Rashmi Ravi

Interview

The technology is in important role in present life. With the intention to gain better understanding of the ideas of people on the future and technology, the interviews have been conducted to my grandfather and one Friend.

Interview Grandfather

I agree that the technology has benefited our lives to large extent. However, I do not think that it can bring the positive effect on the future in the situation that the government and the other parties to take actions to make management on the safety of the technology. With the development of technology, the negative impact and results being brought by it can also be reflected. For example, the safety of the online account of the users can not be protected well. Six months ago, my son helped me make application for one online account so that I can use the account to make online consumption. I have not used this account frequently for I do not need to make the online consumption frequently. I found that I need something so that I decided to buy the staff from online store. However, when I decided to make the online consumption, I have found that my account has been stolen by the others. The money being deposited by me in the account has also been used by the others. I sought help to my friends and my family but they told me that this accident is often happened in their lives. Due to this, I worried about the influence being brought by technology on our future lives and I do encourage all related parties to make efforts to protect the safety of the online account of the users.

Interview Friend

Well, I think that the technology can bring huge positive effect on out future lives. The main reason is that I have benefited from and have felt the convenience of the technology in this period of time. I do no need to come to the stores personally and can buy the things that I want through online consumption at any place and any time. I can download the app to make order of food instead of coming to the restaurant and I can use certain software to buy the things with lower price and the others. All of these activities can be achieved based on the positive state of the technology at present. My life’s standard and quality have been improved largely based on all of these activities. Due to this, I do have the idea that the technology can gain the improvement in the future and it can still bring huge positive effect on our future lives.

From the answers of my grandfather and my roommate, it can find that they have different attitudes and ideas of the role and influence of technology on the future. No matter the technology can affect the future positively or negatively, the important point is that the safety of the users is still needs to be protected well in the future development.

Standard
Rashmi Ravi

Big Data

The revolution of Big Data is evident. It is the forward edge of science, driven by endless information that humans can only understand with the help of math and machines. Data is streaming from daily life, with a data flow so fast it minimizes human civilisation. It is not the ‘endless’ supply of information that is revolutionary, but what we have learnt to do with it. Big Data is an extremely important tool by which society can advance from and is the only way this planet is going to deal with its challenges, including medical care, food, electricity and energy supplies. The importance of Big Data is unmistakable but the big question is what to do with all this Data? This ‘tool’ must be treated with care, and adjusted to our human needs. We must become the master of Big Data, rather than succumb to its overriding nature and let it decide how we work, live and think.

Data has gone from stationary to dynamic, stock to flow. On the island of Crete, around 4000 years ago, dating back to 2000 BC, a team of archaeologists discovered a clay disk. The disk was detailed with hand-engraved etches suggesting information of value. Even though the meaning of these etches are a mystery, the disk still documents the society of 2000BC and it’s way of storing and transmitting information. Today’s society still stores information on disks, but now there is a liquidity of knowledge available for searching, copying, storing, sharing and processing at any point in time. Humanity can finally learn from the information that we collect and that is why Big Data is a big deal.       

The Big Data era is a dramatic opportunity and society will exploit it until it has reached it’s potential. We need to be clear on what it is capable of. Individuals will be outperformed by modern statistical methods such as machine learning, a brand of artificial intelligence (computer science) where data is thrown at it and it is forced to teach itself. Factory automation and the assembly line challenged the blue-collar labour in the 20th century, and today, Big Data will challenge the white-collar’s professional knowledge

Big Data is invaluable as we can fundamentally do things that we couldn’t do before, but if we do not master it, we may be punished by it’s predicted potential. Privacy will no longer exist and we will struggle to safeguard the things we take for granted, such as free will, moral choice, human velation and human agency. The supremacy of Big Data comes with a set of philosophical and ethical issues concerning our perception, cognition and fairness. Society should seek to inquire the influence of Big Data, asking the question; how can we prevent ourselves from becoming slaves to this era of data deluge?


