Akira

Usually I wouldn’t openly express my profound interest in all things cyber, dystopian and futuristic. But it seems BCM320 is making me do just that.

Our screening of Akira, made my geeky senses tingle and I became intrigued.

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Akira is a Japanese anime movie set in 1988, which explores the Japanese government dropping an atomic bomb on Tokyo after ESP experiments on children go ‘awry‘. The film illustrates the repercussions of the bomb almost 31 years after it destroyed the city. The movie is all things dystopian and cyberpunk, and shows strong similarities to your favourite movies and shows like Blade Runner and Stranger Things. It’s crazy to evaluate the similarities between the successes despite being decades apart. But it seems the themes of dystopia and cyberpunk will continue to reign as current and adaptable themes for futuristic movies.

We were given the challenge to channel our thoughts and understanding of the film in an autoethnographic account. ‘Autoethnography’ is “an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand cultural experience“. Autoenthography is a combination of autobiography and ethnography, fundamentally autobiographies are often written based on epiphanies of the researcher. Such epiphanies are “remembered moments perceived to have significantly impacted the trajectory of a person’s life“.

Autoethnography all the researcher to analyse their content from an outsider and cultural perspective. “Scholars began recognising that different kinds of people possess different assumptions about the world…Auto-ethnography, on the other hand, expands and opens up a wider lens on the world…

Attempting to live tweet while focus on the movie and research the film’s themes proved difficult, and this is exhibited by the minimal tweets I was able to curate. My cultural understanding of anime has never been broad, or my preference. However, I have always had an interest in post-apocalyptic film and the analysis of the repercussions of war and corruption.

During the viewing I noticed constant references and similarities to Blade Runner, and began thinking about the correlation between the movies and their overarching themes. Akira, like Blade Runner incorporate the themes of globalisation, technology and capitalism. It is these themes that we can see transcend over time, to portray a dystopian society which reflects war and destruction. This was evident throughout Akria, understanding these themes helped me to gather the cultural understanding of how Japanese people have dealt with the repercussions of atomic bombs.

The post-apcolyptic destruction reflects the ruins and fear of the Japanese people. What once was and what now stands, are the effects of military and political corruption which are common themes in Japanese film and literature. Being set in 2019, as the repercussions of WWIII caused me to constantly question, I questioned how filmmakers have the capacity to create films that reflect times that we have not yet experienced or predicted. It caused me to question, whether these themes of political corruption, war, globalisation and technology will continue to be labelled as ‘time-less’. And it lastly caused me to question the Japanese culture and its preconceived predictions for the future, and their immersion with western culture.

So I attempted to draw a conclusion.

Akira is a futuristic reflection of the repercussions of Atomic Bombings present and future. As a result of a Western influence and Japan’s technologically advanced society, they predict that military and political corruption will lead to ultimate destruction. Cross-cultural understanding and autoethnography allowed me to understand that Japanese culture largely influences post-apocalyptic and dystopian films. The value of Japanese anime and film culture is preserved and treasured amongst the film industry. Anime is ‘time-less’.

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Gojira 1954

Live tweeting is a difficult skill set, one that is only mastered over the course of the semester. However, lucky for me BCM325 prepared me for the big league.

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Unfortunately, I was unable to attend our first seminar back. Jet lag with a side of exhaustion from the first days back at work can really wear down a girl’s immune system. But the show goes on, and lucky for me the internet makes life a lot easier.

My first viewing experience of the semester was not pleasant and resulted in my tweets being forcefully taken down due to utter embarrassment.


Godzilla is a world renown movie, however, I must be living under a rock to have never seen any of the films.

I didn’t know what to expect with Gojira, a black and white film created in 1954 is not an everyday preference. Personally, I enjoy binge watching Harry Potter, any sortShodaiGoji_0.jpg of RomCom or action movie. To educate myself I read an article by the Atlantic to understand why Gojira is a popular film.

Christopher Orr, writes that having watched the American remakes as well as the Japanese original you are able to distinguish the cultural differences. “The Japanese original is far darker and more seamless, a topical fantasy of uncommon power. It may not be a great film, but it is an important one, a surprisingly sombre meditation on means and ends, on when exactly the price of peace becomes too costly to pay“.

