Final Blog/Project

Posted: May 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

Digital diversity is an exploration of the impact of computer technology upon race, class, gender, sexual preference, age, national origins, disabilities, and other socio-cultural markers. It is seen through numerous digital mediums like the internet, social networking sites, and mobile phones, just to name a few.  Digital technology has made the transfer of information “greased” because it is easily and quickly transferred to and from any form or medium to the next.  Because of this people are now interacting on a more global scale (DME, p.10).  New and old forms of ways of living, how we define diversity, and the impacts it has on the world are easily seen through this expansion of technology throughout the globe.

Diversity is a familiar thing for us on this planet. It can be seen among families, neighborhoods, cities, and nations; as well as through cultural and social norms and beliefs.  Because of the boom in technology over the past few decades, it is now quicker and easier than ever to connect around the globe.   Because of this, there is a need to reassess the old norms, values, and beliefs in every culture and society and figure out if they fit inside this new, technological way of life and can still be considered relevant.  Understanding digital diversity is very important.  It helps us realize that all is not well with the world of technology.  While it has proven to help, it has also proven to hurt if we are not conscious of how we use technology and how it is being used around the world.  By understanding digital diversity, we can begin to consciously formulate our own opinions about technology and its impacts on the world.  We can see the right and wrong and begin to find ways to close the digital divide for a better future for all.

Sources

Ess, Charles. Digital Media Ethics. 2009.

Watkins, Craig. The Young and the Digital. 2009.

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Reflection on our Group Work

Posted: April 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

Our final group project was based around the idea of digital sweatshops.  For this project we mostly worked individually. We started by dividing the topic of digital sweatshops into different sub-topics to research and then set off researching our assigned topic on our own time. After coming together once we all had done a little research on the topic, we collaborated as a group to come up with the different sub-topics that everyone would research.  These topics were:

-Who typically does the work? (demographics)

-Crowd outsourcing

-What is the standard of living?

-Mechanical Turk

-Access and availability of work

-Online gaming and digital sweatshops

My topic was finding out the demographics of digital sweatshops.  I found this information very interesting because it disproved the myth that mainly low income employees from developing countries were the main source of workers.  Actually, the work is mainly done by young people either who cant find a job full time or are using it as income in between jobs.  Also there is large portion of people from India who have begun doing a lot of the work.

A couple times after class, we would meet to talk about how our research was coming, revised the research topics as necessary, and discussed what our plans were going forward and when we wanted to meet again. In all this project was more of a combination of individual projects than a group project. A lot of this had to do with numerous time conflicts that made it hard for us to meet a lot as a group. Jazmine was away from school for basketball the week that we were assigned our project and that caused her to miss the beginning of the project.  Being that this project came at the end of the semester, all of our group had many other school assignments to attend to and that made it hard to consistently meet as a group.  After finally coming together to prepare our presentation, we decided that giving some sort of background on the topic would be the best way to go for an introduction.  Samantha had created a short 5 min video to introduce the topic, then we decided that each member would then present their topic after the video.  We wanted to involve the class in some way, and we came up with the idea to have the class attempt one of the more simpler jobs done in these digital sweatshops.  We gave them 2:30 to go through a standard example of work done on Amazon Turk, then explained how much money they would make after completing the task.  We wanted to show them that while the jobs are easy at times, the wages are often too low for someone to be able to live off of on a daily basis.  I think this was our best and most eye opening part of our presentation.

All in all it I think that the presentation turned out pretty well despite the difficulty with meeting consistently as a group. The presentation wasnt too flashy but it worked and got the point across. One thing that I would do differently is create a longer more entertaining video to show.  I felt that I was really into the presentations that had lots of video and action.  Ours was a basic powerpoint presentation, which can often be boring and repetitive.  If we were able to meet as a group better, I think that we could have created a much more informative video that would have engaged the class more.  ln the end, I think that we gave a clear and concise presentation that adequately supported our thesis: The proliferation of digital sweatshops has primarily caused the digital divide to grow.

The Facebook Generation

Posted: April 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

“Young people are drawn to platforms that facilitate opportunities to develop ties to their peers” (Young and the Digital, Ch. 1).  Ask most Facebook users why they decided to start using the social networking site and most will tell you that they like to be able to keep in contact with the people they meet.  In fact, founder Mark Zuckerburg claims this is the exact reason he made Facebook saying, “The thing that we are trying to do at Facebook is just help people connect and communicate more efficiently”.  In this article by Zadie Smith, she argues that Facebook is creating a world where “real” people (and their beliefs, character, morals, and personality) are beginning to be substituted and recognized for their “online” profiles.

