Monthly Archives: June 2015

Cyberpunk and Steampunk

Cyberpunk and Steampunk:

The story of an indomitable ethos in any age!

By S. A. Kehr

What is Cyberpunk? What makes a Cyberpunk story different from its near future Sci-Fi cousins? We can identify a few aesthetic differences that have come to define the genre for the majority of onlookers. It is at once futuristic and at the same time gritty. It has the ever present and all too sleek look of curves and lines everywhere. It has a color pallet that is dark and decidedly against earth tones and pastels. Neon is king, glass and steel (or their futuristic counterparts) are the materials of choice, there are few if any natural things and those that do exist are handled on a scale from incredibly valuable to divine. High technology is ubiquitous to the extent that it has become banal, social mobility is almost nonexistent. But even a definitive list of Cyberpunk style elements could never capture what lies beneath the veneer of highly stylized techno-fetishism that has come to mean cyberpunk in the pop-culture iconography. Those who have chosen to be more than bystanders know that in Cyberpunk, “cyber” is the style but “punk” is the substance.

So if the essence of Cyberpunk isn’t its cool haircuts and mirror shades what is its character? At its core Cyberpunk is inherently disenfranchised, disaffected, disinterested, and disappointed. It is the dystopia and a realization of our most banal fears made manifest by our own selfishness, sloth, and misanthropy. It scares and titillates us at the same time by appealing to the greedy, lazy, angry, and entitled parts of our ugliest selves and says, “Here is the world you really want”; Everything’s cheap and easy if you just let your humanity dribble out a little each day. Its a world of wonders with all the wonder sucked out. Characters regularly treat scientific miracles, nigh unto magic, like they belong in the dust bin. This is of course nothing new to our modern condition (how often do we find reasons to be dissatisfied with our phone, TV, or computer just to replace it with the newest version of the same). Nevertheless, it bears witness to the detachment between our wonders and the sense of wonder we feel towards them. But a Cyberpunk world is more than merely a peek beyond the grim veil of consequence; its also a world of stories about hope in the darkness, the indomitable human spirit, and the beauty that we can bring back if we are willing to bravely face a world that has given up. It looks forward and sees what we all fear and tells us a story about escaping that fate, the power of an individual, and how our humanity can be our salvation.

So what is Steampunk and how is it different? Steampunk is inherently engaged, interested, bright eyed and bushy tailed. It is a better tomorrow built on more promising yesterdays, its a nostalgic re-imagining of what was with all the dirty, ugly, and distasteful parts left on the cutting room floor. It is a Utopian revisionist history that seizes on the wonder of our world and asks us to recreate the past without the banal misery of what human beings have done. And like Cyberpunk it has an aesthetic all its own. Gears and gadgets are everywhere disregarding the pesky laws of physics, technology is regarded on a spectrum from very rare to divine. Idealized Victorian sensibility permeates every level of society. The people are unabashedly enthusiastic and plucky. Status and standing are the real currency of the times; everyone has the potential to rise above their station. Earth tones and pastels are in, most of the world is crafted in natural materials, firelight is key but the limelight is king. But most importantly everything is fanciful and full of flair. Steampunk worlds are filled with over the top personalities that care less about what happens than how they look when it happens.

But true to form the “steam” in Steampunk is the dressing but the “punk” is still the meat and potatoes. One might reasonably ask what’s so punk about fancy dress and style over substance? Can you be fanciful and frivolous while maintaining your punk cred? The answer is it all depends on where you are going, not where you have been. Steampunk is a story of a past that wasn’t where we aren’t the selfish, slothful, cogs in a machine slowly being worn down. but it’s also frightened, and dangerously close to losing the thread of its own better tomorrow. It is a story of darkness creeping into the dream, the failings of mankind, and the horrors we can cause when we lose our sense of wonder. The punk in Steampunk is a looming threat and an unacknowledged background hum of desperation. The average Steampunk character is most like a Disney park employee; Silently suffering, all the while bottling up their vast sense of unease and frustration with a world going to hell in a handbasket while everyone smiles and says what a lovely day it is. Steampunk plays at being chipper but deep down it’s scared to death we will not make it past Tuesday.

Basically Steampunk and Cyberpunk are two faces of the same coin. one dystopia, one utopia, one looking forward, one looking back, one asks us to see beauty in darkness, one asks us to see darkness in beauty, but ultimately they both tell us a story about the value of awe and wonder at the world we live in. Both dare us to be courageous in facing a world that’s barely keeping it together (either on the edge of losing what it has or on the edge or regaining what was lost). Both ask us to put wonder back into the wonders of a world we see losing its way. We look to what will be with dread and what has been with nostalgia. Both speculate that what can save us from this disaster is our own humanity. Both offer us a way to right the ship and emerge from the darkness we face (whether that darkness is upon us already or looming on the horizon). Each uses technology, albeit very different manifestations of technology, as a backdrop to highlight the role of the individual and their humanity in shaping the world to come. Each, in its own way judges, a world that focuses on external forces and finds it wanting.

What we make of that world is where the story happens. What we do and how we live matters. Will we be the slothful children of a new age of technology or will we embrace the pain and seek greater accomplishments for all mankind? Will our greed and ignorance lead us to exploit our fellows or will we realize the worth we all carry hidden inside us? Will we foster a new age of tyranny or a new age of egalitarianism? If you aren’t sure to which, Cyberpunk or Steampunk, these last few questions refer then I have done my job. What is common to them is the punk ethos, and it is a story about the rise of humanity against the powers that be. It is a story of discontentment with the status quo. It is a story about re-imagining who and what we are. It is a story about the power of individuals to change the course of behemoths. It is a story about what’s beautiful inside us, and it is a story about how truth can set us free. We tell these stories because we need to believe in our ability to overcome the darkness that sleeps inside us all and to fix our mistakes. We imagine grim futures to remind ourselves not to give in and to replace temptation with discipline. We re-imagine our history to forgive ourselves weakness and replace it with strength. We tell stories so the angels of our better nature can beat back the daemons of our weakest moments. A punk story is one in which we are all the leaders of our own personal rebellion, the “great men” of an unwritten history, the saviors of humanity, and the witnesses of our own worst fear.

So it doesn’t really matter whether it is cybernetics and matrix runs or zeppelins and Babbage engines. Either way, it is a ruse to talk about our own humanity and what deep hopes and fears we need projected into an ethos that lets us have control in a world of choices we don’t get to make. Maybe that’s the most profound similarity between these two genres; We didn’t get a choice. We didn’t get to choose the events of history so we revise with what we wish we could have done. We don’t get to choose the future so we speculate on what we fear from it. And in both we tell stories that let us reassert our own value, power and, individuality.

