223 results for “Society of Simulations”

How technology keeps us connected, now more than ever

Britta de Vries
March 17th 2020

At this moment in time, many people are staying at home in order to flatten the curve. It is times like these that we realize how vital technology is to us and our societies. It provides us with the possibility to work remotely, to be able to keep up with the news and its latest developments, and it provides us with the ability to (video) call with our family and friends, and more importantly, it keeps us connected to each …

Netflix: Symbol of quarantine

Claire Ouwejan
March 17th 2020

Since the 16th of March 2020, the government of the Netherlands applied new measures to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Schools, cafes, restaurants and sport clubs will remain closed untill 6 April 2020 and people are advised to work from home, if possible. This “quarantine” will be held in place for at least three weeks.

Thence, I am homebound as well. Resulting in, time lost to traveling to and from work, spent on coffee and lunch breaks …

How emojis represent the past, present and future within Next Nature

Britta de Vries
March 5th 2020

It's that time of year again; the Unicode Emoji 13.0 has announced that 117 new emojis are to be implemented in the second half of 2020. It got us curious of what these new emojis may say about a lived experience in our technological environment — our next nature.

The past: Tools

Throughout the years technology has come far and has helped us design our tools and next natural habitats, such as a hut to live. Stone tools became primitive …

How public camera recordings domesticate us

Janina Steinmetz
March 2nd 2020

Facial recognition is increasingly being used in many countries around the world. In some cases the take up has been dramatic. As a result, people are being observed by cameras more than ever, whether in stores, on public transit, or at their workplaces.

Using this technology may seem justified when it helps law enforcement track down criminals and make the lives of ordinary citizens safer. But how does the constant observation affect the citizens it is supposed to protect from …

This artist carried 99 smartphones and caused a virtual traffic jam

Claire Ouwejan
March 2nd 2020

“Google choose the fastest route to home.” Today, drivers are better informed about routes and traffic than ever before. Using 'mapping apps', drivers can see traffic before their drive in realtime.

But what happens when these virtual streets are shaded in dark red, warning drivers of a traffic nightmare? Here's how an artist wheeled around 99 smartphones in a cart to create a virtual traffic jam.

How mapping apps work

Due the usage of the mapping apps mentioned above, drivers …

Next Generation: Sheng-Wen Lo hears ultrasound waves like pets do

NextNature.net
February 20th 2020

This story is part of Next Generation, a series in which we give young makers a platform to showcase their work. Would you like to see your work here? Get in touch and plot your coordinates as we navigate our future together.

Consider this, human-caused noise has consequences for (metropolitan) animals, entire ecosystems and even people. It reduces the ability to hear natural sounds, which can mean the difference between life and death for many animals, and degrade the calming effect that we …

This expo explores love in the internet age

NextNature.net
January 15th 2020

Data Dating is an exhibition that explores what it means to find romance in the internet age. Love it or hate it, technology has transformed the way we date. So, how are digital interfaces reshaping our personal relationships, and what happens when passion runs free in both offline and online spaces?

Bringing together the works of several international artists, Data Dating reveals new forms of intimate communication, contemplates the commodification of love through dating apps, and investigates the renegotiation of …

Have you thought about your social media death?

Freya Hutchings
January 13th 2020

Recently, Twitter announced it would be clearing all inactive accounts in an effort to free up dormant usernames and prevent the risk of old accounts being hacked. The new policy was set to wipe out all members inactive for six months or more. This news alarmed many users, who had been treating the accounts of deceased members as spaces of memorialization, as online tombstones where friends and relatives could grieve together.

It seems, when data meets human emotion, the worlds …

How Pokemon are affected by climate change

Ruben Baart
November 20th 2019

You know climate change is real when dead coral Pokemon start to wash up on (virtual) beaches. Behold, Cursola, world’s first dead coral Pokemon.

On the origins of Cursola

While Pokemon has become a cultural phenomenon since its release in 1996, the media franchise maintains its relevance today.

Let's take a brief look at Cursola’s backstory—it more or less aligns with what climate change is doing to coral on Earth.

