I have recently bought FIFA 21 and it is somewhat of an upgrade from last years release. Anyways, there is a mode called ‘Pro Clubs’ where you can build your own player and give them certain attributes to fit your expectations. I built my player to resemble me but if you go to any lobby, these players are ridiculously overpowered. Its even worse when you choose to be a CDM and your opponent is a 6’7 99 pace 5 star skill striker with unlimited stamina. Of course, you would never see this kind of player playing in the Santiago Bernabéu or Camp Nou in real life (unless Mbappe moves to Real Madrid or FC Barcelona). We have all seen an invincible, god-like character in movies that portrayed themselves with no flaws and it does not seem farfetched why we would not want to be them either. For soccer players, we desire traits from a range of superstars. Messi’s left foot, Ronaldo’s jumper, Neymar’s skills, Sane’s speed, Lewandoski’s finishing, De Bruyne’s vision, etc.
What if you were given the chance to become the next big soccer player with all those attributes? What if the procedure was that of what is used in ‘Gattaca’ , possessing only the best traits? This would be a dream come true but with a consequence. If you look at every soccer superstar, you can see they lack in other traits. For example, Messi’s height, Neymar’s fragile injury-prone body, Maguire’s defending (Sorry Jessup. If you spend 80 million on a center back, you best believe people expect him to put up VVD stats). If everybody were given the ability to be the best soccer player, what’s the point? There was a famous Nike ad during the 2014 World Cup which showed genetically enhanced soccer players with the good traits of the best soccer players at the time. This led to the game of soccer being ruined and forcing soccer players to retire. I believe this would happen in real life. What makes the game I love special is that it is unpredictable. Nobody is perfect and that is okay. It gives everyone a chance to push to be the best that they can be.
I remember in middle school I wanted to be just like the other kids in my grade. I wanted the fresh trim, Nike socks, the wrist bands, and most of all, an iPhone. In 7th grade, the iPhone 5c came out and it was at a ridiculously affordable price. My father bought it for me as a present for my birthday and I was thrilled to show my friends the latest, up to trend iPhone (at the time). I went to Ni River Middle School in Spotsylvania county and they had a strict no phone policy but nothing was going to prevent me flexing my brand new blue iPhone 5c. It was the day after my birthday that I showed all my classmates all the new updates and installments that came with my new phone. As the day went by, people were asking for my Instagram, Snapchat, Kick, etc., and I didn’t have any accounts on social media. I wasn’t really a big fan of social media back then as I though it would hinder my education and it would only provide as a distraction. I would later succumb to peer pressure and made social media accounts. I’ve had the same Instagram and Snapchat accounts for the last ten years ever since. What I’ve noticed throughout the years is that I have built my on profile within my social media accounts. What I mean by that is that I’ve surrounded myself with things I like. For example, I started getting into soccer and I was getting recommendations to follow superstars such as Ronaldo and Messi. From there, I would get recommendations to follow brands like Nike and Adidas and advertisements would soon follow. It didn’t take me long to find myself wearing the cleats that soccer superstars were wearing on the pitch. I’ve always been a soccer fan, but if it wasn’t for social media and their marketing strategies, I would’ve never seen myself siding with Adidas throughout my soccer career. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but can I bring myself to commit to a switch to a brand like Nike? It would be difficult.
How would you feel if you found out your phone was being used by intelligence agencies and possibly other parties unknown to you? That the inside of your home and everywhere you travelled was being traced and the microphone recording every word that came out of your mouth? Technology has been developed to be a powerful tool for authorities to prevent potential threats but there comes a question of the legitimacy of privacy and how it is used. The question lies on who should be in charge? Who can make ethical decisions and implement it based off of foundational values of society. There is a scene in The Dark Knight where Batman invented a high frequency generator, basically turning all phones in Gotham as microphones . Batman seems to adore his creation while Fox disapproves of it. When Fox is done bashing Batman with his lecture of the machine being immoral, Batman gave the choice to Fox to destroy it once they are done using it to stop the Joker. Batman gave Lucius that authority because he chose to trust him and he knew that he would be the right one who can step on the break after doing what was necessary. In the end, Fox destroyed the machine. You can also hear Batman saying “Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded.” Fox is the rational, moral person to realize what the machine could be used for. Not only could it a threat to privacy, but it could also be a threat to our safety. Batman relied on the machine to help him locate the Joker (who at the time had multiple hostages) and, personally, I perceived him as a control freak. It is a controversial topic but I had to agree that the machine helped Batman locate the Joker and map out the environment to rescue the hostages. So, here is my question for the reader. Do you think we should have this type of technology in the hands of the government (specifically a department that specializes in surveillance) or is to dangerous as it can fall into the wrong hands?
