Category Archives: Media Studies

Who will own the robots?

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Illustration credit: Joost Swarte.

David Rotman’s three-part article series in the MIT Technology Review asks important questions about the effects of software and automation on the economy. Do you think that today’s rapid advances in artificial intelligence and automation foreshadow a future in which robots and software greatly reduce the need for human workers? Are we facing a future with increased disparity and inequality due to the commercialization of technological innovation? Will the rewards of new technologies go largely to the very richest, as has been the trend in recent decades?

Part I (June 12, 2013): How Technology Is Destroying Jobs
Part II (Oct 14, 2014): Technology and Inequality
Part III (June 16, 2015): Who Will Own the Robots?

How do you respond to Robert Solow’s claim that, “any decent person should find having extreme poverty coexisting in the same society with extreme wealth immoral” in regards to the increasing gap between the super wealthy and everyone else in our world?

For example, the 2014 Global Wealth Report informs: “a person needs only USD 3,650 to be among the wealthiest half of world citizens. However, more than USD 77,000 is required to be a member of the top 10% of global wealth holders, and USD 798,000 to belong to the top 1%. Taken together, the bottom half of the global population own less than 1% of total wealth. In sharp contrast, the richest decile hold 87% of the world’s wealth, and the top percentile alone account for 48.2% of global assets.”

We need to do better at intelligently managing and sharing our world’s resources. How does income inequality effect economic opportunity and innovation in our world? How do we share the wealth that technology creates? How do we create a technological world without greed? How do we work towards a prosperous technological future with human flourishing for all?

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Keeping Up with the Media

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Keeping Up with the Media is a media study guide created for teachers and students, by teachers. The authors are all practicing teachers (elementary and secondary) completing a Master of Education in Digital Learning and Curriculum at UBC. This elite team produced this guide to enhance media literacy and media education across the K-12 curriculum.

Authors: #UBCDLC3
Editor: Paula MacDowell
Publication Date: August 4, 2016
Format: Interactive, multi-touch eBook
Online: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1149612619

#CreateNoHate #‎NoH8‬

Create No Hate, a powerful anti-cyberbullying video made by 13-year-old filmmaker/vlogger Luke Culhane ‪

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Law & Cyberbullying

<reddit.com/r/vancouver> <the power of reddit>

Dr. Alec Couros AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit re: his experiences with the cat fishing scams <I received a call yesterday, but nobody spoke> <info for romance scam victims>

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What are the root causes of cyberbullying? How do teens react to cyberbullying? What is the role of social media in fostering youth civic engagement and digital citizenship? What are the challenges as youth develop their identities and social relationships both on and offline? <Amanda Todd>

How should teachers react to videos depicting local teen violence? How can teachers empower their students to deal with bullies constructively? When should parents get involved? What is the role of law (e.g., we can’t criminalize those we should protect)? <CTV Vancouver News, Feb 2, 2016>

Have you ever been bullied in your personal or work life? Where you ever the bully? Do you have any stories to share about cyberbullying in your school?<Academic Bullying & Mobbing>

As Shariff (2015) asks, how do we (educators, parents, policy makers, and the legal community) develop create ways to facilitate the growth of digitally empowered children and young adults? What are your recommendations for the development of safe school environments and anti-oppression education (e.g. teacher education in legal, digital, and media literacy; engage youth in policy development; educate the news media; sensitivity training for law enforcement personnel; updates to existing legislation in the Youth Criminal Justice Act)?

How might we strengthen Canada’s laws against cyberbullying? What are the challenges of the WITS (Walk Away, Ignore, Talk it Out, and Seek Help) program that the Canadian government is promoting to reduce cyberbullying?

According to Canadian Law, can children be deemed child pornographers when sexting non-consensual intimate images? What are the negative long and short-term consequences of criminalizing young people?

What are the public’s rights to open courts and press freedoms? Without the ability to pursue legal actions anonymously, will bullied children feel safe to pursue legal action to protect themselves (without fear of revictimization)?