In our text Digital Media Ethics the author claims that “online communication, because it offers anonymity encourages greater openness and honesty than most face-to-face communication” (Ch. 1).  As a counter to this statement, Smith believes that “having two thousand Facebook friends is not what it looks like. We know that we are using the software to behave in a certain, superficial way toward others.”  In a sense, people are changing themselves to blend in with others, creating fake personalities that people believe online, even if that is not how that person really acts out in the real world.  She believes we are stunting ourselves with Facebook and not allowing ourselves to grow and become our own unique selves.  After reading Smith’s article, I find myself agreeing with her.  While I am certainly one of those people who use Facebook on a regular basis, I try to not let it run my life.  I use it to stay connected to friends from near and far, however, I am not one of those people who “lives” on Facebook.  I like to get out and have personal interactions with others and show them the “real” Andrew and not some made up online personality.

In the movie “The Social Network”, actor Justin Timberlake (playing Napster inventor Sean Parker) has a line that really hit home to me saying, “We lived on farms, then we lived in cities, and now we’re going to live on the internet”.  People like Zadie Smith are concerned for our generation because of statements like this.  “The Facebook Generation” needs to recognize that there is more to life than sitting on your computer and they need to get out and keep evolving themselves to be the person they want to be, not simply a blend of all of our peers interests and beliefs.

Is the digital divide defined solely as an access to technology problem? Or are there other factors involved that expand the definition of the digital divide?  The digital divide was created by an increase in new technology that was really only available to the more wealthy of citizens.  More poverished people were being left out of the technological boom, therefore limiting their chances to have access to technology and limiting their chances to use these new technologies to their advantage.

After watching the movie “Ghana: the Digital Dumping Ground” I can now see that there is indeed more to the digital divide than just problems with access to technology.  The movie shows how old computers and their numerous parts are being shipped to third world countries and place in dumping grounds.  “Contemporary digital media increasingly weaves together countries and people in ways undreamed of even a few decades ago – and not always to beneficient effect” (DME, Ch. 4).  Just a few decades ago, these digital dumping grounds did not exist.  Fast forward 10-20 years and you can find them all over the world, with Indonesia and Africa being home to some of the largest. People within the area of these dump sites earn a living off burning old technology and collecting the precious metals that they are made with.  They need these metals to live, however, it does not come without a cost.  The harmful toxins that are created from burning these metals is causing health problems for everyone in the areas.  Is it fair for more industrialized countries to just dump their technological waste and leave it for others to deal with?  I do not believe that is fair at all.

“The digital divide isn’t just about personal computers; it’s about training, access, education, content, telecommunications infrastructure, and more” (TRT, Ch. 1). E-waste (which is all the different old, thrown away computers, printers, etc.) needs to be included in all discussions about the digital divide.  E-waste is a new and upcoming problem and with the increasing rate of technological advancement, more and more older models of equipment are being thrown out and dumped on third world citizens.  We need to have more regulation over this dumping and hold companies responsible for the waste they create.  Not only are these people unable to use adequate technology, they are being left to scavenge among our waste to try and feed themselves, and that is just wrong.

Want to learn more about E-waste? visit this website for more information.

Getting past “either/or”

Posted: February 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

Pornography in any type of medium will always bring about fierce debates.  Some people want pornography to be regulated more tightly, citing that it can be dangerous and vulgar to all of those who view or participate in it.  Others believe that pornography is a form of free speech and should have no regulations at all.  According to Digital Media Ethics, “countries have attempted to limit access online to pornography in various ways…the debates swirl around what is considered pornographic, what harms (if any) it entails, and how it is to be regulated.  These views vary widely from country to country”.

So is there a middle ground for these debates?  I believe so.  Lets start with the argument that pornography is harmful to those who partake in watching it.  While some studies show that viewing pornography at a young age can cause desensitization and misconceptions about women, these studies can be a bit vague and do not always have data to fully back their claims.  However, for one to say that viewing certain types of violent pornography is not harmful to a growing child is completely ignorant.  What good can come from seeing these actions at too young an age?  While viewing pornography SHOULD be less harmful the more children mature, I think we can all agree that there should be some sort of upgraded regulations that help prevent non-adults from viewing obscene movies/pictures, just in case the studies DO have some sort of truth to them.

The argument about how and why pornography should be regulated may be the fiercest of all debates.  The hail for free speech can not be heard any louder than in this debate.  It is true that we deserve the right to say, print, or post almost anything that we want, but at what point do these become too obscene for even the most mature viewer?  And what if those involved do not want to be involved?  What if they were forced? Is that free speech?  If there was a way to ensure that all involved were of age and willing then I can agree with the free speech argument.  However, there has to be someone playing the devil’s advocate so that we do not become to lax on trying to enforce the policies we already have in place to ensure the safety of all performers and users.  To see a video on pornography and free speech click here.

The debate over access to pornography will continue to be a hard fought battle by both sides.  To find a resolution however, both sides must put aside their egos and realize that each has good arguments and that they need to work together to find the best way to protect everyone involved.

