THE TECHNOLOGY REVOLUTION

computer prison study 1

by David Breakspear

“ICT and digital systems in prison must support more flexible access to learning that is tailored to the needs of individual learners and enables participation in distance and other learning.”  (Coates, 2016)

People are sent to prison as punishment for a crime they are alleged to have committed. I say alleged as I am no longer confident that a finding of guilt in court is an indication of whether the alleged guilty party, is in fact, guilty; however, this is a separate debate.

Why are ICT and digital systems, and of course education, important in prison? Continue Reading

HATEBOOK: DOES THIS GO AGAINST YOUR COMMUNITY STANDARDS?

By Jonathan Lee

Cw: hate speech, extremism

Ever seen a comment on Facebook that really riled you up?

Probably. But I mean one that really floored you – stopped you mid-scroll, and in a red mist, made you click those three innocuous little dots on the right and Submit to Facebook for Review?

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BACK FROM THE BRINK?

by Stu Lucy

Cooped up in an office in Uganda, inputting into what seemed like never-ending columns of cells in Excel spreadsheets, I would often ruminate about other jobs I could be doing which at that moment would be relatively more fulfilling and life affirming. One of the jobs I kept ending back at was as a member of one of the security teams responsible for the protection of the last northern white rhinoceroses: Sudan, Najin and her daughter Fatu. While in reality I knew my poor grasp of Swahili and lack of weapons training made it unlikely I’d ever work with the rangers responsible for the security of these magnificent animals residing within Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, I became interested in their plight, following their turbulent existence ever since.

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TRUMP KILLED MY DRIVE

by Beth Saward

Have you heard the news? America has solved sex trafficking. With the passage of SESTA/FOSTA, it will become a thing of the past, the internet will be safer and Freedom™ wins again. What’s that? You haven’t heard of this miraculous new law? Here’s how it works.Continue Reading

MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN AND THE POSSIBILITIES OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

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by Justin Reynolds

Frankenstein: or The Modern Prometheus, the classic novel by Mary Shelley that stands at the pinnacle of the gothic tradition and looks forward to the new genre of science fiction, was first published 200 years ago this month. Shelley’s visceral tale of the terrible consequences that follow the failure of brilliant young scientist Victor Frankenstein to take responsibility for the strange new life he creates, is both of its time and utterly contemporary.

It can be read as a high Romantic fantasy set against a background of electric storms, shimmering Alpine peaks, Rhineland forests and Arctic wastelands, and as a subtle meditation on themes of knowledge and responsibility that resonate with today’s hopes and fears for the possibilities opened by artificial intelligence (AI) and synthetic biology.Continue Reading

IT’S OUR ‘YOUTHQUAKE’ – WHAT WILL WE MAKE OF IT?

by Bradley Allsop

Young people can’t catch a break. On the one hand, we’re scolded and ridiculed for our apparent lack of engagement with traditional political institutions, which is generally assumed to be a result of our ‘laziness’ or ‘apathy’, with our disillusionment and distrust with politicians that have continually failed us apparently precluding our ‘right to complain’. On the other hand, when we do engage politically, in those rare moments when we do seek to take an active role in our futures, we’re painted as thuggish, fragile or naïve. In short, the message we continually get is: “engage – but not like that!”

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THE UNDERCROFT – ART, SPACE AND POWER

by Laura Potts

Artistic culture and practice has changed drastically over the past few centuries. From Renaissance painting and its high-minded focus on aesthetic and documentary purpose, to the eruption of absurdist Dada work in 1915, to the stark political statements of much modern art. The aesthetics of art and its chosen themes are not the only thing that has changed though; the spaces where we encounter art have also transformed.

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THE ROAD TO FULLY AUTOMATED LUXURY GAY SPACE COMMUNISM: PART 2

For part 1, click here.

Content warning: links contain references to white nationalism and Charlottesville.

By Zoe Harding

Unfortunately, I can’t provide a full road map to the future from our current Nazi-sodden economically unstable world of earthbound, cishet-dominated capitalism (at least, not in 600 words). If the 20th century taught us anything, it’s that traditional revolutions are messy, violent and frequently impossibly complex things, and, even if their intentions are good, they tend to make things worse rather than better. A violent uprising with the fat cats first against the wall is perhaps a good daydream while you’re stressed and trying to pay your rent on time, but in practice we’d get another Stalin.

