The Tweeting Experience

Technology has improved and widened our abilities to communicate, interact and learn.

Sally Stearns says that “live tweeting is a craft that takes focus and creativity, and when done well provides a great social power”. This semester it proved to challenge our abilities to analyse and review a film in real time, while post appropriate comments, links and content in relation to what was going on and reflect on key themes that were spoken about in the weekly lectures.

Twitter is not my platform of preference, however this weekly task pushed me to step out of my boundaries for the better (well you can judge). My interactions with others was most prominent through ‘liking’ and ‘retweeting’, I rarely commented because I was simply too shy despite hiding behind my computer….

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Credit: Giphy

Ghost in a Shell.

First week viewing was of Ghost in a Shell – anime style. The film itself explores the roles of computer networks in our social, cultural and contemporary lifestyle. Our seminar focused on self-identity and the influence of technology. My aim was to broaden my understanding of the film and its meanings along with the themes of cyborgs, cybernetics and cyberfeminism.

I was fascinated by the concept of the cyborg, how in the near future we will ultimately have the opportunity to transform ourselves with robotic and digital alternatives. I was intrigued by this quote:Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 7.26.33 PM

Now in the 21stcentury, we are so infatuated with technology and bettering ourselves that I began to consider who is the higher power manipulating us to think this way? In following posts my aim was to post links to Reddit chartrooms, and alternative texts that not only helped me but also could help others begin a discussion.

My interaction with fellow students was extremely limited, (stage fright). But one tweet that caught my attention in particular was

https://twitter.com/CL_Moore/status/969054762141327360

I thought that this really reflected self-identity at the cusp of the digital age, are we still human if we become cyborgs, rather than retaining memory in the brain we are ‘exporting’ memory do we still have the qualities of the human?

West World.

Excitement is an understatement.

This week was based on who has the authority between man and computer, who is the gatekeeper and ultimately ‘who is real’. West World has always left me in two minds, who is conscious and who is not.

This week my twitter presence was more, its difficult to distinguish who is a robot and who is human. One character that challenged this theory was android Maeve, who “grabs a technician’s tablet showing her personality dashboard and upgrades herself to genius. Can robots dream?!” My following tweets follow this and I post a variety of articles, which challenge the idea of inhumanity, robot or human and challenge the distinction of consciousness again.

@CL_Mooretweeted:

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It made me think, will we succumb to this preconceived idea of ‘utopia ’ or are we going to be left with the excuse, death by technology. I thought it seemed like the ultimate gatekeeper was the program rather than the technicians behind the robot.

Johnny Mnemonic.

This week we saw two worlds cross, the realm of high tech and the underground world of modern pop. The term cyberpunk comes from the realm where the computer hacker and the rocker overlap, Johnny Mnemonic proved to fit this term quite perfectly showing us how two worlds collide, and the futuristic dependence on technology and data storage proved to provoke the thought of how memory and information are going to be stored in the future.

An article written by Wired caught my interest in particular, breaking down technology and how much we have learned in one sit in. I particularly liked the connection drawn between mnemonics mind eroding as a result of the overload of information, and the effect the internet has on us now “the internet that we actually have, is pretty much effortless from a physical standpoint but tends to erode you mentally over time with YouTube comments and drawings of My Little Pony characters”.

https://twitter.com/angster1/status/974128866389147650

Another concept I found interesting in the film was the notion of time; Angus Rigby-Wild for instance raises a good point. How would we function and evolve if we did not rely on the concept of time? Despite the evolution of technology, as human beings time is a dependent for us we are unable to function without the guidance of time.

The Matrix.

Continuing on from last week, Cyberculture and cyberpunk represents the mind-machine interface – the ability to plug into the brain. “Cyberculture is the experience emerging from the dominant role of computer networks in communication”. Having previously watched the Matrix I had a better understanding of the film. My objective for this weeks tweets were to show the hidden meanings of certain characters and how the reveal and link back to the overarching themes of cyberculture and cyberpunk.

https://twitter.com/miaiorfino18/status/976646819030622208

https://twitter.com/miaiorfino18/status/976648621851525120

This week my interaction with peers gained momentum and I retweeted. Some thoughts resonating with me in particular were:https://twitter.com/PG_Adrian95/status/976654132298661888

 

https://twitter.com/neil_fam/status/976656599681921024

I thought both of these were great points, it is a common feature across movies involving cyberpunks that we see the fight against rebellion. It made me question are they fighting the higher power or the presence of technology? Another point was the change in scenes, colours were used according to the shifts of worlds and action. It created the idea that the substitution of nature for technology will wash our human like qualities and cause us all to be generic, thus using the colour coating.