 

It was brought to my attention that many Japanese kaiju movies are created as a metaphor  for the nuclear horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Gojira is, as Orr explains, “a theme of visceral immediacy” which becomes increasingly evident throughout the film. It added, in my opinion, more value to the film. Rather than reflecting a myth or legend, the tragedy that struck Japan was channelled in order to create a ‘timeless’ film.

I found that viewing this film in black and white with the accompaniment of subtitles exhibited the overall metaphor of destruction and dispart of the film. Generally, the effect of black and white can cause the viewer to reminisce, it enhanced the feeling of fear and apocalyptic ruins. Director Honda explains, “I took the characteristics of an atomic bomb and applied them to Godzilla“, and I felt that this was further reinforced through the black and white effect of the film.

Having understood the general gist of the remade Godzilla, it was interesting to watch the original and parallel it to the remake(s). America’s Godzilla – King of Monsters, was made to look through the American eye. Producers edited the original Gojira to include the US perspective told by a new protagonist Mr Martin. The protagonist reports on the events of Gojira in Japan without translating the original dialogue. This was an element I thought exhibited how cultural understands heavily influence perceptions and in this case production.

Researchers say that elements of the original film, that were not included in the America remake deter away from the impact of nuclear destruction in Japan. Rather it created an awareness for ‘global nuclear threat’, and comparing these diverse additions of Gorjia we can understand how the nuclear war and the arms race in the 50s have been diversely perceived all around the world.

This cautioned me to rethink my viewing habits. As a Harry Potter enthusiast, with an interest in dystopia, cyborgs and all things comedy. Am I being conditioned through the American lens? My initial understanding of Godzilla as a whole was through Austin Power’s reference to Godzilla in Gold Member. But as you can tell, I have been living under a rock…..

Next time someone tells me to watch the original before the remake, I will listen.

Cyber Culture & Sport

Technology as a whole has progressively evolved. It has changed the way we do, think, operate and communicate. Modern technology has made it “possible for the discovery of many functional and utility devices such as wearable technology. With the introduction of these technologies, it has made our daily lives easier, faster and more efficient.

However, there is more than meets the eye when examining the effects and influence technology has on society. Have you ever wondered and questions how technology fits so well with humans, how this integration enhances the extension and capabilities of human existence?

Cybernetics is one of your answers and Norbert Wiener is your man.  Cybernetics takes as a domain for the design or discovery and application of principles of regulation and communications. Cybernetics is defined as “the science of communication and automatic control systems in both machines and living things”. Cybernetics is an important concept when understanding the relationship between man and machine; it connects control with communication, and understanding the connection between the goal, the information and the outcome. Wieners theory originated from the Greek word Kubernetes, which directly translates to ‘steersmanship’, which funnily enough helps you to understand that cybernetics is essentially the study of systems.

The 21stcentury has now become a cyber world and Wiener has been the crux of inspiration for following his footsteps. Geeta Dayaldraws on Brian Eno’s understanding of cybernetics in the 1975 classic, stating that cybernetics is defining the creative process “cybernetic systems were used to model practically every phenomenon, with varying degrees of success”. Some suggest that Wiener resembles a prophet of an uncertain future, writing about the human perils faced by handing over power to machines.

Essentially with the influence of technology and the cyber realm, we can be seen as an ongoing scientific experiment, understanding how man/animal and machine work coherently on a daily basis.

But here’s an easier way to understand cybernetics!

Essentially, cybernetics reaches us on any end of the universe. It is a concept that only will continue to evolve as technology progresses.

It is interesting to examine exactly what areas cybernetics can change!

Sport is an interesting example, it is one industry that over the years has progressively changed and evolved as a result of the incorporation of technology and cybernetics. Since the 60s we can see the sporting industry rise, “it has carved out for itself a niche with its roots so deep that I cannot fathom the sports industry showing any sign of decline any time soon – or later”. The sports industry can be said to be home to one of the largest masses of fans the world has ever seen, Owner of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings says, “fans will paint their face purple, fans will evangelize… every other CEO in every business is dying to be in our position – they’re dying to have fans”.

