No Present or Future but only the Past!

There is no present or future, only the past happening over and over again now”.

If this quotation from Eugene O’Neil, a Nobel Prize writer, is true, it means we (netizens) are in the advantage. We know the past, so the choices belong to us on how we would like it to be.

Even though the Global village may have been created for hunting new business avenues, we are definitely not its submissive victims. We may have over spent on the “Free Lunch” (see 1st post) but we are still their customers, and guess what, “The Customer is King”.

Rachel Bostman, the founder of The Collaborative Lab. Her choice of the past for her present is Swap-trading or Bartering. Yes the oldest exchange system for goods or services, without using money, now has been reinvented in our Global Village. She swaps her unwanted DVD copy of ‘24’ for a wanted DVD copy of ‘Sex and the City’ by using swap services websites.

Rachel is also fascinated with how internet technology can generate trust between strangers around the world. She believes this kind of activity, in her words “Collaborative Consumption”, will free us from hyper-consumption.

Zhang Lei, with his two friends, formed an online translation community, called “Yeeyan”. They are collaborating with the Guardian, to translate interesting English articles into Chinese and vice-versa. Currently, they have 150,000 volunteers in China.

Zhang Lei, was motivated by the bias of American media on Tibet and Chinese nationalism during the Lhasa riots. He said “I can’t solve these problems, but I can translate.”

Next in line is “Editor in Chief” of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, a formal ethical computer hacker. He is “one of the world’s most visible human-rights activists”. His core value is “Well, Capable, Generous men do not create victims; they nurture victims.”

Julian stands firmly on his belief in nurturing us with the truth. His Wikileaks is a very active journalist organisation. It has released more classified documents around the world than traditional media could in the past few years.

Rashid Saini comments “…WiKileaks is the exposure of truths. No other media can give such immediacy and ability for a full throttle exposure.” (see his full comment on 2nd Post: National Security…)

Yes we (netizens) are hungry for truth, freedom and knowledge

Look at Wikipedia, an online encyclopaedia, currently offering their service in 285 languages. Here, we are forming our Global village’s culture. It is in a very vulnerable state and getting a bit messy now.

Undeniable, there is a need for rules and regulations to prevent cybercrime, terrorism and secure national security. But there is still a question to answer: how to control it without killing our Freedom of expression. Controlling and monitoring are obviously not absolute answers as they generate fear and paranoia. The cyberspace is the only place that we can hear the voice of individuals and minorities. They are very soft but subtle.

Personally, I see cybercrime as the cries for help from criminals and victims; we can’t eliminate the problems by slammed them down. Immediately they bounce back and hit us in the face. They are testers of our compassion.

The situation of our Global village is a tug of war between the supply and demand of the business world. There are no ultimate authorities or superiors, but there are influencers and dominators of economic forces. The difference between democracy and propaganda is that the choices belong to us, the netizens. They can manipulate, while we can observe and scrutinize.

Remember the “Customer is King”. We can drive the direction as long as we don’t surrender and be corrupted by convenience. It took me sometime to install a new search engine like duckduckgo to my three browsers: Safari, Chrome and Firefox. But I can get wider search results, and I can escape from the Google tracking system (at least for a while, I guess).

As this is my last post of this series, I have two video clips from Ted.com to share with you: coRachel Bostman: The case of Collaborative Consumption and  Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks

May I ask you to share your favourite websites, blogs, etc. and tell us how cool they are?

You all should know by now that my favourite website is TED.com and its slogan: “Ideas worth spreading”.

Appreciate your support!

 

Related Links

 

http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2009/05/27/circ09-mapping-circumventing-translating-sharing/

http://www.danwei.org/internet/doing_our_best_to_choose_artic.php

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2008-04/02/content_6584392.htm

http://www.ted.com/speakers/rachel_botsman.html

http://www.ted.com/speakers/julian_assange.html

http://www.yeeyan.org/

National Security / Global Business = Control = Manipulation = Propaganda?

Recently, the Thai Government has outlined its policy to monitor LINE (a messaging application on smart phones), claiming to protect their national security. According to Pol. Maj. Gen. Pisit Pao-in, Chief of Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD), this policy would not violate the individual’s privacy and Freedom of Expression.

He explains that these polices will allow for the monitoring of only certain Line’s users who are categorised as having the “potential to commit the crime”. This must be done on a case by case basis under the legal framework. This policy is seen as a joke by the Thai people.

Unfortunately, Thailand is not alone in having an authority which sees social media as a big threat to national security including terrorism and cybercrime. There are similar cases around our Global village, for instance, Australia, Burma, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, the UK, and Vietnam. And now Iran is following in China’s footsteps by creating intelligent software to control and filter the on-going social media activities of Iranians.

Evidently, our Freedom netizen, (internet + User) has been targeted. We have purchased this freedom with our privacy and confidentiality in order to enjoy the Free Lunch from social media providers like Facebook and Google (see my previous post). The good news is that it is not the only attempt to limit our free-flow of information.

Filter Bubble”, named by Eli Pariser, political activist from Move On.org., is an invisible filter created by an algorithm (computer program), based on our individual interests and privacy information.

Besides gaining a big profit from their users’ information, Facebook and Google also use this filter to tailor our search results. Every time we search for some information on their browsers, they feed us the info which they think we want to see, not the standard result.

