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Tagged with “digihuman” (12)

  1. The Digital Human: Friction

    Aleks Krotoski explores the unforeseen consequences of a frictionless digital life.

    It’s the life we’re told we want, where we just shout at a device and our needs are met as quickly as the supply chain allows. Aleks Krotoski explores frictionless digital living.

    But is there value in friction? Aleks hears from someone who’s life depends on it, mountaineer Andy Kirkpatrick. He has a reputation for stacking the odds against himself as much as possible; long routes, often climbed alone in the worst of conditions. Back on the ground Andy also needs friction to not get complacent, accept others views without question, to keep moving forward.

    Without friction we risk falling prey to what economist Umair Haque describes as the infantilisation economy. One where we are diminished by being able to have our every need met by Amazon’s Alexa. And the cost isn’t just to us but also to the army of digital serfs peddling about in all weathers with those trademark boxes on their backs. Its a future that was foreseen as far back as the late 19th century by the likes of Nietzsche in his descriptions of the ‘last men’ a humanity living the most vanilla of existences without challenge or ambition to change.

    Nothing sums this up better than the food replacement industry. No time to shop, cook, chew? Get everything you need nutritionally in a drink like Soylent or Huel - all in the name of efficiency. Its a world that fascinates anthropologist Jan English-Luek who for over 20 years has been observing trends in silicon valley.

    Ultimately Aleks will ask what we’re saving all this time and effort for and do we ever reap the benefits? Or does it just keep us where the digital world wants us, consuming in ever more efficient ways.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b3c76x

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  2. Alternate

    Follow The Digital Human’s Aleks Krotoski as she heads down a rabbit hole.

    Aleks Krotoski tells the story of a film that doesn’t exist and the online community convinced that it does.

    We hear from people who have come together on the online site Reddit to share their memories of the film, including a former video shop worker called Don.

    Many of them have very clear memories of watching Shazaam and are convinced it’s disappearance is related to a strange phenomenon called The Mandela Effect, so named after the late South African activist Nelson Mandela.

    We follow Don on an epic journey as he tries to uncover proof. Along the way we’ll encounter conspiracy theories, alternate worlds, computer simulations and a recently deceased Australian inventor called Henry Hoke. It’s going to get weird.

    But what does this willingness to believe in something despite all evidence to the contrary tell us about the online world and the way communities form in the digital sphere?

    Aleks speaks with anthropologist Genevieve Bell about the stories we tell; cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman and Professor of Philosophy at Oxford University Nick Bostrom. Amelia Tait of the New Statesman explains how the story of Shazaam has evolved online.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08pdy0f

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  3. The Digital Human: Haunted

    Aleks Krotoski asks if we are haunted by our technology, or are we haunting it?

    So much of our experience of technology can feel a bit like being haunted. It starts like any good ghost story with the just mildly unsettling; things aren’t were you left them or seem to have moved on their own within our devices. Its a creepy feeling that leaves you unsure about what to believe. Our understanding of how much of technology works is so limited that when it starts to behave out of the ordinary we have no explanation. This is when we start to make very peculiar judgement’s; "why did you do that" we plead, as if some hidden force was at work.

    For some these feelings of being haunted by our technology can develop into full blown apparitions; keen gamers frequently experience Game transfer Phenomena where they literally see images of their game play in the real world, an involuntary augmented reality. While the hallucinations aren’t necessarily distressing in themselves the experiences can leave individuals questioning their sanity.

    The coming internet of things will bring problems of its own; smart locks that mysteriously open by themselves for example as if under the influence of some poltergeist. Aleks herself has had the experience of digital ‘gas lighting’ (a term drawn from an Ingrid Bergman movie of a woman being driven mad by husband) when her partner logged on to their home automation system remotely and started to mess with the lights while Aleks was home alone. As one commentator puts it in a reworking of the old Arthur C. Clarke quote "any sufficiently advanced hacking is indistinguishable from haunting."

    And as our devices and appliances increasingly start talking to each other bypassing us altogether who’s to say we, like Nicole Kidman’s character in The Others, haven’t become the ghost in the machine.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b080t0p9

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  4. BBC Radio 4 - Digital Human, Series 9, Taste

    Aleks Krotoski explores whether or not the digital world is changing food culture.

    Food is a universal necessity, human brains light up more for food than any other experience, so it’s little wonder that food culture has exploded online. Social media is festooned with pictures, recipes, cooking videos and we can’t seem to ever get enough.

    But, is the digital world doing more than getting our mouths watering? Could technology be changing the very way we taste?

    In this episode, Aleks Krotoski explores how food trends develop and shape our culture and spread on social media, as well as exploring new tech that may change the way we eat - from 3D printed delights, to Chef Watson who creates recipes in the cloud, and even how we might manipulate our brains to change how we perceive flavour.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07756bg

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  5. BBC Radio 4 - Digital Human, Series 9, Work

    In the 1st of a new series Aleks Krotoski gets down to work. From micro-taskers paid pennies to be the janitors of our digital services to car drivers jumping on the Uber bandwagon.

    Aleks speaks to technology writer Kashmir Hill who spent a month as an invisible girlfriend writing loving texts to service subscribers for a few cents per message. This is just one example of ‘micro-tasking’ made famous by Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service. For Vili Lehdonvirta of the Oxford internet institute they’re examples of the hidden human effort going into services we would assume were automated. Its a new form of piece work undertaken by a causal workforce doing it where and when it suits them.

    This type of work treats you like part of a system managed by algorithms an artificial, artificial intelligence. In some senses this isn’t anything new as work historian Richard Donkin explains using the examples of the time and motion studies pioneered by Fredrick Winslow Taylor and later taken up by Henry Ford.

    What is new is that having an algorithm as a boss runs the risk of having only the appearance of freedom and flexibility. Its what attracts people to the so called gig economy, where tasks are farmed out by the app to a willing freelance workforce. Aleks hears both sides of that experience from two people who make their living off a digital platform; one by day and the other by night.

    So what promise do these new forms of digital work offer? Aleks discovers they have the potential to be both a race to the bottom for labour markets and usher in a new era for those currently unable to work.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b075pm43

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  6. BBC Radio 4 - Digital Human, Series 8, Detection

    Aleks Krotoski explores the impact of the web upon the age-old process of detection.

    In the first of the new series, Aleks Krotoski explores how the web has influenced detection, from uncovering Osama Bin Laden to discovering the identity of long-abandoned Jane and John Does.

    As human beings, what is it in our nature that drives us to find out the end of the story - even when that story has nothing to do with us?

    The online world has made the detective mystery one in which we can all play a role. Hundreds of cold cases have been re-examined and re-explored by cyber sleuths around the world - and some cases have picked up definitive leads from eagle-eyed members of the public. But what are the implications for law enforcement, and how does detection work when so many of us are playing outside of the rules?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06gqjpt

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  7. The Digital Human: Seduction

    Aleks Krotoski charts how digital culture is moulding modern living. Each week join technology journalist Aleks Krotoski as she goes beyond the latest gadget or web innovation to understand what sort of world we’re creating with our ‘always on’ lives.

    Online dating, including dating apps are now the second most likely place to meet a partner, but is the decision making process as to who and how we court and woo changing?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/dh

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