Week 7: Apple vs Android

The age old conundrum (realistically the last 10 years) that divides smartphone users across the world. Some prefer Apple, and some prefer Android. But what are the differences that divide users?

Apple operates as a closed platform, meaning the apple corporation has complete control over the software, design, app store and the device itself. The only way to use Apple software through a smartphone is to purchase an Apple phone. This refers to what I previously touched on in my week 6 post about walled gardens.

In contrast, Android software is available to a number of phone companies, such as; Samsung, Google, One Plus, HTC, Nokia etc.. Android software is an open platform which essentially allows users to have control over the platform and device, giving the opportunity to modify and personalise the software free of charge.

Neither operating system is necessarily better than the other. It is entirely personal as to what someone prefers, and whether they enjoy the safety of Apples’ walled garden, or the freedom that is gained from Android and the ability to personalise the displays and software (Mitew, 2018).

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References:

Mitew, T 2018, ‘Apple iOS vs Google Android,’ lecture slides week 7, BCM206, University of Wollongong, viewed 8 September 2018.

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Week 6: Feudalism in the 21st Century

In this weeks lecture for BCM206 we associated the medieval term ‘feudalism’ with the internet stacks ‘walled garden’ structure of the internet today.

Feudalism centred around the relationship between lord and vassal, meaning you cannot leave or sell your land without the lords permission. They would also decide how it is you used that land and charge you rent for doing so.

Similarly, the walled garden structure of the internet imposes that content requires permission to use, sell and copy. Internet stacks also means that iFeudal decides how you use this content, and you must pay rent for using the content.

This challenges the notion that the internet is a free flowing distributed network of information, with no barriers or condition for entry.

So, is this a changing paradigm for social mediation or can we argue that all content is not truly free?

Animated GIF-source

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How Narrative Practice has changed my perceptions of the Future of Work.

As a young person I have found myself under a constant cloud of expectation. This serves as a source of pressure; both internally and externally. This expectation stems from the belief that at 18, 19 or 20 you should have your life figured out.

I must admit I have given into this pressure at times throughout my tenure at university, so much so that I gave myself a GAP year to try and answer the big questions in my life. Throughout that time there were aspects of my character that I questioned; but I never questioned my core values. This has been the basis for my understanding of the importance of narrative practice and the future of work.

James Manyika (2017) from the McKinsey Global Institute believes the future of work lies within artificial intelligence (AI) and automation (robots). This prospect will inevitably challenge the core values of individuals, as the absence of interpersonal communication would hinder the workings of any industry. Whilst AI theories and robots can perform human like tasks, we sacrifice human processes and expose deficiencies that result from a dehumanised workplace. Al-Amoudi (2018) argues dehumanisation through autonomous processes impacts the reflexivity that can only be established between interpersonal relationships.

In “Outsider-witness practices: some answers to commonly asked questions” (Carey & Russell, 2003), Hugh Fox argues that narrative practice is founded on the idea that the stories we tell about ourselves are not private and individual, but are a social achievement (Carey &Russell, 2003). This means that we look for others who reflect back to us what it is we wish to claim for ourselves; hence an important part of our identity lies within the values that we wish to live by (Carey & Russell, 2003). Without these values it is impossible to exist in a transparent environment, which is why it is essential to prioritise humans over autonomous processes.

Reflective narrative practice encourages what Michael White argues is absent but implicit in challenging situations (Carey & Russell, 2003). This refers to reflecting on past grievances from ourselves and others to establish the foundations of how values are formed. Often we are unable to fully understand the complexity of our own emotions until we see them reflected in the stories of others. This is known as outsider witness practices, which is present in White’s theory of identifying the expression, describing the image, embodying responses and acknowledging transport. These outsider witness responses help link our lives with others and their shared themes and values (Carey & Russell, 2003).

This notion can be applied to my aforementioned concerns on the future of work, as robots are incapable of the same intricate emotions and learning processes as humans (Evans, 2001). Therefore, robots do not possess the ability to reflect or understand adversity or grievances.

When I applied this notion to traits that I value, it drastically changed my perception on MY future of work. I learned that upholding and expressing values that are important to me is a valuable tool in the workplace.

I am instinctively a critical thinker, but for me the listening task for week 5 was a poignant reminder of the value of narrative reflection. I hadn’t really considered the prospect of learning from the experiences of other people through narrative reflection. Through this I found an instant connection to members of the class who had similar experiences to me, even if our stories were completely unrelated.

I feel it is now appropriate to share some of the lessons I learned as a result of this assessment.

A story in which you have been annoyed, frustrated or unhappy about something.

Step one: try to describe the situation simply, paying attention to the detail of what did not sit right with you.

