The Internet’s Future

The most impressive about our contemporary networked society for me is that everything we know and everything we are currently using – in regards to the media and the internet – will be a part of ‘the history and development of the internet’ for the students studying the media at university in less than ten years time, and the things they will learn will be so much more advanced than what we think is advanced today.

I think it is absolutely interesting to think a little bit further into the future and, once in a while, have a look at the newest stage of development of the internet. Here, I want to mention the Internet of Things (IoT) again, because I really believe that (for example) implanted sensors in physical objects – which enable objects to be connected to the Internet, to be able to identify themselves to other devices, and to give us detailed information about their current state – will be a part of our everyday lives soon. The idea behind it is that computers knowing everything there is to know about things (such as material, resistance,…) will help us humans to be able to track and count everything, and reduce waste and costs. And we would know when things need replacing, repairing, or recalling. (Because the affected object gives us this information itself).

things

We are already using the technology to some extend. But, in a few years time, it will reach a whole new level. Yesterday, I read this on the InternetOfBusiness website (from the 16th of March):

 

Facebook has a new US patent which will allow it to control personal Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

With the Internet of Things now starting to become established in the home, this could represent a big addition to Facebook’s range of activities – and a change in direction.

The social network is currently focussed on allowing people to interact with other people. This new patent would augment that, and allow people to interact with things.

The patent includes examples of the kinds of ‘machines’ that might be controlled. These include a thermostat, an automobile, a drone, a toaster, a computer, a refrigerator, an air conditioner, a robot, a vacuum, an actuator, and a heater.

 

It does sound a little bit crazy and I am not sure to what extend the source is absolutely reliable, but I can imagine it. There are already human- like robots in progress (which is definitely scary for everyone who’s watched Ex Machina or the show Humans), so I don’t think there are any limits of implementing IoT in our already so networked society. It brings both, many risks and many opportunities. Robots could potentially become smarter than our human brains. But, I still believe that nothing will ever be able to completely compete against humans.

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Spotify: leaves two options for you

Spotify was launched in 2008 and by 2015 it had already more than 75 million users, including around 20 million who were paid users. Spotify is available for free and therefore does not have strict payment restrictions. You can listen to all your favourite artists and various playlists. But, once users are using the free tier, Spotify tries to drive users to their premium subscription, which is 9.99 pounds per month. With Spotify Premium you can then play music on demand, you can listen offline, you don’t have any ads and, apparently, it is higher quality audio as well. With this, Spotify is trying to get users to pay for music – and therefore trying to work against the general music consumption nowadays, which nearly doesn’t generate any money for artists anymore.

 

cuenta-premium-de-spotify

I found this quote on the Spotify_artists website:

Spotify was founded for two reasons: to bring all the music in the world to all the world’s music fans in a fun, easy and affordable way – and to create real value for the music industry again, including labels, publishers and the terrific songwriters and artists who create and perform the music we love. […]

 

Everyone of us most probably found his favourite side from where to download music illegally or streams the music from YouTube. Which definitely is unfair for the musicians who don’t get paid for their work adequately anymore. Spotify is great as it does have the two options to either listen to it for free (but accept the ads between the songs with which Spotify is making money) or pay for the artists and get the better quality – which is absolutely fair. And I really think if Spotify would not have the free option anymore, and was put under strict copyright control, Spotify would soon not be used anymore. The 20 million users who did pay for it in 2015 are evidence that there are indeed still people willing to pay for their money’s worth. And I think Spotify’s concept is a good idea and should maybe be used by more apps and online platforms.

My control over personal information is nearly null

Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Storify, wordpress, Google+, … I am registered to so many social media platforms that I am not even sure I have not just forgotten one here on the list.

To be fair, I am not really using any as much as I am using Facebook, and maybe Instagram. The main reason why I have so many social media accounts is partly because of the course. During our first year of Journalism we had to create two wordpress- blog pages, and we had to register to Storify, Periscope and Twitter. So I did not really have a chance to get around it. But this only makes me realise how dependent we are on social media even in regards to our future careers.

I think overall I am absolutely not in control of what information is to find about myself online. Even though I am personally only sharing the information I am posting with my friends, I am on so many pictures made by other people, friends, family and event photographers that upload pictures – without them necessarily asking for permission. And that’s not only the case with Facebook but also with Instagram or Snapchat.

Since we were talking about it in the Seminar, I googled myself and – unfortunately – found pictures that I didn’t even know would exist. For that reason, I am aware that I’m not in control of the information available about myself online. And I was shocked that – especially through platforms like LinkedIn everyone is able to find out all your personal information (including address, professional background, home- country, …)

The other problem that I see is the degree of professionality that I would like to keep/ show online.  But most probably this opportunity is already ruined.