"Found in the warm shallow waters of southern seas, Corsola …

Instagram will remove filters promoting cosmetic surgery amid mental health concerns

Cara Curtis
October 29th 2019

If your Instagram feed is anything like mine, it’s littered with timelapses of injected lip fillers, Kardashian-promoted beauty products, and Story filters that “enhance” your face. The subliminal pressure to be “perfect” is no longer subliminal, and it’s putting more more of a strain on young users more than ever. 

This is why Instagram is planning to remove all AR filters that depict or are associated with cosmetic surgery. Over the past few months, filters like “Plastica” — an effect …

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At this moment in time, many people are staying at home in order to flatten the curve. It is times like these that we realize how vital technology is to us and our societies. It provides us with the possibility to work remotely, to be able to keep up with the news and its latest developments, and it provides us with the ability to (video) call with our family and friends, and more importantly, it keeps us connected to each other. Despite the fact that people are physically distancing themselves, it is in many cases still possible to attend social activities — from celebrating birthday parties to a virtual bar mitzvah — all thanks to technology.

Being alone, together

Television is finding a way to change its content in order to still be able to produce. New television formats are rapidly being created and are causing the rise of cloud-based reality shows, where reality stars need a phone or a computer with a good network to be a part of a show. The viewer and and other contestants are simply calling in from their homes.

On a similar note, televised talk shows have come to resemble video conferences, with guests keeping the shows running by filming within their homes.

Now more than ever, we realize the importance of technology such as the internet because it affords us to stay connected. On a more social level, people are using #coronahelp on Twitter to get in touch with others in need of help, and offer help on an abundance of topics such as doing their groceries, dog sitting and babysitting. This shows how Twitter allows us to stay in touch with others and brings us in contact with people we have otherwise not been in contact with.

Moreover, an abundance of social activities now take place online. Students are still able to follow lectures, but instead of physically this now takes place virtually. For the younger (Dutch) students among us, television channels are changing their schedules and content in order to still provide educational material. For the people working at home, different technologies offer the possibility to still have lunch together with your colleagues.

Going out, inside

While it is no longer possible to go to the cinema, the implementation of a Watch Party in Facebook allows users to watch the same content together and to be able to talk about it. Facebook has partnered with global health organizations to share accurate information on disease prevention and connecting users with tools to help manage their communities.

Since the audience of concerts are no longer welcome due to the coronavirus, bands and artists like Coldplay and John Legend provide live 'concerts' via Instagram Live, YouTube and Facebook Live, so that people can still enjoy the performance.

Nightclubs closed? Not a problem. “Cloud Raves” are streamed on the internet, which millions of people watch. People are able to watch DJs perform on TikTok and can comment on them in real time, giving the illusion that everyone is partying together. Some people even say that partying in the cloud is better than in real life.

Online events like this have been around for a while, but its popularity is on the rise as many people in China are forced to sit at home due to the viral epidemic. During the cloud concerts, viewers will see edited images of previous performances by bands. In all technicality, it is not live, but the appeal is that you are all watching at the same time and you can share comments in real time.

Daily rituals, digitally

While our physical lives may have come to a stand-still, a lot of our daily rituals now take place in the virtual domain. With no more school to go to, closed gyms and not being able to go on holidays anymore, it is important to keep doing our daily rituals.

Think for instance about a work-out at home instead of going to the gym. There are a lot of options for the gym fanatics who would still like to keep in shape during this pandemic: such as online workout challenges or joining workouts from the rooftop, and perhaps even to join the Corona Fit body bootcamp.

After all, at this moment we can benefit from developing digital daily rituals which still have the ability to support meaningful human connections, which are becoming more and more important, now more than ever.

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Since the 16th of March 2020, the government of the Netherlands applied new measures to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Schools, cafes, restaurants and sport clubs will remain closed untill 6 April 2020 and people are advised to work from home, if possible. This “quarantine” will be held in place for at least three weeks.

Thence, I am homebound as well. Resulting in, time lost to traveling to and from work, spent on coffee and lunch breaks with colleagues and sports are now changed into “spare time”. Time which should be filled with leisure and entertainment.

Finding comfort in screens

Since we are bound to our own homes, and considering the fact not many homes include swimming pools, fitnessrooms and/or tennis courts, many people find their comfort in screens; enjoying the endless scrolling on Instagram and Netflix marathons from the sterile safety of their couch.

