Originality is dead, but so what?

In the modern society, creating a completely original piece of work has become an impossible task. Whether you’re creating a work of music, text, film or software, the basic framework of the piece will undoubtedly already be in existence. This leads us to a culture of remixing and remaking, taking the best parts of already available material and combining and improving on them, recombining them in exciting new ways. (Ferguson 2011) Which brings us to the question, is a solely remix culture really that bad? In the modern age, “new” material is quicker than ever to make, and most often samples or combines all the best bits of systems before it. Shouldn’t this mean the overall quality and rate of progress in the system is also increasing, and if so, wouldn’t remix culture actually be a good thing?
Technology’s rapid advancement has remix culture to thank. For countless generations, scientists and inventors have been taking prior research, either to find physical applications or as a basis for further research. (Brown 2013) The wealth of knowledge we have now would not exist without humans’ innate ability to take information and change it to suit our own purposes.
So what’s the problem? Admittedly, not all remixes-especially in the music world- are better than the original. It also gives rise to a nightmare of patent and copyright claims, as creators struggle to maintain the integrity of their “original” creations. As it stands, the law recognises ideas or patentable material as completely separate entities, unlike any other existing material. But if everything is a remix of some sort, how is it possible to claim rights over anything? (McGraw 1988) This legislation grey area has been the headlining topic in many court cases all over the world, and will only be resolved when the law finally evolves to keep up with the ever developing culture.

An example of remix culture at it’s finest.


Brown, P. (2013, 15/11/2013). “Remixing Science.” Scilogs. Retrieved 30/04/2014, 2014, from http://www.scilogs.com/from_the_lab_bench/remixing-science/.

Ferguson, K. (2011). Everything is a Remix Part 1. Everthing is a Remix. Retrived 30/04/2014 from http://vimeo.com/14912890

McGraw, M. (1988). “Sound Sampling Protection and Infringement in Today’s Music Industry.” Berkeley Technology Law Journal 4.


Transmedia: A Path for the Future

Experiment.com has the potential to be a hot house for innovation in the area of transmedia.
It takes part in transmedia itself, by offering bits and pieces of a research story that can then be tied in with journals and newspaper articles, which all build on the information pool. It also encourages research to further explore described area of study, or one branching off from it.
Not only this, but it has the chance to offer prospective aid in the development of software- such as reality simulation helmets, interactive interfaces or holograms(Palmer 2012)- which could have countless applications in the transmedia cycle. With such interactive technology the audience could actively participate in stories as they are told, gaining information through these pieces of tech, as well as books or via the phone and apply this knowledge to the virtual world in which they immerse themselves.

What augmented reality helmets could look like. From http://www.kabk.nl/arlab/archive.php?id=47

What augmented reality helmets could look like. From http://www.kabk.nl/arlab/archive.php?id=47

Experiment.com-or a similar crowd funding site- could also fund the development of products such as interactive stickers. These could then be placed in a variety of locations around the participants, and offer small clues like the reference to a particular book section, which would then mean the audience would have to engage with a variety of media types in order to play out the story they are presented with.
Transmedia is made possible by the ever variant supply of media products, and it is scientific research such as seen on experiment.com which leads to the production of cheaper, lighter, more resilient, environmentally friendly or more interactive products which then further fuel the transmedia marketplace. Without research (and funding for this research) into new media types, transmedia as a concept could not exists, and it is only with the support of science and engineering that it continues to evolve, such as it pushed forward by experiment.com.

Palmer, A. (2012). “Vision of the future: 10 hi-tech inventions we’ll hopefully be using in 2030.” The Mirror. Retrieved 29/04/2014, from http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/technology-science/technology/10-hi-tech-inventions-well-be-using-1451863.

Jenkins, H. (2007) ‘Transmedia Storytelling 101’. Retrived 29/04/2014 from http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/technology-science/technology/10-hi-tech-inventions-well-be-using-1451863

Crowdfunding: Produsage at it’s most beneficial

Experiment.com as a platform for crowd funding relies on produsage. Incidentally, it tends to conform to Brun’s our characteristics on produsage (Bruns 2007).