The introduction of technology into the world of sports has created opportunities, it has given fans a larger playing field for interaction with athletes, and it has helped enhance athletes, technology has changed the way referees score and the way athletes train and lastly it has helped differ those who are pushing to exceed in illegal ways.

We have seen the incorporation of video and touch technology, player tracking devices have optimised individual statistics and feedback, EXO skeletons and bionic arms have given athletes another opportunity and made them ‘able’ and sports clothing has added another dimension to athletic ability. Cybernetics gives us these results, in other words, the specific system’s actions cause a change in the environment where it is present, with the changes reflected back to the system as feedback. As the changes are fed back to the system, it changes according to its programming.

The following portfolio will explore the influence and involvement of cybernetics and technology in sport. It will investigate a range of areas in the sporting industry and ultimately make an evaluation on the adjustments and so-called ‘improvements’ technology has made in the industry. Its aim is to broaden the understanding of how areas such as social media and fantasy sports enable fans and extend the sporting community and how the use of wearable technology is revolutionising the way we operate and improve performance.

Social Media

Social media is changing the way athletes, clubs and fans are interacting with each other. No longer are fans queuing to have the rare encounter with their idol, with the introduction of the Internet and social media, fan interaction is easier than ever! Because of the webosphere we are not only just watching, fans can get instant news, insights, commentary straight from the source.

Singaporean commentator Walter Lim describes sports and social media as a match made in heaven, he says “the instantaneous, intimate and interactive nature of social and mobile technologies make them perfect platforms to fuel our sporting desires”.

The incorporation of social media into sport is showing our deep descent into a future culture, now more than ever has social media and the internet given the sporting industry a Segway to maximise their reach to fans.

A prime example of this is renowned English Premier League Club, Manchester United. Man United are known for ‘flexing’ their ‘social media muscles’, social media has become one of their key tools in the marketing department. Manchester United are one of the most followed football clubs in the Premier League, fans of the red devils are said to make up 30% of all premier league followers. Meanwhile, the club has been accounted for more than 40% of fan engagement in 2017.

Social media is being used as a tool for marketing, fan impression and also merchandising. 2016 was a big year for signings at Manchester United; one, in particular, was the five-year deal of Paul Pogba. Rather than addressing the media the traditional way in a press conference, Man United took to social media to break the news to the world.

On Tuesday the 9thof August at 12.35am the news broke loose at emerged the hashtag #POGBACK that signified his reunion with the club that sold him in 2012. Red Devils were sent into a frenzy over the new signing, but this was not the only way the news broke the Internet.

Social media can maximise reach to their followers, Pobga, Adidas and Manchester United are a match made in heaven. The club and the brand went hand in hand to unveil a music video performed by artist Stormzy.

The video quickly went viral and within the first week, it reached more than 3million views. The video represented a fusion of music, lifestyle, rap and sport – which some can is the perfect reflection of Paul Pogba. But this is only one example; currently, Paul Pobga on Instagram alone has 22.8 million followers, Manchester United can offer any sponsorship this much reach each time the athlete posts a picture wearing their product.

Pobga signed to the club for £89 million, however, shortly after Man United signed renowned Swedish player Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a free transfer. It was rumoured that Zlatan’s jersey sales alone had paid for Pogba’s transfer fee.

These are only some examples to exhibit how much of an impact social media is having on the sporting industry. Sporting clubs now are thinking beyond the realm of social media and are exploring digital innovations; apps like the Manchester United application or the NBA app on smartphones are changing the game. Brands and clubs are branching out to maximise fan engagement in the next generation.

Sport is progressing further towards cyberculture. How we know, communicate and engage has all turned to digital technology. As previously stated the sporting industry has invested in social media in order to engage fans and attract the newer generations. However, the relationship between social media, fans and athletes proves not to always be as efficient and positive.

With heightened fan engagement and surveillance, social media creates an easy opportunity for athletes to go viral as a result of their actions or words. As a result of this athletes are heavily surveilled by governing bodies to avoid public humiliation and outrage. An example of this is Paul Pogba, in March of this year he released a photo of his latest haircut, as some described it resembling a ‘peacock’. Fans expressed outrage by Pogba’s ‘antics’ on social media, urging the football star to clean up his act.

