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The Resonance Project ...
Process Page about the Project
Questions about resonance
bout resonant knowledge
Content Pages of the Project
Taxonomies of Knowledge/s
The New Addictions
The Resonant Knowledge Field
General Wiki Posts ...
The new 'artesan' culture
Speaking of Fructose
Speaking of Openness
Speaking of intrinsic learning
Order and fundamentalism
Low knowledge life-styles
Speaking of sugar
Like & not-like, cats ...
Silences of War
Water as text ...
Synaesthesia and Learning
Speaking of Agency (and presence)
Ecologies of Knowledge
Live MOOCs Talking (ii)
Speaking of Thresholds
Speaking of Sex Crimes
Reflection and Data
Speaking of Footprints
Speaking of Openness
Speaking of Taxes ...
Speaking of Jews ...
Bitcoins of Learning
MOOCs, Assessment, Fragile Zones
Zero Growth ?
A Probe is a probe ...
Meaning, consensus, language?
Space for new affordances
Genocide and genetics
Designing for Open Affordances
Open Sesame - understanding Open MOOCs
A Live MOOC talking
Active Learning MOOCs?
Learning or Training
A story of a boy
Popes and Chairs
Next Learning Architectures
Hybrid Flipped Spaces
Knowledge Ecologies .2
Ecologies of Identity
Lines of Desire
Social software (not!)
Footprints of Emergence
Designing Emergent Curricula
Emergent granny cloud +
MOOC is as MOOC does
Complex 3D Footprints
A JAM of Tweets
Seductive Social Software
Hats versus Vampires
From online- to e-journals
Paradoxes of Virtual Choirs
Benchmarking and Mastery
Berlin as Palimpsest
Emergent and Instrumental Learning
CoP and Small Planets
Perfomative or Analytic?
Schulmeisters and hegemony
Integrity and Utilities
The Soft Machine
Designing for Complexity
Top Brain - Bottom Brain
Instrumental and Ontological Reflection
Medium is the Massage
Narrative and Complexity
Conferences and Publications and Events
SCoPE Webinar Series on Emergence: Nov. 2013
Eifel ePortfolio Conference, July 2009.
HEA, July 2009
Greenwich, July 2008
Affordances and Political Ecology
Discourse and Text
The new addictions
The New Addictions
Our Brave New World is full of surveillance (George Orwell got that one right). But more invidious are our designer addictions, sold to us as ‘empowering’ consumer choices. The most ubiquitous of these is
big data for small minds
which, like convenience food, is very tempting, but it’s not actually good for you. (Short-cuts often end up selling you short).
(And the new Gulliver fable will be about us
tying ourselves down
with thousands of pieces of - convenient - string, we won't need someone else to do it for us).
happens in the space that opens up when appetite is held in check - for yourself, &/or for a wider community, to get what you/we need.
, on the contrary, are exactly the opposite, they are never held in check – the more you have, the less you're satisfied; the more you ‘eat’, the more you want - which you soon convince yourself is what you really need. And they generally also include a temporary 'high' of some kind.
Virtual and Synthetics Addictions
... and the de-articulation of experience:
on-line, in drone-attack command centres (see abstraction #11,
Ironically, this is the inverse of the realignment of the 'firm' in the 1980's and 1990's when
was first fashionable. Dis-intermediation cut out the intermediaries, and linked ordering straight through from the customer to the firm, or even to the production line. Dell computers adopted this quite early. Amazon, today, is a more complicated derivative.
So adding additional layers (and technologies) between people and their materially shared experience, which we might call
re-intermediation, or diversionary intermediation
[there must be a simpler way of putting this, no?] seems to be an odd thing to do in a world of 'connectivity'. On the other hand, it could be seen quite differently as
multi-intermediation, or diversification
- adding more and more ways to connect one person's
to another's, over and above face-2-face, snail mail, telephones and telegraphs. The question is, do you get hooked, addicted, lost or distracted, or just learn to multi-task and multi-mode?
Which leads us back towards the question of our addictions.