As such, this article will be much more hypothetical, looking at the kind of technology necessary for a global, fully automated and luxurious communist society, and then looking at ways we might potentially create and distribute it.Continue Reading

REVIEW: LAS CHICAS DEL CABLE

by Carmina Masoliver

CW: discussion of domestic violence

An eight episode series, Las Chicas del Cable (The Cable Girls) begins with a woman killing her friend’s husband – part self-defence, part accident – also shooting her friend. It’s a drama full of love stories, as well as crime and mystery, yet domestic violence is a major theme that runs through the series. Set in 1928 in Madrid, it shows the impossibility of leaving an abusive relationship in a patriarchal society, where even the law protects men who are abusers.Continue Reading

THE LEFT HAS DEFIED THE ODDS. NOW WE NEED TO SHAPE HISTORY.

by Bradley Allsop

For the third time in a year an earthquake has rocked the political establishment, upsetting polls, pundits and precedent alike. Yet this time, unlike the division and isolation of Brexit, or the utter horror of Trump, we instead have hope. Snatching insurgence from the jaws of implosion, Labour and the broader left have risen to the edge of power. Yet whilst the election result was an excellent start, surviving the challenges our society faces will require much more. We need to build a movement which aims for nothing less than a complete transformation of our society. It is crucial now that we do not succumb to hubris or allow ourselves to be absorbed by the internal Conservative party debates – we need to use the time granted by their division to plan, organise and mobilise the movement that will transform Britain.

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PERSPECTIVE

by Alice Thomson

CW: abuse

Point of view is surprisingly important. As a child, I was always being told by my mother to ‘put my feet in another’s shoes’. It’s surprisingly difficult for children to actually do this.

According to Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, children between the age of 2 and 7 are in the preoperational stage.  During this stage, children are egotistical in the purest sense. They display Centration and Egocentrism which means the child has a tendency to focus on one aspect of a situation at one time and they have an inability to see a situation from another’s point of view.Continue Reading

THE QUESTION CONCERNING TWITTER – IS HARASSMENT LESS REAL ONLINE?

By Eve Lacroix

Content warning : Article mentions rape threats, harassment, racism

In The Question Concerning Technology, Heidegger argues that technology is a means to an end, and that technology is a human activity. The two are not mutually exclusive. Technology is a means to facilitate our lives, eliminating manual or tedious or repetitive tasks. We use technology for our human need of community, connecting to friends and family through social media, searching for partners on dating apps.

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THE INTERNET IS BREAKING

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by Pip Morgan

“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” -Vladimir Lenin.

The internet is breaking, this news greeted my ears during the early days of last summer, the man speaking on the radio (the expert), was trying very hard to make the problem intelligible to the layman, explaining the momentary stammers and false starts. Interestingly this is the recent diagnosis that the internet received; at running the risk of over simplifying; it is ‘on the blip’.

All over the world there are anonymous administrators monitoring the waves, and giving it the occasional zap with the equivalent of a defibrillator when servers become overloaded.Continue Reading

EVERYDAY DOUBLETHINK – ONLINE LIFE AND ALTERNATIVE FACTS

By Sam Naylor

Kellyanne Conway has been making headlines this week. Sent out to explain away Sean Spicer’s bizarre comments regarding the crowds at Trump’s inauguration, she said “we feel compelled to go out and clear the air and put alternative facts out there”. Alternative facts, huh? How’s this:

Last week saw the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States of America, Bernie Sanders. As the world witnessed the honesty and good intentions of the new administration firsthand over the next few days, sales of George Orwell’s 1984 surged (it sold out on Amazon). Commentators were broadly bemused. Why, with a president of unparalleled frankness ascending to the Oval Office, was a narrative of lies and alternative facts, paradoxes and doublethink, a story of a nation which unashamedly proclaimed “War is peace, Freedom is slavery, Ignorance is strength, becoming so popular?

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AN IDEA: SOLVING THE HOUSING CRISIS

by Craig Hall

No one can argue that we have a housing crises. There are too few homes usually costing too much, often in the wrong places and often of poor quality. Not to mention rural communities suffering with cost of housing soaring beyond their means or the beach side type, dead in winter, consumed as second homes. These are all symptoms of a much bigger problem with the banks and house builders profiting from existing model.