Ep 14: Sensationalist media: Are your children safe?

welcome one and all to Professor Metal’s irate debate and calamitous commentary with the philosophical chain gang. Today’s episode is sensationalist media; Are your children safe? I’m your host Professor Metal on river actual grace. You know I’ve had this looming sense of dread lately looming drove me to look at all school living that twenty four seven these days. Well that’s a perfectly valid response to being locked in the little oratory. I’ll make it a point to tell the looming dread to back up just a little bit. Well that would be nice. Oh absolutely. So something most media there’s a lot of little lord of you plea all of it. Oh you’ve got to get those views somehow the viewership bowlers would have you there and that does bring us to a very interesting point about sensationalist media the point at which we see the rise of sensationalist media is really the same point at which news becomes entertainment product something to be made money on. Back in the day they used to lose you a significant amount of money but the money that you lost on that was considered public affairs money you gave that to the public for the right to use the airwaves. That was the exchange. It involved in being a public broadcaster. When that changed when the public interest standard was removed. Television news became a commodify of all things something you expected to make money on. And if you’re going to make money on it you have to constantly be scrambling for new viewers and more numbers and the higher ratings to give advertisers in order to make a dollar. There are just three channels in the world. You know when there are just three channels there were best practices there were standards for journalism that they agree on and no one of those three heated for the fear of seeming irresponsible. Wish being a responsible corporate citizen was the entire point of doing journalism in the first place as you just pointed out in a has to do with that choke point because I think the first role of journalism is to act as a gatekeeper say here’s what’s important is that you should know about in the world when there’s a few of them they can do that. You don’t really have a lot of other options unless you’re going around just counterculture. But with the opening up of choices with so much cable to cable news and the internet and various other platforms of getting news the ability of news to be a gatekeeper Droste because we can choose where we’re going to get the news from so we’re going to go to whatever news we want to see results selecting it. I definitely think there are some problems inherent in that list. Some people just look for news that favors them that their ideas of the world. Any direction you look there are news outlets that kind of cater to a specific type of person and people will generally gravitate more towards that outlet that anything else. But even then if there are multiple outlets that kind of go for the same person you see this sort of not necessarily sensationalist arms race but something very similar where where they’re trying. Give me the most in your face you have the most exciting news honestly with how we get information become so fragmented into bite sized chunks that you can click through for more. They’ve got very little time to grab you. They’re competing with a lot of other people who are trying to use and they certainly were not saying that all journalism should be done in pure paternalistic fashion right I mean there is a place for new media in the journalistic landscape. I mean while it may not be the same type of news there is certainly a place for things like hyper local news cast about several philosophers desperately trying to help things like that that might interest in each audience it’s generally put forward as a very right wing conservative notion but I don’t necessarily agree with their disagree with it because the concept of the marketplace of ideas free markets are really really good at developing good products and developing value over products. So can we really complain about the free market forces in the world of information in the long run this is the best way to go. The way that it’s going in sensationalism is just going to be a part of it I don’t know I think there are problems there. When you have no vetting when you have news or things that were this fired to the news that are willing to put out information that isn’t solid or may in fact be in part or in the whole false and so you have this dissemination of misinformation. That sounds good to whomever their viewership is or what have you. But it isn’t true. I think that is a very big problem with that sort of system. But don’t we as responsible media consumers bear some of the responsibility for choosing those news sources and verifying to what extent they should be trusted. Some pending of whether trust is a given. Media consumers first priority increasingly we see the media of all varieties hold our attention and however many directions we have started ingesting our media faster and faster and the levy itself seems to be in like smaller and smaller bites. There are plenty of people I know that will judge the worthiness of an article to read based solely off of its headline which was I mean meant to grab attention. And one of the prime targets for sensationalism. More and more people’s yay or nay response to wanting to read an article is kicked off like going through social media. But for example let’s take someone who was inadvertently fooled by an Onion article. And in case there’s anyone left in the universe it doesn’t know The Onion is a satirical news type site that makes fun of the types of stories to go around the news on a regular basis. If some of them are fooled into that because they saw a headline and they thought this was a real story wouldn’t it be that person’s fault for not having verify whether or not the onion was a source to listen to as opposed to the onions fault for having them inadvertently. This is an interesting thing about social media as we are just passive consumers were also broadcasters were also sharing it and passing it around and spreading it. A reaction that I see very commonly especially online from people is not so much that they want to be informed but they want something to react to. They want to find something that helps them express moral outrage in very often they will go off of the title of something without actually reading the full nuance of the full story and say that person did something horrible and they’re wrong and they feel good about themselves for saying so you think. Well see something that anger is just out of the headlines and without actually really look into it. What they want to do is put it out there. I think this is wrong this is horrible this is bad. It’s like we’re all jacking up our moral high horses in the reach for the heavens trying to get above everyone else. I think you have a point that we’re in a sort of perpetual hyperbole battle amongst ourselves like who can have the most outrageous version of the same thing. But at the same time I think that there might be something to be said for the idea that people are responsible for what they put out that when we choose to engage in that that we have to take responsibility for what the consequences of putting that out in the world are. We’re all journalists. Sure in some sense we are and I think that while the onion example is clearly a very farfetched one most people who get fooled by an Onion article quickly realize it was an Onion article and move on with their day. I think that the same principle can be taken seriously with regard to say bloggers who may not have a lot of journalistic background or I don’t think really because it’s not necessarily an intentional misleading but at the very least their credentials are questionable at the very least that when you read that it is your responsibility to go what is the veracity of the story should I immediately become morally outraged over it or should I look into this person and did they have a leaning do they have a particular type of story that right about time this person reliable in other cases. Have they posted misinformation before they got their information from. No I do kind of agree that some of the burden falls on the consumer of the news but you kind of have to do a little research yourself although it goes against the. The sort of fast lifestyle that a lot of people have come to adopt these days I think people are better for it too but they are information in their news. I’ve certainly done it a few times with something that sounds particularly far fetched and sometimes I found myself correct in thinking that it was several news stories have slipped past and even got posted by Reuters or the Associated Press some of the bigger more prestigious news organizations. Sure and I don’t want my son went and saying there’s no place for a more metered and professional level journals I think that both can exist in an ecosystem of ideas wherein the big fish help us verify information. The citizen journalism the even more fast and loose tweet about it immediately is a good way to get some headlines and kind of know what’s going on in the world but you have to take another step to find out what level of trust you should place in that and I think that’s our responsibility as media consumers more than it is the responsibility of Twitter bombers and fast and loose News Journal bloggers. That’s something they don’t bear any responsibility to do but we have to take some responsibility for what we consume as well. We can necessarily control them. You’ll learn some pleasing them. I do kind of want to state take a step back here because we’re very much making it sound like something tional ism is a new practice in journalism but it’s really been around for quite a long time especially in the American market with a sort of low starting in the one nine hundred thirty S. and forty’s and going through to the late seventy’s. But before then we saw a lot of what was called back in the day and sometimes still today yellow journalism one of the people. Most well known for this was William Randolph Hearst the newspaper mogul and then him an opponent of marijuana growing partially because he felt threatened his business but he not only attacked that as an industry but his opponents and used his platform his newspaper as a personal platform first politics. He ended up being a member of the House New York House of Representatives throughout his career and is kind of the sensationalist bad guy and