In addition to our traditional, material, addictions, we now also live in a world of virtual and synthetic addictions – addictions that are manufactured as malevolently magical commodities, or designer addictions (to go with our designer shoes, clothes, cuisine, etc) … i.e. goods, services and activities that 'magically' increase your desire for them, rather than satisfying you. The more you consume, whether it’s 'food' for the mind, body or soul, the hungrier you get for more. Our addictions now include a whole range of virtual and material synthetics: things which have been specifically designed, engineered, manufactured, and marketed to hook you in, as a never-ending, perpetually unsatisfied, ideal consumer.
The perfect 'magic' commodities, in a perfectly distorted market, with numerous dangerous side effects, from obesity to mental health onwards. These markets have not reached their apogee, but rather their initial point of perfection - a never-ending machine to extract surplus value.
Many of these designer addictions are frighteningly 'normal' now: nicotine, sucrose, salt, diuretic soft 'drinks’, etc. Added to these are a range of specifically virtual activities that consume our attention, which, like convenience foods, can make us
, just as high sucrose / high salt food ‘stuffs’ can make us
and/or obese. And virtual addictions can even end up making us
For instance …
A recent report in
, warmly endorsed its sound byte/ headline:
“Statins prevent 80,000 heart attacks and strokes a year”
. And it quoted Richard Horton, editor of
who brazenly “likened the harm done to public confidence by the critics of statins to that caused by the paper his journal published on the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine in 1998”. A colleague pointed out that Horton said he was taking a stand “because of [The Lancet’s] experience of MMR. "We saw in a very painful way the consequences of publishing a paper which had a huge impact on confidence in a safe and effective vaccine. We learned lessons from that episode and those lessons need to be widely promulgated. They are lessons for all journals and all scientists”.
However, what Horton failed to say was that Wakefield was a personal friend of his, three of the putative authors withdrew their names in protest, Wakefield was about to market three separate MMR vaccines which would have competed with the single MMR vaccine and, worst of all, it took him, as editor, 12 years to get the Lancet to retract the paper.
The Guardian report also quoted NICE (The National Institute for Clinical Excellence)’s guidance, “in 2013, to prescribe statins for patients with a low, 10% risk of [developing] heart disease in the next 10 years, which was half the previous level of a 20% risk. It made 4.5 million more people,
who were fundamentally healthy, eligible for statins
Just one, simple, conclusive figure, no?
No. “80,000 heart attacks and strokes a year” sounds like a no-brainer. But the bottom line is that statins are effective for only 10% of high risk people, and for only 5% of low risk people, and only if they take the statins for five years. And when you join all the dots, and find out that the actual cost for
each event avoided
is something like half a million dollars, per person, you start wondering why NICE has lost the plot. There are many other ways to spend half a million dollars (each) to help people improve their health and life-style, and it is probably a safe bet that many of the alternatives would be more than 5% effective - for all those low risk millions. NICE seems to have completely lost sight of its mandate, i.e. to regulate the cost-effectiveness of
, and is exclusively focusing on
The bottom line: Why would anyone try to convince 95% of the low risk, "fundamentally healthy" millions to waste their time, and our - and the NHS's - scarce resources, taking statins for five years that have no benefits, and carry the risk of substantially damaging side-effects?
However, ‘saving 80,000 people’ works wonderfully as convenience data. It makes the bottom line (or headline in this case) simple and easy to understand, and with the Guardian’s own endorsement, it apparently clinches the argument. It’s also a sophisticated strategy to provide simple – or in fact simplistic – ways to use ‘big’ data to provide misleading 'knowledge' for small, lazy &/or confused minds.
More broadly, this supports the widespread addiction to convenience data of the media (including the supposedly critical
), one of the top medical journals (and its editors), the politicians, one of the top universities’ researchers (at Oxford), and even the ‘objective’, arms-length regulator, NICE. The addiction to this kind of convenience data unfortunately resonates with many other modern addictions. And as a ‘virtual’ addiction, it's that much more difficult to pin down. It’s a no-brainer – in more than one sense.
2. (to follow: convenience data in higher education, educational testing, pre-schools, immigration, Brexit, and many more ... )
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