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26 JULY 2016

The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom?

"Individual freedom is the dream of our age. It's what our leaders promise to give us, it defines how we think of ourselves and, repeatedly, we have gone to war to impose freedom around the world. But if you step back and look at what freedom actually means for us today, it's a strange and limited kind of freedom.

Politicians promised to liberate us from the old dead hand of bureaucracy, but they have created an evermore controlling system of social management, driven by targets and numbers. Governments committed to freedom of choice have presided over a rise in inequality and a dramatic collapse in social mobility. And abroad, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the attempt to enforce freedom has led to bloody mayhem and the rise of an authoritarian anti-democratic Islamism. This, in turn, has helped inspire terrorist attacks in Britain. In response, the Government has dismantled long-standing laws designed to protect our freedom.

The Trap is a series of three films by Bafta-winning producer Adam Curtis that explains the origins of our contemporary, narrow idea of freedom. It shows how a simplistic model of human beings as self-seeking, almost robotic, creatures led to today's idea of freedom. This model was derived from ideas and techniques developed by nuclear strategists during the Cold War to control the behavior of the Soviet enemy."

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2007 • A Beautiful Mind (2001) • Adam CurtisAfghanistan • anti-democratic • authoritarianismBBC Two • bloody mayhem • cold war • contemporary idea of freedom • controlling system • deterministic logicdocumentary seriesexplicit objectivesfreedom of choicegame theory • goal-oriented agenda • government policygrand political dreamhuman behaviourindividual freedomindividualismIraqIslamism • John Nash • limited kind of freedom • mathematical modelmetricisation • narrow idea of freedom • neoliberalism • nuclear strategists • operational criteriaoversimplificationpersonal freedom • point of equilibrium • rational self-interest • Ronald David Laing • self-monitoring • simplistic model • social inequality • social management • social mobility • Soviet Union • state control • systems theory • target-oriented agenda • targets and numbers • the dream of our age

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
16 MAY 2014

Digital Health: emerging healthcare practices through digital convergence

"Digital health is the convergence of the digital and genetics revolutions with health and healthcare. As we are seeing and experiencing, digital health is empowering us to better track, manage, and improve our own and our family's health. It's also helping to reduce inefficiencies in healthcare delivery, improve access, reduce costs, increase quality, and make medicine more personalized and precise. ...

The essential elements of the digital health revolution include wireless devices, hardware sensors and software sensing technologies, microprocessors and integrated circuits, the Internet, social networking, mobile and body area networks, health information technology, genomics, and personal genetic information.

The lexicon of Digital Health is extensive and includes all or elements of mHealth (aka Mobile Health), Wireless Health, Health 2.0, eHealth, Health IT, Big Data, Health Data, Cloud Computing, e–Patients, Quantified Self and Self–tracking, Wearable Computing, Gamification, Telehealth & Telemedicine, Precision and Personalized Medicine, plus Connected Health."

(Paul Sonnier, Story of Digital Health)

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big data • Body Area Network (BAN) • cloud computing • connected devices • connected health • digital convergence • digital genetics • digital healthdigital health solution • e-Patients • eHealth • emerging healthcare practices • emerging practices • ePatients • gamificationgamifyinggeneticsgenomics • hardware sensors • health 2.0 • health data • health IT • healthcare delivery • mHealthmobile health • nuviun • patient information • personal genetic information • Personal Health Information (PHI) • personalised healthcare • personalised medicine • precision medicine • quantified self • self-monitoring • self-tracking • social networking • software sensing technologies • superconvergence • technology convergence • telehealth • telemedicine • wearable computingwellbeing • wireless health

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
03 MAY 2012

Aleks Krotoski's The Digital Human

"Aleks Krotoski asks not just what technology can do for us but also what is it doing to us and the world we're creating? Each week she takes us on a journey to where people are living their digital lives to explore how technology touches everything we do both on and offline.

Taking broad themes of modern living as a starting point she charts the experiences of homo digitas; both the remarkable and the mundane, to understand how we are changing just as quickly as the advances in our technology.

What does the deluge of images from digital photography mean for our memory when every second is being recorded, edited and posted online for posterity? Are the identities we create in social media no more than exercises in personal branding, to be managed and protected like any other product? And as traditional churches struggle to leverage technology to spread their faith do the behaviours we all display online have more in common with religion than rationality?

The time for wonder at the digital world is over, we live with it in every day. The question really is who are we now because of it?"

(BBC Radio 4)

Fig.1 "Mack on a summer morning", 30 March 2011 [http://www.mydogearedpages.com/2011/03/photographic–memories.html].

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2012advances in technology • Aleks Krotoski • BBC Radio 4 • being edited • constructed identitiescultural identitycyberpsychology • deluge of images • digital photography • digital world is over • display online • every second is being recorded • everydayfaith • homo digitas • human behaviouridentityidentity performanceimpression management • leverage technology • living digital livesmediated environmentsmemorymodern livingnew technologyonline and offlineour digital livespersonal branding • posted online • posterityrationalityreligionself-monitoringself-reflexivitysocial changesocial mediasocial media identitiestechnology touches everythingvirtual presence

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
26 APRIL 2011

Making up Postcards: expressing real and fictional stories

"To me Postcards and Blogs share something in common. Both contain basically private information but can be read by people who have nothing to do with the writers. There is nothing wrong with reading a postcard that is not addressed to you or checking out a blog that is all about the personal life of an unknown person. A typical way of protecting privacy is using information that will be understood only by the people whom the message is addressed to. Another defensive approach is to be laconic, rather inexpressive. This last strategy is typically seen in postcards.