Where Netflix and chill used to be a euphemism for sexual activity, either as part of a romantic partnership or as casual sex, it is now starting to gain a different meaning. As people are staying in, while endlessly streaming on Netflix, Netflix is gradually becoming a symbol of quarantine. A proof of abiding the government rules.

Knock knock, are you still watching?

This higher demand in streaming services has Netflix asking their users the following question: “Are you still watching?”

The question pops up after every three episodes — as any avid Netflix user would know. This way, Netflix ensures that the user will not consume unnecessary internet data; as streaming services cost a lot of energy.

In this peculiar period of quarantine, it seems natural to us to turn into a binge-heavy-couch-potato. Therefore this question seems superfluous. And as a result, naturally, people turn to social media. Here, screenshots of this question are being shared, commented and ridiculed with others in their networks.

A sign of life

As more and more people abide by the advise of staying at their homes for the coming few weeks, this screenshot confirms that the person who posted it complies to this advice. Think of it as sharing a photo of your ballot paper as a proof you have voted (in which the ballot paper is a symbol of democracy).

Therewith the screenshots can be seen as a symbol of survival. Similarly to the confirmation to Netflix’s question “Are you still watching?”, this question is to verify whether the user is still watching. The confirmation to this question then, can be seen as a proof of life.

Because if you can confirm that you are still watching, you instantly confirm you are not dead.

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It's that time of year again; the Unicode Emoji 13.0 has announced that 117 new emojis are to be implemented in the second half of 2020. It got us curious of what these new emojis may say about a lived experience in our technological environment — our next nature.

The past: Tools

Throughout the years technology has come far and has helped us design our tools and next natural habitats, such as a hut to live. Stone tools became primitive extentions of our bodies and the basis of man's development.

The usage of such emojis in daily messaging brings with it the question: when would someone use this emoji? Perhaps, you could use the hut when communicating that you are going on a digital detox; this emoji demonstrates how modern technologies return us to the tribe.

The present: Animals

A second subgroup that is observable are the emojis of animals. Some of these animals are extinct and are brought back to life via virtual technology - in the shape of emojis. These emojis allow us to remember the existence of these animals and to conserve the past.

However, these emojis also allow us to reflect upon the present. For instance, with new technological developments surrounding the Frozen Zoo and the ability of cell manipulation these now extinct animals may be brought back to life in the future. However, not only extinct animals can be brought back to life with this technology but also animals that are endangered by climate change, such as the polar bear, can in the future be resurrected.

When someone mentions they are still using Facebook the mammoth can be used to communicate their prehistoric choice of social medium. After all, TikTok is the hot stuff now, right?

The future: Gender-inclusivity

Noticeable within the emojis of Unicode 13.0 are the non-gender representations. This correlates closely to the new options technology provides us such as an artificial womb for the creation of a family. One of the projects here at Next Nature, Reprodutopia, brings to question exactly these kinds of new options afforded by technology.

Therefore, we here at Next Nature therefore hope to see people use this emoji in correlation with non-gender reproduction. Welcome to Reprodutopia!

Embracing the unknown

Finally, a fun take-away from analysing these emojis was the emoji called ‘people hugging’ which showed two blobs instead of people. Perhaps what the Unicode is trying to communicate with this is that they not only embrace people but also other species, such as robots. Perhaps this will encourage the robots to be embraced by our communicative tools as well in the near future. We can't wait for it...

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Facial recognition is increasingly being used in many countries around the world. In some cases the take up has been dramatic. As a result, people are being observed by cameras more than ever, whether in stores, on public transit, or at their workplaces.

Using this technology may seem justified when it helps law enforcement track down criminals and make the lives of ordinary citizens safer. But how does the constant observation affect the citizens it is supposed to protect from criminals?

It’s easy to imagine that pervasive camera observation will change people’s behaviour. Often, such changes are for the better. For example, research has shown that when observed, people donate more to charity and wash their hands more frequently to prevent transmitting diseases. Given that these positive outcomes are in everyone’s best interest, it seems that people’s increased observation is positive for society as a whole – as long as privacy regulations are strictly followed.

