Group Presentations

Last night was the final meeting of the module- DIT Second Life: Is one life enough? Everyone was already there when I arrived – the members of my group, Kate Macadangdang and Robyn Meagher, and the others, Gary Price, Stephanie Meagher and of course the Lecturers John O’Connor and ‘Locks’. It was arranged for us to give a presentation on the topic of what we think the Workplace will be like in the year 2050.

It was surprisingly quiet when I got there, and everyone was standing up. I knew immediately that something wasn’t going as planned. It turned out that the screen that was set up to show our slides was not complying with the JPEG images we had arranged to be presented. No one panicked though, as we were still able to see small versions of them. Here you can see Gary giving his presentation. The white square with writing on it is one of his group’s prepared slides. Snapshot_010

Leading up to the presentations, my group and I mostly communicated using Facebook chat. We were given a lot of notice of the presentation date to allow us to prepare for it, which was great as it gave us more time to discuss the topic together which made the whole project fun as well as challenging. Each one of us began by individually researching how the workplace has already changed from the past to present (specifically from the last 50 years). We then moved on to finding various articles and theories about how it will evolve and change again.

Occasionally we would send each other our rough scripts and we would give each other advice. Finally when it came close to giving the presentation, we sent our scripts and then put them together, making sure we weren’t repeating ourselves at any points. Our presentation went under the headings;

What we think the workplace will be like in 50 years.

Humans being replaced by artificial intelligence.

More companies could dissolve traditional offices and headquarters.

Employers could start recruiting people form all over the world.

Possible human “revival”?

Advantages & Disadvantages.

Then we practiced them together, and decided to split the presentation into three separate parts and to each read our sections one after the other. Most of the sources we used were:

https://open.buffer.com/no-office/
(Stanger, 2016) http://uk.businessinsider.com/ways-the-workplace-will-look-different-in-the-future-2016-1?r=US HYPERLINK “http://uk.businessinsider.com/ways-the-workplace-will-look-different-in-the-future-2016-1?r=US&IR=T”& HYPERLINK “http://uk.businessinsider.com/ways-the-workplace-will-look-different-in-the-future-2016-1?r=US&IR=T”IR=T
http://www.forbes.com/sites/centurylink/2014/06/12/how-virtual-reality-will-change-life-in-the-workplace/#4aa519a654c3
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/08/women-men-jobs-automation/400364/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/12155808/Robots-will-take-over-most-jobs-within-30-years-experts-warn.html
(Lawton, 2015) http://www.gereports.com/jim-lawton-when-humans-and-robots-work-together/
http://www.sciencealert.com/a-biotech-company-has-been-given-permission-to-try-and-bring-dead-brains-back-to-life

It turned out that we mainly based our presentation using Kate’s headings as well as some of Robyn’s additions and a lot of her content and some of my own. I put together the slides and got advice from the girls too. Here’s an example of two of the slides included:

JPEG SL 1JP SL 6

I greatly enjoyed Gary and Steph’s presentation too. They were coherent and had clearly used great sources, as it was engaging from start to finish. They spoke about how humans will have to adapt in the increasing automated industries which will most likely occur, among touching on other aspects of the workplace in the future.

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Here is some material I never used in the presentation but I think should be included in some form anyway as back-up work! Thanks:

The workplace in 1982 was a very different structure and existence to what it is today in 2016.  34 Years ago was the time of chunky desktop computers and software to learn ‘how to type’. Take Fax machines – the modern child will most likely  have never heard of them. Even I am unsure to what it was that they did, yet in 1985 it was seen as very efficient and important.Apple-IIGS-computer-made-1986-1992.jpg

The Apple IIGS computer, made between 1986-1992. Image via National Museum of American History.

With this in mind, try to imagine what the workplace in another 34 years from now – the year 2050. Or how about I do the imagining for you.

In the middle of the 21st century, I think people will not continue to gather in physical offices. Perhaps they will be using more advanced and more widely distributed versions of technology that exists today, more specifically virtual reality headsets.

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I can even imagine that they might be in the form of little machines that resemble contact lenses (like something you’d find in Spy Kids).

Immersive, computer-generated environments will be used to make up for the time and money spent traveling to the work environment. The advanced technology will allow the users to behave naturally. They won’t be connecting through unrealistic avatars that don’t reflect themselves. These realities will be so convincing, users will react the same way they would in real life. The sensory input from the outside will be blocked out, and the visual and auditory cues will make the virtual world seem more real. Yes, versions of this exist today, but how many of you own and use them in your homes?

