Tag Archives | Media

The Future of Work: We Have Been Here Before

Nana B Agyei (CC BY 2.0)

Nana B Agyei (CC BY 2.0)

Paul Saffo via Pacific Standard:

The latest entry in a special project in which business and labor leaders, social scientists, technology visionaries, activists, and journalists weigh in on the most consequential changes in the workplace.

This is not the first time society has fretted over the impact of ever-smarter machines on jobs and work—and not the first time we have overreacted. In the Depression-beset 1930s, labor Jeremiahs warned that robots would decimate American factory jobs. Three decades later, mid-1960s prognosticators offered a hopeful silver lining to an otherwise apocalyptic assessment of automation’s dark cloud: the displacement of work and workers would usher in a new “leisure society.”

Reality stubbornly ignored 1930s and 1960s expectations. The robots of extravagant imagination never arrived. There was ample job turbulence but as Keynes forecast in 1930, machines created more jobs than they destroyed. Boosted by a World War, unemployment dropped from a high of 25 percent in 1933 to under two percent in 1944.

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Ted Rall: 14 Years Ago, a Woman Vindicated Me Now

"Ted Rall" by Joshin Yamada from Portland, USA - 20070929_MG_8712.jpg. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Ted Rall” by Joshin Yamada from Portland, USA – 20070929_MG_8712.jpg. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Ted Rall writes at CounterPunch:

A woman walking down the street in West Hollywood saw a police officer roughing up and handcuffing a man, whom he accused of jaywalking. Appalled, she challenged the officer. “Take off his handcuffs!” she demanded.

Noticing the commotion, more passersby approached. Soon a small crowd of people had gathered around. Some people shouted at the officer to stop. Others mocked his aggressiveness, sarcastically suggesting that his unfulfilled sexual desires explained his behavior. Surrounded by pissed-off citizens, the cop replied with a smirk: “I’m SO scared.” Others stood and watched, witnessing.

This happened 14 years ago. The man was me.

None of us knew that the cop, Officer Will Durr, was secretly capturing the audio of my arrest on a tape recorder — some of it, anyway.

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Death penalty: execution ballads were the news reports and tweets of a bloody era

Time for a jolly singalong. Wellcome Library, London, CC BY-SA

Time for a jolly singalong. Wellcome Library, London, CC BY-SA

Whether it’s the recent mass death sentences handed down by the Egyptian judiciary after the ill-fated Arab Spring uprising, or US states having to delay executions of Death Row prisoners because European drug companies are refusing to supply them with the drugs required, capital punishment regularly dominates the news headlines.

Central to all of these stories is the publicity they receive. If you’re going to practice capital punishment as a deterrent – a claim still made despite statistics having shown that the death penalty has no effect on crime rates – then there’s no point doing it unless as many people as possible can find out about it. Now such information zips around the world on the internet. But how did people find out about crime and punishment in that era of spectacular public executions, the Renaissance?

In the early modern period, the majority of the European population was illiterate, and so more creative ways of broadcasting the horror were needed.… Read the rest

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How To Write A Contrarian Thinkpiece

Chris Potter (CC BY 2.0)

Chris Potter (CC BY 2.0)

Michael Schaub writes at the Pessimist:

You probably think that the online contrarian thinkpiece represents a new low in journalism: a dispensable, reactionary quasi-essay written by a condescending know-it-all, and published by a magazine desperate for web traffic. Well, guess what? You’re wrong, you stupid idiot. I hate you and your face. Your family is probably ashamed of you, you wrong, stupid idiot.

I’m kidding, of course. You’re right. There is a great historical tradition of contrarian journalism, but it’s a tradition that didn’t survive the 20th century. Our founding fathers might have penned classic protest essays like “What Ho, Lord Shelvington! You Shall Tariff Our Churns No Longer, Good Sir!” (working from memory here but I’m pretty sure I nailed it), what passes for contrarianism these days is much more soul-crushingly petty. It is smug, personally insulting to the reader, and usually about low-stakes subjects like kale or Girls.