A magnifying effect

My research, however, points to a consequence of being observed that has so far been neglected in the public debate around increased observation. My co-authors and I found in several experiments that being observed changes not only what people do, but also how they think. Specifically, we found that when people know that they are observed, they see themselves through the eyes of the observer (or through the lens of a camera).

By adopting the perspective of the observer in addition to their own perspective, people perceive themselves as if under a magnifying glass. As a result, people’s observed actions feel magnified. For example, we asked some volunteers to eat a portion of chips in front of a camera, whereas others ate the same food unobserved. The observed volunteers afterwards thought they had eaten larger portions because their behaviour felt to them as if under a magnifying glass.

Such a finding might seem like harmless collateral of increased observation, given its other benefits. However, we also found more troubling thought patterns when people were observed. We asked volunteers to take a test, in which they inevitably gave some wrong answers. Those volunteers who were observed during the test thought they had given more wrong answers than unobserved volunteers, although in reality there was no difference between the groups of volunteers.

So for the observed volunteers, their errors loomed larger in their minds. The same happened when we surveyed badminton players after team tournaments. Those players whose teams lost, thought they were personally responsible for the loss to a larger extent when more spectators had observed them play. Again, any errors in their play loomed larger when a player had felt observed when playing for their unsuccessful team. In other words, being observed changed how people thought about their behaviour.

We do not know yet what this magnifying glass effect means for people’s thoughts and feelings in the long run. Feeling that one’s errors and failures loom large might hurt one’s confidence and self-esteem. Similarly, small digressions might seem more serious under constant observation. Someone who enjoys leaving the house in their pyjamas to wolf down some junk food might think back with shame and disgust when observed during such forgivable behaviour.

As camera observation becomes more and more prevalent, citizens who are concerned with privacy are assured that most camera recordings are never watched, or are erased after a short while. Yet, we are only beginning to understand some of the psychological consequences of increased observation. These effects on people’s thought and feelings might linger, even long after the camera tape has been erased.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Google choose the fastest route to home.” Today, drivers are better informed about routes and traffic than ever before. Using 'mapping apps', drivers can see traffic before their drive in realtime.

But what happens when these virtual streets are shaded in dark red, warning drivers of a traffic nightmare? Here's how an artist wheeled around 99 smartphones in a cart to create a virtual traffic jam.

How mapping apps work

Due the usage of the mapping apps mentioned above, drivers can select different routing styles, for example the fastest, the shortest and the ecological option. In today's society the fastest routing style is preferred the most and in some mapping apps even set as default option.

These apps detect traffic jams and calculate routing options to your destination. Google Maps is able to do this because the app uses your real-time location data, which it anonymously sends back to Google. The company uses this information to calculate how many cars are on the road and how fast these cars are moving. When it detects a traffic jam, the app will suggest an alternative route.

Due the alternative routes, residents of small neighborhoods complained about increased traffic. Cars end up jamming roads in residential areas and school zones. Endangering children who used to play in these calm streets. As result, these apps even seem to influence housing markets.

So, if mapping apps have such power to change the visually aspect of our surroundings, like  housing, can’t we take the power back?

How an artists caused a virtual traffic jam

Artist Simon Weckert showed the power of the usage of Google Maps with his performance and installation Google Maps Hacks. Walking with a handcart filled with 99 smartphones through a city.

Questioning the power of mapping apps and the power we as humans have over them. Walking on empty roads Weckert and his 99 smartphones, all running the mapping app Google Maps, generated a ‘virtual traffic jam’.

Resulting in green streets turning red in the mapping app (Madrigal, 2018).Just like people use running apps to draw figures on virtual maps, and like Israeli airline El Al drew the outline of a boeing 474 to pay tribute to its last flight (Martin, 2019), Weckert shows how we can use the power of the mapping apps itself to change the visual aspect of the app itself.

It shows how our world and the virtual world are intertwining with each other, or, how simulations become more meaningful than the reality they represent.

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This story is part of Next Generation, a series in which we give young makers a platform to showcase their work. Would you like to see your work here? Get in touch and plot your coordinates as we navigate our future together.

