Proud to have been a part of this amazing event!
I recently interviewed Marko Milosavljevic on Media Capture.
Do we know who owns the media we consume and use? What are the algorithms guiding our consumption? Who can curb hate speech? The phenomenon of “media capture” takes place when both governments and commercial interests align against public interest media and transparency in governance of media organizations and platforms.
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The Media Are Profit-Driven Pollsters
The Media Are Bullies
The Media Are Liars
The Media Create Filter Bubbles
A team of students from COM 3102 and 3103 (International Communication) have taken on a challenge by Global Challenges Action Network (GloCha). They are to think about, and visualize, communication and marketing strategies for GloCha’s globally broadcasted TV edutainment and fundraising show on youth and global challenges, happening in the UN climate change meeting at COP22 in Marrakesh, Nov 2016.
Some basic premises
The United Nations and the European Union organized a meeting in April 2016 to discuss how to communicate big global issues, such as the new Sustainable Development Goals, to the general public. Here are some take-aways:
In the meeting, that gathered together UN representatives, advertisement and marketing professionals, non-profits, and other experts, several issues emerged:
- Information is not communication. Just stating the facts doesn’t mean you truly reach your audiences.
- Action is emotional. We need to feel connection and ownership to the issue to participate.
- Language matters. The UN, for instance, uses plenty of jargon. So, for instance, translate this:
- Climate change means something different for different stakeholders — be it economic consequences, political challenges, concrete living environment… Address them.
- Communication campaigns need to partnerships with local actors (corporations, civic groups, and/or the media).
- Use influencers — opinion leaders for the ripple effect.
- Youth need to be equal partners in global action and awareness NOW (no old cliches about “decision-makers of the future”.
- Communication campaigns should utilize “human centered design” (a concept that COM 3103 has examined…)
Some resources (by COM 3102&3103)
- An Inconvenient Truth: http://www.takepart.com/an-inconvenient-truth/film The most successful piece of awareness around climate change. Al Gore’s film pushed the topic of climate change to the forefront behind real scientific data that shows the effects of the human footprint on the environment. This documentary and the case it presents are still in the heart of the conversation surrounding climate change.
- Global Citizens Festival: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/festival/2015/ The global citizens festival is a huge concert in Central Park focused on the SDG’s and youth engagement. The festival does this through a highly attractive event that includes speakers on issues and facts to show to the audience. They increase awareness through their ticket lottery system, everyone can increase their chances by sharing facts to their social media on the different issues the event highlights.
- Do Something: https://www.dosomething.org/us DoSomething.org is an organization that is based in spreading awareness about issues by providing opportunities for individuals to be involved with direct service. The organization makes it very easy to go from talk and thought to action and engagement. Whether an individual has a day to serve or just an hour to browse the site the organization provides an immersive experience into issues that lead to an opportunity for already set up service, making it easier for individuals to take action.
- Here is a campaign for (RED), which is an organization focused on reducing HIV/AIDS and creating an HIV/AIDS free future. The campaign features a plethora of A-list celebrities which I believe is a great marketing technique to draw awareness and buzz.
- Here is a video that is a part of a series called “Years of Living Dangerously: Why I Care.” The series speaks with celebrities who care about climate change and they speak with individuals in affected areas.
- Doctors Without Borders: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EuB6tY8yUc
This is probably one of the most heart-breaking yet effective campaigns I’ve ever seen. For this campaign, Doctors Without Borders wanted to raise awareness of the number of deaths due to lack of nutrition. The video goes into it deeper because I don’t want to give too much away. It’s a great idea though, putting the problem right in front of people so it can’t be ignored.
- Humans of New York: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/01/nyregion/a-boy-praises-the-principal-of-his-brooklyn-school-and-a-fund-raising-campaign-takes-off.html
The success of this campaign has to give credit to the large following that HONY has but it also goes to people’s belief in this one child’s story about education, and more importantly, his principal. When I first saw this photo, I thought it was another great story, pressed like, and moved on. In a few weeks however, a large campaign had grown towards bettering the school due to the lack of funding for NYC public schools in general. People from all over the world started donating and let’s just say, they were able to surpass their original goal.
Facts – Resources:
- Here is the link to NASA’s website dedicated to global climate change. This is a great, all-encompassing resource that features evidence, causes, effects, scientific consensus, and much more.
- Here is a link to a report from the UN on Youth and Climate Change. These are some of the efforts the UN has already made to include young adults in the conversation on climate change, and how successful those have been in the past.
- Here is a pamphlet from the UN, sponsored by the EU and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, regarding youth efforts around the world regarding climate change.
- The History of Climate Change Negotiations:
I think is a cute video and it’s visually understandable for anyone who doesn’t know much about climate change. These types of videos, in my experience at least, helps to get people interested in a topic. I wouldn’t use it for a room full of scientists but for college and high school students who are hearing about climate change for the first time, I’d highly recommend this.
- Here is a document from World Report: Youth on youth and climate change. This rather long document covers everything from current issues in climate change and how it affects youth, to current efforts from youth populations in the world to reduce climate change, and their effectiveness.
