2012 Abstracts Stage 3

Reality Mining and Technology: a Postmodern Reflection

Reality Mining collects the digital breadcrumbs of our daily activities, to understand and predict social behaviour.

The territory shall outline up-and-coming advances in technology and communication and what we can learn from analysing these networks through reality mining. It will look at specific areas of communication development and reality mining. This discussion looks at the work of Lyotard, Baudrillard and Vattimo. With reference to these specific postmodern thinkers, this project shall discuss whether reality mining furthers the commodification of knowledge, alienates the individual and blurs the distinction between subject and object.

2010 Abstracts Stage 2

How Has the Power of Mass Communication Changed over Recent Years and What Influence and Control Does It Have over Society?

A study of the ways in which society has changed as the advancement of mass communication has occurred.

Can we think for ourselves today or is autonomy impossible in this world of unlimited influence?

History of Modernity

• Modernity
• Crisis of modernity
• Post­modernity

Aim: To discus whether we have the ability to be autonomous in society today or are we are too broadly influenced by mass communication.

Territory: various forms of advertising particularly focusing on online advertising today

Philosophical concepts: Marxist ideas of the prevention of uprising, Guy Ernest Debord ‘The Society of the Spectacle’, Jean Baudrillard “The Ecstasy of Communication”

2009 Abstracts Stage 2

Fakebook: is Technology Mediating Human Interaction?

It is estimated that there are 150 million active Facebook users worldwide. • Once a website aimed solely at students at Harvard University as a means of keeping in contact with classmates, Facebook has grown exponentially since its inception in February 2004. • Recently it has excelled in the 35‐54 year age demographic with a reported 279% increase in users in this age bracket. The worry is that, in domino effect of sorts through the generations, it will soon be a reality that everyone who has regular access to a computer will be communicating through a website and human contact and interaction will be a seldom practiced pastime. With the arrival of the mobile telephone came a whirlwind of irreversible change. Advancements in Telecommunications opened the gateway to a so‐called ‘Thumb culture’ in which communication and media interaction are all dictated by some form of digital interface. It seems as though, with each technological step forward, we take an interpersonal step back. For example, first there were phone conversations to close friends and family, then came text messaging, a far less personal way of communicating but, nonetheless it was a progression, or perhaps digression, that was mutually embraced by contacts that once knew each other well enough to interact verbally. From this stemmed the birth of instant messaging as a cheaper but very similar alternative. The concept of social networking through sites such as Myspace and Facebook is a commendable one. They aim to maintain correspondence with people that would have otherwise slipped off one’s communication radar. But the reality is that our strong relationships become diluted by becoming ‘Facebook friends’ with people we would call mere acquaintances. With the addition of Facebook chat in April 2008, Facebook became a ‘one‐stop shop’ for all our communication needs. Engaging in duologues on Facebook meant that their monopolisation have become so conglomerate that face‐to‐face conversations end up actively referring to Facebook. With a limitless online friend capacity, people with thousands of friends either have to spread themselves very thinly across all these people, or spend hours and hours chained to a computer to maintain a valid friendship. In order to explore this territory, I will be looking at the work of J.G. Ballard and Guy Debord as well as looking into Communication Theory. My aim for this project is to investigate where we go from here. Will face to face, or even verbal communication exist in the future? Or will technology sever our personal relationships to such an extent that meeting with people will be simply a distant memory; something the future generations will dismiss as ’something their grandparents did’?

2008 Abstracts Stage 3

Man and Machine: from Communication to Miscommunication

Territory: I have chosen to explore the power and impact of electronic devices that act as mediators when we perceive the world. I will focus on the way in which the position of the ‘subject’ is continually shifting in this increasingly technological and mediated society. Questions that need addressing: I wish to discover the shift in the material condition of humanity and how communication systems and technology have changed the role of the individual within the world, and thus the way we live, learn and interact with each other. Questions that necessitate investigation include: what is knowledge and truth if all information is mediated through several networks? This will lead to a discussion of whether mediated knowledge in any way deflects from the final product or image, that is to say whether it makes digital information and knowledge less authentic or second rate in anyway. To open this territory up for philosophical investigation I am going to look at the notion of presence and absence and what it means to be present as a human being using the philosophers Heidegger and Derrida, and whether there are different levels of being, in relation to mediated reality as proposed by some thinkers. In addition, I am going to use the concepts of authenticity and simulation and apply them to media by looking at Baudrillard and Debord. Key thinkers and sources: The main sources of my research will lie within the philosophical thought of Jacques Derrida, Martin Heidegger and Jean Baudrillard. I will also be drawing upon the ideas of G. W. F. Hegel and the modern sociologist Mark Poster.