Consider this, human-caused noise has consequences for (metropolitan) animals, entire ecosystems and even people. It reduces the ability to hear natural sounds, which can mean the difference between life and death for many animals, and degrade the calming effect that we feel when we spend time in 'wild' places.

Then what about animals? How do metropolitan animals (think cats and dogs) deal with the natural sounds of urban areas?

Artist Sheng-Wen Lo’s (Taiwan, 1987) latest project Extendable Ears shows how, for a month, Lo continuously exposed himself to ultrasound waves in order to investigate the subjectivity of sound experience. He did so by augmenting his ears with a portable device that allowed him to hear ultrasonic waves as most pets hear. We caught up with the artist to hear more about his findings.

Where does this fascination —being able to hear like animals do— come from?

Most of my projects are about the relationships between human and non-human animals; the projects often originate from daily experiences. When I lived with other people, I found noise to be quite subjective; what's noise to me can sound like music to others. This led me to think that ‘noise’ could also be species-dependent, since hearing ranges differ by species.

Yet in reality, we often deal with ‘noise’ human centrically – for example, how on product info, manufacturers label the audible (to human) noise decibels, and police measure the audible noise when someone files a noise complaint. However, the sound frequency at which a human can hear is rather limited, but that does not prevent us from producing these sounds.

This led me to wonder, am I producing these sounds unknowingly, which may disturb other species, or am I living in ultra/infra sound-rich societies?

Sample from an ultrasound recording

Did this experience bring you closer to nature? Was this even a goal?

I experimented with my device in my familiar surroundings in The Netherlands and Taiwan, which brought me to both urban and natural places. Though the project may not always brought me closer to nature, it was, to me, a first attempt to step into another species' shoe.

Of course, it is impossible for a human to successfully ‘feel’ the experience of another species, but trying to do so nonetheless allowed me to process my surroundings in a fresh view. Since I often didn’t care about what I couldn’t see or hear, the project was more about discovering what would happen once I confronted this negligence.

Did you consult with veterinarians and other animal experts leading up/during the experience?

Yes, I have many conversations with my vet friend during my projects, to gain insights and perhaps experiences from her perspective. In this case, however, the potentially negative effects of ultrasound noise on animals were surprisingly not well studied in science. Only a handful of papers directly related to this topic, and most of them were published decades ago.

At the night market in Taiwan

What was the sound that occurred the most, which was at first disturbing but you got used to in the long run?

Common activities such as turning on a tap may produce a significant amount of ultrasound. So during the experiment I developed a habit of turning my head away from taps whenever I use them. I don’t think I have gotten used to annoying sounds, it had just changed my behavior for the experiment period . I also noticed that I became more sensitive to (audible) noise after the experiment.

Which form of daily technology in your surroundings provided the most disturbing ultrasound waves? How to limit these sounds?

Vacuum cleaners, hair dryers and some fluorescent lights emit quite a bit of ultrasound noise, so do many things on the streets, such as sweeper trucks. In addition, nearly every power tool in a dental clinic produces a significant amount of sound.

I think a possible way to limit these sounds starts from manufacturing — measuring the noise in a broader spectrum while manufacturing, and at least placing warning signs on products in case they would emit a significant amount of inaudible noise, given that they are likely to be used in other animal’s proximity.

At the dental clinic

The Extendable Ears project focuses on the sense of hearing; did this experience impacted other senses as well?

I don’t think having this extra range of hearing have affected my other senses such as sight or smell. But it has been stressful. This has led to not only having a bad mood, but possibly also experiencing physical sickness. It's possible that noise-induced stress has weakened my immune system, since I was infected in respiratory system during my time in Taiwan (which does not happen to me often).

Tell us about the dream diaries you kept during the experiment. What was the most confusing/strange/crazy dream you have had?

I cannot prove that the dreams were directly connected to me wearing this device, but perhaps a way to peek into my mental state. When I began to test the device, I found myself waking up in the middle of the night, laughing out really loud, or dreaming in 3D or 2D animations. These dreams had not occured to me in the past.

Sleep-time Recording

Can we experience the extendable ears device ourselves during the exhibition?

The device will not be available for the audience to wear during the exhibition, since the project is not about the device, nor the transformed sound. Hearing the transformed sound is not what an animal would experience, and could therefore be misleading.

