Week 3: Man vs Machine

Do we control technology or does technology control us?
In the modern world we are surrounded by smart phones, computers, televisions in multiple rooms and tablets in our beds.
We seem to be constantly attached and deny addiction to these devices. There is a theory called the Proteus theory that states our addiction to technology is influencing our psychology and as a result our decisions.
It is a phenomenon in which the behaviour of an individual, within online worlds, is changed by the characteristics of their avatar.
This change is due to the individual’s knowledge of other users who are part of the virtual world associating with those characteristics positively.
The Proteus effect was first introduced by researchers Nick Yee and Jeremy Bailenson at Stanford University in June 2007. The name of the concept comes from the Greed god Proteus, who had shape changing abilities.
My personal experience with technology has been similar to everyone else’s in the fact that I grew up with the introduction of the internet and the explosion of communication technology and social media.
But the question is can we live without it?
Well, probably not.
Technology seems to be so entrenched in what we do on a daily basis that it is almost impossible to separate ourselves from it.
I recently manually turned off all my notifications for social media on my phone (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat).
The only app I left on was email as it is a professional platform I need to keep in contact for job opportunities and university studies.
It has been an empowering habit to break because now I am finding I am becoming a proactive person rather than a reactive person.
It’s forces me to break habits, such as getting out my phone when I’m bored, feel uncomfortable or waiting for time to pass.
It allows me time to take notes instead, achieve my readings for university and work on my professional development.
I think inherently we are curious and social creatures and that means we always want to feel connected and social within our community, even if that community is online in “cyberspace.”
Technology can be a wonderful tool but I think it’s important to remember that it is just a tool and the tool should never distract you from the task.
Mark Weiser stated that we should, ‘focus on the task, not the tool.’


Week 2: the privacy debate

I remember last year when we had the Australian Census and each citizen was required to give personal information over online; such as their name and where they resided for the first time ever.
This proved to be a disaster with the site crashing from so much traffic (millions of Australians logging onto the site at once) but also because a lot of people felt like their privacy was being breeched by the Government.
However, on the other hand people seem more than willing to share their personal lives on Facebook and other social media sites.

I’m around the age of people getting married and having children, which they immediately post on Facebook.
New babies and newly wedded couples spewing their personal photos all over the internet for their online friends to see and respond too.
For example, my friends posted a photograph of their wedding on Facebook where a car was doing a burnout in the background, this photo was discovered by the local police who are now investigating them regarding the photograph because they have been captured participating in an illegal activity and sharing it on Facebook for all to see.

It was mentioned in Week One’s lecture that the public were afraid when the new camera phones came out because it was ‘the end of privacy.’
But now that fear seems completely ridiculous because everybody has a phone with a camera and it is considered normal to have this added feature.

As the technological communications world advances we can see more and more that people (particularly the youth) are sharing personal details online. That is why there is a lot of threat around internet safety regarding young children and teenagers sharing/accessing  information online because on the internet people can disguise themselves as anybody.


Week 2: Encyrption online.

Encryption online is important to some people because the data is secure between the sender and receiver.
WhatsApp is popular because it is an encrypted service of messages between two parties. BlackBerry used the same method with a private email service on their devices, which could be why it is a popular device for governments.
The most popular encryption that comes to mind is the Enigma Machine used by Nazi Germany to send encrypted code to each other. It was broken by the British using the Bletchley Park Bombe to decode the messages by the German’s.
Alan Turing was one of the people who worked on the Bombe project and eventually cracked the encrypted code with the invented machine.
However, I assume that like most people I don’t really understand how encryption works exactly, we just know that it does work.
For some people having encrypted data online could be beneficial when it comes to privacy matters because it protects them online.



Week One: Reflective Post

Today we were introduced to new communication technology concepts. In the lecture we watched a speech by Amber Case about “Calm Technology” and how it can be used to take back control of technology rather than technology controlling us.
She spoke about ‘relying on external brains to communicate’ in the coming age of new technology.
Mark Weiser discussed the idea that the world is not a desktop and that we should be focusing on the task not the tool.
In class we were asked to create a blog using one of the many different websites available to us. I am using WordPress because I am already familiar with the sites tools and enjoy the simplicity of the site.
I am excited to learn more about communication technologies in the coming weeks this semester and create some content.

Week One: Communication Images

The basics of communication consist of sender and receiver; encoder and decoder.
Through a medium of channels, especially with new communication technologies of the Internet.

Mass Consensual Hallucination

Attached as a link above is a YouTube video by William Gibson discussing the idea of ‘Mass Consensual Hallucination.’
I find this concept fascinating and think that it is applicable in this course I am undertaking.



Week One: About Me

My name is Haley Smith, I am a first year student at Griffith University studying a Bachelor of Public Relations and Communications.
I am minoring in Sociology and really enjoy learning about new concepts surrounding sociology in modern society.
I love reading and writing in my spare time, especially creative writing.
I enjoy being creative, whether it be through writing, photography, film or otherwise.

I grew up in a small country town in South Australia and moved to Adelaide when I was 18 years old. I worked and studied on and off in Adelaide before moving up to the Gold Coast where I plan to stay for quite some time.

I am looking forward to this course because I think we live in an interesting time of new technological communications and it is blurring the lines between reality and an online world.
I am looking forward to learning about potentially creating an app. I am also looking forward to learning more about blogging and WordPress throughout this course.

– Haley