Proposals to raise awareness through art and games in August
We are in the first days of August; a month which is linked to summer leisure. You might already be on vacation or might be expecting to do so soon. You might have just returned and be enjoying the calmness of August in the city; you might have not had the chance to go on holiday.
In any case, August is a month of relaxation, of enjoyment of peaceful moments with our family and happy moments with friends. It is a month when our free time tends to be more than during any other month in the year. This free time can be used for entertainment.
Homo Digitalis does not have time to rest and relax, since an organization which focuses on the protection of human rights must be alert all year long and preserve the values, to which it is dedicated to. You will learn more on our activity in the coming days.
Notably, our experience has taught us that due to summer relaxation, this time of the year is used on purpose by the governments to act or adopt important legislation. Therefore, August is one more working month.
However, the human body needs moments of relaxation in order for it to be strong and human brain needs moments of creative thought, without being limited by everyday stress and pressure.
Thus, Homo Digitalis would like to suggest that you use the moments of leisure this August to start understanding more on the human rights issues arising from the use of the Internet and new technologies.
Let us proceed to proposals related to literature, cinema, comics and video games, so that young and old can receive important stimulus through entertainment. The following suggestions are indicative and do not illustrate the whole artwork. Moreover, Homo Digitalis neither has any economic interest from these suggestions nor has personal relations with any copyright owner.
Data dealer (2013): This game was created by activists and has as a main goal to illustrate through parody and humour the dangerous world we live in. The player becomes a data dealer, who trades them with every kind of recipients. In this way, the game transmits a message regarding the monitoring of a contemporary Internet user and its impact on the user’s choices and life. The game is available here.
VPRO & Studio Moniker, “Clickclickclick.click” (2016): This game is just one simple website. With the particularity that this website describes thoroughly the monitoring you are subject to every time you use the Internet. The place on which your cursor is moving, the time for which you remained inactive, the number of the websites you have visited in the past and your data, are communicated to you through a web voice (open your speakers). An experiment directed to raising your awareness. You can try it here.
Joint Research Centre (JCR) – European Commission, “Cyber Chronix” (2018): This game was created by the European Commission and its aim is to familiarize the public with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It is available in English, French and Italian. It tells a story, taking place light years away from the Earth. There, the heroes are trying to reach an event. Their path is full of obstacles related to the protection of personal data, which the player has to surpass. The game is available here.
Aldous Huxley, “Brave New World” (1932): One of the most beloved books and one of the most well-known in this list. The book describes a future society, where human feelings have disappeared. Human beings are classified in categories from the moment of their birth, which occurs in an artificial way. The creators of this world implant to every human certain ideas depending on the social class he/she belongs to, while humans who demonstrate some kind of consciousness are drugged. Truth is lost in an ocean of fake news, human are mundane existences and enjoyment rules the brain.
George Orwell, “1984” (1949): A classic book. If you have not read it, you should do so this summer. The book describes the story of a hero, living in a country with an authoritarian regime. All the citizens are under constant surveillance under very pressing conditions. Unlimited rule, subjugation and deprivation of information prevail, while privacy is non existent.
Ira Levin, “This Perfect Day” (1970): This story takes place in an apparently ideal globalized society, the most fundamental characteristic of which is uniformity. All nations of the planet have merged in one, while otherness in not acceptable. The population is drugged in order to remain obedient, while a central computer has been programmed to keep under its control any human action.
Neal Stephenson, “Cryptonomicon” (1999): This book includes an impressive number of technical information. It is divided in two stories, taking place on a different point in time. The first story concerns cryptographers during World War II, who decrypt and transmit fake news. The second one occurs in the 1990s; a team of experts in encryption, telecommunications and computer systems tries to create an anonymous network for transactions of digital currency and circulation of information.
Dave Eggers, “The Cyrcle” (2013): This book’s heroine is the young May, who is employed by the Cyrcle, the most powerful Internet company worldwide. The Cyrcle uses its own platform through which, its users exchange money, complete their banking transactions and socialize. The Cyrcle constantly develops new technologies, among which a camera which everyone can carry with him and record everything live. Soon, transparency becomes the most important value and the solution to every problem, while privacy is left aside.