Fair pay structures within my workplace. I approached my employer in relation to some of the issues I had with being payed a similar wage to other workers within the company. My issue was that I had been around far longer than these other workers, and also had a superior repertoire of skills by comparison. I had also been offered another job for more money. My boss was unwilling to acknowledge my request, which undermined my value to him.

Step two: Can you figure out what would be the opposite of that thing you found unsatisfactory?

I felt as though my request was valid, and at least deserved consideration or an explanation. I value fairness and appreciation for people who are honest, and respectful in doing so. I also value loyalty, as I ended up staying and honouring my work contract.

Step three: Can you find some small narrative examples of situations where you have successfully acted in this preferred way?

In situations where I have had others working under me I have always felt it necessary to never ask someone to do something you are not willing to do yourself. I deem this to be fair. This is applicable in so many contexts, and is something I try to live by.

Step four: Is there someone who appreciates your support and practice around this preferred value?

My family, my partner and certainly my work colleagues who supported my decision to ask for a raise. They would all agree that I am honest and fair, particularly in situations which may seem confronting to others.

Conclusion

When I applied this notion to traits that I value, it drastically changed my perception on my future of work. I learned that upholding and expressing values that are important to you is a more valuable tool in any workplace than autonomous processes.

References

Evans, D, 2001, Can Robots Have Emotions? Oxford University Press, accessed 28th August 2018, available here.

Carey, M & Russell, S, 2003, Outsider-witness practices: some answers to
commonly asked questions, accessed 24th August 2018, available here

Al-Amoudi, I & Morgan, J, 2018, Realist Responses to Post-Human Society: Ex Machina, Taylor and Francis Group, Routledge, London, pp01-09, accessed 28th August 2018, available here

Manyika, J, 2017, What is the Future of Work? Podcast Transcript McKinsey Global Group, accessed 28th August 2018, available here

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Week 5: The Attention Economy

The influence of mass media in the 21st century has severely inhibited our attention span and ability for patience.

The challenge now for companies is to ensure their message or product is easily recognisable amongst so many others.

Jeff Bezos saw this potential through online marketing and thus Amazon was created, standing at US $157.4 billion making it the worlds largest online company. It is through this Chris Anderson coined the term ‘long tail effect’ as Amazon saw potential in niche markets of smaller and harder to find items. Instead of having to search in person through stall after stall, shop after shop, Amazon provided a platform of immediacy whereby consumers could find easily find unique and sought after items from the comfort of their own home.

LONG TAIL EFFECT

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Clay Shirky argues that the internet imposes ‘no barriers to entry, no economies of scale, and no limits on supply’ which is more relevant than ever due to the rise of the online marketplace for shopping.

Remediation : Podcast Episode of The Attention Economy and the long tail effect

References:

Mitew, T (2017), ‘The Attention Economy and the Long Tail Effect,’ lecture slides week 5, BCM206, University of Wollongong 

 

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Assessment 1: Critical Reflection

When it comes to Australian film, there is a common belief that we are miles behind the likes of Hollywood, and rightly so. The dilemma stems from a battle of cost vs culture, and whether it is worth the financial risk to uphold the values which gives Australia such a unique identity.

While budgets for Australian film have significantly risen since the 1980’s, there is less profit margin to justify the continual production of Australian cinema. This is in contrast to the glory days of Australian cinema prior to the turn of the century, which oversaw the production of a number of highly successful Australian films. With this in mind, Australia’s status at the box office is constantly in a state of ‘boom or bust,’ (Burns and Eltham, 2010) where we either flourish or flounder in making continuous and quality films to serve the public good.

Much of this ‘boom’ of the 80’s can be attributed to the 10BA and legislation from the Fraser government which allowed investors to claim a 150% tax concession on film, while only having to pay back half of any income earned (Burns and Eltham, 2010). Following this almost 900 projects were financed through this government scheme, which accounted for the biggest boom in Australian film history. Films such as Crocodile Dundee (1986), The Man From Snowy River (1982) and Mad Max (1979) are perhaps some the most notable Australian films of all time, and managed to reach worldwide audiences and put Australia on the map in the film industry.

Within this era saw the cultivation of what has been coined as ‘Ozploitation’, after genre films became the most popular choice for producers (Martin, 2010). Mad Max and Crocodile Dundee in particular contributed towards creating a unique identity for Australia, promoting the hard nosed, outback and no frills persona on an international level. Despite the inaccuracy of what these films were portraying, particularly in relation to the everyday Australian, they performed well at the box office which ultimately determines what is a successful movie. Ryan (2012) argues that genre films work for audiences, so there is a strong incentive for production. This is a relevant statement, particularly when considering the public good.