Reading Technology

Posted: February 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

If you are still wondering if Facebook has become a world wide phenomenom, look no further than it’s impact on the revolution in Egypt.  As seen in this video on the New York Times website, Revolutionists explain how they have used Facebook and show how global communication networks can be a very powerful tool for change.  Whether it be small changes like trying to appeal a new state law, or a large change like overthrowing an oppressive government, social networking has become the voice of a new up-and-coming generation.

As you can see in the video, Facebook is not being used as “just a tool”, but it is actually the main contributor in aiding these young revolutionists in obtaining their goal.  The social networking site was home for many revolutionists, who used to site to express their personal and political views with others in the country, and to help educate those who may not be so politically enlightened on the current oppression in Egypt.

This story frames technology in a very positive light, showing the power it has to create change around the world.  With the lightning fast development of technology, we have become a world with many mediums for voicing how we feel and technology has certainly been a useful tool for everyone connected in this digital age.

Movie Post

Posted: February 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

As technology evolves at a rapid rate, people are finding more and more ways to share information.  Most people use the internet.  However, with this large boom in web sharing comes a burden that most people don’t realize they carry.  Is it ethical to share freely over the internet?  Should the originators be compensated for their work?  Or is web sharing/remixing just another form of free speech for which we citizens have the right to control?  Personally I believe that stopping people from using other’s work to create new and fresh forms of culture should not be allowed.  As seen in A Remix Manifesto, corporations and big business in the United States are trying to do just that.  They could care less about the property itself, they just want to control what we can and cannot share so they can bring in the almighty dollar.

Do I believe the originators deserve some sort of credit for their contributions to society? Absolutely.  Just like in a school paper, remixers should cite and delegate reference to whose work they are remixing, as to acknowledge their impact on the person who is now recreating your work.  If someone’s work is being used to express themselves, then it should be free in my opinion.  But when someone is trying to sell your original idea/product for their own profit, then yes, I agree with the governmental copyright laws.  If anyone is to make money of some idea, then it should be the creator, not the imitator.

Furthur more, copyright laws are being abused by anyone who can afford to brand it is a theirs before anyone else.  As seen in the movie Guarding the Family Silver, anything from a person’s name (Moana), a culture’s rituals, and even the seeds that grow our nations crops (watch the movie “Food Inc.”  for more info) are being copyrighted by businesses with deep pockets merely to gain a profit from the unsuspecting citizens of our nation.  Heck, a lot of the time the creators don’t even see a nickel of the money generated through lawsuits defending THE CREATORS IDEA/SONG/PRODUCT.  How is that fair or ethical? Well, it isn’t fair and eventually all this patenting and copywriting is going to basically eliminate or ban lots of forms of free speech in our country.

 

General Internet Privacy Laws

In the United States, using the Internet and connecting to the web is as normal as getting up in the morning and going to work.  Our reliance on the web has brought forth a number of issues concerning privacy and the personal information that websites collect from its viewers.  Most people believe that the privacy laws of the pre-Internet days would just carry over into this new age of technology; however, this is not the truth.  As far as I can see, there doesn’t seem to be any real “laws” for general online privacy other than it is illegal to sell or share someone’s personal information without consent, and that it is illegal to hack into someone’s personal files and use their private information for any reason.

The Federal Trade Commission is working every day to help consumers with protecting their personal information on the web.  The FTC Act has a couple privacy initiatives that aim to help protect all users of the web.  These initiatives aim to protect against unfairness and deception, financial privacy, credit reporting, as well as using the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

Protecting against unfairness and deception means enforcing companies to keep the promises they offer to their users about privacy.  Under this act, hundreds of online companies have posted their own privacy policies, which give the consumer a chance to look into what they are agreeing to.  In financial privacy, there are restrictions on a financial institution’s ability to disclose non-public personal information about consumers to nonaffiliated third parties. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (credit reporting) requires that “any person that maintains or otherwise possesses consumer information, or any compilation of consumer information, derived from consumer reports for a business purpose, properly dispose of any such information or compilation.”  The primary goal of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act is to allow parents to have control over what information is collected from their children online and how that information should be used.

For more on the FTC and its privacy protection acts go here

This is a collective blog.  To continue to the next section click here.  To return to the index click here.

 

Welcome to KnudsenThoughts

Posted: January 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

Wassup ya’ll,

My name is Andrew and I am a senior studying Sport Management.  I played three years of collegiate baseball, two years at California State-Monterey Bay and one year at Edmonds Community College (Titleville), before hanging up the cleats and choosing to come study at WSU.  I love to stay active and hang with chill people who make me laugh.  One day I want to look back at my life and say…damn, I had a good time.  Life is too short to be mad, SO LIVE IT UP!

As for my future, I plan on becoming a high school teacher with hopes of one day landing an Athletic Director position.  What I really want is to coach baseball, so any job that lets me do that on the side is perfect.