Reference:

B.Butler, 2015, 5 Problems with big data, Network World, viewed 25.09.15, http://www.networkworld.com/article/2973963/big-data-business-intelligence/5-problems-with-big-data.html

M.Lima, 2015, A Visual History of Human Knowledge, Ted Talks, viewed 25.09.15, https://www.ted.com/talks/manuel_lima_a_visual_history_of_human_knowledge

S.Etlinger, 2014, What do we do with all this Big Data?, Ted Talks, viewed 25.09.15, https://www.ted.com/talks/susan_etlinger_what_do_we_do_with_all_this_big_data?language=en#t-615863

K.Cukier, 2014, Big Data is Better Data, Ted Talks, viewed 25.09.15, https://www.ted.com/talks/kenneth_cukier_big_data_is_better_data?language=en#t-296555

Cognizant, 2013, Mastering Big Data, Slide Share, viewed 26.09.15, http://www.slideshare.net/cognizant/mastering-big-data-the-next-big-leap-for-master-data-management

T.Davenport, 2014, Three Big Benefits of Big Data Analytics, Sas Magazine, viewed 26.09.15, http://www.sas.com/en_us/news/sascom/2014q3/Big-data-davenport.html

J.Shaw, 2014, Why ‘Big Data’ is a Big Deal, Harvard Magazine, viewed 26.09.15, http://harvardmagazine.com/2014/03/why-big-data-is-a-big-deal

M.Hildebrandt, 2013, Slaves to Big Data. Or are we?, Selected Works, viewed 26.09.15, http://works.bepress.com/mireille_hildebrandt/52/

Elsevier, 2015, Special Issue on Big Data, Analytics, and High Performance Computing, Elsevier Journals, viewed 26.09.15, http://www.journals.elsevier.com/big-data-research/call-for-papers/special-issue-on-big-data-analytics-and-high-performance-com/

KD Nuggets, 2012, Consuming Big Data; Big Data is meaningless without the insight, viewed 26.09.15, http://www.kdnuggets.com/2012/02/big-data-webinar-advizor-emc-greenplum.html

Standard
Rashmi Ravi

Transport system

Has anyone ever thought about the new transport system being adopted in Metropolitan Sydney and the reasons behind this project? Yes, I agree there are many benefits to consider such as the integration of different types of public transport in different locations, time spent when boarding/exiting vehicles and the ease of use when recharging our cards. However, the government will be able to tell exactly who, when and where any of us use any sort of public transportation.

“Registered Opal cards, which are linked with users’ names, addresses, email and phone contacts and bank accounts, provide the authorities with the ability to track a users’ journeys across the public transport network by time and date (SMH 2015)”. They are not only collecting individual and, in my opinion, extremely personal data such as our real time location, they will also be able to identify demographic facts and trends.

The Opal card also serves as a great data collection tool for the government, complementing other data management systems already in use by authorities. “Apart from police and immigration department, other agencies permitted to request Opal data access include the police forces of other states, the NSW Crime Commission, the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Federal Police, the Director of Public Prosecutions in NSW and other states, the Department of Corrective Services, the Department of Juvenile Justice and other agencies as the government sees fit to include (SMH 2015)”.

The sense of anonymousness, if there was still any left, has gone along time ago. Of course once paper tickets become obsolete you will still have the choice of paying in cash for your trip, but after considering the time you would spend in a queue and the fact that many services are “prepay only” during peak hours you will probably change your mind. As with everything, people are slowly and softly induced to change their minds. For the ones who do not use public transport at all, the toll system can work as a way of mapping your location or even the credit card transaction used to fill up your car’s petrol tank. How about your address printed on your driver’s license? It is understandable for the government to have your address in their records, but is it necessary to make it visible to everyone who sees your Id? People in Australia are not minding being watched with a close eye (Pietsch & Aarons, 2012).

This sense of conformity can be linked to the fact that Australia is under high terrorist alert. Many political manoeuvres that somehow result in important data collection are supported by national defence propaganda, alleging that such steps are necessary to ensure national security. But is safety worth giving up your privacy? The data retention law passed a few months ago gives government power in terms of surveillance never (legally) seen before in this country. In my opinion, even worse than the bill itself or even the way Opal cards were planned to work is the complacency of general population towards all of what is happening right in front of our eyes. We can never forget that “authoritarian states pay heed to their citizens’ civil rights only to the extent that they serve the interests of their regime (The Australian 2014)”. Dark history periods have taught the world that nothing is more important than an individual’s privacy and liberty. Information can be dangerous once it can be used for both construction and destruction.