this is no more more prevalent then Citizen Kane the Orson Welles film which Orson Welles himself got blacklisted from Hollywood very late in the Hearst life he saw it and immediately made calls to get Orson Welles’ kicked out of Hollywood effectively and well Citizen Kane is considered a masterstroke to this day of cinematic excellence. It ruined Orson Welles’ career because Hearst ruined him for for basically telling the truth and a lot of the problem of Hearst yellow journalism was not just that it was politically driven I mean obviously that was problematic but Hearst was known to outright lie just to tell complete falsehoods. Hearst published stories especially with regard to is an attempt of marijuana a lie about Mexicans who would smoke grass and murder white people in their beds go on massacre sprees helped out Negroes would roam the streets looking to rape white women. But the kind of headlines that he took where he had very little if any basis in reality and just spread his particular brand of angry Alytus racism and hatred about it already and some disputable raster. I’m starting a Cuban American or commanded one of his people to start writing about the war that America was having breakfast. There were never more curious wrote the story on the war as an i Phone call if nothing else. You almost want to quote like that to be true. You know here’s a situation where we have an environment where there are keepers. There are these newspaper magnets there are a few of them and they’re deciding what information everyone is hearing and yet we have the sensationalism for their own ends. So I mean the different situation we have now where everything’s very fragmented in the city’s financial system is a whole lot of which is trying to be heard above the crowd in their case to sensationalism as a few people just sort of almost being informational tyrants. That’s fair but part of it was they would create these false or exaggerated articles and headlines to sell more copies of the newspaper like that was a big thing between Hearst and a contemporary of his Joseph Pulitzer like both were accused of yellow journalism to try and sell more newspapers because they were too greedy about it. Well it seems to me like you know all of these instances you see similar threads and there is an attention economy that has to be won out in order to be in a position to do what you might want to do with your journalistic product be it a newspaper or a T.V. show or a blog or whatever else you have to first garner attention and even if your environment is a few big players you still have to try and garner attention from amongst them. Whereas in our current media landscape there are a lot of little players as well as some big players and everybody’s trying to get attention for everybody else. So I think it’s important to realize that even if the actual goals that come after that have changed a little bit rather than being selling newspapers it’s it’s on a blog or something similar that maybe doesn’t generate correct. It’s certainly the same kind of game being played. Business in general in the late nineteenth century was rather different in the way a large concern today in those robber barron attitude. They did not play nice with each other. There were two or three people sharing the market. They were sure the tooth and nail. Everybody wanted to know if you’ve got two or three corporations in one single in one single industry and what they’re going to do is they’re both going to like that prices are going to even out with each other they’re going to do what they call best practices. They’ll take their big chunk of this fat market and just be happy with it rather than try to fight each other or certainly and I think another thing that changed between then and now probably for the better is the dispersal and the democratization of information the fact that we have information coming to us faster and from more sources certainly helps. It can also be a hinderance certainly but it helps us as a culture kind of that and verify better what’s true and what’s not. If we go out and look for sources and for where these planes are coming from we’re able to find it better. There’s you know certainly back in the day there was no internet not even really much of the telephone system and so you had to take it on face value share and to some degree over his writings and so you don’t a noise ratio problem right. On some level. Boosting the amount of stuff you hear will increase the number of true things you hear and it might also a certain point to over to also increasing the number of postings you’re the ratio may start to fall between those two even if you’re having more good informational nuggets come your way. So Lebanon Vironment with our media where we have to find the right balance of those things it’s not just more true things are less false things it has to be the highest ratio of true or false. Think we might become some fragmented society this might have something to do with polarization. If we’re in a marketplace of ideas where out of thousands of possible channels for information I choose the set of the ones I like which is another media that I can consume maybe said dozen sources. You choose yours someone else chooses there is a record in their own preferences and biases and psychology. Now we each live in different bubbles as opposed to back in the day when there are fewer choices. Everyone lived in the same big bubble we all sort of lived in the same world of what’s true and what’s not now we’ve each got you know if we’ve reached out to selection from this huge list of choices we’ve each got our own in a sense living in our own world of what’s true and what’s not. And there’s a limited overlap between them. So I think there’s more people talking past each other than used to be. So we’re talking about the concern of all or over plurality of truths that if we don’t agree on a set of things that are true that young some level we can just continue to yell at each other because both sides believe they have the truth. What we can’t have a debate lesser agree and premises of any argument. And if it’s self-selecting or world of facts from different argue and competing informational channels I guess the question is how do we reassemble a single world of truth that we all live in in order to have constructive dialogue. Well it seems to me and that’s one of the areas where philosophy can still be incredibly useful to the modern era. That philosophy helps us to weed out those things which are untrue not because they don’t match the facts of the world but because they are not sound within their own principles. Those things which are self-contradictory those things which cause logical mis assertions the syllogistic matters. Socratic method are long tested principles by which to try and find some elements of truth. They don’t give us an absolute guide to truth but they give us tools to which to try and determine which things we should give any credence to and which things are on their face problematic for their own case and that doesn’t require a huge study philosophy where you’ve got to dig through all the tomes of the great men of the last two millennia. This is actually a fairly easy to get through a list of just contemporary techniques for vetting information. It’s unbiased neutral it’s all technique focused it’s pretty simple critical thinking and I think could really help with this regard of us living on our own little islands of self selected facts and I agree with you no worries them I think it’s present further than that that there are definitely some methodologies that we can use and tools that we can grab. But it’s to me at least almost as much about the minds or the practice of constantly critically evaluating those things that are around you. That’s the tertiary value of exploring and understanding philosophy in my opinion and why I still believe that it’s a very valuable education to have even if it’s not directly plenty of jobs when you go out in the world. People always get what you can do the philosophy degree. Well it’s not what you do with philosophy or having studied philosophy or wasn’t it was part yes it’s what you learn to do in your day to day life in the background the things that are not the direct focus and discerning what kinds of media are some specialist which kinds are is a key example of something that we can learn a lot about by understanding soundest of arguments and the types of fallacies that get created over time. Sones of this analogy I like to use and somebody asked me what was his philosophy. Well if you go to the gym with weights you see the weight there on the rack. You pick it up and put it down. You’ve done all this exertion to move this heavy weight and then you put it. Back where you found it out where you left it. You worked on the chair. Now you’re putting all this effort and that that weight as it moved anywhere so I guess you have putting it all that work. What did you accomplish the same thing all the platoons and we’ve been wrestling with these eternal questions for all of humankind I would put it to work from different angles we dig into it and at the end of the day the question still remains the philosophical problem is still there but we’re wiser for having made the attempt. Just as you’re stronger for having moved that way. Well certainly and I think that’s a bit of a problem with our culture and not to get to sidetracked but you don’t see a lot of emphasis on critical thinking in lower education these days. I personally being the youngest member of the chain gang I didn’t really know what critical thinking was until high school and I think that’s a major problem. Like nobody addressed it until I was in high school and then I was kind of expected to do what it wants and I had to learn it myself and I think it belies some of the issues we see in our days with a lot and acceptance of of things like sensationalist news that we don’t exercise these these critical thought processes in school I agree this is a great dovetail back in because the greater social construct of not being yes society that values critical thinking is one brilliant sensational to me if we were a society that in general practice critical thinking and it was we would be less apt to be fooled in the first place by this kind of media and this kind of announcement or to pay attention to what we’re saying now because we would have the practice on a regular basis of looking at that and saying no I don’t think it’s likely to do you have to look forty five people on the bus I don’t think. That’s