Brian Merchant, Everything That’s Inside Your iPhone Motherboard (2017)
Post your responses below (per instructions in the syllabus)
The reason we collected this data was to understand how exactly our class was segmented, based on political bias, news source preference, and trust for traditional news sites. Our intention was to see if there was a possible link between trust for news sources and political bias, since we’ve had good discussions about it in class. To do this we asked 3 questions: 1. How do you get your news? 2. How do you identify politically? 3. Do you trust traditional news/print-news sources?
Our intentions with this last graph was to correlate trust with a value. Trust for traditional news sources was measured as yes, mostly yes, mostly no, and no. Each response was given a value of 1, .5, 0, -.5, 1. Each new trust value was attributed to its respective political group (x-axis groups), averaged, and then normalized based on their representative parts of the whole. As a whole, those who identify as left leaning trust traditional media (and are the majority of responses), and those who identify as right-leaning (minority of the class) usually trust traditional media less. Those who identified as hating politics tended to trust traditional media sources.
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Group 1 brought up an interesting point about gamification. They said that people have issues with gamification and figure out ways to treat the system. This is true but also gamification is a very intuitive way to surveil someone. As we asked in class many people like to play games whether it is on the phone or computer or whatever other system, the process of gamification makes it seem like the input of your info is trivial. For instance, put in your birthdate so that you become “old enough” to play a game. Next it can ask you to make sure you share your location so that you can get location specific notifications or be able to see when you are near your friends. Just like that you are being tracked without really thinking twice about the information you immediately volunteered to the game.
Group 5 brings up a good point when writing about Wolfram. They stated that after Wolfram saw all of his data he was able to make both broad and specific changes to his lifestyle and sort of chronologically order his life through his files and emails. This is an interesting point given group 1’s statement that people do not like to see their data and they cheat it, but what if something was tracked inadvertently? The “cheating” they were referring too could have been minimal as not everyone is equally as likely to manipulate their data to their liking. Could seeing mass amounts of specific personal information both be interesting and informative? Could it also pose specific problems?
In class earlier this week, we believe that the number of self reported gamers was surprisingly low compared expectations. As a result, we feel there is importance in further exploring our personal experiences with games compared and contrasted to gamiﬁed life outside of our consoles and PCs. A key aspect of each we feel is important is the borderline compulsive need to level up or collect achievements.
Each of us in group 2 have at one point found ourselves laboring through a console game that’s gameplay has long since ceased bringing joy. We were working for nothing other than leveling up. The goal we were chasing signiﬁcantly outweighed the tedium of playing through missions over and over again.
When we began using ﬁtness trackers for the ﬁrst time, many of us were struck by the shocking parallels in our motivations to collect achievements and level up in ﬁtness and video games. As mentioned in class, we even found ourselves focusing an alarming amount of eﬀort on cheating the system to achieve our goals through loopholes as much as the intended tasks. As Whitson and our class concluded, the simple pleasure of meaningless praise and badges is enough to strongly shape our behaviors.