References

SMH 2015, Opal card data surrendered to police and immigration authorities, viewed 18 August 2015, <http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/opal-card-data-surrendered-to-police-and-immigration-authorities-20150521-gh76wn.html&gt;

Waldron, J. 2003, Security and liberty: the image of balance, The Journal of Political Philosophy, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 191–210.

The Australian 2014, Balance between security and civil liberties is crucial, viewed 18 August, <http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/balance-between-security-and-civil-liberties-is-crucial/story-e6frg8zx-1227063214174&gt;

Shearer, D. 1998, Crime and social disorder in Stalin’s Russia [A reassessment of the Great Retreat and the origins of mass repression], Cahiers du monde russe : Russie, Empire russe, Union soviétique, États indépendants, vol. 39, no. 12, pp. 119-148.

Pietsch, J. & Aarons, H. 2012, Australia: identity, fear and governance in the 21st century, ANU E Press, Canberra.

Citizen control TV 2015, Posters, viewed 18 August 2015, <http://www.citizen-control.tv/posters.html&gt;

Standard
Rashmi Ravi

Ted Talk:

Recently I watched a TED talk by ecologist Allan Savory entitled “How to fight desertification and reverse climate change”. By the end I was inspired, hopeful and excited to enter into this future of problem solving, in which we work towards innovative solutions and, upon their application, witness evidential change. We have the research; we have the technology; we have the evidence of success. It seems that with today’s immense levels of brainpower and exponentially rising applications of technology, the issue of the Anthropocene and climate change should have been tackled relatively quickly. However, it was then that I realised the key ingredient for success that we lack: the acceptance of responsibility. In the same smug breath that declares our inability to survive without our latest technological acquisition, we wistfully lament the simpler times of our device-free lives; a time before blissful innocence was replaced by blatant ignorance. In most fields, contemporary society has sought to improve upon the lifestyles of previous generations, so why aren’t we as willing to evolve beyond the traditional patterns of mass consumption, deforestation, poor waste disposal, and burning of fossil fuels? Because we didn’t make the mess, so why should we have to clean it up?

The steadfast avoidance of accepting responsibility, the relentless quest for an alternative subject of blame, is akin to the fluffy small talk that tiptoes around the obese elephant in the room. Pope Francis (2015), in his second encyclical, Laudato si: On Care for Our Common Home, highlights our dangerous human tendency to adopt an attitude of “complacency and cheerful recklessness” in such situations where big issues require “bold decisions”. This concept of “quietism”, explored by philosopher and anthropologist, Bruno Latour (2013), is an attitude that pervades all areas of our modern lives: social, cultural, political, economic, etc. As Latour suggests in Telling Friends from Foes in the Time of the Anthropocene, it is the conflict between our actions and our environment that is so often “downplayed or euphemised” in order to lessen the guilt we naturally avoid. Artist and engineer, Natalie Jeremijenko, holds a similar stance, attributing the obliviousness of our current generation to the nature of the information age. “We talk about information excess and information overload…but that veil between production and consumption is radically thickened” she explained in an interview for Arena Magazine (Nelson, 2015).

It is worth asking that as the time lapse between posing a question and receiving an answer may be as a rapid as 0.38 seconds, as Google search so proudly boasts, have we lost the inquisitive curiosity that shapes the path of discovery? Are we so end-focused that we forget the significance of the journey in opening the solution space, or does the mere thought of a possible failure deter travellers from the start? Perhaps our established global culture of commercialisation, commodification and obsolescence is responsible for our ignorance and inability to accept responsibility. I am reluctant to ask how long we have optimistically advocated the “seeing is believing” mentality to accompany the “sweep it under the rug” behaviour in relation to the anthropocene, as I fear I already know the answer.


References

Pope Francis. 2015, Laudato si: on care for our common home, Encyclical Letter of the Holy Father Francis. Accessed 20 August 2015, <http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html&gt;.

Latour, B. 2013, Telling friends from foes in the time of the anthropocene, The Anthropocene and the Global Environment Crisis – Rethinking Modernity in a New Epoch, London, Routledge, p.145-155 (originally given as a lecture, Thinking the Anthropocene, EHESS, Paris, 14th-15th of November, 2013). Accessed 13 August 2015, < http://www.bruno-latour.fr/node/535&gt;.