There are further countless amounts of ‘accidental’ posts by athletes on Twitter:

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https://www.instagram.com/p/BggH7-nj-CR/?taken-by=paulpogba

Furthermore, while social media has now become a key tool in marketing for athletes, associations and brands we can see social media as an ever-evolving platform for fans and the next upcoming generation. In order to maintain its success and efficiency, player profiles must continue to be patrolled to avoid miscommunication, embarrassment and potential harm.

With all the success and branding from social media, will athletes and their clubs take an extra step for precaution and surveillance?

Insider Technology

Technology is defying human abilities, it is becoming more precise, it is reaching areas and heights that are unattainable for humans and are effortlessly picking up on human error. The future and culture of sport are becoming technologically advanced and digitised. Now more than ever have we seen the heightened inclusion of digital technology in sporting arenas and off field.

Technologies such as the video-referee, the hawk-eye, playback and many more have rapidly increased decision making, precision and ‘fairness’ throughout sport. The use of such technologies has been greatly underestimated and their use has been highly disputed. The involvement of said technologies will continue to provoke a debate amongst professionals in the industry and researchers. However, as a result of an evolving ‘digitised’ society, it does not seem that the digital influence will disappear anytime soon. So, let us explore some of the many technologies used throughout sport.

Athletes over the years have become progressively stronger, faster and smarter. The momentum and speed of games have greatly increased as a result of this, and often scores have been decided based on a difference of a millimetre. With the introduction of technology, many would argue that the degree of difference and efficiency has increased with the reliance on officiating technologies. One, in particular, is the Hawk-Eye.

Hawk-eye technology has been a game changer, mostly seen in sports such as tennis, cricket, rugby and volleyball.

The hawk-eye is a leading sports innovation technology, which tracks the trajectory of an object or individual in the field of play. It gives a virtual understanding of the distance and angle of where the ball travels, it allows for the virtual path of the ball once the play has been recorded and generated which gives the officials and audience a guided bath of the ball.

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The technology is made up of six high-speed vision-processing cameras, accompanied with two broadcast cameras. Once the field of play is completed, each camera records and combines to form a virtual 3D positioning of the ball. This 3D vision shows the delivery of the ball, the bounce and impact, which measure the direction, speed, swing, and dip of the delivery from players.

The precision and accuracy the hawk-eye delivers, has been a game changer in multiple instances. It has awarded players the right to challenge the umpire/referee and provided an alternative means of decision-making. Hawk-eye technology is said to be one of the main forms of sporting technology that has produced accurate decisions.

However, like many forms of technology, we cannot always rely on its ability to perform at all times. The hawk-eye is known for giving a marginal error in tennis of 3.6mm while also being affected by bugs.

In 2016, cricket’s DRS system was under fire following a failure in the hawk-eye technology during Australia’s win over South Africa.

Video footage of the controversial moments revealed a huge failure from the hawk-eye ball-tracking path-predictor.

South African star AB de Villiers was clean bowled by Aussie quick Josh Hazlewood during the Aussies’ 36-run win in St Kitts — but the Hawk-Eye ball-tracker predicted a very different result.”

As a result of this incident, cricket fans doubted the ongoing use of this technology, not shying away from the fact the technology could have only been accurate within 5mm when used.

In response to this backlash, researcher Dr Hawkins said: “the technology has only made four inaccurate rulings since an upgraded version of the technology was introduced eight years ago”. While Hawkins has provided proof of the hawk-eyes accuracy, the debate still prevails. Will there ever come a time where technology will be deemed as ‘100% stable’? Only time and mechanics will tell….

On a different level of sport, goal-line technology has been another game changer in the sporting world.

Goal-line technology (GLT) was approved for use in soccer in 2012 by The International Football Association Board (IFAB). This technology no longer places a sole reliance on the referee to judge a goal, rather the technology now judges and assess if the ball has or has not crossed the line.

To explain GLT in a nutshell, below is a video created by FIFA:

If you are a football fan, you would agree that to correctly judge a goal based on these is near impossible without the inclusion of GLT.

GLT much like the hawk-eye technology has been said to have saved and changed the game in many instances. Analysing results from some of the most important games in the football world, there have been many affected by goals that were wrongly awarded and ruled out.