The paradox of this is two fold. On the one hand you are asking builders to build more houses for less money, on the other, you’re asking the banks to lend money on lower borrowing because more houses will reduce prices leading to lower borrowing. It’s not rocket science.

So how about an idea which would reduce the costs and supply the demand in the right place and of the best quality? Oh, forgot to mention it would also generate, not cost, local councils with additional income.

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PAINTING PICTURES OF THE FUTURE – ADRIAN RAMSAY ON ZERO CARBON BRITAIN

by Olivia Hanks

The green movement is a tough place to be right now. With the Conservative government announcing another environmentally disastrous policy just about every week, from Hinkley to Heathrow via fracking in Lancashire, cuts to renewables and planning deregulation, activists could be forgiven for feeling a bit despondent. But Adrian Ramsay, CEO of the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), is philosophical when I ask if morale has been hit by this wave of irresponsible policy-making.

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5 APPS AND WEBSITES TO BUST YOUR INSOMNIA

TW: Mental Health, Insomnia

By Robyn Banks

Insomnia is a bitch. It plagued me during my time at university, and many of my friends too. Although I had always had problems sleeping, the long grind of the school day would often wear me out enough to see me getting a few good hours each night. Not so at university – days with only one or even no lectures stretched out endlessly, and with nobody phoning home if I didn’t turn up to lectures, gone was the motivating fear that got me out of bed each morning in the past. The prospect of managing my own time, which had seemed like heaven in my first term, had become a living hell. Bedtimes got later, and mornings became later, until I was essentially nocturnal- living whole months at a time in the miserable dark, unable to access any daytime facilities. Sound familiar?

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iMOAN

by Joe Cook

We live in a magpie society
Shiny objects we crave
If you want to live like a king you best work like a slave
When there’s spoilt brats talking about their sweet 16
There’s children whose drinking water ain’t even clean
Daddy didn’t get you the car you wanted?
I hope that old mansion you live in turns out to be hauntedContinue Reading

EXPERIENCING FAITH: THE SPIRITUALITY OF CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY

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by Liam Hawkes 

Religion gets a pretty bad rep in the media, and some of the time it is justified. The following reflections are not intended to directly deal with the oppressive histories (and some present-days) of particular religious doctrines. Instead I want to reflect on the structure and nature of faith and spirituality, to investigate the effect it can have on our everyday lives. These reflections are in part inspired by my experiences of the faith of others, looking from the outside. This semi-voyeuristic experience of faith and spirituality led me to question the structure and direction of my own beliefs and how they could be grounded in a kind of blind faith.

I do not want to claim that religion is just a passive component of a believers’ personality, because a lot of the time it very much defines and shapes their understanding of themselves, and their world. No matter what history faith has had, or the extremes fundamentalists go to, or the religious violence which has permeated human history, there is something fundamentally fascinating, and ultimately useful, about faith and spirituality. I think that a knowledge of the comparative structures of religions and experiences of spirituality can enrich our lives, and we should not ridicule or dismiss those with strong faith in their religion.Continue Reading

THE SMART CRUNCH

by Andrew McArthur

The world looks on with bated breath as the FBI and Apple discuss the access rights to the iPhone belonging to the San Bernardino killer Syed Farook.  But the world isn’t interested in the injustice of another American killer being granted his rights to privacy, despite the lives he ruined.

If the FBI is granted access rights to Farook’s device, the integrity of smart technology would suddenly be thrown into question. If you follow the work of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, then it becomes clear that the security of most electronic communications has been compromised for a long time.Continue Reading

GENERATION PARK: POWER AND PROFIT

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by Rowan Van Tromp

Plans will soon be submitted by NPH (Norwich) Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) for the controversial £370m ‘Generation Park’ development, based on the 30 acre former utilities site in the Thorpe Hamlet area of the city. The proposals include 120 low carbon homes, as well as student accommodation, an education centre, a new energy research and development centre, 11 acres of parkland, new cycle routes and the promise of job creation. All this and at no cost to the council taxpayer! Well, at least not in direct monetary terms.

The site will also be host to a straw-pellet burning energy plant that could produce electricity equivalent to powering 88,000 homes, as well providing heat on demand to surrounding businesses and homes via a district heating network, with claims of up to a 25% reduction in the city’s carbon footprint as a result.Continue Reading