I think it would probably be very unhealthy for the workplace to consist of only this, so maybe there would be weekly old-fashioned meetings, face to face.

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The Meanings and Expectations of a Profile Picture

All of this lands us squarely in the field of personal branding, which if the publishing industry is any guide, appears to have evolved into one of our most common obsessions: more than 100 personal branding books have been published so far this year. The Irish Times article; ‘My profile photo is meant to give the impression that I possess a higher degree of gravitas than I actually do,’ published on the 26th of August 5 years ago, is still very relevant today. The author touches on how, as a journalist and more specifically a public figure, deciding on a photo to accompany their piece is and has been for a long time a difficult thing to do. We are all familiar with the phrase ‘a picture tells a thousand words,’ and with this in mind, one would try to say the ‘right’ words with their photo. The writer admits that when he sat for his photo, he tried to somehow portray a person who is ‘clever, wryly amusing and sexually virile’.
Yet now it is not just journalists and people in the media who must face this pressure, it is almost everyone in the western world. The people using social networking websites, who must choose which photos to upload and which to use for their profiles. I myself try not to give in to personal branding, but I cannot claim that I avoid it completely. Facebook, Twitter, Linked In etc. have contributed hugely to the rise of personal branding, and I for one am neither for or against this. Is this a positive or a negative thing? More and more personal branding books seem to be published every year. Is it a good thing to be so concerned with how we present ourselves? In one way I believe it is narcissistic and wrong, but in another I understand it can greatly contribute to one’s self-belief and ultimately, their success.

Prepare for the Project: C21st workplace

The Group Project assigned to us to predict and describe the workplace in 2050 will be taking place on the 12th of May this year. We will all need to imagine how the world will be working by the middle of the 21st Century, and will have to explore aspects such as the likeliness of unlikeliness of people still gathering in physical offices. New technological developments will continue to influence the way in which we work, meaning less jobs will probably require people to meet in a physical location. The purpose of the project is to give us a chance to experience working collaboratively online.g

To develop this project, my group will need to meet online regularly. We will meet up somewhere quiet and pleasant without distractions – this will only include virtually in some form, as we all live far apart and the time taken up to travel would not be logical. Facebook group-chat would have many pros as a platform for us to communicate on. It does not require us to save and keep each other’s phone numbers as Whatsapp would require. It would be preferable to talking on the phone as having written documentation of our discussion would be helpful to look back on (never mind the inability to have a 3-way conversation by phone , as far as I know). I imagine we will have to meet up on second life at some stage, to get an idea of how giving a presentation on it works.

We will discuss the different sources available – e.g books, magazine articles, articles online, documentaries and so on. Then when we meet up again, we can share what we have gathered for the project and give each other feedback before going off to work on our project by ourselves again.

My Use of Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram are the platforms in which I associate my use of Social Media with. Because of my smartphone and Macbook which I recently purchased, I spend quite a lot of time online everyday. There are many perks; using the wifi on the Dart and Dublin Buses to write to people via the Facebook messenger app, WhatsApp and Jelly sms (a web-text app on my phone) has allowed me to go months on end without buying credit for my phone.

Having lengthy conversations through social media would not be my forte, however. WhatsApp groups of constant dialogue between friends and thus endless notifications is not something I enjoy being a part of. I believe conversations which are not face-to-face should mainly only be the topic of organising a day/trip/project/event etc. Speaking in this way about emotional topics is risky and people misunderstand things. It is an unnatural way of communicating after all.

Facebook has a different use for me now than it did when I was younger. Before, it was about ‘Facebook-stalking’ friends and acquaintances. I’d flick through a lot of their mundane, teenage (at the time) photos, for no particular reason. It was also about being concerned about how my page (and hence myself) came across to other people. Now I use it to find out about exciting events being held in Dublin, in my town or simply by friends. As well, I do like to see the photos of the interesting places my friends have recently visited abroad.

Twitter, Instagram and Youtube are sites I would use a little less often, but I do get enjoyment out of them. They allow me to find information suited to my interests, and i find they are a great way of connecting us to the world and letting me see outside of the small island which I live on. Social Media and the internet itself has stopped me from buying magazines. In my opinion, 99% of the things that specifically catch my interest can be found and investigated on online.

 

Going Clubbing in Second Life

Last night I teleported to Muddy’s Music Cafe as it appeared to be the most popular club at the time. As soon as I arrived I became aware of Elvis Presley’s “Teddy Bear” playing and of all of the people dancing energetically. It soon switched to a J-Lo song, and virtually none of the avatars changed their dance style accordingly.