839723940.jpgSimilar to hawk-eye technology, there has been room for unwanted error. An article from Bein Sports shows the first failure of GLT, in October 2017. During a game between Rennes and Caen in Ligue, GTL failed and now has become a step in football history.

 

Check it out here: http://www.beinsports.com/my/football/video/the-first-failure-of-the-goal-line-technology/667458

It is clear; the involvement of technology in sports has called for drastic changes in refereeing. However, this technology is not only inclusive on the field. Rather its involvement off the field is levelling the playing field.

Drug testing.

depiction-of-athletes-competing-at-the-ancient-olympic-games.jpgDoping in sport has been seen as a trend throughout sporting history, its earliest findings have been dated back to 776 BC. Where history shows the Ancient Greeks were using performance-enhancing drugs during the original Olympic games.

Since these times, drug use in the sporting industry began to rapidly grow, and as a result of the inclined deaths that were occurring the International Olympic Committee was urged to set up a Medical Commission in 1967 which banned the use of drugs and performance enhancement. Small-scale testing began during the 1968 Mexico Olympics, followed by full-scale testing which took place at the next Olympic Games held in Munich of 1972. One of the biggest drug scandals in the sporting industry can be recognised when examining the Russian Olympics, a conspiracy that emerged during the 2014 Social Olympics.

Since these events, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has enforced stricter rules and regulations that have been implemented. During 2016 WADA granted $224,437 to the University of South Australia and the Australian Research Council Centre for Excellence in Bio-Nano Science to change the way testing is done.

This is how doping testing is conducted:

However, for years the processes of drug testing across Olympic Games has proven to be inaccurate and unreliable. With the coming of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, we saw such technology fail.

While the enforcement of WADA and the guiding technologies have been effective. Further investigations continue to roll out surrounding the issue of doping in the sporting industry.

The analysis of the hawk-eye, goal-line technology and anti-doping technology shows how the sporting industry is becoming digitised as we progress into a future culture. While such technologies are greatly benefitting the accuracy, fairness and efficiency, we are still seeing the failures and inaccuracy that is occurring. The question still continues on, ‘will technology on and off the sporting field better the sport, or will we forever stand in a grey area between effectiveness and failure?’

Wearable Technology

Cybernetics has reformed the relationship between man and machine. It has allowed us outperform human ability and has given the push to become more efficient and sustainable. The simplest of things like the new Nike Flyknit running shoe, or the personal tracking device in the Apple Watch are some examples showing how digital technology has changed our existence.

On the theme of sports and technology, cybernetics has revolutionised wearable technology in the sporting industry. Sporting technologies are man-made means (methods), developed to reach human interests or goals in or relating to a particular sport. Technology in sports is a technical means by which athletes attempt to improve their training and competitive surroundings in order to enhance their overall athletic performance.’  

Wearable technology is an example of our cyber culture, the incorporation and dependence that is and will be placed on cybernetics and digital technologies. We can see already that wearable technology is vastly improving and helping the performance and training of athletes, and as a result it is highly doubtful that we will result back to a time where technology and sport did not meet.

The incorporation of wearable technology has attracted the term ‘cyborg’, a term that describes a person physical ability extended beyond normal human limitations as a result of mechanical elements adjusted into the body. The incorporation of wearable technology in sport raises anxieties. Arguments investigate whether using and allowing wearable technology can cross the line between artificial enhancements and what is ‘socially acceptable’.

Firstly, we must understand what wearable technology is, and its application in sports in order to assess its validity in sport.

Where and why do we draw the line between artificial enhancements?

Wearable technology must not be narrowed down to only digital and technological functioning systems; rather, the concept of wearable technology acknowledges ‘smart textiles’. The application of smart textiles sees the fusion between certain fibres and materials to create a technology that allows for better aerodynamics, body circulation etc.

An example of this is ClimaCool by Adidas, an integrated system of technologies that work together to regulate the body temperature. “ClimaCool apparel activity conducts heat and sweat away from the body through a combination of heat and moisture-dissipating materials, ventilation channels and three-dimensional fabrics that allow air to circular close to the skin”. ClimaCool has been integrated into all athletic wear created by Adidas to help regulate body temperature. This is one evident example of wearable technology; it is changing the function of standard athletic clothing in order to adhere to an advancing society.

