso, Creative commons.

Miller, Ryan M. (2013). Hacking the Social: Internet Memes, Identity Antagonism, and the Logic of Lulz, The Fibreculture Journal, 22: p. 89.

To sheep or to sheep

The human race a technology as it is playing it seems to be one of laziness and apathy. Adaption after adaption enhances our lives by making life easier. With a touch of a button were able to change our lives completely without any strain of more than a few muscles.

We are already governed by media, technology and pop culture, the human race is no longer a race but a hum drum rhythm copies. We are slowly weakening our independence and soon will have no value to us and we’ll just give it away.

The leap or rather small fairy step from where we are now to a world governed not by humans but by objects does not seem to be such a bad thing. It’ll make life a lot easier considering the hardest thing about getting ready everyday and choice rather than the actual process.

To cut out the menial task of thinking.

Could it be that easy.

Could it be that boring?

Oh yes it can and it now comes with 3 new shades of grey. Grey so you don’t need to strain your brain with the option of choice.

Social objects can and do control every aspect of our lives minutely. Hugh Macleod stated in his blog Gapingvoid in 2008 that “the social object in a nutshell, is the reason two people talk to each other, as opposed to somebody else” he goes on to explain that even though social humans need to encouragement, a reason to socialize with people. “that reason, that “node” in the social network, is what we call the Social Object”

Although the lack of control, or even lack of thought, one has in their daily tasks can lead to serious consequences. Although there are always positives even when we’re thinking of the future and the horrors it may hold.

Social objects have lead us to inventions such as the Internet of things, discussed in Teodor Mitew’s “FCJ-168 Do objects dream of an internet of things”

It is through our growth in communication that we can bring together the internet of things described as a platform allowing the categorization of things. No only can this make it easier for individuals to successfully search the depths and come out with what they were looking for, however also enhances conversation as the social objects are infinite.

As it seems the progression of communication is not reducing its speed. And although we can foresee glitches here and there the outcome may outweigh the consequences. So here’s to a better and brighter/clearer voice and tones more cat videos, as social objects, for learning of course.

Macleod, H. 2008 “Social Objects are the future of marketing.”Gapingvoid.

Mitew, T. 2014 “FCJ-168 Do objects dream of an internet of things” The Fibreculture Journal, Open Humanities Press.

My second identity is online 

Social creature by nature, humans have been, since the dawn of tongue, perfecting the forms of communication. Through these new developments we have also as a result formed new identities; from the polite well presented telephone speaking voice to the online presence as a whole.

Human kind has and always will continue to develop the next best thing especially if it involves adapting something that already love to a shinier, faster, more elegant version. This is exactly what we’ve done with our identities online.

Our online presence is no longer a hobby or past time. It is now alive, growing and changing as we do. It needs to be fed daily, petted, washed and pampered, and most importantly its social life.

Through the analysis of Arto in “Understanding Social Networking”, Larsen is able to convey the way in which identity is built, although discussed in a more positive light than I would have liked, Larsen still identifies that youngsters have the ability to ’find’ their identity no only through them selves but also with others. This viewpoint is not something I completely agree with however. Larsen describes the process of manipulating an online identity though positive feedback to be … positive. It would be if we lived in a perfect world, however this site has turned what could be a positive identity construction zone into a fake, directed show. The users of this site are the perfect example of a utopian dystopian online world. Fueling the fire of attainable perfection, molding youngsters into sheep, with little opinion focused solely on being the ‘nicest’ person.

The internet allows users to have a new identity. Through these identities we can change who we are, face little consequence or backlash. The internet in some forms can offer an outlet for individuals struggling to find an identity or even help with those who cannot cope with one they don’t seem to fit.

The progression of the avatar has allowed users to connect with people like themselves around the world without as many barriers as we once had.

The study by Koda, Ishida , Rehm and Andre’ “Avatar culture: cross-culture evaluations of avatar facial expressions” found that there are cultural differences in interpreting avatar expressions. This suggests that even the online identities we create are still highly influenced by our surroundings, so much so that a distinct difference can be seen between Japanese avatars and those of Western origin.

Andre’, E. Ishida, T. Koda, T, Rehm M. 2009 “Avatar culture: cross-culture evaluations of avatar facial expressions” Springer-Verlag London Limited,!st July

Larsen, M. 2008 “Understanding Social Networking” Aalborg University, Denmark.

It’s 1984 all over again

Continuous breaches of the public sphere has increased the urge to make a change. Focused prodominitly in Britain a new uprising of protests have risen concerning the use of personal digital information that, as it seems, is not private at all. Interpret corporations have great access to our information although technically through consent, not all users of the Internet are fully aware of how much of their information can be stored or even how easily it can be accessed without their knowledge. 