The project is, after all, more about confronting negligence. By turning myself into a lab rat, it attempts to emphasize on the fundamental differences between human and non-human animals, and think about the consequences of neglecting such differences.

What? 360º photo and video documentation of a month-long experiment of hearing ultrasound waves like animals do.
When? Now, until 5 April 2020
Where? FOAM, Amsterdam

All images © Sheng-Wen Lo

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Data Dating is an exhibition that explores what it means to find romance in the internet age. Love it or hate it, technology has transformed the way we date. So, how are digital interfaces reshaping our personal relationships, and what happens when passion runs free in both offline and online spaces?

Bringing together the works of several international artists, Data Dating reveals new forms of intimate communication, contemplates the commodification of love through dating apps, and investigates the renegotiation of sexual identities and changing erotic taboos - all in relation to new dating technologies and the complexities that surround them.

So, get yourself out there and find out what the future of romance may hold!

What? An exploration into what happens when dating meets data
Where?  Watermans Arts Centre, London 
When? January 15 - March 1, 2020

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Recently, Twitter announced it would be clearing all inactive accounts in an effort to free up dormant usernames and prevent the risk of old accounts being hacked. The new policy was set to wipe out all members inactive for six months or more. This news alarmed many users, who had been treating the accounts of deceased members as spaces of memorialization, as online tombstones where friends and relatives could grieve together.

It seems, when data meets human emotion, the worlds of the living and dead collide and even change places. Given the complexity of such situations, general rules cannot be applied. Just as it is unacceptable to bulldoze a graveyard without warning, Twitter needed to rethink its policy. The social media platform soon backtracked on its decision and stated that [Twitter] "will not be removing any inactive accounts until we create a new way for people to memorize accounts.”

Thankful twitter users expressed their relief:

“I’m literally sobbing...thank you so much, thank you”

“there are accounts where the person is now deceased and ppl like to look at them from time to time.”

“Thank you! my brother passed away. We wanted to have access to tweets to use for a memorial book.”

“Yes, we have a duty to preserve internet history and create lasting memories online”

Twitter responds to complaints about deleting the accounts of deceased users.

What happens to your social media after you die?

As the Twitter controversy has revealed, many people return to the pages of lost loved ones to post supportive messages and relive memories recorded online. Social media accounts give grieving friends and family a chronological source from which to reflect. Indeed, Facebook timelines can form an intricate record of a dead users life moments, the people they knew, the times they shared. Their profiles exist as a preserved space in which a person appears to live on.

However, like a person in real life that is unaware of a death, social media is not resistant to awkward, jarring moments of insensitivity. If left untouched, the accounts of deceased people continue to interact with their virtual circle through automated social media functions. This means reminders of birthdays, memories, pending pokes, and that the dead will continue to eerily pop up on your ‘suggested friends’ list. You may receive a shock when providers such as WhatsApp automatically suggest you message a friend who has passed away.

To avoid these triggering moments, Facebook now allows family and friends to convert the accounts of dead people into memorial pages. This process transforms a regular profile into a locked and simplified version, with the word ‘remembering’ placed before the name of the account.

Alternatively, you can chose to appoint a legacy contact, who can access and manage your profile after you die. Twitter and Instagram allow a friend or relative to have a profile deleted after showing an official document that proves the death of the account holder.

Film critic Richard Ebert sends tweets from beyond the grave, with the help of his living partner, Chaz.

Yet, you don’t have to die digitally. You might entrust someone to communicate on your behalf by sharing your login details before you pass. Take for example, Chaz, the wife of successful film critic Roger Ebert, who managed his digital afterlife on Twitter. An agreement made prior to his death meant that she continued to post from his account. Shortly after his passing, Chaz published a pre-prepared tweet from Ebert: ‘Even when the theater has gone dark, the story is still alive in you.’

These profound 'last words' were a comfort for friends, family and followers; a testament of his approach to life delivered from beyond the grave.

The birth of online executors

There are also a plethora of online services that claim to make the transition from offline to online death a smooth one. The website ‘If I die’ lets you record a goodbye video that appointed trustees can publish on Facebook. Failed start up ‘virtual eternity’ created ‘intelligent’ avatars that could live on after you die. Teesside University lecturer Simon McKeown also predicts computers will keep us alive in avatar form.