1. Open Participation, Communal Evaluation
Whilst funding can only be applied for by scientists based in the United States of America, it encourages participation by sponsors from all over the globe. These sponsors then act as moderators of content, with only research assignments that engage the interest of the participant on the site ever fulfilling their monetary goal.(Luan 2014)

2.Fluid Heterarchy, Ad Hoc Meritocracy
There exists a somewhat clear heterarchy in the use of Experiment.com. Those with the knowledge and ability create the research projects to fund, and those with an interest in such projects fund them. Power is then granted to the sponsors to boost or dismiss projects as their interest dictates. If the project reaches completion responsibility is then placed back into the hands of the sponsored scientists to communicate their discoveries and share their experimental results with the people that funded them.

3. Unfinished Artefacts, Continuing Process
The projects themselves are under a strict time limit to gain funding, after which they are removed. However, if they successfully reach their goal, the research generated may continue for a number of years, and led to discoveries which themselves generate other field of exploration or application. The results generated, even a null result, can have unlimited applications to wider science, and in this way the research generated never quite reaches completion.

4. Common Property, Individual Rewards
Some of the finer details of the research may be withheld, but every individual sponsoring the research topics receives many short and long term benefits. This includes learning about the research, thus gaining a sense that they have made a positive change to society’s knowledge pool, and in the long run seeing the reality of the impact the research has had on the community and their own lives.(Grant 2014)

Grant, R. (2014). Experiment.com is pushing science forward with crowdfunding. Science, VentureBeat. 2014.

Luan, D. (2014). “Crowdfunding for Science.” Retrieved 14/03/2014, 2014, from http://www.experiment.com.

Bruns, Axel (2007) Produsage: Towards a Broader Framework for User-Led Content Creation. In Proceedings Creativity & Cognition 6, Washington, DC.

Time to Reflect

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Albert Einstein

Having always known that there exists a divide between scientific understanding and media reporting, through my BCM110 study I’m being to form a better developed concept as to why this gap exists. Through commercial interests and general disinterest from the public, science has struggled to gain a foothold as an important feature in the news. In understand now that the mediated public sphere is filled with members of all backgrounds and education levels, and with science and many scientific discoveries being somewhat hard to understand, especially to those without a detailed knowledge of scientific concepts, brings about the understanding of why most of the public space is not concerned with what they see as inconsequential or unimportant scientific discoveries.
From reading others blogs, I have gain the crucial insight into media issues such as self-esteem and “the ideal appearance” induced by the media, and how, in many regards the people have power over the media by either paying, or not paying attention to its content, and in this way shaping content for the future, whilst at the same time being shaped by the content they are exposed to. I am reminded constantly that there exists a realm outside of the scientific approach, which I find hard to branch out to myself, however through others blogs I gain a valuable and much wider view on concepts such as media control, perceptions, signals and signifiers than I would through just my own research. This in turn also highlights how scientifically I look at most factors in life, a key concept of my personality I’ve only just come to fully recognise.
I now begin to scrutinize the news I once took for granted, considering the reasons they give particular stories the length and time slot they do, and what their possible commercial, political and social motivations behind the arrangement are. However, like the debate on sexualisation on children in the media, I’m worried that this course has invited me to treat all media reporting suspiciously, when in fact there might-and probably isn’t- any sinister motivation behind showing a piece on the political state of Australia right after a clip of a water skiing squirrel.
One universal message I have taken on from this course is the ability to think for yourself, but always respect the thoughts of other, which I will carry that with me for the rest of my life.

