On episode 5 of this series of the Digital Human podcast (link to show below), we explored violent content online – why we criticise those facilitating the supply we rarely talk about the demand. Aleks Krotoski asks who views it and why.
One of our guests was Russell Ryland, who moderated the now banned Watch People Die subreddit, who explained why so many people were drawn to watch such content, and how they were demonised in the mainstream media as violent and hateful, without speaking to any of them.
Here is an archived comment thread where users explained why the were subscribers, and even how they believed viewing the content had improved rather than damaged their lives.
Researchers also found that fear of terrorism and having a history of violent victimization appear to draw individuals to this highly graphic coverage – and that watching such videos was associated with global distress and fear of the future about two years after they went viral. The report appears in American Psychologist, the flagship journal of the American Psychological Association.
“Our study is the first to identify the motivations behind viewing a beheading video and the long-term consequences of doing so,” said senior author Roxane Cohen Silver, UCI professor of psychological science. “Our findings suggest that when individuals are afraid of horrific acts of cruelty occurring in the world, they may be curious to seek out graphic coverage of these types of events. But this may only exacerbate their distress and anxiety over time, locking them into a spiral of fear.”
Violent content online has rightly been condemned. Yet while we criticise those facilitating the supply we rarely talk about the demand. In episode 5 of this series of Digital Human, Aleks Krotoski asks who views it and why.
In this clip Journalist Brianna Snyder recalls an occasion when her curiosity got the better of her, and lead to her being compelled to view extreme content online.
Hey guys, all episodes of series 17 are available to download both from BBC Sounds and on iTunes. So if you’re the binging type when it comes to audio check it out. Especially check out our 100th episode special, the Analogue Human – we loved cutting that on tape.
We loved having Damon Krukowski on today’s show, but we only managed to touch on some of his research into how the shift to the digital world has shifted our perception of the world.
Thankfully, Damon’s Radiotopia podcast and book ‘Ways of Hearing’ where you can go on a proper deep dive. I love episode 5 in particular, it’s about ow digital corporations have created a musical universe that adapts to you no matter where you go in the world – but go on and binge the whole thing, with headphones, you know you want to.
How can we explain these exorbitant numbers? Are people unaware of the dangerous health threat tobacco poses? While denial may play a role, mere misinformation is unlikely to be the reason. Anti-smoking campaigns continue to increase, and with cigarette packs featuring printed warnings like “smoking kills”, it’s hard to ignore the fact that fags simply aren’t good for you.
The reason that millions of people choose to inhale toxic fumes every day—against their better knowledge—is the strong temptation of instant rewards such as the relaxing effects of nicotine or social acceptance from peers. The human drive for immediate gratification and the challenges this imposes on our self-control are powerful factors affecting our choices. While little tricks can help us overcome the emotional pull of tempting rewards, long-term success in abstaining from negative habits crucially relies on our level of future-orientation, i.e. the extent to which we consider future outcomes.
Rosie Matheson is typical of the new wave of professionals who have embraced film. At the age of 22, the portrait and documentary photographer has worked for Adidas and Nike, and for Vice and i-D magazines.
“My parents had an old 35mm film camera lying around, and I picked it up around age of seven and started to use it,” she recalls. “I started shooting digital when I was a teenager but I never fell in love with it. The images looked compressed to me, [they] didn’t look authentic. The darkroom is for me almost therapeutic, going into your own world, listening to music, bringing these images to life.
Watching it all happen, a physical experience. We’re now in such an instant world, with iPhones, digital cameras. It’s good to have this slow process, ripping off the wrapper around the film, putting it in the camera.
Film photography focuses your mind but with digital, the brain tends to wander off when you’re still taking the pictures
“With digital, on a shoot you’ll have a team of anything from five to 30 people looking at your pictures on a screen, and then someone jumps in with their own point of view about your pictures, and directs you how to shoot. With film, it’s just about what you see through your viewfinder, and your subject. No one else is involved. That shows in the photographs: there’s more sense of feeling and atmosphere. People are intrigued by a slow process. It means more.”
It’s our 100th episode today (cue squeaky wee geeky squeal). So Digital Human flipped the script and we’re bringing you the Analogue Human! Edited and broadcast from TAPE!
With the help of artists, musicians and photographers Aleks asks if the endless possibilities we’re offered by digital tools are as liberating as we think or paradoxically are they paralysing, making it impossible to choose one product, picture, tindr date over another.
In this sneak pic, musician Damon Krukowski explains the difference between the clean, perfected sound of the digital world, compared to the organic noise in analogue world. And how in cutting out the messiness of noise, we may risk losing layers of complexity, beauty and meaning in the world.
Can feelings be stimulated through mid-air touch? And more importantly, can technology convey these feelings from one person to another over distance? As if out of a science-fiction novel, answers to these questions around haptics and emotions were recently provided by Dr Obrist’s group at the University of Sussex, in collaboration with Bristol University and Ultrahaptics.
A technology that can mediate emotions in this way has a variety of application opportunities, Obrist said, including opening up new ways of communication for deaf and blind people.
“A similar technology could be used between parent and baby, or to enrich audio-visual communication in long-distance relationships.”
“It could [be applied] either for one-to-one interactions, such as a discrete tactile system between a couple or friends using, for instance, wearable technology, or it could be used for one-to-many interactions, where we can create tactile sensations for many such as in a cinema to create more immersive viewing experiences,” she said.
“All that we now know is that there is a non-arbitrary emotional mapping for mid-air haptic stimulation but we still need to further validate this mapping” Subramanian, co-author, said.