Simon McKeown predicts a future where where life after death is made possible using online avatars.

An app called ‘DeadSocial’ allows you to schedule messages to post on Facebook and Twitter in the aftermath of your physical death. Additionally, services such as ‘LivesOn’ and 'Eter9' claim to have developed AI technology capable of identifying and remembering your chat preferences, enabling you to communicate with friends in your online afterlife.

These services may sound like morbid jokes, but they exist alongside legal provisions that have been recommended on a governmental level. In the US, Florida's Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act has made it legally possible to transfer digital possessions of the dead to the living. In Dubai, as of July 2019, a court ruling clarified that wishes for social media accounts can only be acted upon if permission is granted in a legally binding will. 

So, have you thought about your online death? Maybe you should. Your social media persona will continue to live on after you die, and may remain one of the most detailed records of your life. In what virtual form would you like to exist after you have gone, if any?

Are social media becoming the new graveyard?

Incidences such as the Twitter account clearing backlash, and special policies dedicated to dealing with death online, form an important example of how social media binds the dead and the living, how online platforms are adapting their actions to address offline tragedies. Has there been a transformation in the way we grieve and the places in which we do it?

Image via VOA/Techtonics/M. Sandeen

Certainly, social media is becoming a key part of the process. Although we may avoid thinking about it, dead Facebook users will soon outnumber the living, thanks to our rising, aging and increasingly social-media savvy population. Communities of mourning will continue to gather around these virtual spaces, interacting with the “living” profiles of the dead. Social media sites are morphing into sacred tombs where the records of an offline existence are kept alive.

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You know climate change is real when dead coral Pokemon start to wash up on (virtual) beaches. Behold, Cursola, world’s first dead coral Pokemon.

On the origins of Cursola

While Pokemon has become a cultural phenomenon since its release in 1996, the media franchise maintains its relevance today.

Let's take a brief look at Cursola’s backstory—it more or less aligns with what climate change is doing to coral on Earth.

"Found in the warm shallow waters of southern seas, Corsola requires clean water to live. If its habitat is dirty, the growths on its back become discolored and degenerate. However, when it is healthy, its growths regularly shed and grow back."

According to the Pokedex, Cursola came about after “sudden climate change wiped out this ancient kind of Corsola”.

The original version of the Pokemon Corsola

Corsola *was* originally a pink-and-blue coral-like creature that was first included in the ‘Gold' and ‘Silver’ versions of the popular video game from 1999.

Just last week the Pokemon Company introduced Pokemon ‘Sword’ and ‘Shield’, and just two days after its official release an avid player uploaded a battling guide video indicating “DON’T Evolve Galarian Corsola In Pokemon Sword and Shield!”

It appeared that Corsola had turned into a ghost.

The new version of the Pokemon Corsola and its final form: Cursola

New media, new habits

In the latest stage of Pokemon evolution, Corsola took on a new skin. Once a water/rock dual type (properties for Pokemon and their moves), Corsola is now a ghost type Pokemon, reminding us of the massive bleaching event that threatens the world’s coral reefs.

Apparently, Pokemon nowadays is the perfect medium to introduce kids to the environmental crisis. As Pokemon Go already had thaught us how virtual computer worlds are becoming increasingly ‘real’ and blended with our physical world; Pokemon Sword and Shield will teach us about rising ocean temperatures and the importance of living with coral and algae in a lively symbiotic bond.

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If your Instagram feed is anything like mine, it’s littered with timelapses of injected lip fillers, Kardashian-promoted beauty products, and Story filters that “enhance” your face. The subliminal pressure to be “perfect” is no longer subliminal, and it’s putting more more of a strain on young users more than ever

This is why Instagram is planning to remove all AR filters that depict or are associated with cosmetic surgery. Over the past few months, filters like “Plastica” — an effect that gives you extreme plastic surgery — have become increasingly popular, even viral. But with their rapid popularity comes growing concerns over the impact they may have on young people’s body image.