That means that they also can manipulate information anytime, anywhere, and to anyone. Does that sound similar to “Hollywood or Cultural Imperialism” when they feed us their entertainment?

For internet experts, there are many choices for search engines. What’s the big deal! But, how about users who do not understand the technical aspects of the internet and people who have not got access to our Global village?

This kind of news will almost certainly not be broadcast in the mainstream media (already dominated by political economy).

Actually, either our Global village is moving forward towards democracy, or we are going back to the Propaganda Era under the name of global business.

Have your say!

  • As a Netizen, what do you think about the “Filter Bubble”?
  • Update us about the latest news of social media control situation in your country.

Below is the video of Eli Pariser, ‘Beware online “Filter Bubbles”’ at TED talk.  Duration: 9 mins with 40 languages for subtitles in your preferred language.

If you can’t turn on the subtitle option in Youtube video, you can visite TED.com directly.  They have online script for you, too.

There is no present or future, only the past happening over and over again now, Eugene O’neil.”

Criminal minds season 8, ‘Pay it forward’ episode/script.

Related links

 

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/opposition-welcomes-dumping-of-labors-internet-filter-scheme-20121109-2937g.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2025106/UK-riots-David-Camerons-clampdown-social-media-tools-like-Facebook-Twitter.html

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2013/08/19/thailand-wants-to-monitor-conversations-on-line-app/

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Line-check-plan-gets-the-flak-30212583.html

http://www.voanews.com/content/se-asia-governments-looking-to-emulate-china-to-squelch-social-media-commentary/1741466.html

http://www.dw.de/intelligent-software-set-to-control-social-media/a-16507868

http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles.html

http://dontbubble.us/

http://www.wired.com/business/2012/01/google-filter-bubble/

http://www.searchenginejournal.com/the-google-filter-bubble-and-its-problems/29879/

“Free Lunch?”

Free Lunch?”

“There ain’t no such thing as a Free Lunch”. The first time I heard of this phrase, I felt very hurt and sad. Why were people being so pessimistic? However, the more I think about it, the more practical it becomes.

There is no documentary evidence confirming when this saying actually originated. According to Wikipedia, its first appearance in practice was around the 1930-1940s.  American bars offered “Free lunch” to their customers who purchased a drink. This resulted in the customers spending a lot of money on their drinks because the food offered was very salty.

Obviously, the word “Free” is the best strategy for attention and deception. At the beginning of internet era, every website offered free services. The excitement of social media has overwhelmed us. We agreed to their terms and conditions for a free for life account without reading them, especially with electronic services like Hotmail, Yahoo, Facebook and Google. Even though, you tried to read it but finally you would give it in as their privacy policies were very complex and difficult to understand.

Social media was a new channel for communication, and connection with others, and so, an escape from our boring reality at no cost. With advances in technology, internet has become our new fundamental as it revolutionises our ways of living. It ruptures our lives into polarised directions: it allows our minds to explore and connect in cyber space. On the other hand, it isolates and widens the gap in our physical reality such as between rich and poor, educated and non- educated.  Strangely, we are connected around the world but lonely.

The Youtube website is a big challenge for the traditional media and politics around the world. Google earth is mapping revolutions for scientists, biologists and epidemiologists.

We can do almost anything at our own convenience: watching news, TV and movies; reading newspapers, listening to radio, stalking celebrities and shopping online. The Global village is no longer just a fantasy idea in textbook but reality.

As much as it pleases us, like the ‘Free lunch’, we still have to pay. We purchase these freedoms of expression and creativities with our privacy and confidentiality. All our personal information and emails has become the property of service to sell. Every time we visit any websites, they will give us little cookies to track our activities and send our information back to them. Behind their ‘free’ services, they are generating a huge profit for themselves each year. The latest update from Yahoo Finance, saw Facebook earning $1.46billion in the first quarter of 2013. Google also reported their finances gaining $13.97 billion this first quarter.

We have totally no control over this. Well, we have already signed our rights away when we agreed to use their online services. Precisely, there are no secrets in this virtual space as accessing information depends on your IT skills in hacking, manipulating and tracking down whatever information you are after. Our global village is producing its own cultures and cyber activities: porno-ing, bullying, stalking, trolling and much more than we can imagine.

Of course, we can not change the past, but as Web 3.0 is about to be released, and still no improvement on users’ protection but the sophisticated search engine for marketing purposes.

The questions here are, “Are we happy to let Social media take control of our way of lives and take away our privacy?”, and

“if we want to do something to change this situation, what should we do?”.

I cannot deny I have seen the beauty of this chaotic space. Many wonderful creations were born from our global village.

There are so much to discuss but before we go on.

Have we paid enough for this “Free Lunch”?

Please enlighten my world with your thoughts, wisdom and feeling.

There is no present or future, only the past happening over and over again now, Eugene O’neil.”

Criminal minds season 8, ‘Pay it forward’ episode/script.

Related links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There_ain’t_no_such_thing_as_a_free_lunch

http://computer.howstuffworks.com/web-30.htm

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/facebook-reports-first-quarter-2013-200500244.html

http://investor.google.com/earnings/2013/Q1_google_earnings.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/the-mapping-revolution-how-google-earth-is-changing-science-a-429525.html

http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2013/s3841339.htm

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/aug/14/google-gmail-users-privacy-email-lawsuit