Black Mirror S02E01

This weeks viewing challenged my morals a bit. ‘Be right back’ was based on the idea that technology was able to recreate and essentially bring back to life someone who has passed away. I was strongly against this as you can see below:

https://twitter.com/miaiorfino18/status/979195679884034048

https://twitter.com/miaiorfino18/status/979198925188956160

https://twitter.com/miaiorfino18/status/979200499151859712

However, what I did find interesting was a post from @kristyyrenae

https://twitter.com/kristyyrenae/status/979192071738150914

Robot and Frank

Sentimentality is a human quality and one I personally think is vital in the creation of human emotion and empathy. Robot and Frank depicts a relationship between a robot and a human. It highlighted the ethical implications behind robots and also touched on the treatment of the elderly, I posted a variety of links to articles surrounding these topics to broaden my understanding and others.

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https://twitter.com/EzzyApples/status/981747809136160768

I think this question @EzzyApples  raises a good point. Growing up in a society were everything has become digitised, will we become inclined to trust robots to care for us. Or will our understanding of the implications of such technology and its potential failures urge us to resort back to the ‘old fashioned’ way? This places an emphasis on cyborgs, will we still be conscious enough and aware of our emotions to make such decisions?

Black Mirror S03E06

Black mirror brings to life fear of a technological takeover. This episode is a prime example to show the potential cybernetic takeover. Not only are our boundaries to controlling humans expanding, but the ability to recreate and control animals and insects is prominent in this episode.

For this week, my tweets were more commentary like. I began with an article breaking down the concepts in this episode, however, ended up being too intrigued in the episode to continue my analysis. https://twitter.com/miaiorfino18/status/984275016245129216

 

https://twitter.com/miaiorfino18/status/984277645843087360

https://twitter.com/kristyyrenae/status/984288992798523392

Engaging in conversation and liking tweets was a great compliment to this viewing. Its interesting to analyse and interact with those who have differing or similar opinions and widening the views on this particular episode. We can see that censorship is non-existent and this is evident through #DeathTo. We are already living in a world where big brother is watching, but this sense of surveillance needs to continue to expand if we are expecting robotic killer bees to be our future.

 

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Investigating the Cyborg Athlete

Have you ever invested so much time and energy into a topic? Understanding the ins and the outs, how it works and what it means? Well that’s me when analysing the influence technology has on sports.

For the purpose of this blog post, I want to take a particular focus on the research surrounding the topic of Cyborgs in Sport and the Olympics.

What are they? How do they work? Are they ethical? Does technology have to be obvious and mechanical or subtle and technical?

According to the Oxford Dictionary the term ‘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”.

The application of technology in sport raises anxiety, analysis of different articles and journals shows a divide of opinions. Arguments surround the idea of whether using and/or allowing wearable technology can be classified as ‘cheating’ or deterring from the concept that sport relies on your own ability, rather than being used in order to enhance and help the performance of the athlete.

F. Lopez says, “The cyborg threatens deep-seated convictions about both sports and ourselves”. He aligns his theory with the example from bioethicist, Michael Sandel. Sandel uses the example of the bionic baseball player to argue his case against human enhancement technology. He argued cyborgised baseball players and the use of bionic arms eliminates the human element of sport, “the descent of sport into 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 athletic and artistic performance that celebrates natural talents and gifts” (Sandel, 2009). I found that Lopez and Sandel emphasised that technological enhancement altars the crux of sport that is the human element.

For more on ‘The Case Against Perfection‘ check out an article by the Atlantic.

Where do we draw the line between artificial enhancements and enhancement that ultimately benefits the athlete and progressing with the technological revolution?

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”. We have now grown into such an advanced society where technology in all shapes and forms is improving our human abilities, as Miah says, sport is evolving with technology. Rather than relying on the progression and natural enhancement of human strength and performance (not relying on doping), can we now say we are relying on the latest technology of our swimsuits for our professional swimmers, or the latest flyknit technology for long distance runners.

Miah says that we must first consider the interest sport has in performance enhancement. “The concept of performance enhancement has had strong associations with elite competition, where the importance of competition and winning is paramount”. Sport places a great emphasis and importance on the ability to excel, in past years this emphasis on excelling has often seen athletes turning to drug enhancements and doping regimes prior to important events such as the Olympic Games. Therefore other methods of excelling have been evaluated in the contexts of fair play, paternalism, dehumanisation and social-contracts. Therefore, sport require performance enhancement to be achieved in a ‘legitimate’ respect.

