THOUGHTS
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A KIND OF ONE
WAY MIRROR

“Algorithmic observers watch what you click”. These are the words of Eli Pariser, an internet activist who coined the term “Filter Bubble” in 2011. It explores the idea that the information you consume has become a “kind of one-way mirror” which reflects back your own interests, perspectives and collective intentions of people ‘like’ you. We would argue it has also become something more, a kind of opt-in curated ‘entertainment’.

Traditionally, from the papers we buy to the TV channels we watch, the attention economy has found it is more influential when it taps into our inherent interests, rather than challenges them. So on the one hand, while these digital observers Pariser talks about are comfortingly or unknowingly present; on the whole, they are ignored. Before, the attention economy could only control what was on the channels if you chose to turn on the TV, or picked up the paper. But that’s all changed. Now we choose to trade a portion of our privacy for the convenience of curated ‘entertainment’; a specific news channel, funny cat videos or Mr pimple popper - at the expense of our data.

It is difficult to fully comprehend the impact in which filter bubbles have, however, the interest in their influence across political and social consciousness has risen in the wake of the recent US Presidential election. Even in 2011, for Pariser; his main concern for filter bubbles was their impact on democracy. At its roots, the internet was idolised as a way to democratise shared information, however, on some levels, it is quickly becoming a sponsored echo chamber;

Pariser states;
“Democracy requires citizens to see things from one another’s point of view, but instead we’re more and more enclosed in our own bubbles. Democracy requires a reliance on shared facts; instead, we’re being offered parallel but separate universes.”

It is this echo chamber, (a concept we will explore in another post) which makes us feel like everyone feels the same way we do. A result which led to the ‘surprise’ seen explicitly in the Brexit result. The online digital spheres which circulated our conversations were all debating in one voice, with the extremes of narratives speaking in different tones of that same voice. However, we were unaware of the other view, one which we never heard; one who was speaking a different narrative entirely. This ‘intellectual isolation’ at its core is the crux of the issue of filter bubbles. We have, without explicitly pressing our ear up against the walls, no idea what the ‘other’ is saying.

We encourage you to follow stories which challenge your views, voices which you disagree with and narratives which offer alternatives. Not to argue, or make you change your mind but instead to understand the that in fact, there is someone on the other side.

>> To put this idea into practice, we initially built TheHeadlines.co as a tool for us to compare the language and perspective of real-time headlines across various news sources, all in one place. We saw the value in consuming news in this way, so we thought we would develop it, link the headlines to the articles and share it with you.

PS. The news sources represented do not necessarily share our political views, in fact they’re meant to challenge as well as inform. We’re currently working on including more news sources, adding more features and content.



Further Reading



MIT Tech Review - https://bit.ly/2MwYZkf

Facebook Manifesto - https://bit.ly/2lRgDBk

Forbes - https://bit.ly/2Ef2zcX

The American Press Institute - https://bit.ly/1Uu5AHK

Google Blog - https://bit.ly/2E4YzMT

THOUGHTS
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SCIENTISTS ARE STUDYING YOUR DREAMS IN A LAB

Why do we dream? And what does this mean for creativity? A popular idea is that dreams are ‘evolutionary’ - designed for our survival, to practice and prepare us for things we face throughout our day. That’s why, ultimately even in an urban environment we have more dreams about running and falling than of photoshop crashing.

Another idea is that the function of dreams is to unleash the things we suppress, giving the subconscious time to work in many creative and intuitive ways that our conscious cannot. Across almost every language there is a phrase that is similar to ‘sleep on it.' This is somewhat scientifically true. Our subconcious mind works at a much faster pace than our conscious could in waking life.

As creatives, sometimes we force our bodies to the limits, staying up until the early hours gripped by a project, make changes for a deadline, or alternatively; because we just cannot get ‘the idea.’ However this isn't necessarily the best option for the creative process, sometimes it’s more productive to go to sleep and allow the subconscious to work on it instead. Holding the thought in your mind before you go to bed, has been scientifically proven to increase your solutions to it in the waking hours.

Many people believe they never dream, however it has been proven that we forget most of the dreams we have in the first 90 seconds of waking. When disorientated by the sound of an alarm, instead of waking up naturally our brain cannot take that second of thought to visualise it. Now research into dreams is going mainstream, where mystical ideas and in-depth neuroscience is blurring the lines between symbolism and fact. From Freud to Joe Rogan, valuing the importance of the subconscious mind in sleep will allow us to push ourselves further creatively in the waking hours.



Further Reading

Joe Rogan Podcast - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwaWilO_Pig

The Verge - https://bit.ly/2QmNUEg

Psychology Today - https://bit.ly/2TzaVBp

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THERE IS NOTHING MORE RADICAL THAN THE FACTS

We love tech, so this article challenged us. We’re already living in a ‘post-digital’ society where the digital is so integrated into our lives it affects everything we touch, everything we see... Everything we consume.

A key feature of technology is how it imitates natures structure, known as biomimicry. It’s argued that through this mimicking it connects with our evolutionary instincts to naturally engage with it. It’s blurring the boundaries, this for some means pushing away from technology and reconnecting with nature is the only option. Not just going for a walk, or turning your phone on ‘do not disturb’ for 8 hours, but instead disconnecting completely. Mark Boyle believed this, so much that since 2016 he hasn’t used a single piece of technology, he hasn’t sent a text, he has not used a light, not used solar panels, nothing that has touched the ‘industrial megamachine for its production’ and he’s returned to nature.

It’s this notion of the extremes which demonstrate the influence technology has on every part of our lives, everything we engage with since the industrial and digital, internet and social revolutions are part of a world build with technology. But this quote, “nothing is more radical than the facts” captures it, the raw truth is that we don’t know. We know how ‘innovative’ tech is, we share it all the time. However, we don’t yet know what a generation of screen dependent, 4G junkies will look like in 50 years. The impact of smoking was not understood for many Could our use of technology, mobile phones and social media feeds be considered the same way smoking was 50 years ago.

There is no doubt the innovation of ‘new technology’ is one of the most powerful tools we have in connecting with others, and advancing our own humanity; but are we turning a blind eye to the possible impacts it will have on us. How will it affect our sight, knowledge or concentration, our societies, and our relationships?

Will we give up tech? Definitely not, but it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be questioned at every twist and turn.



Further Reading

The Economist - https://econ.st/2SdNG3i

The Guardian - https://bit.ly/2FLuHXs

The Guardian - https://bit.ly/2ScjmWP