To check out more smart textiles check out this website: https://www.theteamfactory.com/blog/2014/05/29/uniform-fabric-technologies/

As fantasy sport is on the rise, wearable technology is being held accountable for the collection of personal player data. Known as player tracking devices, these wearable technologies have the ability to record and analyse player performance. The data collected by these wearable devices transmits data to the cloud and is then reviewed by analysts. Exactly what devices used, and whether they gather their information is still a grey area, which calls for further investigation!

But player-tracking devices are not only used for generating statistics.

In the NRL players use GPSports, which identifies changes in each athlete’s relative training load. The benefits of such device allows coaches to review data from athlete’s training history. The device is general worn between the shoulder blades of the athlete, and has proven to efficiently track heart rates, monitor fatigue, track movements etc.

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Companies are now pushing to take GPS tracking to another level, making it possible to track players in indoors and under stadium roofs with the introduction of the new CSIRO indoor tracking system.

CSIRO is wireless ad-hoc for position technology, measuring player performance under the roof of Docklands Stadium. The device, ClearSkyis produced by the Victorian company Catapult Sports that supplies GPS tracking devices for elite sports, one being NRL.

Wearable technology will only continue to expand in products. Chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association Shawn DuBravac says, “If we were to go show up at a marathon somewhere, my bet would be that everybody in that first corral has a wearable on… they consider that as important as, if not more important than other things they might have on.”

Wearable technology is changing the game, from a performance perspective, athletes use this data to maximise performance. In the medical areas, these devices are tracking player health and injury. They are allowing medical staff to identify which parts of the body are most injured, and are helping to target treatment for effective treatment.

Across all levels of sport, wearable technology is continuing to be a prominent feature. Wearable technology offers businesses the opportunity to generate data analytics, which heavily influence the fantasy sports industry, they are creating the opportunities for big brands to sponsor such technology and reinvent pre-existing products and lastly it has revolutionised the medical side of sports.

The Cyborg Athlete

As previously stated, wearable technology is revolutionising the sporting industry. However, it seems the inclusion of technology is beginning to raise anxieties, questioning whether such applications are a viable resource in sports.

 

A cyborg is defined as “an integrated man-machine” and “a person whose physical tolerances or capabilities have been extended beyond normal human limitations by a machine or other external agency that modifies the body’s functioning”. With the rapid advancements and implantation of science and technology are changing the human species and our activities.

Sport can no longer remain the same, the integration of wearable technology such as tracking devices, prosthetic limbs, smart watches etc. are the key innovations that are leading sporting events to be called ‘transhumanist competition‘ – competition beyond human means.

The application of technology in sports has raised anxieties and concerns.

 

Where and why do we draw the line for artificial enhancements?

A survey of eighty people was conducted in order to gather public opinion on the matter of the ‘cyborg athlete’. When asked the “does the inclusion of technology in sport bother you”, 85% of responders voted yes with responses stating, “they are no longer human”, “it’s cheating if they don’t need the technology”. One response, in particular, suggested, “Sports is a showcase of how well humans perform. A technological enhancement takes away the human factor in the game”. Do you agree with this? Does technology remove the human factor in sports?

Researcher F. Lopez agrees to say, “The cyborg threatens deep-seated convictions about both sports and ourselves”. Lopez aligns his theory with Bioethicist, Michael Sandel, who suggests the example of the bionic baseball players. Sandel argues his case against the cyborgised baseball players, stating that the use of the bionic arm eliminates the human elements of sport, “the descent of sport into the spectacle is not unique to the age of genetic engineering. But it illustrates how performance-enhancing technologies, genetic or otherwise, can erode the part of the athletic and artistic performance that celebrates natural talents and gifts” (Sandel, 2009). Despite reasoning behind the application of wearable technology, researchers pinpoint one of its ethical implications, “it is removing the human element”.

The following Youtube clip produced by Professor Steve Haake further explores this point.

Sport thrives on the application of human performance, take three athletes and examine their abilities. Would you be able to pinpoint the exact similarities across these individuals? Take a moment to reflect on what they are best known for.
Researcher Andy Miah explains, “sport is described as existing on a continuum of technological change, where technology becomes increasingly necessary as it becomes more apparent that the human body cannot sustain limitless, unaided enhancement”.