I created an online survey, where 60 recipients answered questions and expressed their thoughts towards performance enhancement in sport and the concept of athletes as cyborgs. More than 50% of responders voted ‘No’ when answering whether or not wearable technology and performance enhancement was a valid means of excelling in sport. One responder explained, “Sports is a showcase of how well humans perform. A technology enhancement takes away the human factor in the game”.

For example, Miah refers to a case in 2000 were Speedo introduced a Fast-skin swimming costume which cause a deal of controversy in the swimming world. The suit was a full body suit; the material was modelled to resemble sharkskin, which can help enhance the performance of the athlete.

A study on this suit revealed that it provides a 3% advantage to the athlete, causing officials to question the legitimacy of the device in correlation to the rules. The governing body Federation Internationale de Natation Amateur (FINA), accepted the suit by evaluating whether the suit was deemed as a device. Rules set out by FINA stated “no swimmer is permitted to use or wear any device that may aid speed, buoyancy, or endurance during a competition”. Researchers such as Miah who have reviewed the rules and outcome explain that there is not enough evidence for justification of its acceptance. He explains that “the ability to distinguish legitimate technology from illegitimate technology is problematic; justification seem tenuous and poorly considered”. Moreover, Miah’s views reflect the evolution of society, if we become dependent on these technologies it seems impossible to stop them from continuing to enter.

Although on the other end of the spectrum, an article written by Eliza Strickland casts a different light on the topic. In this article, she reports on the world’s first Cybathlon – where “people with disabilities used robotic technology to turn themselves into cyborg athletes“. The games were held in Zurich, Switzerland The Cybathlon “[celebrated] pure human brawn… [rejoicing] the combined power of muscle and machine”. During this event spectators saw a paraplegic athlete get out of his wheelchair to compete in the exoskeleton race, did it show the evolution and use of Ekso Bionics but it showcased the athlete, Strickland breaks down each event and the use of technology.

During a conversation with a peer, they argued that the following arguments cover two different topics under the umbrella of Cyborg athletes. But my question is it really? Like the bionic arm or the Fast-skin or the exoskeleton these technologies are enhancing human performance, however to what degree should these governing associations permit the use of technology in sport. While Miah, Lopez and others argue that it deters from what sport is, Strickland places the topic in a different light.

There is more research to come, however through the analysis of several academic sources drawing a conclusion on the ethics behind Cyborg athletes still remains unanswered.

Here’s to the next several weeks of investigation!

Sports In The Digital Age

Technology is revolutionising the world, and the way in which we operate. Cybernetics is easing the way we do things through the science of communications and automatic control systems in both machines and living things. Together these concepts have and will continue to change the way we do and experience things.

Sports, for example, have been heavily influenced by technology and cybernetics; it has changed our viewing, participation and regulation of sport. According to Andy Miah, “sports is described as existing on a continuum of technological change”, the essence of sport is being modernised in many ways, and it interesting to break down some of the many components and investigate their future developments and enhancements to the sporting world.

The question has been brought to the forefront of the investigation of sports, technology and cybernetics. Does this mean our athletes are becoming Cyborgs in the sporting world? Are we now looking at the future culture or sport?

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For the upcoming Digital Artefact, I endeavour to explore my profound interest in sports, wearables and technology through the production of a blog. The blog will take a particular focus on the influence of technology on sports and sports culture.

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It will comprise of individual blog posts, which will have a weekly focus on one aspect of the sporting world and how technology and the digital age has influenced that particular area.

In some cases such as wearable technology, olympic cyborgs and drug testing, I will aim to draw a conclusion on the technological advancement, examining its overall benefits, if it proves to adhere to ethics and the rules, and lasting how it enhances or changes the abilities of the athlete and the overall sport.

Below is a breakdown of the topics that will lead my exploration into how technology and cybernetics are impacting sports and sports culture:

Social Media

Singaporean commentator Walter Lim, explains the beneficial relationship of sport and social media, “the instantaneous, intimate and interactive nature of social and mobile technologies make them perfect platforms to fuel our sporting desires.”

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Social media is an evident example of how technology is impacting sports culture. Technology has changed the way we consume sport, we are no longer a static observer. Through the introduction and widespread use of social media, sports fans can interact and participate in real-time discussion globally.

Platforms such as Twitter are a catalyst for international sports interaction. Through the composition of related #hashtags, the sporting community interacts and exchange opinions and ideas through a sub-community on the platform.