Snapshot club_002SL unexpectedly then crashed, and I only returned to SL the following night, to a different club- Santorini Club.

It was a dark club, with impressive architecture. The music playing was a remix of a new Adele song, ‘Hello’, which surprised me – I wondered whether Second life pay to use these songs? And is there some kind of real-life DJ playing behind the screen as well as his or her avatar playing behind their screen?

I forgot how to dance, so I ran around a bit for a while looking for a big floating coloured sphere. Despite there being about 30 people in this club and it being just 8pm (well in Ireland anyway), some people were dancing in very strange and raunchy ways.

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I didn’t even feel interested in talking to any of these people. I knew I wouldn’t feel any natural chemistry from the start, there would be no eye-contact.

Then I accepted an offer to let Santorini Club ‘animate my character’ and I began dancing with everyone up at the stage. I must admit, dancing in SL is not half as much fun as in real life.

 

 

 

Consumer Economy in SL

Last week, the class decided to visit the Bauhaus Museum in SL. It is a recreation of the famous early 20th Century school in Weimar Germany presenting information about the staff and students along with an exhibition of Bauhaus work and Bauhaus-inspired work. Even though there were some other visitors viewing the work, the spacious venue was ideal for a class discussion about the reading material on personal branding. John also dispersed cash in the form of L$. We each received L$300 to facilitate our interaction with the SL economy. The exchange value is somewhere in and about US$1.

I ended up in an empty shop excluding the shop assistant. I wanted to spend the money I had to change the appearance of my avatar, in order to avoid standing out to other SL users as a newbie. I wanted to blend in by not being a ‘Classic’/ SL ready-made avatar. I attempted to purchase a dress, not realising that this shop was far too expensive for me.

 

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So Freebie Galaxy was my next destination.

I was surprised to see that there are a huge amount of things you can get for free on SL. At Freebie Galaxy I bought clothes and costumes, a gun, tattoos and I THINK a car.

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Here is the first floor of Freebie Galaxy. I had just finished speaking to this werewolf. This was our conversation;

‘Are you looking for something from me?’

‘What do you have?’

‘Nothing. I’m a werewolf, lol.’

‘Oh ok haha.’

‘That girl’s a bitch.’ (referring to the blonde avatar)

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Running around looking at the billboards where you could pick up freebies was entertaining. I pretty much felt the same satisfaction you feel when you’re buying things for yourself in real life, which is really weird. I’m not sure how many floors there were, but flying was disabled here, so I kept running up the stairs and collecting things I didn’t necessarily want, simply because they were free. To be honest, I spent far too much time wasting doing this at Freebie Galaxy. I ventured to ‘Freebie Factory‘ after that, but I found it confusing / a lot smaller and less impressive than the galaxy (:P).

We had a class meeting after this, where John accidentally removed the floor and walls, and Gary showed up with a box on his head. He then stood up naked with a gun for a while:Snapshot_004

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This is the result of my appearance once I learned how to apply the things I’d bought.

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Picked a nice backdrop ha

 

Talking to Strangers with Wings

 

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Last week I visited Second Life with Kate and Robyn. Our aim was to find different strangers to talk to, to find out what we could about their second life; what they do in SL; why they spend time here; what interests they have, and so on.

I tried to keep in mind that in SL there is no need to be shy – it is not unusual to approach other residents and start a conversation. I presume everyone online had made the conscious decision to log on and socialize, after all. The three of us started off in London and it was 22:36 when I arrived. It was an outdoor area with lively music and a lot of people dancing.

The first people I spoke to were not promising. They knew that Robyn, Kate and I had come to SL with the intentions of essentially interviewing them for a college module, and they weren’t happy;

“we do get a number of colleges that are represented in SL and some come in world to do thesis papers on the sociology of SL, etc…..”

“i dont do other ppls homework without payment…sorry”

“no payee no speak lol :-p”

“get asked like 15 times a week they send them all here they come in hordes”.

I walked around to find people who didn’t expect us, and I spotted a person (sim? Avatar? Man?)with a mo-hawk dancing and I decided to join in, with aid from Kate who instructed me to click on what appeared to be a floating purple ball. I had to pick a number and that made me dance in a particular style.

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Myself and this Mohawk guy danced for a while. Then out of nowhere he produced huge gold wings from his back and started spinning around in the air, followed by a unicorn below him. I complimented his wings and asked him where he got them, and that was when he started to try to sell them to me. I’m not too sure, but I think he created the wings himself on SL somehow. It’s funny to imagine someone has their own business selling essentially imaginary objects. Unfortunately, I lost the pictures I took of triphun. I wish I could show you him spinning around in the air above the unicorn.