a reasonable thing to think this headline actually means so there must be more behind it and they want me to read this article. Do I want to read this article or do I think this is likely to just grab my attention and move on with it something else. I think her selling point is to say that any given media consumer in the informational environment that you exist is a look at that information which you like to actually be true. What would you call someone who lived in an informational environment so called facts are almost entirely false. Well probably a full one of your fault. Well here are some techniques you can use to get your information. Now I agree with that and I think that to a large extent that you feed off each other. The last time we spend talking about critical thinking media literacy in some of these other related issues the more it becomes the more useful it becomes to have those things in terms of a means of controlling people in terms of guiding people’s attention towards the things you want and away from other things. I think that when we foster a culture of not paying attention to that critical thinking and media literacy elements that are going on in our day to day lives we essentially give up control of those day to day lives to somebody else we say you make the decisions for me. Fox News for example you go ahead and decide what’s important for me to hear and you go ahead and tell me what I should think about it. And that’s problematic in general. It means that we don’t have an informed citizenry. We have a guidance that is free and that crumbles the very structure upon which our entire system of governance and our way of life is belt. Certainly certainly and it’s almost frightening when you see certain media outlets and certain news outlets that that are espousing that you should only listen to them. Because they are the truth. I don’t know it just strikes me as kind of frightening. Well perhaps more to the point they claim to be the truth tellers the other people are the liars right and that’s important because we all have inherent to the way humans think about the world. A desire to avoid the liars. So we’re setting aside the whole point of media channels accusing each other along. I think there is you said there is some value in having somebody who decides whether something is actually true and whether it is newsworthy. In much the same way it is valuable to not have to all grow our own food in our own backyards. You know journalism is work and if you know we can have somebody specialize in OK you figure out what we should know what’s important to us when it gets to which you mention when they tell us what to think about those I think it crosses a different line. It starts becoming journalism and starts becoming propaganda ploy. Well and to some extent it’s impossible to truly bias free journalism there is a certain amount of always being here and I’m going to use an example from a book called How to watch T.V. news and I’ll put a link to that in the show. But basically you imagine a situation in which a Palestinian seventeen year old throws a Molotov cocktail. Two Israeli soldiers that one of the Israeli soldiers hit with a Molotov cocktail is blinded in one eye by a piece of glass coming off the wall and you try to put yourself in the point of place of the reporter during that story which details do you include and which do you leave out do you say that it was a Palestinian attacking Israeli soldiers. Well that seems like an important detail but at the same time it seems like it’s a little bit prejudiced to put it out there in that way. Do you point out that it was a minor or do you say that Israeli man because he was seventeen is he. More a regime or a child. You point out that the Israeli soldier was blinded in one I didn’t say he was injured. What if they shot the Israeli Palestinian child in the process do you report on that as well. Do you report on the attack to some degree how we as human beings experience the story influences how the story gets told. So but it should be said that journalism is a practice I mean you know you can take college courses in journalism and there are practices in techniques for answering at least to some extent you know all of those questions that you have asked like how you would approach them at least to reduce bias and then you can fairly limited but there are specific techniques that was biased from journalist writing down to a vanishing point. They do admit there will still be some but oh I definitely agree that there will always be some human society is a political machine we are by some extension political creatures What is it. Anything you write that he’s leading that you produce will come across as being political in some fashion and there are well there are ways to mitigate that. It still happens wherever there are two people together. There’s politics. Well I think that there is an upswell of the new media in the world that perhaps trying to be unbiased is actually hurting us that instead of trying to be unbiased we should acknowledge your bias and try and be fair in our reporting as a good example of this is serial the incredibly famous now contest for of all sorts of internet records in which there are training who was a producer with This American Life reports on one story for twelve hours and really dig deep into investigating. Their conviction of a guy for murder in this particular story she acknowledges that she’s not unbiased. That from the very beginning she feels like this guy was convicted unfair. But in the process of doing so they’re present all the possible information about it and trying to tell you the whole story not just the parts that support one side or another. There is a bias. There is a clear bias to any knowledge they are biased but they also say here are the things that are problematic for our are biased. This particular fact makes it very hard to feel the way I do. And at the end of the story they need to sort of wrap up where they try and analyze whether or not that opinion has changed over the course of learning all these things. It’s not the same model but it goes to the same goal which is to tell a true story to tell the most true story we can about events in the world. People point to the patrons their patron saint of biased journalism Walter Cronkite. He was back when you know that was a perfect example of an unbiased guy. They forget the broadcast. When he came around the desk sat on the edge of it took off his glasses and said to the camera you get no damn good reason why we’re still in the gym. You know I don’t know. And a lot of things people seem to not recognize with with American journalism is it’s just that it’s American it is done from the American perspective is there is no other bias there’s still the bias of being an American person living in America and the cultural sort of baggage that comes with it. And Walter Cronkite for being touted as this pillar of journalistic excellence never disputed back never never try to show himself as sort of a man of the world as it were trying to move from a global perspective as opposed to an American perspective. And I think people lose sight of that sometimes and I think in his age people really thought in terms of bias he would only ever claim to be fair. So we talked about a lot of journalistic integrity stuff and a lot of fires. But what we’re supposed to be talking about tonight is sensationalist media specifically and I think it would be a disservice if we didn’t talk about the problems of sensationalist media. We talked a lot around the ideas of how little we did or what the solutions might be whether or not it should be in these environments. But we haven’t really gone into why you wouldn’t want it. So what is the problem with sensationalist media. Why is it OK to say dogs everywhere or have someone become Ramadan are attacking babies just on the off chance you didn’t buy a D.V.D. The only arsenic already atoms of it in your home. So why not. I mean what’s the real harm. Well for one thing we are brains are not our brains have a facility in them for doing inductive reasoning to determining statistics but only in the wild as we’re involved in small tribal groups doing statistics on a large population. Our brains will give us an opinion based on the number of cases that we’ve seen. That may seem higher or lower than is real whereas if you actually count the number of statistics you know proper data collection would tend to be way off. You know when we see a similar event being really hyped up is terribly important. Just a couple of times we may actually think this is happening all the time. You know if I was like I wouldn’t want to leave the house for fear of cops shooting me from the news that I’ve seen. What are the actual statistics. There’s too bad but not the news media would make it seem and that’s might inform how I live my life. Well I think the world’s going. Yeah I think part of it is. Well news is ostensibly just words on a screen or in a video feed or in your ear. Words can really easily translating that action and that’s a problem if there is a spurious or outright false claims about certain things that can cause panic and it can and has caused real life effects the whole Obama’s going to outlaw guns thing which he very obviously hasn’t in nearly seven years in office he’s been in now but all the same we’ve seen gun sales or gun prices skyrocket the price of ammunition and all the related accoutrements go way up because of this panic that we’ve seen in the does only in gun collecting community where they have this fear that they’re going to be taken away so they’re they’re stocking up just in case they’re about to keep them or something because of this false or these these various claims. Don’t think that’s the key to the worst examples of institutional reporting is that a prisoner appears well and the quintessential example of having the wrong information because that in fact is a she was for the Worlds and the radio broadcast having the wrong information and believing that it was true. Let a lot of people do a lot of very stupid things. Several people were injured when the broadcast happened has been documented that people acted in very foolish ways based on that information that lead to the real broadcast. So clearly there’s a problem with knowing false information and believing it to be true on the other hand there’s also almost the opposite problem. If you have received false information too many times to be young to be too skeptical of those sources and that. Do you not accepting good information