Through the use of our smartphones, mobile coverage allows a running feed from individuals watching from the comfort of their homes or those reporting at the game. Its instantaneous nature draws a wider means of communication between fans and their players/teams.

Real-time reporting and streaming have also changed the viewer experience. Allowing fans to access live coverage on designated television stations, streaming websites and individual sporting apps. Mobile coverage allows a running feed to occur besides the streaming website containing facts, live updates and opinions from courtside officials, journalists and spectators which gives fans the ultimate viewing experience.

How TO For Those who Don’t know how to stream sport online 

Fantasy Sport

With the addition of social media, fantasy sport is delivering an alternative experience for sports lovers. The sports industry has “emerged as a multi-billion dollar industry that has become an important element to the sports industry as a whole”. The Internet and its technology present a platform for sports lovers to take their loyalty to another level. Ronald B. Woods explains that the Internet “gives sport fans virtual access to sport in real time and on demand and allows them to create personal, specific methods of interaction”.

Screen Shot 2018-03-23 at 1.01.49 PM.pngThe fantasy world is an example of how technology and cyberculture have influenced the consumption and interaction in the sporting world. Now, we not only are viewing and commenting, but the fantasy world has given the opportunity to create our own teams from players in the sport, the opportunity to bet and play as our favourite players.

As a result of this, it is becoming increasingly larger all over the world, where companies such as Fox Sport, NBC etc. are investing in these online companies, as they are becoming a tool to generate an alternative audience and viewer traffic. Websites such as DraftKing and Super Coach are becoming increasingly popular and an integral part of the viewing and sports consumption. 

For those who don’t know much about Fantasy sport check out these articles: https://www.forbes.com/sites/haroldstark/2017/12/09/what-is-daily-fantasy-sports-and-why-is-everyone-so-obsessed-with-it/#39400b41be3a

https://supercoach.heraldsun.com.au/afl/classic#/

Video Technology

Technology, in particular, video technology, has changed the way referees conduct their positions on and off the field. Video technology has made refereeing and playback more efficient and reliable, it has allowed for decisions to be made quick, accurate and has created more of a level playing field.

Video technology does not leave room for error or foul play. The ability to review the performance on a screen and make reasonable judgements on performance, official calls etc. These playbacks have allowed coaches and analysts to review players and their performances, to generate statistics, which are not only made available for fans and used for fantasy sport, but they allow coaches to create player regimes to target and enhance a particular skillset.

Wearable technology

Sports 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”.

https://hub.uberflip.com/blog/get-your-brand-on-marketing-and-wearable-technology

Wearable technology or ‘smart garments’ are associated with clothing and soft or hard accessories which integrate electronic components to aid, record/determine and measure athletes performance, and if need enables the athlete to operate in the correct way. We now see heart sensors, bionic arms, portable sensors, goal tickers, and the list goes on helping athletes advanced in their positions and act as another source of efficiency when training towards their given goals.

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With the introductions of such wearable technology, scholars are acknowledging the increased presence of ‘cyborgs’ in the wider sports community and specifically the Special Olympics. It raises the questions of the benefits of wearable technology and the cyborg athlete and poses the opportunity for the further investigation of the benefits of wearable technology for athletes.

Drug Testing

Until 1999 there was limited use of sophisticated drug testing across the sporting world.

Since then, with the introduction of WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) the push for drug testing and the technologies to investigate performance-enhancing drugs has put a stop and levelled the playing field for athletes. As a result of this, some of the largest scandals in the sporting world have been brought to light and investigated; an example of this is Lance Armstrong and his confession of drug enhancement and the Russian Doping Scandal.

Technology is now allowing the testing process to become more instant, with the introduction of on the sport mobile drug testing.

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Professor Volecker explains with the new technology used, the results become increasingly accurate and the chance for a mix-up of results is removed. He explains, “These molecules are detected using a laser which blasts the high surface area material, sets the molecules free and they are then detected in a mass spectrometer”. The production and use of this technology will heighten the anti-doping campaign, in urge an to minimise the use and allowance of drugs in the Sports and the Olympic world.


Lastly, my investigations will be largely based on secondary research, from a range of scholars, athletes and individuals in the field of sports and sports technology. My aim is to create a blog that is easy for a range of people to understand how technology and cybernetics have influenced sports and sports culture. Through the use of a range of multimedia elements, I want to create an interactive blog, which explicitly shows the future cultures of the sporting world.