David Shafer, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” (2014): This book describes events from the lives of three different persons. They have nothing in common, until the moment they are called to join other activists to fight against an anti-democratic team of people, who serve great interests and strive for the privatization of all information.
Yuval Noah Harari, “Homo Deus: A brief History of Tomorrow” (2016): The author examines the form of the world and the human of the future, based on personal conclusions, but also common assumptions and lessons learned through history, philosophy, sociology and many other scientific fields.
Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin, Muntsa Vicente, “The Private Eye” (2013-2015): What can someone say for these comics series? Exceptional creators, who have been linked with famous comics creations (Ex Machina, Saga, Daredevil, Amazing Spider-man) transfer the reader in an extremely particular future society. There, because of the fact that in the past the personal data of all people had leaked, thus shuttering the notion of privacy, the Internet is not used anymore, people come out of their houses only in carnival costumes, while the media play the role of police.
Brian K. Vaughan, Steve Skroce, Matt Hollingsworth, “We Stand on Guard” (2015-2016): This comic talks about the adventures of a group of Canadian citizens in 2112. This group is trying to protect their society from the US, which is a tremendously advanced State in terms of technology.
EDRi, “Digital Defenders vs Data Intruders” (2016): EDRi constitutes an umbrella under which all NGOs, which focus on the protection of digital rights in Europe and globally, are united. In the context of raising children’s awareness, it published the comic “Digital Defenders vs Data Intruders”. In the comic the Digital Defenders will show you some tricks and will share some advice to protect yourself on the Internet and will teach you “Web self-defense” to fight the Data Intruders.
Rick Remender, Sean Murphy, Matt Hollingsworth, “Tokyo Ghost” (2015-2017): This story takes place in Los Angeles in the year 2089. There, people live in a society, which drives them to addiction to technology and entertainment. Internet access has a significant impact, since every activity is monitored by hackers.
Cinema and TV series
Francis Ford Coppola, “The Conversation” (1974): The hero specializes in surveillance missions. A past incident though haunts every new task he assumes. This will also happen when a businessman asks him to watch two of his employees.
Peter Weir, “The Truman Show” (1998): Truman is the main hero; his life is being transmitted 24 hours per day worldwide, without him being aware of this fact. He lives in an artificial town, inhabited by actors, and fears to travel outside its boundaries and discover the real world.
Stephen Spielberg, “Minority Report” (2002): Based on the book by Philip K. Dick under the same title (1956), the movie describes technological evolution in year 2054, when murders are predicted before they are committed and the “perpetrators” get arrested before they commit a crime. What will happen when the director of this project will become the target of his own program?
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, “Das Leben der Anderen” (The Lives of Others, 2006): The movie tells the story of a man, who is a spy in Eastern Berlin 1984. There, the Stasi spies watch the citizens. The hero will adopt a different approach towards a writer, whom he is assigned to watch.
Charlie Brooker, “Black Mirror” (2011-today): This series consists of self-contained episodes, which describe stories occuring in the not so distant future, where new technologies have gained unpredictable growth.
Sam Esmail, “Mr. Robot” (2015-today): The series describes Elliot’s life, who is a computer programmer and hacker. His everyday life changes unexpectedly when he becomes member to a team of hackers led by Mr. Robot. The goal of the team is to destroy the giant corporation E-Corp.
Alex Garland, “Ex machina” (2015): The movie describes an innovative experiment; a programmer will have to spend a few days isolated with his boss, a successful inventor and businessman, in the latter’s villa. A robot with Artificial Intelligence, the latest invention of the talented inventor, seems to be the object of the experiment.
This brings us to the end of the suggested artwork. We really hope that you invest some of your time in one of them and take some stimulus from it. Please remember, though, that human rights challenges arising from new technologies, are not fictionary, but real.
Therefore, we call you to devote some time to our website as well. Here you can find content with which we pose concerns and inform the public on our activities, as well as the ongoing situation.
You can always contact us to express your concerns and learn more on Homo Digitalis. Please keep in mind that our team is open to new members, who are interested in the protection of human rights in the contemporary digital era.