when it does come out. So we have a certain danger of believing the wrong things too many times that have to be also of point sort of the boy who cried wolf. So there you go. You know you have that information bad information bad information good information from all from the same source. But that history of bad information leads you to believe that the good information is fat. And if you look at the thought process of conspiracy theorists It’s not that they’re actually too credulous that they’re buying into something that is that is unlikely they’re actually too skeptical. They’re refusing the obvious and simplest answers because they don’t trust the sources. Sure. I mean a good example at least in my opinion is the end of next year that these people have been offered good solid information in formats that should be able to alleviate the concerns over what dangers there might be associated with this practice because we have been because we’ve been trained to be afraid of pharmaceutical companies and dangers of chemicals and things in our bodies and to be wary of the consequences of certain kinds of medical interventions that turned out to be problematic in the past. We have a large percentage of the population now that is actually so afraid of that they disregard perfectly good information in favor of a narrative that fits that sense to the point that we’ve had not only urgent but the epidemic of the entirely preventable disease. And in fact there’s very little difference between someone who has gotten in a false mindset for rejecting good information. When someone has gotten to a false mindset through accepting bad information. Grow most identical in terms of outcome you know that this person is really buying into this Looney Tunes thing but they get there through UPS It means you are being too credulous or too skeptical sort of meter on the other side. Sure and another major problem with sensationalist media sources the idea is that if the environment is so watered things trying to get your attention in the most outlandish possible ways the signal is lost in the noise of all the attempts to grab your attention. It could be information coming out about some terrible new drug that has been prescribed to lots of people of people shown here. They should know about but if the amount of information out there in the world is all busy claiming that every drug that has ever been produced by pharmaceutical company is bad for you and will tear your body apart in a terrible way. If that’s the environment then the cream doesn’t get to rise to the top. Instead we get everything in the same doses and that’s problematic for the living truth about the world falls this illusion alarmism we sort of live in a perpetual state of alarm and those are things that the media tells us what’s acceptable and what’s not. Yet many people die from heart disease every year. We’ve learned to live with that that’s no big deal if someone gets killed by a serial killer. We all freak out. The media tells us which of these which of these deaths is just something we have to live with and which is something we should be concerned with and it’s fairly arbitrary when you think about it in the dark night there’s a quote from the Joker where he says nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying tomorrow I told the press that like the gang banger will get shot or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up nobody can see because it’s all part of the planet. When I say that one little mirror will die well then everyone loses. I mines one death versus another. We all understand that if you know all human life is equal merit in that one person shouldn’t another should. But we do care very much about certain rather than others and it is the media that informs us of that if the media started telling us something else is more important we start caring about that different role they play. Aside from telling us what’s your role on the T.V. show The unbreakable commish. Or women are rescued from an underground bomb shelter where they were kept in a sort of cult situation the media headline is three white women were rescued one Hispanic woman also freed and now I definitely think there’s something there. Although I do find it interesting that we see in other media being expressed to curb sensationalism like the example you’ve given is very much a sort of sensationalist headlines while ostensibly true its poking fun at sensationalism and how it seems to parse information. Another really good example of this just as a whole is NEWSROOM. The Aaron Sorkin program that has kind of taken shots sensationalism in a really big way where the main character and all of his crew run the cable news network. But they’re very much trying to bring it back to the sort of inform the public. I have Buddhist sensationalism sort of deal. Yeah. NEWSROOM is amazing and there’s a lot of good stuff there about the media about sensationalism about the responsibility for journalistic ethics or some other good resources are uncertain movie Network movie but there’s a lot of good stuff to say to our current media environment. Something that people should reach back and find a way to watch a fight and another good example in a more timely media is the first episode of the first Islam black murder has a lot to say about socialism in media and it’s really pretty powerful stuff if you take it seriously. The book that I was referencing earlier is how I watch T.V. news by Neil Postman and Steve Powers. It’s an excellent read and a great guy to trying to parse some of what’s going on in the world of media and reporting and what role entertainment has in the news. Sean silence I believe today I shall take the last word. My legal team has advised me that I should point out this is the opinion of myself Professor medal and not the podcast as a whole as some of you may be aware I am a member of what is commonly referred to as the venting community. I utilize the electronic cigarettes. I think this particular subset of people who spend lately a prime target for sensationalist media we often see things coming up saying this study or that study has shown there’s formaldehyde in the electronic cigarettes or that there are more cancer risks than cigarettes by some level of orders of magnitude bigger What have you and I think part of the problem we see here is that in the sensationalist media environment there’s this sort of predisposition towards maybe not lying but definitely misrepresenting things. In the case of these studies these studies were all done and they were done according to the scientific method enough that my approved sensationalizing or misrepresent. These particular studies or the results thereof is often in the vested interest of certain groups some of which to be fair. Do you believe they are simply looking out for other people’s best interests. Personally I don’t believe that misrepresenting facts is ever in anybody’s best interest. Well anybody else’s best interest. And some of these groups are in fact entire states. Some of these states it’s because they quite frankly have borrowed against their future cigarette sales. Some of them it’s out of the same misguided sense of morality. One prime example of this is California’s still blowing smoke campaign which has become quite popular and is a source of information for a lot of people about the health risks of electronic cigarettes. I think that anybody who feels maybe they should check this out should probably also check out its counter campaign not blowing smoke which was put together by people admittedly from the very same community who simply want better information to be out there. I would argue that nobody more than the people who utilize these products wants to know if there are health risks involved. But I don’t think that these scare tactics are quite the right way to go about that. I think that what we need to do is instead of rationally analyze the results of these studies and if we find nothing we find nothing we keep studying it. If we find something we focus on that and we keep studying that. I for one would very much like to know what the impact of electronic cigarettes are on my health. I don’t however want somebody telling me that saying This produces a great deal of carcinogens. When it in fact does not unless I am of course utilizing it in a fashion not in line with its intended use. Another part of this problem I think may be the issue of newsworthiness. I think that in order to fill the time slot in our current twenty four hour news cycle just to throw out some numbers say fifty eight fifteen to twenty five slots. Need something and perhaps we don’t have anything newsworthy. Well we can always just sensationalize something that we found on the Internet. Dogs writing skateboards is not newsworthy pictures of cats while adorable are not newsworthy. And I think the sort of trap we find ourselves in with this is that we feel pressured to be putting out news as such. People on the other end tend to feel a pressure to consume said news. Now obviously no one person is going to take in everything. And as such we tend to find places that agree with what we think and places that disagree with what we disagree with. There is actually a term for this. It is often referred to as confirmation bias. I discovered this recently and I can’t help but see it everywhere I look like to take us back to a simpler time a time not so long ago was a strapping young lad back then on April eighteenth of one nine hundred thirty the B.B.C. news came on and said there is no news today and proceeded to play piano music for the remainder of the broadcast. I think that looking back at that we can’t imagine what it’s like to have nothing newsworthy going on in a particular. Today I think that has greatly to do with the shift towards things being considered newsworthy. Just to fill a slot just to utilize more time and I think that’s maybe something that we need to itself step away from for a moment and say Is this really for the best to keep people informed. If everything becomes news then nothing is news by comparison because there is nothing with which to compare it to and say that it’s not me. That’s all the time we have for today. Don’t forget to subscribe interview on i Tunes follow us on Twitter send us your questions and if you like what we’re doing. Support us unpatriotic. Join us next time after we get some of the William Randolph Hearst back in its coffin. I’ve been your host Professor Metal hey remember the news well he was in the biz. Now that sounds and social media online.