- https://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/basics/facts.html – A great resource to access more info about climate change, as well as commonly asked questions.
- http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/aboutcc/- WWF has put together a number of fantastic campaigns regarding climate change. Be sure to check out their video!
- http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2013/nov/15/top-10-climate-change-campaigns- The Guardian put togther a list of 10 very effective and strong campgains regarding climate change. This is a great resource for brainstorming!
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GloCha is a part of a larger, UN accredited civil society organization called IAAI, headquartered in Klagenfurt/Austria (International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges). Together with several UN and other partners, GloCha is planning a globally broadcasted TV edutainment and fundraising show on youth and global challenges in the context of COP22 in Marrakesh, Nov 2016.
Before that, they present their ideas and other input to the forthcoming United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Article 6 dialogue in Bonn in May 2016.
GloCha wants advise from young communication experts, you. They need suggestions, insights, ideas — big and small — for a comprehensive communications strategy for the edutainment/fundraising show, including, but not limited to:
- Celebrity engagement and activities before-during-after the show;
- Some pilot concepts and activities for globally feasible crowdfunding campaigns related to the show (and ultimately, related to the ways to engage youth in SDGs);
- Anything else you think would be successful, impactful, relevant.
From the future of work we move onto our last “lecture”: The Digital Future in general.
AI for Digital Communities?
As science-fiction-like as it may sound, the biggest development debated right now is Artificial Intelligence.
One of the most fascinating thinkers, futurists, is Ray Kurzweil. He has coined the term singularity:
The Singularity is an era in which our intelligence will become increasingly nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than it is today—the dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations and amplify our creativity.
Here is a fascinating documentary about Kurzweil and his work, as well as other futurologists. Like many of his colleagues, Kurzweil believes we will reach immortality at some point. Some prominent thinkers predict that the human race may become extinct, or remain inferior, to AI. See for yourself:
There are differing views about timing, but many technologists expect AI to reach human capacity before 2060. Kurzweil has made numerous predictions on the development of technology, and here’s what he predicted in 2005 for the 2010s:
The decade in which “Bridge Two”, the revolution in Genetics/Biotechnology, is to reach its peak. During the 2020s, humans will have the means of changing their genes; not just “designer babies” will be feasible, but designer baby boomers through the rejuvenation of all of one’s body’s tissues and organs by transforming one’s skin cells into youthful versions of every other cell type. People will be able to “reprogram” their own biochemistry away from disease and aging, radically extending life expectancy.
Computers become smaller and increasingly integrated into everyday life.
More and more computer devices will be used as miniature web servers, and more will have their resources pooled for computation.
High-quality broadband Internet access will become available almost everywhere.
Eyeglasses that beam images onto the users’ retinas to produce virtual reality will be developed. They will also come with speakers or headphone attachments that will complete the experience with sounds. These eyeglasses will become a new medium for advertising which will be wirelessly transmitted to them as one walks by various business establishments.
The VR glasses will also have built-in computers featuring “virtual assistant” programs that can help the user with various daily tasks.
Virtual assistants would be capable of multiple functions. One useful function would be real-time language translation in which words spoken in a foreign language would be translated into text that would appear as subtitles to a user wearing the glasses.
Cell phones will be built into clothing and will be able to project sounds directly into the ears of their users.
Advertisements will utilize a new technology whereby two ultrasonic beams can be targeted to intersect at a specific point, delivering a localized sound message that only a single person can hear.
Many of the above predictions are here already. Many companies are indeed investing on AI and the examples of the uses are already here. There are plenty of debates about the benefits and risks. Some claim that the people creating the technology are the problem, not AI themselves. Others predict that AI may take over the human race. It’s then no surprise that Cambridge University (UK) has just established a centre for AI Ethics.
Back to planet Earth. We have seen amazing digital communities helping the world; but we have seen destructive dissident communities and mentioned the Dark Web. We have often discussed digital divide, in terms of economies (developing and developed countries) as well as in terms of generations. Whatever the development of AI, there are still plenty of challenges and possible solutions for digital communities to tackle, from E-goverment to MHealth. And yet: A recent global research effort called the Hidden Digital Divide notes that even if the world is getting more connected, having access doesn’t guarantee equality. We need to include questions of speed, devices:
The rapid penetration of mobile phones with some internet capacity into even the poorest, off-grid regions helped reduce the gap. But the digital divide has evolved to mean much more than whether someone can or cannot get online. It now incorporates wider issues such as the speed and quality of access. In the world’s most advanced mobile markets — namely Japan, South Korea and the United States — those on high-speed fourth generation (4G) networks can consume twice as much data every month as non-4G users.
This means that, however fast developing countries race to catch up, those in front continue to accelerate away. All this raises ethical questions.
Maybe A.I. can somehow overcome the digital race for the ever more developed app and fancy gadget. But what does AI do to our humanness, including our need and desire to truly bond with others? Communities are very human constructs, bound by societal developments. Are we already witnessing a new breed in digital communities, where the physical characteristics is no longer necessary, sometimes not even meaningful?