This blog is intended to play in a sense with these issues of privacy. For this reason my approach is purely literary (another way of protection). Here I mix together real and fictional stories. Some people who 'receive' a postcard from me are real people, others unrelated or almost unknown to me. Of course I, as an architect, 'send' only architectural postcards. Some of them were already postally used and therefore now they are being rewritten by me. In short, I am just making up postcards.

Las Tarjetas Postales de siempre tienen algo en comun con los Blogs de ahora. Su caracter es publico, (cualquiera puede leer su contenido) aunque su intencion sea privada (la correspondencia va dirigida a una persona o grupo concreto). Un blog es publico porque cualquier persona tiene acceso a el, pero su caracter tiene algo de privado porque va dirigido a alquien en particular. Se escribe un blog pensando en un grupo de personas mas o menos numeroso pero concreto. Eso no quita para que haya blogs mas 'universales' con los que algun 'desconocido' pueda identificarse. Pero aun asi, todos los blogs tienen algo de personales, de diarios.

Mi blog versa sobre arquitectura moderna, que es algo que me interesa mucho. Esta es revisada a traves de tarjetas postales de arquitectura que son reales (las cuales yo poseo y colecciono). Las tarjetas estan dirigidas a personas concretas que conozco, conoci en el pasado o quise conocer. Algunas tarjetas son recientes, otras muy antiguas y las demas ni lo uno ni lo otro. Algunas estan escritas y enviadas, otras por escribir. Lo que yo hago aqui es escribirlas o a veces reescribirlas. En todo caso reinventarlas. Son pues Postales Inventadas."

(Rafael Cazorla)

Fig.1 7 March 2011: Hotel Savoy–Bandung– Indonesia

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1966address • architectural postcards • architectureblogcommunicationfiction • Hotel Savoy-Bandung • identityIndonesia • inexpressive • laconic • letter writing • making up postcards • messagemodernismmodernist architecturepersonapersonal informationpersonal lifepicture postcardsplayful • postales inventadas • postcardprivacy • private information • protecting privacy • real and fictional • real people • rewritten • self-monitoringstories • unknown person

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
07 SEPTEMBER 2010

Mediated environments: we must learn to write themselves into being

"In everyday interactions, the body serves as a critical site of identity performance. In conveying who we are to other people, we use our bodies to project information about ourselves.[32] This is done through movement, clothes, speech, and facial expressions. What we put forward is our best effort at what we want to say about who we are. Yet while we intend to convey one impression, our performance is not always interpreted as we might expect. Through learning to make sense of others' responses to our behavior, we can assess how well we have conveyed what we intended. We can then alter our performance accordingly. This process of performance, interpretation, and adjustment is what Erving Goffman calls impression management,[33] and is briefly discussed in the introduction to this volume. Impression management is a part of a larger process where people seek to define a situation[34] through their behavior. People seek to define social situations by using contextual cues from the environment around them. Social norms emerge out of situational definitions, as people learn to read cues from the environment and the people present to understand what is appropriate behavior.

Learning how to manage impressions is a critical social skill that is honed through experience. Over time, we learn how to make meaning out of a situation, others' reactions, and what we are projecting of ourselves. As children, we learn that actions on our part prompt reactions by adults; as we grow older, we learn to interpret these reactions and adjust our behavior. Diverse social environments help people develop these skills because they force individuals to reevaluate the signals they take for granted.

The process of learning to read social cues and react accordingly is core to being socialized into a society. While the process itself begins at home for young children, it is critical for young people to engage in broader social settings to develop these skills. Of course, how children are taught about situations and impression management varies greatly by culture,[35] but these processes are regularly seen as part of coming of age. While no one is ever a true master of impression management, the teenage years are ripe with opportunities to develop these skills.

In mediated environments, bodies are not immediately visible and the skills people need to interpret situations and manage impressions are different. As Jenny Sundén argues, people must learn to write themselves into being.[36] Doing so makes visible how much we take the body for granted. While text, images, audio, and video all provide valuable means for developing a virtual presence, the act of articulation differs from how we convey meaningful information through our bodies. This process also makes explicit the self–reflexivity that Giddens argues is necessary for identity formation, but the choices individuals make in crafting a digital body highlight the self–monitoring that Foucault describes.[37]

In some sense, people have more control online–they are able to carefully choose what information to put forward, thereby eliminating visceral reactions that might have seeped out in everyday communication. At the same time, these digital bodies are fundamentally coarser, making it far easier to misinterpret what someone is expressing. Furthermore, as Amy Bruckman shows, key information about a person's body is often present online, even when that person is trying to act deceptively; for example, people are relatively good at detecting when someone is a man even when they profess to be a woman online.[38] Yet because mediated environments reveal different signals, the mechanisms of deception differ.[39] "

(Danah Boyd 2008, p.128–129)

[32] Fred Davis, Fashion, Culture and Identity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992).

[33] Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh, 1956).

[34] Erving Goffman, Behavior in Public Places (New York: The Free Press, 1963).

[35] Jean Briggs, Inuit Morality Play: The Emotional Education of a Three–Year–Old (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999).

[36] Jenny Sundén, Material Virtualities (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2003).

[37] See David Buckingham's introduction to this volume for a greater discussion of this.

[38] Joshua Berman and Amy Bruckman, The Turing Game: Exploring Identity in an Online Environment, Convergence 7, no. 3 (2001): 83–102.

[39] Judith Donath, Identity and Deception in the Virtual Community, Communities in Cyberspace, eds. Marc Smith and Peter Kollock (London: Routledge, 1999).

1). Boyd, D. (2008). Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life. Youth, Identity, and Digital Media. D. Buckingham. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press: 119–142.

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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