Instagram-filter-cosmetic-surgery

Back in August, Facebook announced its (previously invite-only) tool to create face filters — Spark AR Creators – was open to the public, allowing anyone to create and publish effects for use in Instagram Stories. With this came a flood of more problematic filters, such as “Fix Me” an effect which illustrates the pen-markings of pre-surgery, including a nose job, eyebrow lift, and cheek fillers.

Although Spark AR didn’t design the filter, it did approve the filter to be used by its one billion users on Instagram Stories. A post published by Spark AR Creators stated that it wants its filters “to be a positive experience and are re-evaluating its existing policies as they relate to well-being.” While its policies are being reviewed and updated, Facebook is removing existing filters like “Fix Me,” and postponing the approval of any similar new effects.

This news comes shortly after Facebook and Instagram announced they will tighten their policy on posts related to cosmetic surgery and weight loss products by hiding related posts from users known to be aged under 18. This update includes the removal of any content that makes a “miraculous” claim about a diet or weight-loss product linked to a commercial offer, such as a discount code or affiliate link.

It’s reassuring to see Instagram and Facebook take responsibility for what they’ve been hosting, but it remains to be seen how proactively they will respond to issues of mental and physical health in the future.

This article is republished from The Next Web under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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At this moment in time, many people are staying at home in order to flatten the curve. It is times like these that we realize how vital technology is to us and our societies. It provides us with the possibility to work remotely, to be able to keep up with the news and its latest developments, and it provides us with the ability to (video) call with our family and friends, and more importantly, it keeps us connected to each other. Despite the fact that people are physically distancing themselves, it is in many cases still possible to attend social activities — from celebrating birthday parties to a virtual bar mitzvah — all thanks to technology.

Being alone, together

Television is finding a way to change its content in order to still be able to produce. New television formats are rapidly being created and are causing the rise of cloud-based reality shows, where reality stars need a phone or a computer with a good network to be a part of a show. The viewer and and other contestants are simply calling in from their homes.

On a similar note, televised talk shows have come to resemble video conferences, with guests keeping the shows running by filming within their homes.

Now more than ever, we realize the importance of technology such as the internet because it affords us to stay connected. On a more social level, people are using #coronahelp on Twitter to get in touch with others in need of help, and offer help on an abundance of topics such as doing their groceries, dog sitting and babysitting. This shows how Twitter allows us to stay in touch with others and brings us in contact with people we have otherwise not been in contact with.

Moreover, an abundance of social activities now take place online. Students are still able to follow lectures, but instead of physically this now takes place virtually. For the younger (Dutch) students among us, television channels are changing their schedules and content in order to still provide educational material. For the people working at home, different technologies offer the possibility to still have lunch together with your colleagues.

Going out, inside

While it is no longer possible to go to the cinema, the implementation of a Watch Party in Facebook allows users to watch the same content together and to be able to talk about it. Facebook has partnered with global health organizations to share accurate information on disease prevention and connecting users with tools to help manage their communities.

Since the audience of concerts are no longer welcome due to the coronavirus, bands and artists like Coldplay and John Legend provide live 'concerts' via Instagram Live, YouTube and Facebook Live, so that people can still enjoy the performance.

Nightclubs closed? Not a problem. “Cloud Raves” are streamed on the internet, which millions of people watch. People are able to watch DJs perform on TikTok and can comment on them in real time, giving the illusion that everyone is partying together. Some people even say that partying in the cloud is better than in real life.

Online events like this have been around for a while, but its popularity is on the rise as many people in China are forced to sit at home due to the viral epidemic. During the cloud concerts, viewers will see edited images of previous performances by bands. In all technicality, it is not live, but the appeal is that you are all watching at the same time and you can share comments in real time.

Daily rituals, digitally

While our physical lives may have come to a stand-still, a lot of our daily rituals now take place in the virtual domain. With no more school to go to, closed gyms and not being able to go on holidays anymore, it is important to keep doing our daily rituals.

Think for instance about a work-out at home instead of going to the gym. There are a lot of options for the gym fanatics who would still like to keep in shape during this pandemic: such as online workout challenges or joining workouts from the rooftop, and perhaps even to join the Corona Fit body bootcamp.

After all, at this moment we can benefit from developing digital daily rituals which still have the ability to support meaningful human connections, which are becoming more and more important, now more than ever.

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