2008 Abstracts Stage 3

Have advances in communication technology facilitated a modern era or brought about postmodernity?

The idea that I decided to look at was that of technology, more specifically the internet. The reason I used this was to enable a sense of relevance to my peers as we have all enjoyed a privileged upbringing when it comes to the availability we have at our disposal of technology. We are all able to use the internet through the resources we have had at school, in local libraries and even here at university. As a result of this we are inflicted to a multitude of facts and opinions. When looking at it philosophically we are bound to notice that with this growth in technology we have inevitably felt a shift in culture. I intend to show a radical change in the way that we are now able to interact with the world and voice our opinions. This will inevitably be shown through tracing the line from which the newspaper changed from being the only means of global information, to the culmination of the internet and its use for informing people of the news. My project aims at showing the change in culture due to the growth in communication technology.

2004 Abstracts Stage 2

Communication channels aren’t neutral: they have strengths, weaknesses and (especially) side-effects’

The Side-effects. The objective of my project is to look at the mediums of mass communication and mass media on the world today. I am exploring the effects they have on us and ultimately how it has created a world in which we no longer interact with the world per se; there is no conversation, but one way communication. Mass media and technological advances have lead to a world in which individual thought has been displaced, and taken over by externally programmed thought. I am looking at the views of the following people primarily: Marshall Mcluhan, Jean Baudrillard. The main concepts that I will be covering are as follows • Global Village – I will be exploring the concept that the world in which we live is that of a village again. Today’s instant communications have all but erased time and space and rendered national boundaries meaningless • Hyper-reality – The concept of hyper-reality refers to the idea that it is no-longer possible, in a media-saturated world, to distinguish between what is real and what is not (what is, in essence, a simulation of “reality”). Hyper-reality, therefore, is a situation in which nothing and everything is “real”; it is a situation in which we have lost the ability to distinguish reality and fiction. • Television – I will explore the side effects of this medium including how it provides an outlet for hyper-reality, how advertising effects the world and how it has lead to a desire for instant gratification, an emphasis on personal experience and a de-emphasis on acceptance of responsibilities Sources: Marshall Mcluhan and Bruce Powers: The global village, Jerry Mander: Four arguments for the elimination of television, Jean Baudrillard, System of objects, Marshall Mcluhan and Questin Fiore: The medium is the message, Adorno: The culture industry, Jean Baudrillard: The ecstasy of communication, Jean Baudrillard: Simulaca and simulation, Jean Baudrillard: Simulations, Paul Virilio: Open Sky, Marshall Mcluhan: Understanding Media: the extension of Man, John Fiske: Power play power works, Jean Baubrillard: Seduction, Douglas Kellner: Jean Baudrillard: From Marxism to Post Modernism and Beyond, Marshall Mcluhan: Mechanical Bride Daniel Joseph, Boorstin: The Republic of Technology: Reflections on Our Future Community, Jerry Mander: In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations, Nick Stevenson: Understanding media cultures : social theory and mass communication

2004 Abstracts Stage 2

The Influence of the Media: its power to influence society’s perception of reality

The aim of my project: • To examine the influence of the media on society and it’s potential to alter society’s perception of reality • How big a role does the media play in shaping our views of the world? • Does the media affect some groups more than others, who is more susceptible? • How do media effects occur? Resources: • Robinson Library • The Internet • Questionnaires Conclusions: Due to the mass media, the world in which we live has become a ‘global village’, we are constantly surrounded by the media in our daily lives. It is the biggest supplier of information on places we have never seen, and people we have never encountered. Through the media we can receive information on anything or anyone we wish to learn about, but sometimes this information is biased, or wrong, and our perception of reality can become distorted yet we do not even realise it. The media is a hugely powerful phenomenon in the modern world, enabling us to gain in knowledge in a variety of topics, and shaping our perception of the world. However not all media effects are positive, the negative aspects- the communication of unreality are not only wrong but potentially dangerous.

2002 Abstracts Stage 2

The Forces of Communication

How has communication become the driving force? Concepts/Key words: · Communication-from the spoken and written word to the electronic text · Self- from the Cartesian self surrounded by objects to being surrounded by computers who are subjects Objectives: · Examine the paradigm shift in communication-from Modern to Post-modern, from printed to electronic · Analyse the changes in the self-stable Cartesian self (modern individual) to fleeting and transient (post-modern individual) · Describe the lack of authenticity in electronic communication-no trace left by an author · Outline how communication is the driving force in society world revolves around computers, e-mail, Internet… Project Territory · The internet- examining how the language game of electronic communication is used to screen individuals