The gradual introduction of wearable technology has fastened the human performance factor, for many a simple flyknit technology and the application of are blades for runners can allow them to glide, the Fastskin swimsuit replicates similar functions. Miah continues to say; “the concept of performance enhancement has had strong associations with elite competition, where the importance of competition and winning is paramount”.

The importance of competition and winning will continue to be paramount is sports, however, much like previous doping scandals can the inclusion of wearable technology begin to replicate doping habits?

We can see that the application of technology may never fade as a result of the prevalent nature of cyberculture. Miah suggests, “sport will seek to legitimise performance-enhancing technologies that will allow the continued surpassing of human limits in sport and bring about a new kind of sport that has a different regard for distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate means of enhancement”.

Like Prof. Steve Haake suggests, has cheating now become unclear?

A prevalent example of this is Speedo’s 2000 invention of the Fastskin Swimsuit, that that the swimming world up in hands. The suit was a full body suit; the material was modelled to resemble sharkskin, which can help enhance the performance of the athlete and reduce drag. A study on the suit revealed that it provides a 3% advantage to the athlete, which caused officials to question the legitimacy of the device in correlation with the rules. The governing body FINA assessed the situation and interpreted their rules to accept the suit. Shortly after they introduced a new rule stating “no swimmer is permitted to use or wear any device that may aid speed, buoyancy, or endurance during a competition”.1-2.jpg

Eight years later, at the 2008 Summer Olympics, swimmers were seen wearing Speedo’s full-body polyurethane LZR Racer suits which shattered previous world records. The suit was developed in Aqualab in Nottingham England, designed to tighten the swimmer’s physique through compression. Suits were then designed to trap air and increase buoyancy followed and FINA banned them in correlation with their new instated rule as stated above.

Two similar situations, eight-years apart and two different outcomes. As Miah has stated sport will seek to bring about a ‘new kind of sport’ and seek to legitimise and illegitimate means of enhancement. The evaluations and outcomes of these situations show that governing bodies are altering regulations in order to become inclusive of such technologies. With the constant alteration of these regulations, will cheating and enhancement ever be clear? Or will brands like Speedo’s continue to alter their technologies to follow regulation and still enhance performance?

This is an evident example of the blur of cyborg athletes and artificial enhancement.

In another means of investigation, enhancements such as prosthetics have also come under investigation. Athletes who use prosthetics, skeletons etc. have also been grouped under the term of cyborgs. But from my own investigation, many are unaware of the two types of cyborg athletes.

In 2016, Zurich Switzerland, the world’s first cyborg Olympics showed the world a “new science-fiction version of sports”. The Cybathlon, people with disabilities used robotic technology to turn themselves into cyborg athletes. These Olympics celebrated the combined power of muscle and machine, those called ‘pilots’ were individuals missing limbs or some form of paralysis, and on their own, they could never have moved. With the combination of controlling technologies, these individual’s were able to navigate through races using powered prosthetics, while others raced in robotic exoskeletons.

The Cybathlon gave these people the opportunity to compete, however, it also demonstrated that technology is yet to fully evolve. In some cases the controlling of these technologies was so difficult, some exoskeletons were unable to reach the starting line.

Although, competition organises “felt [it was] a true complement to the traditional Olympics and the Paralympics, organiser Riener has said the next Cybathlon could occur in 2020”.

So, how is this any different to other wearable technologies?

Like the Paralympics, the Cybathlon is an event that unities athlete’s who are not fully able, and with the help of these technologies, it gives them the opportunity to walk and compete.

If we were to transcend into an in-depth study and evaluate the fully abled athletes who are using these wearable technologies for performance enhancement, should we link the Cybathlon to this issue? And would it help us establish the line between aided performance enhancement and artificial enhancement? In my opinion, no.

However, to find where to draw the line for artificial enhancement in the Olympics, there is a reliance placed upon governing bodies. Management should be intact, and analysis of what technologies these athletes are using in the games and in prior training should be examined. Any further prevention of technologies in sport is no longer an option. The infatuation with cybernetics and technology has clearly become a detriment throughout the sporting world.

Sport is a celebration of pure human performance. I feel that we should not forget or abandon this.

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