Dr. Jennifer Fraser <why we must refuse to submit to bullying>
Abuse of Power <Teaching Tolerance>
Are you a responsible digital citizen? <A Bullying Story> <Digizen Game>

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Cyberbullying and cybercrime in the recent news

Former teacher sentenced after secretly videoing students (Feb 2, 2016)
Sentencing delayed, more charges considered for Moncton man who allegedly lured 2,000 boys (Feb 1, 2016)
B.C. parents convicted of assault for spanking teen who sent nude photos on Snapchat (Jan 29, 2016)
18-year-old Wyatt Kuran charged for threatening Winnipeg school (Jan 29, 2016)
13 men arraigned in Montreal on charges of child pornography (Jan 28, 2016)
Uxbridge, Ont. teacher among victims in deadly Saskatchewan shooting (Jan 23, 2016)
3 Alberta teens charged for sharing intimate images of high school students (Dec 8, 2015)
Roughriders team up with Red Cross to tackle bullying (Jan 30, 2016)
Threats on teacher (Jan 25, 2016)
Montreal school board forced to pay after bullying, sexual harassment case (Jan 18, 2016)
Six online ‘ugly girls’ polls span Newfoundland and Labrador (Jan 11, 2016)
Here’s the email that shut down all Los Angeles public schools (Dec 17, 2016)
Texas Sikh student, 12, arrested on terrorism charge after ‘bully’ reports bomb (Dec 18, 2015)
Nova Scotia’s Supreme Court strikes down cyber-bullying law (Dec 11, 2016)
Anonymous ‘After School’ app sparking cyberbullying concerns in U.S. schools (Dec 10, 2016)
Newfoundland teen named in ‘ugliest girl’ poll takes on online bullies (Dec 3, 2016)
Edmonton police remind sexters: ‘Without consent, it’s not sent’ (Nov 25, 2016)
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Computer coding added to BC’s K-12 curriculum

At the inaugural BC Tech Summit, Christy Clark,the Premier of British Columbia announced that computer coding will be added to the province’s K-12 school curriculum:
Opening Keynote
www.cbc.ca
www.vancitybuzz.com
www.techvibes.com
www.theglobeandmail.com
www.thestar.com

What are some of the difficult questions concerning BC’s new tech strategy, including: teacher training, backend support, equitable funding for classroom technologies, and the need for government accountability?

What are the complex ethical, technical, and pedagogical issues associated with the development and implementation of BC’s new ADST framework?

How is technology changing the way children think, learn, and focus in school?

How might we increase student voice and choice in the development of new curriculum? For example, consider ISTE (International Society for Technology Education): Student FeedbackStandards for Students (7 Standards; 28 Performance Indicators).

BCIC (British Columbia Innovation Council)

Scratch Coding Curriculum Guide (draft by the Scratch Ed Team)

Computational Thinking (Wing, 2006)

Big ideas on British Columbia’s redesigned curriculum

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Bringing classroom learning to life through VR

How might educational VR experiences be designed to create powerful, accessible, and personal learning opportunities in K-12 classrooms?

Introducing Oculus Medium a virtual sculpting tool that allows you to access various sculpting tools and manipulate clay-like material into different sizes, shapes, textures, and colors to magically create anything you can imagine. Users can easily interact/create together and share their creative process with other people in the same virtual environment.

Introducing Microsoft HoloLens where VR technology becomes more personal and can adapt to the ways humans communicate, learn, and create. Holograms can improve the way we do everyday activities, and enable us to do things we’ve never done before. For education, HoloLens can help to make incredible leaps forward in productivity, collaboration, and innovation. See how VR transforms the way Case Western Reserve University teaches anatomy and transforms our understanding of the human body. Watch as 30 high school girls try out the HoloLens device during a Holographic Academy developer education session at DigiGirlz, a Microsoft YouthSpark program that helps girls and young women learn about careers in technology.

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Net Neutrality Is Dead. Here’s How to Get it Back

Craig Aaron, Reader Supported News, January 15, 2014– Three judges in D.C. just killed Net Neutrality.

This could be the end of the Internet as we know it. But it doesn’t have to be.