 

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Ep 13: Gamification as a means of Control; Who’s Playing Who?

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Welcome one an all to professor metal’s Irate debate and calamitous commentary with the philosophical Chain Gang todays episode gameification as a means of control who is playing who? I’m your host Professor metal I’m Ryver, I’m Bruce, and I’m Sean looking I going to punch myself in the face every four hours like it on twenty more Professor points. I think I may have been giving away too much. Starting to see things double. Yeah I stopped playing the various punching game. I’m way behind. Really no point anymore. So what do we mean by a game of cation as a means of control. What are we talking about here. Well it’s pretty damn game buying something used to make something that is not otherwise thought of his game into a game like when you tell little kids hey who can pick up the most toys off of war. That’s game of vying for another good real world example is there’s a protein folding game university had come up with to have people practicing protein folding simulations in an attempt to kind of work out how certain molecules work almost crowdsourcing. Yeah exactly. But even those people rewards which may or may not have any value intrinsic or not. No you do imaginary points that games provide. Bob seems like it’s going to be Badger value right. It has to be some sort of social value. You can buy things do things within the game. The ultimate value of any of those things you buy will be social value and the most useless one when they want to limit currency from their systems they create more and more ridiculously expensive fanciers suits of armor or you know extra equipment with different skins and no static rules just merely hats or hats which can become their own form of currency. But yeah I know it’s bad value it’s showing up to other people value it’s hey look at this fancy thing I spent twenty five work hours on to obtain exactly. Yeah actually even if you know it show you know up to other people at least you get a sense of having done something some kind of well not tangible fixed goal that you have surpassed which if you don’t have enough that going on in your real life. Someone’s accomplishment it is very much the treatment response and there have been a lot of games doing that lately a lot of free to play games I don’t games which I personally don’t big fan of Especially since they don’t cost money but they it seems to be not necessarily play to win but the more you play the better you went in to the point where it almost the the term win lose its meaning. While there are many little marker achievements going on there’s never actually a full sense of release that shipment once you’ve never actually. You’re always on a treadmill you never cross the finish line. Which gets to the point that a lot of these games and I’m thinking it was in games in particular seem to exist to keep you playing. More of it as much as possible using techniques other than simply providing him or getting your friends in Paul real world money. Stuff like that. Singing praises on social media has crossed over from what Jimmy cation is intimately mean by using it for real right to cause someone to do something that they otherwise would choose not to do is a form of control particularly when we’re talking. Whereas you might be inclined to only tell some of your friends sometimes about it in that you play. If you think they would also enjoy it and it’s really that good that you want to be associated with it. Into instead of tell everybody about it all the time to win points and becoming a salesman effectively and that’s actually not a great example would be an invitation that almost everyone is familiar with the sales company right the idea that I’m doing the work you were hired and thus incentivised to do in the first place you are actually earning points towards winning something is another thing in an environment where people are doing things outside sales calling things like you know whoever had the most sales at the end of the day or week or they’re always few and they’ll be nominal prices for that you know compared to everyone’s daily paycheck. This prize values are pretty pretty minor in you know in a daily grind. There’s really not much else to do but play that game but the real concern comes in what that represents. Right because if you are making a choice that is contrary to the choice that you would make. Absent that kind of incentivize Asian kind of overlaying with the game it becomes a problem. Deception almost perhaps where willful participant in the deception in so much as we choose to continue to go along with the game even though we know want some level that we’re being tricked. Doing it it still seems like we’re having or will subvert it in a very fraudulent kind of way. A lot of these sort of online games that free to play games have a very Skinner Box feel to them because they were designed very similarly like you something going to game very early on that you really get a reward. You really see something come of it. But over time it starts to stretch out. You don’t see the reward for doing as much work unless you read it on Facebook. So there’s a term we should probably begin to Skinner box. Certainly certainly. Skinner box refers to behavioral experiments done by B.F. Skinner with mice amongst other animals in which Skinner created a mechanism that dispensed food for mice if they press the button they would get a pellet of food and the thing about these boxes is that after a while they start producing food. Every time the mouse press the button sometimes it would take two sometimes it would take three and more and more. They found that the mouse kept clicking the button like no matter how long it took the house kept clicking the button to get this this reward. They were willing to put into effectively more work through the same reward. And it turned out surprisingly effective on humans. The techniques also to get the most pushing the button even when it’s no longer in human having a probable wart for work rather than a certain one and I think our activates our gambling pleasure instinct. If I’m doing this for a chance in something it’s a little more exciting than if I was doing this to get something. We should probably also cite at this point that Cracked dot com has an excellent article about this particular in this games and it’s been about stuff I think it is a good reference for it. Here it would be more honest if you gave me a game and said OK. Early stages if you do well when you reach a certain level of achievement you unlock new things that you haven’t seen before that are fundamentally different types of gameplay new areas different kinds of choices you can make. But with the kinds of games that we’re talking about the mechanics stay the same. There might be some new names or pictures. All that really happens is that the treadmill speeds up but it’s the same game. The numbers just count up so you’re not really getting any real value for your achievement real value would be more game or different game. Again another key problem with these is they give the illusion of choice and central to any game is you make choices and order with the choices you make from the kinds of choices you make each other branching or success in a strategy. The choices that you make don’t matter nearly as much as the frequency with which way that’s what they’re getting out of you. Playing frequently you can choose option eruption B. If you choose Option A Now you get option be a little later in the end of the it could have gone either way. But the frequency that you play on that makes all the difference. And to that extent you’ll see a lot of games that all of us model very be very. And here are stories that things just happen one after another because then it disguises the fact that you don’t have a lot of choice within that system by covering up of not just telling your story interest or woman that are to go to as opposed to other systems where people would feel like that was off constraining that framework. The ones I’m thinking of Pickler didn’t object puzzle games that have been so popular in the past. Usually the story associated with it is very linearly narrative. You go from this place to that place because that’s where the game goes in and they tell you a little story in between to cover the fact that you can’t. Don’t want to play something else. You know this thing about frequency over choice is another example of the manipulative The games are. If I were to sit down again where mostly made a difference whether I make choices A or B. and so forth I might play the game the same number of hours per month week or day that I might otherwise and the choices that I make within the game don’t affect that. If however my success is determined not on the choices I make in frequency of play now where real life is changing I am playing the game with different frequency patterns or more often than I would otherwise I’m not just making different choices it’s actually changing the line in it’s not doing it by being a good game. It’s doing it through its sick psychologically manipulative techniques and some time to talk while this may not seem very important for us when we talk about it if you like Oh you’ve wasted a few more minutes Clementina every month or oh you spend a little bit more time advertising this on Facebook all of your friends than it was other one polite to do. It can grow in the other and that’s the danger is that it just may not be the final evolution of the game of buying things in this way and losing Game think agenting urge or discourage people from certain kinds of actions. Imagine a social media game in which you get more points for voting in a way proven that you had gone to the polls or particular candidate whose campaign produced a certain kind of game. At some point or perhaps just tagged onto a game that was already very heavily invested I think already seeing this a little bit in the popular media you know I mean not in the same sort of Skinner box. Well we’re way we’ve seen game of occasion as a means of recruitment. I’m specifically thinking of the first person. We’re game America’s only which is produced by the United States Army as a method of advertisement and meant it is put out for free on the Internet to sort of help Laura fight the life of a soldier I guess is the best way to put it make it more appealing to teenagers and youths that if you’re a soldier you’re going to be real cool until the bad guys get to shoot guns and stuff like that and it is a surprisingly effective tool for recruitment numbers. Interestingly enough for game the U.S. military as we wanted to give people an accurate picture of what life soldier looks like and we were concerned about games like Call of Duty that don’t give an accurate picture of what this looks like. Interestingly enough that you know include K.P. duty or similar unpleasant past in America’s Army the glorious parts of the US I was thinking it was going to be on us the first A.D.R.’s again they’ll be getting yelled at and jogging there is a camp segment but it’s you know it’s very much as a Tauriel in any other game definitely drops out the boring bits of the less than desirable bits you know you go to boot camp and you go through that and then you you’re out in the field and yet it still seems very much even if it is slightly more realistic than say the battlefield or Call of Duty games it’s still a glorifying piece of work. We also see unification happen outside of just within games things like you know McDonald’s Monopoly game there’s all sorts of rewards programs that companies get that metaphor Anytime a company tries to involve people in social media to some extent they’re going to be coming up with a unification strategy whether they call it that or no. Absolutely. And we’ve seen some very insidious versions of that line in specifically of Pepsi points back in the ninety’s. This was essentially gambling by buying Pepsi over the top to find out how many points you got towards the really amazing prizes that they offer. Of course nobody