Your Perception is Your Reality

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
Benjamin Franklin

The mediated public sphere is host to countless debates, of varying accuracy. (Fallon 2013) The information for debate on most topics comes largely from the media, which members of the mediated public sphere rely on for their sense of the truth. This then means that the types of media the viewer’s choose to consume shapes their sense of reality, and it is when media “truth” comes into conflict with either members of the public sphere previously established sense of reality, or another media sources information that debate arises.
One of the substantial benefits about science reporting however, is that science only conveys demonstrable facts. This means that, dissimilar to the reporting of politics or commerce, any opinion only becomes valid through its supporting data. To quote science writer Alex B. Berezow, “Science, therefore, is a world where truth trumps ideology.”(Berezow 2013)
This becomes a controversial when scientific facts presented conflict with the viewer’s own perception on the truth, especially when it comes to pseudoscience, such as alternative medicine, and religious beliefs, for example creationism. It then becomes a constant battle for scientists and science journalists to debunk the scepticism surrounding these issues, in an attempt to better educate the general public.
In this interest, Real Clear Science, a prominent online science journal released an article titled “Settled Science that Is ‘Controversial’” in an attempt to address common scientific misconceptions such as the controversy around evolution, animal testing, vaccines and alternative medicine. (Lightman 2013)Whilst this would have created a public uproar if published by a more main stream media site such as the Daily Telegraph, as most of the readers of Real Clear Science already have a clear understanding of basic scientific concepts, these misconceptions came across as informative rather than offensive to their perception of reality.
Thus is the struggle for science to communicate itself. The general public fear either what they don’t understand, or information that conflicts with what they think to be the truth. Wanting to avoid controversy, the mainstream media has a tendency to sideline science reporting, which only serves to increase the ignorance of the mediated public sphere even further. This sets society into a death spin of scientific illiteracy, only stoppable by viewers themselves making the choice to search for greater knowledge via wider reading.

Berezow, A. B. (2013). “Our Most Controversial Science Articles of 2013.” Real Clear Science.

Fallon, D. J. (2013). Habermas and the mediated public sphere. DHAMMA2553’S BLOG. wordpress.com. 2014.

Lightman, A. (2013). “Settled Science that Is ‘Controversial’.” Real Clear Science.

The Power of the People

There exist countless crowdfunding models on the internet, however few manage to gain the grandeur of experiment.com. Admittedly, there exist larger crowd funding sites- such as kickstarter- but experiment.com succeeds in the fact that it addressed any area in great need of provision, and does so successfully with the support of its users.

Some of its success comes from the generation of a sense of community, an emotional attachment between the donors and the research they are helping fund. This is done by the researchers sharing information, progress reports, successes and failures, with the citizens that donated, making apparent the events that they, through donating helped put into motion. Most of this research is shared initially only to the parties that donated, which again creates a better sense exclusiveness and even importance. This constant communication creates a community of people, all centred on a main project, who feel personal attached to its progress.

Not only do the members of the public benefit, but also the researchers. Experiment.com gives them a platform to gain funding, and the constant sharing of results helps them first off to stay motivated and on course for their research, and secondly helps them gain an insight into the public response to the results, before it reaches the public sphere.

It is the audience that holds the key to success or failure in every crowdfunding exercise. Without the support of the audience via donations, none of the projects on the site would ever reach completion- at least not at a reasonable rate- and the site would cease to exist. It’s success speaks for the supportive nature of the audience, and suggests a wide breathed of viewers.

The Freedom of Control

Jenkins suggests that there are two types of media management: Freedom and control(Jenkins 2004). Whilst the real world practise of this is nowhere near as black and white, most media enterprises can be related to one side or the other, most often appearing in a hybrid of both.
This idea of control or freedom can be related to media concentration- where any message gains authority by simply being broadcast on network television, or an equally reputable source(Jenkins 2004)- or collective intelligence- where a message gains visibility only if it is deemed relevant to a loose network of a diverse public (Malone 2012). This tends to correlate to the two different models for dealing with the distribution and creation of information. A controlling media aims to strictly regulate the content, using via the use of gate keepers and closed system formatting, occasionally using legal action to ensure compliance. The other media, which places emphasis on freedom (heavily favoured by the gaming industry) +involves encouraging user input and modification, using grass roots sites to further enhance the user experience, and supplying easy access to the codes or other modification tools.
Experiment.com is a beautiful system because it aims to act simply as a vessel for interaction between research teams and sponsors. The site is a great example of a hybrid system, with some degrees of both freedom, and control. The controls are in place to ensure that the scientific research is legitimate, however after which the researchers can choose to structure the information they disclose in any manner they please, leaving a large any of room for innovation through the ways in which they communicate with their audience (their sponsors). This allows the researchers (and the overarching institute or research organisation) to dictate how much information they disclose and what kind of information is released.(Luan 2014)

Jenkins, H. (2004). “The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence.” International Journal of Cultural Studies 7: 33-43.

Luan, D. (2014). “Crowdfunding for Science.” Retrieved 27/03/2014, 2014, from http://www.experiment.com.

Malone, T. W. (2012). “COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE.” Retrieved 27/03/2014, 2014, from http://edge.org/conversation/collective-intelligence.