The big news: A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order. This decision means that companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon – which brought the lawsuit – are now free to block or slow down any website, application or service they like.

These companies will rush to change the Web and line their own pockets at our expense – creating new tolls for app makers, expensive price tiers for popular sites, and fast lanes open only to the few content providers that can afford them.

It didn’t have to be this way.

The FCC’s rules were designed to prevent Internet service providers from blocking or interfering with Web traffic. Instead of reversing a Bush-era decision that weakened the FCC’s authority over broadband, and establishing solid legal footing, former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski issued the rules in 2010 under the complicated and shaky legal framework the court rejected today.

The rules the court struck down left much to be desired, but they were a step toward preserving Internet users’ freedom to go wherever they wanted, whenever they wanted.

Now, just as Verizon promised it would in court, the biggest broadband providers will race to turn the open and vibrant Web into something that looks like cable TV – where they pick and choose the channels for you. They’ll establish fast lanes for the few giant companies that can afford to pay exorbitant tolls and reserve the slow lanes for everyone else.

We could pay dearly for the previous FCC’s weak political will and wishy-washy approach. But today’s ruling leaves the door wide open to a better approach. It’s not too late for the FCC to reverse its terrible decisions and repair its doomed strategy.

That’s right. The FCC could make all this go away by simply reading the law correctly and reclaiming the authority it already has to protect Internet users for good. The agency had clear authority before the Bush administration abdicated it and the Obama administration failed to fix the mistake.

New FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently stated that the FCC must be able to protect broadband users and preserve the Internet’s fundamental open architecture. Now he has no other choice but to restore and reassert the FCC’s clear authority over our nation’s communications infrastructure….

Together we can fight back against these greedy Internet service providers. We can save the Internet we love. But we have to act now.

Read More: RSN

FBI warns of U.S. government breaches by Anonymous hackers

Jim Finkle & Joseph Menn, Reuters, November 15, 2013– Activist hackers linked to the collective known as Anonymous have secretly accessed U.S. government computers in multiple agencies and stolen sensitive information in a campaign that began almost a year ago, the FBI warned this week.

The hackers exploited a flaw in Adobe Systems Inc’s software to launch a rash of electronic break-ins that began last December, then left “back doors” to return to many of the machines as recently as last month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a memo seen by Reuters.

The memo, distributed on Thursday, described the attacks as “a widespread problem that should be addressed.” It said the breach affected the U.S. Army, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, and perhaps many more agencies.

Investigators are still gathering information on the scope of the cyber campaign, which the authorities believe is continuing. The FBI document tells system administrators what to look for to determine if their systems are compromised.

An FBI spokeswoman declined to elaborate.

According to an internal email from Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz’ chief of staff, Kevin Knobloch, the stolen data included personal information on at least 104,000 employees, contractors, family members and others associated with the Department of Energy, along with information on almost 2,0000 bank accounts.

The email, dated October 11, said officials were “very concerned” that loss of the banking information could lead to thieving attempts.

Officials said the hacking was linked to the case of Lauri Love, a British resident indicted on October 28 for allegedly hacking into computers at the Department of Energy, Army, Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Sentencing Commission and elsewhere.

Investigators believe the attacks began when Love and others took advantage of a security flaw in Adobe’s ColdFusion software, which is used to build websites.

Adobe spokeswoman Heather Edell said she was not familiar with the FBI report. She added that the company has found that the majority of attacks involving its software have exploited programs that were not updated with the latest security patches.

The Anonymous group is an amorphous collective that conducts multiple hacking campaigns at any time, some with a few participants and some with hundreds. In the past, its members have disrupted eBay’s Inc PayPal after it stopped processing donations to the anti-secrecy site Wikileaks. Anonymous has also launched technically more sophisticated attacks against Sony Corp and security firm HBGary Federal.

Some of the breaches and pilfered data in the latest campaign had previously been publicized by people who identify with Anonymous, as part of what the group dubbed “Operation Last Resort.”