He went by the name of ‘triphun’ if anyone is interested in coming into contact with this sort of person. He began asking me where I was from and my age;

“answer do you are woman how menay years you have,”

and I told him the truth (19 , from Ireland). I got a polite reply-

“Welcome Irish woman of 19 year”.

Things sped up pretty quickly after that. Out of nowhere, triphun asked me if I wanted to engage in sexual activities with him. I found this really funny that someone could get any kind of enjoyment (excluding humour) from watching two computerized ficitional beings do this. At first I agreed to it because it was hilarious. It’s not real and it’s funny, I was there to find out about SL fully and wanted to keep talking to him for a while. Triphun started giving me instructions on how to change the settings on SL to make the ‘Adult Section’ available to me. I took a while to work out how to do it, and I was suspecting triphun would get bored and leave. Instead he asked me for my password so he could do it for me, I refused and then finally found out how to do it anyway. I followed him to this outdoor quiet place which had just a double bed. He lay down on it and started saying ‘Irish woman’ again. That was when I decided to teleport away and not engage in this. 

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I did continue to explore this section for a little while though. I looked around briefly in ‘Syn City‘, and saw naked men standing still looking at posters of topless women etc. I then went to a more populated area where I got a request to accept something- I didn’t read it properly, I just pressed accept. It turned out a dirty looking man with long hair had bitten me; ‘An object named Fangs [Thirst::Bloodlines] 4.2 owned by joao Deimos Scorpions (jbv43) has given you this object: ‘Bite Marks [Thirst::Bloodlines] 4.2’. The options which followed were ‘Keep/Discard/Block owner’, so I kept them and moved on (although it probably would’ve been interesting to converse with him).

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Syn City

 

 

 

 

Teleporting to Exciting Locations

I was still quite unfamiliar with the technicalities of Second Life when I last logged on, with the interest of exploring new places to visit. Myself and Kate (my group partner) were looking forward to finding out what Second Life is really all about. We wanted to observe the places and backdrops, to see these man-made and virtual realities for ourselves.

My uncertainties and lack of confidence soon left me once I began scrolling through the ‘What’s Hot Now’ section, and became aware of all of these fictional places (or places based on real places in some cases, such as 1900’s Paris which I will elaborate on later) which have been specially designed for the user’s enjoyment. It was clear to both Kate (my group partner) that a lot of research, technical and artistic talent was put into this software.

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The first place we visited was ‘The Ivory Tower Library of Primitaves, Natoma.’ This was a curious place, as it did not strike me as a typical Library, with it’s many coloured shapes lined up against the walls on the bottom floors of the interior. The beauty and detail in the architecture of the building however, evoked my curiosity to whether this place was based on somewhere that truly exists (I could not find any evidence of this being true). It’s elaborate window design were in a kind of flower shape, and we both agreed that it gave the library an overall luxurious look and feel. Kate suggested that we fly  up to the top of it from the outside to get a better look at the roof and windows. They helped to make the library a bright, spacious and open place to be.

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Next we ventured to Paris -‘les champs Elysees 1900’. When we arrived, immediately we became aware of the old-style French music playing on the streets. The roads were cobble-stoned and full with 1900’s style characters. They were lifeless, like manicans and reminded me of ghosts, dressed in top hats and bonnets. They were acting scenes out, for example, a photographer with an old-style camera bending down to capture a typical ld-style French family. Kate and I even drove around in an old-fashioned car for a little while (very slowly), after flying up to the top of the Eiffel Tower and walking along it, taking photos.

The third location we decided on was called ‘Landscapes unlimited: 3D environments’. The picture which coincided with it’s description is what initially attracted us, it depicted a scenic mountainous space. When we arrived, it was dusk and very quiet, excluding the sound of crickets. It was a peaceful place mostly made up with mountains and rivers. I found lying in the sky to be the most interesting part of this location as it allowed me to take in the sights. I came across a a glowing half moon, followed by a misty full moon in the opposite direction. It was wonderful to see the realistic elements combined with fantasy in Second Life. Kate and I also discovered the joy of swimming in the river, although we were essentially just flying through the water. The place was completely empty, but maybe that was linked to the wooden signposts in the centre of this location. On closer inspection we realised that these signposts had teleport options, ‘skewed geology (right click to teleport to S G/ Lijang River.’ Neither of us ventured away to any of these places, but we will definitely be going back to explore them.

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