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Slavoj Zizek: The Media’s Problem With Philosophy

YouTube description:

Increasingly, intelligence is only tolerated in pre-approved and reassuringly non-challenging forms – deprecatory humor (Stephen Fry), decaffeinated reasoning (Alain de Botton), or suspiciously grand narratives (Simon Schama). Žižek himself is constantly pigeonholed by such media clichés as ‘the Elvis of cultural theory’ and ‘the Marx Brother’. This event sets out to question ‘what can be done?’ by serious thought in a culture of sound bites. Is the best that media philosophers can hope for to ‘Try again, fail again, fail better’?

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I hid Illuminati symbols in broadcast news graphics because I was bored

Todd Huffman (CC BY 2.0)

Todd Huffman (CC BY 2.0)

This story was told anonymously to Hopes&Fears author Gabriella Garcia, who’s transcribed it below:

When I was working for a major broadcasting conglomerate, I passed the time sneaking cult symbols into its affiliates’ news graphics. I don’t really know why I did it. Maybe because I’m just easily amused.

I became interested in graphics when I was young. In high school, I used some savings to buy a new computer with really high quality graphics capability for its day and started making 2D cartoons, mostly involving things killing each other, because I was a teenage boy that was funny—things dying, things running into walls—all poorly animated.

I applied to a bunch of schools for Comp Sci and Electrical Engineering, but went to a state school. It was the cheapest and offered a good scholarship. At the time the school was in the process of dismantling their traditional arts studies department while simultaneously stepping up their computer graphics department, so I ended up in the imaging and digital arts field.

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A teacher uses Star Trek for difficult conversations on race and gender

Can Captain Kirk’s struggle for belonging and identity become a tool for teaching? James Vaughan, CC BY-NC-SA

Can Captain Kirk’s struggle for belonging and identity become a tool for teaching? James Vaughan, CC BY-NC-SA

The television series Star Trek: The Original Series (1966–1969) debuted one year after my immediate family and I relocated from the Harlem district of New York City to an area of South Central Los Angeles in 1965.

This was also the year in which that latter metropolis erupted into riots that became known collectively as the Watts Rebellion. The television series became a form of escape from the surroundings of a depressing urban reality and envisioning a more tolerant future.

As it turned out, however, TV was not to be the key to that future. Rather, that entrée would be provided by many subsequent years of formal education that would spark in me an intellectual curiosity about the inner workings of the trek of life – engaging the tangibles of this world as well as the intangibles I imagined to exist beyond the stars.… Read the rest

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Are we entering a digital dark age?


This podcast explores the risks of humanity storing as much info as it is on digital formats. Of interesting note, when NASA turned off Voyager 1‘s camera to save on battery usage, no computer remained in existence which could decode the date from the satellite’s camera system.

It is possible for the cameras to be turned on, but it is not a priority for Voyager’s Interstellar Mission. After Voyager 1 took its last image (the “Solar System Family Portrait” in 1990), the cameras were turned off to save power and memory for the instruments expected to detect the new charged particle environment of interstellar space. Mission managers removed the software from both spacecraft that controls the camera. The computers on the ground that understand the software and analyze the images do not exist anymore.

From OnTheMedia’s website:

On this week’s episode of On the Media, we’re engaging in some chillingly informed speculation: what would happen if we, as a species, lost access to our electronic records?

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Virtual Reality is the Future of Religion

Dali_Crucifixion_hypercubeRev. Dr. Christopher Benek via H+mag:

25 years ago most people didn’t imagine that the Internet would reshape the way that they existed on a day-to-day basis. 25 years from now people will think about Virtual Reality the same way we think about the Internet today – we won’t even be able to imagine our global existence without it.

One of the largest beneficiaries of this technological development could be the global church because VR is going to change the way that Christians participate in worship.

The main impact that VR is going to have on the global church is that it is going to, one-day, enable Christians to easily gather from a variety of places without being in the same physical location.   This will enable persons who are homebound, sick, caregivers, without transportation, on vacation, or severely disabled to participate in worship with the larger community of faith without needing to leave the place where they are physically residing.

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