Among other things, the campaigners said the operation was in retaliation for overzealous prosecution of hackers, including the lengthy penalties sought for Aaron Swartz, a well-known computer programmer and Internet activist who killed himself before a trial over charges that he illegally downloaded academic journal articles from a digital library known as JSTOR.

Despite the earlier disclosures, “the majority of the intrusions have not yet been made publicly known,” the FBI wrote. “It is unknown exactly how many systems have been compromised, but it is a widespread problem that should be addressed.”

Read More: Reporting by Joseph Menn in San Francisco and Jim Finkle in Boston; Additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Alina Selyukh; Editing by Tiffany Wu and Tim Dobbyn.

Noam Chomsky: NSA Surveillance Is an Attack on American Citizens

Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, June 19. 2013– The actions of the US government in spying on its and other countries’ citizens have been sharply criticised by Noam Chomsky, the prominent political thinker, as attacks on democracy and the people.

“Governments should not have this capacity. But governments will use whatever technology is available to them to combat their primary enemy – which is their own population,” he told the Guardian.

In his first public comment on the scandal that has enveloped the US, UK and other governments, as well as internet companies such as Google and Microsoft, Chomsky said he was not overly surprised technology and corporations were being used in this way.

“This is obviously something that should not be done. But it is a little difficult to be too surprised by it,” he said. “They [governments and corporations] take whatever is available, and in no time it is being used against us, the population. Governments are not representative. They have their own power, serving segments of the population that are dominant and rich.”

Chomsky, who has strongly supported the Occupy movement and spoken out against the Obama administration‘s use of drones, warned that young people were much less shocked at being spied on and did not view it as such a problem.

“Polls in the US indicate there is generational issue here that someone ought to look into – my impression is that younger people are less offended by this than the older generation. It may have to do with the exhibitionist character of the internet culture, with Facebook and so on,” he said. “On the internet, you think everything is going to be public.”

Other technologies could also come to be used to spy more effectively on people, he added. “They don’t want people to know what they’re doing. They want to be able to use [new technology] against their own people.

“Take a look at drones, and what is developing. You will find new drone technology being used in 10 or 12 years from now. They are looking at [trying to make] tiny drones that can go in your living room, like a fly on the wall.”

He praised the Guardian’s revelations about the activities of the National Security Agency, and the whistleblower Ed Snowden, who has been taking refuge in Hong Kong. “We need this kind [of journalism],” he said. “We ought to know about it.”

Chomsky, a much-lauded academic and professor of linguistics, gained renown as a political critic when he vocally opposed the Vietnam war. Since then, he has written dozens of books on political power, capitalism and democracy and espoused a variety of activist campaigns, most recently the Occupy movement.

Read More: The Guardian

Banishing the Poor, Unemployed and Working Class from the Mainstream Media Implies That They are Worthless

Mark Karlin, Truthout, June 17, 2013–  How often do you come across an article or a television news story that presents a poor person in a positive light?  Or for that matter when do you read about or see a story on an unemployed individual or the challenges of a working class American whose salary is receding as the stock market soars?

Oh, yes every once in awhile there will be a hard luck formula piece of reporting about the plight of the economically left behind – but it’s comparatively rare and is often presented in a pitying, patronizing tone.

In short, if you are not a member of the economically made, political or corporate elite, you generally don’t appear in the news. You are voiceless, faceless. The reality is that you are not news; your existence is hardly worthy of note, with the obligatory exception of an occasional “gee it’s tough to live like this” profile of a “welfare mom” or person unemployed and looking for work for three or four years.

Otherwise, in urban areas, the only regular stories you see about the poor is the knife and gun coverage of violence, particularly on weekends, particularly on local television news.  These video accounts of weeping relatives, blood-stained crime scenes, and eyewitnesses only serve to reinforce stereotypes of the urban poor, particularly minorities. It’s voyeuristic catnip for suburbanites and the well-to-do who gain comfort in their racial views being reinforced by tawdry and sensationalistic “news delivery systems.”