As time progressed into the 2000’s Australian film hit the ‘bust’ phase of Burns and Eltham’s theory (2010). This caused a reduction in the production of films as well as box office revenue. This market failure forced the film industry to be more careful in the production of films, which isn’t necessarily the best option for consumers. The financial barriers placed on cost vs return saw a slump in the production of films since the 1990’s, with bigger budgets not always resulting in larger revenues. Despite this, the Australian film industry has a timeless influence on our current culture, and can assist in upholding values that are dear to us as Australians. Films such as The Castle promote the humility and dignity of Australians, which are preserved values that are identified with today. In this sense it is important that we encourage the production of films, as these stories can inspire future generations with the hope their stories will have value, even if it is not immediate.

It is important for us to demand more investment in the industry, to ensure this bust phase does not damage the long term future of the Australian film industry. In doing this, it will inspire future generations to share stories and continually promote the values we identify with in Australian film. Additionally, when the boom-bust cycle enters its next phase, it will allow the industry to be ready to prosper when the demand for Australian film is healthy again. Market failure is a valid concern for film makers and consumers, however preserving our cultural and personal identity is a far more important issue that should be considered (Ryan, 2012). Financial burdens can be rectified with patience and persistence, however the risk of becoming too Americanised is a far more pressing issue that can result from ignoring the public good (Martin, 2010)

In 2004, Australia’s local share of the box office dropped to its lowest record level(1.3%) (Ryan 2012). The Australian film industry was accused of producing dark, depressing and self-indulgent movies with little regard for audience and entertainment (Ryan,2012). Today, Australia’s box office share sit’s at around 4.4%. Stable, but nonetheless concerning.

These concerns aren’t something that the industry is completely unaware of, as Screen Australia has been making steps towards helping film producers despite the lack of funding and audiences. A study by Screen Australia found that Australian audiences are less likely to leave their home to watch film and cinema, such is the nature of the digital film marketplace(Screen Australia, 2013). Additionally, the study found that Australian audiences often prefer to watch Australian content as there are stories which are easier to identify with.

This is opposed to Hollywood cinema which can be too heavily reliant on special effects and digital imaging (Screen Australia, 2013). When you combine this knowledge with the fact that people simply don’t go out to view movies as regularly, this suggests there is indeed a place for Australian film makers to target streaming services instead of regular cinema to produce local content

This is in light of the digital economy and its exponential growth since the introduction and market penetration of streaming sites such as Netflix and Stan. Instead of competing against the superpowers of the film industry, the Australian film industry can perhaps turn their attention away from cinematic release, and instead secure attractive investment opportunities for creating local content (Devlin, 2015). This would service the public good, and meet the demand for local content, whilst also minimising the costs of having to create large scale cinematic productions.

References

Burns A, Eltham B, 2010, ‘Boom and bust in Australian screen policy: 10BA, the Film Finance Corporation and Hollywood’s ‘race to the bottom”, Media International Australia, vol. 136, no. 1, pp. 103-118.

Devlin, R. 2015, Tragedy or Coming-Of-Age? Where We’re At With Film Distribution, Screen Australia

Martin, A, 2010, Ozploitation compared to what? A Challenge to Contemporary Australian Film Studies, Studies in Australasian Cinema, vol. 4, no. 1, pp 9-21

Ryan, MD 2012, ‘A silver bullet for Australian cinema? Genre movies and the audience debate’, Studies in Australiasian Cinema, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 141-157.

Screen Australia 2013, Hearts and Minds: How Local Screen Stories Capture the Hearts and Minds of Australians, Screen Australia, Sydney, viewed 6 August 2018, <https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/fact-finders/reports-and-key-issues/reports-and-discussion-papers/hearts-and-minds>.

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Week 4: Liquid Labour: Can we ever switch off?

‘Liquid labour’ refers to the conceptual shift towards the new informational paradigm of the workforce. Previously, the operation of big business was heavily reliant on the physical labour force. The manual operation of machinery and the gut busting approach to a days work was the formation of our society for centuries.

In recent times the shift towards technology in business has placed more value on information based jobs such as accounting and marketing. Peter Drucker coined these professions as “knowledge workers” (Mitew, 2017). Whilst there will always be a place for a ‘blue collar’ type workforce, it is important to acknowledge the place for information and technology in a new look conceptual shift.

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Mitew, T 2017, ‘Liquid Labour’, lecture slides week 4, BCM206, University of Wollongong

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Week 3: Understanding the network society paradigm

Long before there was voice controlled units like Alexa and Apple Hubs, it was computers that were used as highly centralised data processing units. Information had to travel along multiple channels and networks before that information could be sent back out to be processed. Now with the hyper connected and digital age we live in, communication channels are more easily navigated, allowing us to connect with family and friends overseas in an instant.

This network we exist in is now more of a cyberspace than ever, a theory once imagined only in a dystopian future of the past. Now we are in it.

The emergence of this cyberspace highlights a societal change from a centralised to a distributed or decentralised system. This is present particularly in social media, as this means each user can connect with one another, whilst at times we no longer have control over information or the data we consume.

ALEXA MEME

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