but that one kid ever got enough points to actually make any of the really amazing prizes happen and he had to do that but that’s another matter entirely. Advertising has been doing it for years. I’m sure there are plenty of plenty of people myself included I would be surprised if those of you in the room can remember all of the banner ads to win a new car cruise vacation by spending this virtual slot machine or scratching off or something like that which all of the time one some exclusions. One example that I think is interesting along those lines is actually telemarketers who call up to tell you that you have won something as a means of getting what you’ve won in huge air quotes is the same offer that they give to everybody that they call and how you won it was by having a phone number that they got. But you have one of them he was a cruise vacation that you’re only going to need to pay three thousand dollars for dry dock fees and such for what you’ve won is one hundred dollars gift certificate to the shopping center of your particular area or the grocery store of your particular area. If you only need to sign up for two hundred dollars worth of various subscriptions to terrible services in order to get and for all of these times marketing is actually we needed more layers of this string of voters. I mean or they’re fake. There are some times where the top leader board is the person that some people aspire to. He is Lake named after one of the programmers or is not even a real person. It’s just you know you want to beat them because you want to be the target whatever game this is and chances are he never will but I’m thinking about the extreme couponing as the people who just go completely nuts on this type of stuff and take advantage of everything they can and do quite well in it which to me just this kind of tracks like a lot of games there are a handful of people that are just doing so crazy and just devoting their whole lives to it completely devoted throw themselves into everything and try to do to take over your life. You know works OK for him. I mean they’re there they’re tangibly doing well at what they’re doing. Problem is aren’t doing anything else for life and there was a pool of managers. Yeah yeah I have a closet full manage that’s for completely different purposes. You know this sort of negative talk is exactly wind and a view that’s why it’s always hard to keep ahead of you guys. We all is saying I know I will collect my medal points for face punching for another three hours is just good practice though. That’s certainly going to be right. Let’s talk a little bit more about the danger of forms of control that we do not actively associate when we don’t actively look for the ways in which we’re being controlled. We open ourselves to a huge amount of meaning which misses a huge problem and internet huge problem for anyone who doesn’t want to be controlled by advertising. Huge advantage for anyone who wants to control you better ties in some sense. When we willfully disregard the knowledge that we are being manipulated and give ourselves over to a system like that because it provides for work like going to Mars you know. Very good feeling of having earned the prize or won the new fancy armor or whatever else. What we do in those instances translates to a general sense of disconnection from the choices that when we are allowing ourselves to be manipulated by so many forces around us we are essentially lowering our defenses by yet to notice these things when there are truly harmful what’s coming in the case of games. So far most of them seem pretty benign but we start to see what happens when people go off the deep end when people take it too far. We start to see people who spend too much time to the exclusion of other activities or leaving the house or eating or wearing diapers to stay here. Most of those problems have less to do with singing again a thing where you’re taught that you have to stop playing for a certain period of time and then come back in two hours. But the same principles apply that being too easily manipulated by things. Letting ourselves be more and more manipulative. We’re just at it towards a situation where we can be manipulated in ways we would otherwise prefer to avoid being because we have not only that control over our own behavior as examining the psychological manipulation techniques we can sometimes be inoculated ourselves certainly becoming aware is probably one of the best ways to fight something like that and I don’t want to see the curtain drawn back but something very similar to kind of take a look at the actual mechanism that doesn’t. Along with you know good examples or ways in which these things. And I personally play some of these games I know what people do I don’t think it’s always a poor decision to engage in this kind of there’s a difference between gauging it and allowing yourself to be deceived. Being aware and making a conscious choice to be a certain way is one thing. Allowing yourself to forget what the mechanism you are interacting and allowing it to become a controlled course is a very different question. That’s what I’m sure people know I’m paying attention to the decisions they’re making in that way I think it’s also important I think it might be interesting to look at the different kinds of value involved if we can arbitrarily make it once and pass them out. How do we get people to value them. I have saved five thousand air miles at that bunches on my Starbucks card at twenty six. Whatever points two bucks in my pocket I get a whole bunch of my portfolio in the twenty first century I want to level seventy druid. You know this is my portfolio of value that I have earned in the cheat. How’s this valley you know I mean what does it mean that makes that importance behind it recent history since really interesting examples of that question becoming one. I think you have that coin for one there’s a form of currency backed by very little other than people saying it’s worth something not a central group of people who determine this shall be worth something. Throughout this geo political force usually defined by whatever system it’s coming from right. Well I mean it’s not an authority of some sort of things or something you know it’s just this is worth something. Yeah it’s the people that are willing to buy the right people say or. Not at the rate like it’s I mean my view is it’s kind of a buyer’s market because it’s not only dictated by what people are willing to sell it but what people are willing to buy oil runs specifically what the market will bear what it’s not like you at one point where in the olden days where you either had some kind of points or that definitely have value lights and money that you could exchange for goods and services and other points that weren’t early arbitrary The thing about with all of this unification Medland from all of these different directions as you have pointed sort of the line between some imaginary points they made up and something that you can actually exchange for value in exchange for certain types of value in limited instances that only you know in terms of commissions. Why so. Because kind of a gray area between money and just brownie points. Well certainly there’s a great example of this actually is the game EVE Online has a multiple currency system that is fairly transparent with actual money one currency conversion to another at an extremely high rate. The other has a sort of fixed value with world currencies. There’s actually a market for it and there are people who have made their living playing this game by accumulating enough wealth to exchange it for real money and basically do their job that way and as I understand it you know online currency is backed by more months of game play it would not cost you real money. Yeah that’s why it’s sort of fixed is the company that makes C.C.P. puts out the ability to buy what’s called plex which are pilot license extensions for a specific amount of money and think it is you can basically buy and sell these all you want They’ve never put any restrictions on players’ ability to do so and you can buy and sell them. For real world money a price. Both parties will agree upon or for him to get money for the same thing. This is what’s kind of funny about that I find is that let’s say I have twelve hundred months worth of worth of Eve on one way that’s more than one hundred years of me playing the game I could possibly never have a use for more than that. Problem with the total amount of this currency going on inside the system is probably more than old people actually playing the game will ever need and you know they still chase it beyond any real world news ticker And even though it does have a real work dollars transfer Well I think that’s partially because he’s almost transparent with with world currencies that people still seek out this specific type of currency because there are I’m sure plenty of people that are looking to get rich or get rich quick on this game because they’ve heard the success stories about people basically cashing out and getting rich was the backing you bottom line paying anyway. Seems at least to me and I don’t so sure. It seems to me that is the ideal continues to grow so long as you have more players entering the system you will have need of more months of game play. As soon as you see your own personal life and this is the whole system as a whole these are personal to a shrinking of the number of players the currency would collapse. So it’s not entirely unlike the Federal Reserve and it’s interesting because we’re starting to see it elsewhere too. World of Warcraft was recently announced that World of Warcraft would be implementing a similar system where you could buy months of game play as tokens and sell them for in game gold. So we may at some point. The economy and in some ways already are seeing an economy built up around the similar style of currency that has a real world transparency to it. Graduations if you see it playing this game you get the chance to play more. Well it seems to me that the Elephant Room in terms of transparency to the world value lives Second Life and Linden dollars which is directly transferred to cash through Linden companies and next and it has made no claim ever that it wasn’t like this is in no way ever been a roundabout way of getting money out of the system. They directly transferred acting as a central bank. Again that’s a very good point the fact that there’s a real world transparency directly to the primary Indian currency is kind of a huge thing. Then again Lynn Labs has very much tried to almost sell Second Life as a replacement for social interaction in the real world. In at least in the way I’ve seen it and I honestly haven’t played that much of it so I may not be the best interpreter of this so I think an all too great example of that. I think when the words of probably say they don’t want to be able to form real world interactions but instead an alternative to real world interactions that you probably should still have real world interactions but that if you want to have second life interactions which mimic most of the functions of real world interactions you could do that also or as an alternative to depending on the situation. I think women want sparkle under a lot of fire of their life. Don’t talk to people. Second Life them and that’s that’s entirely fair. It’s a little bit in your name. Second Life Since you have the first one. Not everybody plays it that way though. I mean certainly there are there have been many examples of people getting a little too deep into any number of games to tragic results. It’s sometimes and while I feel that is not necessarily the fault of the developers these very schemes are looking to do a specific thing and have in some sense done well you know they don’t really count for people who might fall in the spiral people who might be more prone to like gambling addiction or simply other anti-social behaviors and stuff like that who end up almost falling into these holes that these games help them dig become a very very impactful very real world consequences sort of thing. We’re definitely moving a little bit