Let’s face it, corporate mainstream news doesn’t – in general — adequately or appropriately recognize those with low or no incomes as having a stake in society or anything to contribute in discussions of public policy.  As far as economics is concerned, it appears that the only persons entitled to speak about financial policy options are those of the privileged class, and particularly those who have been enriched by the current system (including politicians).  Add to that at the ever present class of “journalistic punditry,” who if they are on national television (or major market local television stations) de facto belong to the entrenched wealthy.

Just look at unions.  Some union members are well into the middle class, but even labor gets short shrift by the corporate mainstream media.  Why? Many reasons, but one of the big ones is that the owners of news “machines” in America are generally not keen on unions.  They cut into their media conglomerate profits.  So why promote the union viewpoint?

But there’s another key point to remember.  News that relies on advertising for revenue and profit – which is almost all the news media (although Truthout/BuzzFlash are an exception because we accept no ads) – are shaped as conduits for advertisers to deliver to a defined market.  And guess what? Poor and low income people don’t have the money to make them a desirable advertising audience (with some exceptions) for big media. So why write articles about them in the corporate media?

They won’t deliver advertisers, after all – and the well-off don’t want to read about them for the most part.  The poor, the unemployed, the working stiffs are best left under the carpet – out of plain sight.

Read More: Truthout

Assange, Activist Media Sue US Over Manning Trial Secrecy

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks. (photo: Cordon Press)

Anne Sewell, Digital Journal, May 22, 2013— The upcoming trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning is to be held in secret. A group of journalists and activists, including Julian Assange, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the Department of Defense and the military judge, demanding access to the trial.

Along with WikiLeaks founder, Assange, co-plaintiffs will include Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman, Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald and also the Nation magazine.

Pfc. Bradley Manning is fighting to avoid a life sentence after he admitted to leaking hundreds of thousands of sensitive documents to WikiLeaks.

While physical access to the pretrial hearings was not a problem, keeping track of, and understanding the court proceedings has been made difficult as prosecution and defense motions, court orders and transcripts are rarely released to the public. A huge number of documents have been kept totally hidden from public view.

The complaint said, “The press and public have been largely denied access to even non-classified documents filed in Manning’s court-martial.”

By filing the lawsuit on Wednesday, the plaintiffs aim to open up access to the military trial.

Assange, has previously alleged the Manning proceedings will be a “show trial.” Last month, the same group filed a similar lawsuit in military courts. However the suit was shot down in a 3-2 ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. The group are continuing in their legal action in a civilian federal district court in Baltimore, hoping to overrule the military.

This filing comes a day after the judge overseeing the trial had ruled that 24 prosecution witnesses could testify in secret.

Shayana Kadidal, a senior attorney at the non-profit legal group representing the coalition said, “The federal civilian courts are now our last option,”

“If this lawsuit fails, Manning’s trial will take place under conditions where journalists and the public will be unable as a practical matter to follow what is going on in the courtroom.”

The plaintiffs are seeking a preliminary injunction to force the release of many of the files currently kept hidden.

Journalist Jeremy Scahill, national security correspondent for The Nation, said, “The culture of extreme secrecy that has defined both the Bush and Obama presidencies does a disservice to our democratic society. By unnecessarily cloaking these proceedings from public view or scrutiny, the government is undermining the most basic principles of transparency and freedom of the press, both of which are vital components of the democratic and judicial process.”

They expect their case to be heard by Maryland U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Lipton Hollander, a President Barack Obama appointee, shortly after Manning’s trial begins on June 3.

Read more: Digital Journal

Media Advisory – Kids game will help build Canada’s economic future

CALGARY and OTTAWA, Feb. 25, 2013 /CNW/ – An unprecedented interactive online game launching Wednesday will help attract the professional engineers who will fuel Canada’s economy for decades to come.

EnGenious is an online game and career website developed by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) in partnership with Engineers Canada. EnGenious is designed to appeal to junior high-aged students amid mounting evidence of long-term professional engineer shortages across the country.

The game challenges players to conquer ten science-based challenges, developed with professional engineers, to improve the social, health and safety, economic and environmental lot of the EnGenious world. Kids will also learn about the personal benefits of a career in professional engineering.