Reading Foucault’s “Panopticism” reminded me of a book I read back in elementary. I do not remember the title or author but I remember the plot. There was an orphan who constantly got in trouble and was falsely accused for his best friend’s murder. He was sent to a juvenile facility but was later transferred to a sketchy prison that was deep underground. The setting of the place was very similar to what is described in Panopticism without the actual guards monitoring from above. What replaced the guards were shadow monsters that would spy on the prisoners, learning their behaviors and characteristics then reporting it to the warden. One by one, prisoners were taken out of their cells at night based on their behavior. The orphan’s friends said that the guards and warden keep them in check with the use of fear and control. I remember that one of the prisoners said that the warden is “all-knowing”. The orphan went along with the rest of the prisoners and succumbed to the constant monitoring and pressure in the prison, secretly looking for clues for an escape. So far, there is a resemblance of social control and the power-knowledge concept between the orphan’s situation and Panopticism. The orphan being stuck deep underground in harsh conditions, being forced to mine along with his fellow prisoners while maintaining good behavior in fear of being tortured is definitely a way that the prison is keeping him on line. The shadow monsters (in this case) are the monitoring “devices”. They observe every prisoners actions and report it to the warden. This is the reason why the warden was feared. He knew everything in the prison, making him the most powerful person there. However, the orphan didn’t crack under the constant abuse of control. Instead, the orphan found clues leading to the identity of the warden. The orphan’s resistance and will power led to his escape, only to find himself sent back to the very prison that he escaped from. I personally liked the book because of the orphan’s individuality and the warden’s all-knowing power. The warden was by far my favorite character because with everything he knew, he had the capability to act on it. For example, the orphan’s cellmate told the orphan a clue of the identity of the warden and the warden secretly tortured the cellmate, turning him mute and eventually getting him killed in a mine “accident”.
Rachael and Jacob are at home with their nine month old baby, Amy. There is a knock on the door and Jacob greets the FLYLINK technicians into the house. Rachael is excited with their arrival. The FLYLINK technicians install a modified crib for Amy. Once complete, the technicians attach a chip behind Amy’s left ear. Jacob leads the FLYLINK technicians out of the house and Rachael looks at her baby, curious how the chip will work out. After downloading the FLYLINK app, Rachael has access to link things such as skills and languages to Amy’s brain. However, Amy must remain in the crib for it to function. The next day, Rachael goes to work. She talks to her coworkers about FLYLINK and how it looks really great. Her boss walks by, signaling that she has to go back to work. Bored and very curious about FLYLINK, she opens the app on her phone. The app asks if she would like to buy an exclusive package which allows her to look at and modify Amy’s dreams. She purchases the package and creates a dream where she is singing a song to Amy. Rachael was so into the app that she didn’t seem to notice how dark it was getting outside. Wrapping things up before clocking out, she receives a notification that Amy disconnected with her crib. Scared for her baby, she quickly gets in her car and speeds back home. Running into the house, she sees Amy in Jacob’s arms in the living room. Rachael takes Amy away from Jacob and puts her back in her crib. Jacob tells Rachael that he knows that she was on the app all day at work. She doesn’t even acknowledge his concern. All she can hear is the monitor on the crib asking “Are you ready to install the newest update? It will take approximately 15 hours”.
I have recently started to read comic books in my free time. In the first week of classes, I stumbled upon a comic book series DCeased and gave it a look. I was intrigued with the story and the mention of technology. In the book, Darkseid succumbs to the anti-life equation after finding it in Cyborg. Cyborg escapes back to earth and unknowingly spreads the anti-life equation through visual technology (ex. laptop, phone, television, etc.) The anti-life equation turn the people into a zombie-like state. Batman, being the detective that he is, figures out how the anti – life equation is infecting the population. What was interesting in Batman’s part of the book is when he asked BatWave “How many people are already infected?” and the BatWave responds “An estimated 600 million worldwide. At the current exponential rate of internet dissemination, the virus will spread to almost every internet connected device within days. Billions will be infected.” This virus was derived from Cyborg into the digital world, making itself onto our very own devices. The desire and need to use our smartphones and laptops hold such powerful sways in our lives. With the help of the internet and social media, the virus went “viral”. In the book, there are moments where Superman is hovering above the massively infected Time’s Square, Lois Lane is upturning her couch because she heard her phone go off, and Conner and Damian are playing video games instead of doing their homework. If you haven’t noticed the trend yet, it is that we are drawn to these devices that we use daily. We want to see what the world outside – inside our screens- have to offer. What I like about this series is that it is unique compared to any other apocalyptic story. In DCeased, it presents the reliance and usage of technology throughout the world. If 600 million people were infected in under a day, imagine the numbers of infected in a week.