Nelson R. 2011, Interview with Natalie Jeremijenko, Our Agency is Powerful: Future Foods for Humans and the Planet, Arena Magazine , No. 114. Accessed 13 August 2015, <http://www.carbonarts.org/articles/our-agency-is-powerful/&gt;.

Savory, A. 2013, How to fight desertification and reverse climate change, TED Talk, recorded 13 February 2013, Accessed 13 August 2015, <http://www.ted.com/talks/allan_savory_how_to_green_the_world_s_deserts_and_reverse_climate_change?language=en&gt;

Standard
Rashmi Ravi

Anthropocene: Food waste

The Anthropocene describes the present time where human activity has had an extreme impact on the earth. The Anthropocene presents a ‘profound ontological shift in human understandings of connection and entangling with the non-human’ (Latour, 2013). Nowadays there is no refusing that individuals have and continue to attempt to ‘play god’ in a world where our activities are surely having serious consequences on our environment and society. ‘Nature no longer runs the earth, we do’ (Lynas, 2011) and our production of waste is one of the most detrimental aspects of human living, with the average Australian family producing enough rubbish in a year to completely fill a three-bedroom house from floor to ceiling. As concerns grow and we begin to accept the indefinability of our human impact it is vital that the focus of generating less waste is at the core of our decision-making, idea generation and future planning.

Food waste is one of the highest contributors to waste production with 50% of food turning to waste, an issue for the environment as well as society as millions of people go hungry each day. Of the millions of tons of food that is wasted each year, it is estimated that 96% ends up in landfill (Modern Farmer, 2015).

In Berline, Germany, two young entrepreneurs have created a no-waste grocery story that fulfils the desired vision of sustainable shopping. Original Unverpackt or ‘Original and Unpackaged’ is the result of an extremely successful crowd funding campaign dispenses products in bulk, encouraging shoppers to bring their own containers or use recyclable paper bags.

Similar business models have tried and failed in the past, however creators Sara Wolf and Milena Glimbovski are confident that now is the time, “This project is there to send a signal to the food industry that different ways of operating are possible. And we as customers finally are able to buy things the way we really want to. We believe that the current way of shopping is not sustainable.” (Wolf, 2015)

It is obvious that we cannot continue in the destructive living so engrained in us. Strategies such as Original Unpackaged and many others are bringing to light and tackling the issue of general and food waste. These strategies are just the beginning of our attempt as a globe in attempting to salvage and provide a future for our planet.


Reference

Anderson, K. 2015, Ethics, Ecology, and the Future: Art and Design Face the Anthropocene, Leonardo, vol. 48, no. 4, pp. 338-347, accessed 28th of September 2015

Baskin, J. 2014, The Ideology of the Anthroposcene, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, Research paper series, accessed 28th of September 2015

Harmonic, R and Hirsch, J. 2013. Food Waste: The Next Food Revolution, Modern Farmer, viewed 16th of September 2015, <http://modernfarmer.com/2013/09/next-food-revolution-youre-eating/&gt;

Latour, B. 2013, Telling friends from foes at the time of the anthropocene, lecture prepared for the EHESS-Centre Koyré- Sciences Po symposium, “Thinking the Anthropocene” Paris, 14th-15th, November 2013, <http://www.bruno-latour.fr/node/535&gt;

Lynas, M 2011, The God Species: How the Planet can Survive the Age of Humans, Harper Collins, London.

Martinez, O 2014. A New Package-Free Shopping Experience, Epoch Times, viewed 15th of September 2015, <http://nextshark.com/original-unpackaged-grocery-store-no-waste/&gt;

Martinez, O. 2014, Original Unverpackt, YouTube, viewed 23rd of September 2015, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3Gu4qTvbJU&gt;

Sayre, NF 2012, The Politics of the Anthropogenic, Annual Review of Anthropology, 41, pp. 57-70

Transpacific Industries Group LTD, 2015. Australian Waste: The Facts, Cleanway, viewed 15th of September 2015, <http://www.transpacific.com.au/asset/cms/Documents/Australian%20Waste%20-%20The%20Facts.pdf&gt;

The Economist, 2011, A man-made world, The Economist. viewed 20 August 2015, <http://www.economist.com/node/18741749&gt>

Standard