Supportnetwork.heart.org

This might be an online community that most of us (hopefully) have never needed and thus might not be able to relate to as much as to others. But I think SUPPORT NETWORK is a very good positive example for an online community that offers emotional and informational support.

It is set up for people that have the desire to exchange their experiences with serious illnesses and medical conditions like – as in the picture illustrated- the suffering from heart attacks, strokes, chronic conditions and many more.

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Everybody can register and take part in, either to get advice and support from others that have experienced and lived with similar health problems or even to be the one giving advice to others and telling their story. Overall the website is set up to give ill people hope and solutions.

I picked this online community because I think communities like these are absolutely great and helpful as most people that have fallen seriously ill experience phases of feeling alone or not understood or some might even feel like they haven’t been advised by their doctor adequately (quite possible in the British health care system, if you ask me).                In this community they, for example, find people that can recommend different types of therapies and maybe new angles on how to deal with their medical condition.

I have – and probably many of you do as well – a family member that had to go through a serious and quite critical illness. And I can only say that websites like these are very welcome and make the affected feel better informed and more enlightened about the available opportunities and challenges one has to face.

The website does have a very restricted target group, obviously. It is mainly used by affected people and doctors. However, for the reasons illustrated above it is to say that all members most probably benefit from their participation.

 

 

Yahoo!Answers

Something that was and is significantly shaped by the audience, and that is to find online, is the web- side Yahoo! Answers. It’s an online portal for everyone made by everyone (who wants to participate). As you can ask any question and you will get the answer from someone who knows, has experiences with the same problem or can give advice.

 

It is one of the many community- driven Q&A sites, and probably one of not so many online sites whose content is mainly – if not absolutely – written and therefore shaped by the user itself/ the audience.

 

As it is from Yahoo it is most probably not set up by the public, but all the content is exclusively from the user and for the user, regarding current news topics, household problems or questions like “how do I structure an essay?” (or rather weird questions as well). The questions are categorised so that you can (1.) easily search for related questions and (2.) look into the categories you might be an expert in and can offer advice yourself.

 

To make the user participate actively, and not only look if someone has already asked this question previously – there is even a point system that defines your “user level.” (You have to register and then you can participate)

 

And, like in most of these Q&A websites, your answers will be rated by other users so that the most rated answer appears first.

 

I explained all of that to show the significance of the user’s participation. It is solely existing due to every single reader that puts his input it – be it questions or answers.

Skype

Well, I will stick to the example I gave in the presentation and use SKYPE as an example for media convergence.

Everyone knows it, and I think it is a good example for showing how old media products, new media products and new media platforms are combined and interconnected with each other to one single media work.

Skype is a combination of camera, phone (calls and texts) and social media that makes online communication even smarter as it allows face- to- face conversations. Easily available from every smartphone or laptop, free and even connected to Facebook – so that you can directly invite your Facebook friends.

 

There are a lot of different implications of Skype for users as well as for the media industry. Let’s start with the users: Skype’s greatest implication is undoubtedly for communication. It allows everyone to contact and keep in touch with anyone all over the world and offers to every individual – who has access to it – to be more social. Even though some might argue it also makes people less impersonal and more superficial – it definitely changes the way we communicate extremely.

On the negative side you could say it promotes laziness, which I would disagree with as you usually only skype with people you are not able to see because of their distance anyway.

For media industries creations like Skype mainly lead to new price structures. Simply because – now that everyone has access to the internet – why bother paying a lot of money for minutes and texts on your phone if you can endlessly call for free with using Skype…

TED.com

It is not the most unknown website in the world – and most of you have probably heard of it. But if that is not the case, I suggest everyone to regularly visit the website http://www.ted.com as they offer great talks from experts about interesting topics that do not only inform you about what is going on in the world. Moreover, they inspire you to think about topics from different perspectives and to make up your own mind.

I also picked this website because I think it will be very helpful for this module in particular. In the ‘Technology’ section of the website (http://www.ted.com/talks?language=en&topics%5B%5D=technology&sort=newest) you find various talks about subject matters that we discuss in our seminars. Covering an immense range of different questions: about social media platforms, the development of technologies and the internet in particular, about virtual reality and the question in how far technologies will be able to interact with human emotions, … and so on.

For example, I would like to indicate the TED talk by Zeynep Tufekci who talks about the perks and difficulties of online social change. She discusses the significance of social media by means of the recent happenings in Turkey and how people embrace new technologies and media platforms for activism, politics and empowerment in multiple ways.

Thus, I recommend this website as it is absolutely interesting and gives great incitements for the debates in the seminar.