Talk of a digital bill of rights has been mentioned and in  ‘The Conversations’ 21st April “What Use Would a Bill of Rights Be?” article this option is discusses in a manner that provoked many questions about the rights Internet users currently have and the potential if their were to be such a change that is suggested. 

The concept of personal information as payment for the use of products was mention in the bill of rights article. This form of payment looks to be the only fitting payment for the use of digital data, one needs to give to receive, however the extent of this payment seems quite unfair. Internet corporations see little value in personal information, where apps and websites store  large amounts of data for one individual and only then does It suffice for the use of one product!

Indeed the Internet is a growing commodity and as it grows so does its expense. Ussrs are required to pay for the information and data they use regardless of how useful it will be to them in the future, that’s right I’m talking about Cary crush and FarmVille. It is the users priority to deliberate whether their time and currency is worth the data they are receiving. The fact that users are paying is not the issue here. The issue is that users are paying for somthing they have deemed as free, so not once it’s too late do they realise how much of their personal data has been used to pay for their addictive ‘gaming’. 

For something that has been running for so long and has had the chance to find a solution for quite some time, the Internet is still stuck in a rut between working for the benefit of its users or its masters. Surveillance is somethig that scares me and should definitely scare more people than it actually does. The extent of the surveillance we are subjected to is unbelievable however it has reached this point because we’ve allowed it to.  We are naive and it’s true we don’t fully understand how valuable our privacy is untill it has been taken away however that should not mean that it is right to exploit us. 

This day and age of data retention and personal survelence reminds me of the classic distooian play 1984. Depicting a world where privacy didn’t exist and people were simply cogs in machine, running purely for a big corporation. George Orwell was able to predict the turn of our technology not through extra terrestrial beings or artificial intelligence taking control but from ourselves. Multiple ‘wars’ broke out every week with a different cintender. Civilians under cinstant watch in case they showed any signs of free will and strictly no leaniency for personal time or pleasure. 

What’s sad is that this horridly depiction may soon be our legitimate future. Orwell showed a world of his worst fears and we have only encouraged its progression. I for one think a bill of rights is a brilliant idea.  Although it may not stop survelence entirely it may hinder its control and bring attention to its harmfulness. The digital and online world of legislation is a tricky place, by creating a bill of rights the these rules and regulations may be combined in one form of legislation to work for the public. At least then will users have legislation to stand on

Are we settling for a quick scratch when we really need a full body massage.

A quick fix is all you need these days, no substance or depth, very little shared love and certainly no care to do it again. Material, platforms, sites and the process of the online in general are the one night stands of entertainment. Fed quick snacks of high energy, low nutrition and a whole lot of junk consumers of these forms of entertainment are deprived and manure he’d. I can honestly say that it has been months since I last picked up a book and even then I read a few pages and was distracted by the ever present whining of my Facebook feed, I’m ashamed to say I am one of them.. 
The further into Dorner’s (1993) “When readers become end-users: intercourse without seduction”, I felt guiltier. I reread the article about three times just to make sure I wouldn’t be one of the readers she was critizing as a skim reader. However soon after the provoked thoughts had left my head I was once again hooked by the sugar soaked easy readings of buzfeed polls and quick step articles. 
It’s a shame really that it today’s society as referred to by Dorner as ‘post modernist’ we fail to appreciate the courtship of true reading. However I. Saying this, the evolution of reading could be at its next bridge. Indeed people feel less obligated or even motivated to feed their minds with a good fiction or well written truths, however what if we are simply evolving to enjoy a different form of entertainment. The world of interactivity has captured the minds of many, a new age banter between other people rather than characters in a novel. In some cases this can be a good form of  nourishment. Take role playing games for example; groups are formed which lead to bonds,  effective analysis of situations, team work, forward thinking, and entertainment. 

In saying that some interactive forms of entertainment has found to has less than a desirable effect of the participants. Schreier “From halo to hot sauce: what 25 years of violent video game research looks like”, (2013)  discusses the effects of long term bpgaming I pm violent stettings. Like most violent forms of entertainment violence fuels violence. However gaming seems to be one of the most effecting forms. Whether this is fuels by the interactive component of simply enhanced I don’t know.  This is not nessasarily somthing that is seen in all genres or forms of gaming it is simply the most popular. Either way I feel the evolutionary progress we are experiencing in front of our own eyes is definitely something that should not be overlooked and spectra in,y not hindered. I feel their change could the beginning of many new forms of entertainment just waiting to spread their positive influence. And I can’t wait!