off track with that. But just to say that there are always going to be people with compulsive behavior issues no matter what the thing is there are people with goals of behavior issues around collecting things for collectors of antiques been known to have houses and storm rooms and whatnot all of N.T.’s that they can either use nor sell because they have gotten it can also be your own life. There are all kinds of compulsive behaviors around almost any type of activity and call it seems like certain kinds of activities are more prone to it. There is definitely a certain amount of that that comes down to all involved with not the fault of the producer of that thing or the people starving it may be unfair to blame people who started collections of one thing or another or hoarders who can’t differentiate between a valuable and you certainly sure couldn’t in terms of gain control. It seems to me we’re more concerned about those cases where companies someone sets up a system that is designed to bring on addictive psychology in order to get us to play the game as much as possible. The Advocate itself again to our friends in sci. Get confused about values and start giving them real money or meaningless points. Anyone can do that just as a licensed looney as you were going to migrate but what we’re talking about is definitely the manipulative that event when people intentionally set up doesn’t you know point that term you know because I think that it carries far too much into the conversation that might or might not belong here depending on your opinion and really sort of thinking here about the similarities between a slot machine and skin and bones. How about instead of something like. Which definitely can and does end in a lot of cases carry its own connotations when we say something compulsive The better way because compulsion popular views on compulsion is a mess. It’s more accurate especially for the context getting here but yes when compulsive behaviors are incentivised or are set up in such a way so as to draw the user into a compulsive cycle or change then you definitely have a danger of manipulation. Stick with them and I think when that is happening the only defense that we have is to have already been practicing to be aware of the choices that are made within that system. If we do that on a regular basis if we don’t allow ourselves to fall into the easy trap of getting the ward system out of it we will instead then have an opportunity to catch when the manipulative action and say Do I really want to be able to cycle. If you do that’s willful choice and that’s your right as an adult to make that choice. I do as I said play some of these games but I do so intentionally. I know that they’re trying to set up a site like that and I decide when I really want. That and piece of armor that I’m going to get from our union every day for three hundred years in a row or when I think that’s too much of a cost for a value I’m going to get I know and it’s my hope that this conversation is a way for people to start to think about that for themselves to start to make those decisions consciously and with intention rather than allowing each getting sucked in by an easy prey system to just you. I agree that education is really good to fight the retore nature of some of these companies that things like that so we’re talking a lot about the negative consequences of manipulative game of occasion but there’s one positive instance cation too. Oh absolutely I mean a lot of the edutainment games falls under your math blasters the stuff you play in a lot of people my age would have played in school to kind of build up fundamental learning in math or reading or what have you and it’s still persists today I mean the typing of the dead. Yeah absolutely. Khan Academy even made to speak and he’s just fighting the game again. So I mean you know absolutely. It wasn’t as directly analogous to another video game not to be mentioned as I think that that was but certainly if it had been a woman to it you play any games and tried to teach it through a medium that was much more personally or to someone who used when exactly King like that it does is give the cation techniques their badges or its achievements is something those of us something that accomplishment and any form of competition driven system like that we all have a kitchen element a leader. Words are a form of implication because we’re taking elements from games and using. It’s certainly there is something to be said for positive game of cation and using games to help learn to help you know get things across to help be better I guess or more than that you mentioned earlier the protein folding game was just that was an instance of which issues history hugely positive to distribute our amongst human beings trying to do tasks take long time or a computer to have done instead use many many human beings to do the same task relatively quickly. Fine variations. It’s certainly I mean not just that but the like folding it home which does distribute computing instead of the player interacting with the the protein it just uses your or the player’s computer to. Well they’re not using it to do a similar thing. And their leader boards and you can join teams and you get points for you know how complex the protein was and how much work you put into it or how many calculations you did before it was complete and stuff like that. So almost horrible I didn’t dream vacation if you will. Certainly there’s a there’s a few different types of I don’t get invitation and one of the more interesting and I think kind of positive aspects of gamification that we’ve seen recently is that are his vital games as well as a concept because they are ninety percent completely free to play. Skinner box the sort of games but instead of the risk reward response coming further and further apart it gets greater and greater as time goes on it’s almost over Skinner box. The more you do the more you make almost exponentially ending on the game and it gives you the sort of accomplishment feeling it triggers that accomplishment response. Well if you do I. Other things like their idol games out there that actually sometimes even lace you for checking in on them for fiddling with them and stuff like that they’re for the most part like the most famous one would be cookie clicker buy or tile. It’s something that you just kind of set up you play with a little bit to start with and then you set it up and leave it alone. You walk away you come back every once in a while to influence how things are going and then you walk away again. So again the rewards if you’re not playing it exactly it is an almost complete reversal for the model and all that it was as a general thing. We’ve seen a lot of it in recent past with the rise of motion controllers consuls and invocation of exercising particular dance central heat yet in exports various games like that actually give you word of Sun’s work for anything around our game cation of exercise as a tool a sort of doll matter that tracks your steps and you can compete with your friends or a group of people you know what was a man to you to get the most like energy burned or most steps in a day or week or something like that. So yeah we admit it’s our reward centers can be manipulated or can align themselves with arbitrary goals that can be a tool used to manipulate us to our detriment or it can be a tool that we can leverage to make our lives better. Another example might be you know Mary Poppins in medically well and there is a very famous statement Mary Poppins for sugar makes the medicine go down right. That’s the heart of implication. A little bit of something you like makes it easier to deal with. Or perhaps not even noticeable to deal with the video you go in. Really get something you want or need. There’s not just a lot of danger in it when it’s used against This is a lot of power in Gaelic occasion when we use it ourselves. There are definitely a lot of instances where pulse investigation is totally a thing and definitely shows potential for good to make things easier to make things better to swallow or fall I mean give me a little bit of a homework assignment if you haven’t wanted to live in the area. I suggest if you have Netflix that you get on that first UK great show but there’s a specific eps of the deals in Asia and I actually asked a lot of very interesting questions about what you tour in which came with occasional use instead of being something special that happens to certain kinds of things becomes the norm and I think that raises a lot of our concerns about implications for manipulation what if your job was game that might seem great at first it might be something where you’ve got to do something a little bit more fun than your average Jane we brought but he could also try to do a situation in which you do a job you would be unhappy with otherwise because it was Game five because it was set up in such a way that you felt the need to compete and due to social pressures you would just do the job you were very unsatisfied by just to get social So if you haven’t seen already look for that upsurge of like near silence groups I grabbed on to you the last in a sense what we’ve been talking about is hacking the concept of fun in your brain that could be hacked by you or by someone else by someone else then you’re essentially tricked into not really being under your own control. If by you it becomes a little more difficult if it’s what I want to follow is certain. Course because it’s fun. Then what does it mean when I change what’s fun to me. Could it be fun to make different kinds of games of different kinds of things and go mad on that. Sure but as important as it is to look at the psychological techniques that can be used to manipulate us I think ultimately the best thing we can do about this is to ask ourselves what is it that you value. Are you chasing this imaginary armor or an imaginary character because it allows you to upgrade to some new kind of armor after that which is also imaginary or is what you’re getting the feeling of identifying with an imaginary character who looks cool in his or some other way you could get that easier. Are you chasing this reward points system because you’ll have more of them than most all other people and therefore you feel accomplished. Is there some other way you could get that self esteem that would be easier than the amount of work that takes this way and to some extent this sort of segues into real life a little bit it’s not all just in a computer or or in an obvious game. It’s a people who chase money beyond what they have real material needs for because it ties into things like self-esteem or sense of achievement. If they’re doing it beyond their needs and to detriment of other human needs that they have then they may need to re-evaluate what game they’re playing with in every single game that we could play or might not play. They’re all contained within one medic. That’s life. That’s our subjective state of being in which games we play which ones we’re drawn into sucked into or which ones we create for ourselves. Those are all strategies in this overall. Again and I think it’s up to up to us no matter how well we might play any of these sub games within the game of life. To recognize that these are tactics and strategies and choosing them well designing them well perhaps refraining from a sum which might become dead ends beyond a certain point. That’s playing life well and I think that’s something that it’s hard to argue against that should be our overarching strategy regardless of what we like to play around with. Well that’s all the time we have for today. Don’t forget to subscribe and review on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter send us your questions and if you like what we’re doing support us unpatriotic. Join us next time after the philosopher’s harvest jams in a week for my farm and village simulator. I’ve been your host Professor metal. I’m sure this river and it’s not at all crushed under all it can be only I could find a diamond pick axe to get him out. Here we go. Here he is a reading as if it is the same.

 

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