Bring It On, Future.

This video was shown to us in class, and I have to say, it gave me a rude shock into the possible future that we will be facing. Personally, I would not want to live in a house like that because I would turn into one big sloth. I am already lazy as it is so I definitely do not need all that technology doing every single thing for me. I can, however, see the appeal of having everything being done in an instant. For example, in the video, it showed that you can buy groceries just with a touch, without having to actually go out to the supermarket. That is very convenient, especially when you are extremely busy (or lazy) and do not have the time to go out.

I guess it depends on a person’s preference. I’m sure there are others out there who would love to live in a house like this, while some would turn away in disgust. It is the same with Google’s upcoming project, Project Glass.

Again, I would not want to have something like that because I just think that it is a little intrusive. Everywhere you go, technology is right in front of your face. Of course, it has its advantages like getting information in an instant, making it a very efficient tool.

I think the future of the Internet is filled with endless possibilities that it is hard to predict what will happen in five or ten years time. Technology is changing rapidly that everything does not stay constant. However, I think this course has helped me grasp the possibilities of what we can expect in the future. You never realize it because the Internet has become very much a part of our lives, but the Internet really has helped the world in so many ways. It has its advantages and disadvantages, of course, but I think the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Just look at what we are capable of doing now, just with the help of the Internet. We have the creation of social media, online political campaigns that have resulted in revolutionary changes, citizen journalism, the list is endless.

It makes me excited to see what human beings are going to come up with next. The next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg are out there, and the thought of the things they will create really makes me look forward to the future.

Online Journalism

I’ll admit, I don’t read the newspapers regularly. Mainly because they are never anywhere near me, so I don’t remember to read them. As they say, out of sight, out of mind. However, with many newspapers going online now, every single newspaper around the world is within my reach. It is even possible for a newspaper to set up an online-only platform such as The Huffington Post.

Online journalism has been seen as a threat to the traditional newspapers and The Huffington Post’s recent Pulitzer win might just support that notion. It is the first time that an online news website has won a Pulitzer Prize. The political journalism organization, Politico, which publishes a daily newspaper but is popular for its website, also won a Pulitzer along with HuffPost.

The Huffington Post won the Pulitzer for their 10-part series, Beyond the Battlefield, which focused on the wounded veteran soldiers of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Politico won the Pulitzer for Matt Wuerker’s cartoons that highlighted partisan political divides. Below are some of his cartoons.

However, the HuffPost’s Pulitzer win has received some criticism by some in the newspaper industry. This criticism mainly stems from the uncertainty in the quality of the HuffPost’s content. Some people in the journalism industry expressed their shock at its win. Among them were the founder of Slate, Jacob Weisberg, who wrote on his Twitter, “I admire many things about HuffPo, but its original journalism still of minimal quality and value.”

Weisberg’s concerns are echoed among those who share the same view that there is some doubt in the quality of HuffPost’s content. However, although these concerns are valid, I personally think that the journalism industry should accept these new changes because they are unavoidable. With the Internet, anyone can set up their own news site, by creating a blog, for example. Validity will always be an issue, but let’s face it, validity is an issue even in traditional newspapers (See Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass fabrication scandals). It all boils down to the ethics of the journalist.

I don’t think that online journalism will ever go away, and there is really nothing we can do to make it go away. So all we can do as consumers of the news is to be intelligent readers, and not blindly consume the content that is fed to us from various news sources.

Image credits:
The Pulitzer Prizes

Small (Political) Steps, Big (Political) Changes

Social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube have taken the process of networking and building connections among people to a whole new level. It is not just about getting in touch with that childhood friend, or being able to find out what your favorite artist is doing right this second (cue the Twitter stalker), or wishing that you will become the next YouTube sensation.

Social media has become much more than that.

It is about putting forward the important issues (or at least, what is important to you). It is about supporting those people who are bringing up these issues, or intelligently debating them if you disagree with their arguments. Social media, or rather, the Internet in general, allows people to talk about issues that are important to them through many different ways – be it in text, or music, or self-made videos. With some creativity, passion, and bravery (because people can be mean sometimes if they disagree with others), it is possible to bring about a change in the world, little by little.

Take for example this music video of a song called Aalu Anday, meaning Potatoes and Eggs, by Pakistani band, Beygairat Brigade.

This political satire video by Beygairat Brigade, or A Brigade Without Honor, touches on the issue of religious extremism and militancy in Pakistan. It went viral after being uploaded last October, and has since gotten more than 740,000 views. The song talks about how religious extremists in Pakistan are seen as heroes, along with those who commit to murdering the people who openly disagree with the views of the extremists.

For instance, the band sings about how “Qadri is treated like a royal”, referring to the elite police guard who assassinated Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab. Mr Taseer was known for his vocal opposition to the religious parties in Pakistan, and for campaigning against Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

With this song, Beygairat Brigade represented the Pakistanis who share the same liberal views but who are afraid to speak out for fear of what might happen to them if they do. It is things like this that provide the opportunity for people to unite and gather up their courage in standing up for what they believe in. It might seem like a simple approach – anyone can create a song – but sometimes, the simple approaches are the ones that can create the biggest impact.

For Beygairat Brigade, they took that small step, through their song, in giving Pakistanis a voice, and with the help of YouTube and social media, that small step created a big awareness to the public about what is going on in Pakistan.

Interacting with Art

Multimedia is a computer-based interactive communications process that incorporates text, graphics, sound, animation, and video.

The use of multimedia can be applied to various categories such as entertainment, education, and even art.

A multimedia artist is one who uses a wide range of media to communicate their art. Multimedia art involves more than one medium; the artist combines visual art with sound, moving images, and other types of media.

The video above shows how Takagi Masakatsu – a multimedia artist and musician – uses different types of software to incorporate sound and graphics in his art. His work has been showcased in many galleries around the world, from New York to Japan to Italy. He has also performed live at art spaces worldwide. The video below is one of the videos made by Masakatsu, entitled world is so beautiful.

Multimedia art usually involves interaction with the viewer as it encourages the engagement of our senses other than sight, such as our sense of touch, hearing, or smell. Thus, audience interaction makes up a big part of a multimedia artwork, bringing art appreciation to a whole new level.