Inquiry Project: Esports

I am studying esports because I want to find out the different conceptions regarding videogames in order to help my readers  question what characteristics define a sport.

What characteristics define a sport and how does esports fit into this in the progression of technology?

So what are esports? Is it just people playing a videogame? I say no. Major League Gaming, a North American professional Electronic sports organization, has consistently made the comparison of esports to regular sports. Esports consist of the same elements of teamwork, skill, training, competition, and even its own fan base. Yet, the debate of whether video games should be considered a sport continue. Is it the negative connotation associated with videogames? I feel that videogames are equated with antisocial, unproductive, and laziness.

Or maybe, its the fact that esports is so new and recent compared to traditional sports. In this new world of technology, these definitions toward the virtual world are becoming outdated. Will it really take technology reaching the point of virtual reality before digital games, as opposed to physical, become accepted as sports?

Yet, the issues concerning videogames seems mostly prevalent only in the western world. In the East, games are advertised much more and accepted. Internet Cafes and PC lounges where such games can be played are prevalent and only helps to encourage the culture of gaming. The population that follow esports is also significantly larger as a result and the potential for a career is more significant. Even in more traditional families, videogames become just a matter of moderation and stress relief while still providing an alternate route to success. There have been estimates to be 10 million South Koreans that regularly follow esports. Such a major difference in attitude  between two sections of the world.

Games, such as League of Legends, can attract tens of thousands spectators to live events where they can support the professional players. Tournaments, prize pools, and coverage have only grown larger with time.

League of Legends Worlds Tournament 2013

This may be due as a result of the creation of Justin.tv and now Twitch.tv dedicated completely to the coverage of games. This has led to simple access and live streams to watch the games you want by the players you’re interested in. Aside from publicity, it also promotes a chance for a career as well as generate revenue. This field is not without its own share of controversy such as fair play or how players and commentators should conduct themselves. But does this not only emphasize the growth of this community and it’s comparison to other sports? If a commentator for a sport is out of line, they are fired. Should one for an esport not also be fired? It’s these dynamics that continue to develop this community.


*Edit: Some questions have been changed for clarity.

Call for responses

What do you consider as sports? Is chess a sport? What about poker?

To what extent do you consider non-team games (golf, tennis, skateboarding) an extension of a sport? Does this extend to esports (Call of duty, Halo, SSBB?

Do you think esports will continue to grow? Do you think esports will be accepted anytime in the near future?

Concept experience 3: Can you dig it?

Thumbs-Up-Thumbs-Down

Diigo. Never heard of it before this summer. What it represents, though, is one take on Englebert’s vision of a suppository of information. Not quite as he imagined it with the punch cards and filing system but with the analogy of our bookmarks and tags, it certainly resembles his vision. Diigo may or may not be the next big thing in terms of sharing “academic” information among groups. Should it come to pass, it would be a change in the methodology portion of our capabilities. And if doesn’t, then it’ll fall to the wayside until another methodology makes it’s debut.

 

Englebert also describes unit of knowledge as “kernals.” I’d like to think of them as “pools”, an enclosed space.

jusenkyo

The thoughts and ideas have the potential to flow from one pool to another. And at the same time, perhaps there is an underwater system connecting these pools. But on the surface, each is unique. These pools represent any repository of information such as research or even each other. We each possess our individual knowledge and we share it when it is convenient but otherwise stay within our pools. Jeremy makes a good comparison to a web, literal and figurative which helps illustrate the idea I’m trying to convey. Each bubble is interconnected yet separate from each idea or person.

 

This idea applies to my research on esports. Each person represents a pool of their own individual skill, experience, and knowledge. If they are on a team, they can share it among the team and the pool grows. If it is a solo competition those skills are their own, enclosed within their person.

Decoration_2x2_elder_scrying_pool@2xContinuing with this idea of pools, as esports became more renowned, scrying pools became available. It became possible to watch displays of skill amongst players. This has largely been due to increased interest in this topic. “Scrying pools” such as Twitch.tv  allowed players to actively follow events and players as they play in their respective games.

I hope to continue to dip into new pools of information and research such an interesting topic, well at least to me. Although, I quite haven’t figured out what to make of Diigo yet.

Nugget #3: Domino Effect

Artifacts–physical objects designed to provide for human comfort, for the manipulation of things or materials, and for the manipulation of symbols.

Language–the way in which the individual parcels out the picture of his world into the concepts that his mind uses to model that world, and the symbols that he attaches to those concepts and uses in consciously manipulating the concepts (“thinking”)

 
Methodology–the methods, procedures, strategies, etc., with which an individual organizes his goal-centered (problem-solving) activity.

Training–the conditioning needed by the human being to bring his skills in using Means 1, 2, and 3 to the point where they are operationally effective. -Englebart

Englebart identifies human capabilities as those listed above; artifacts, language, methodology, and training. This distinction coincides with his later analogy that human problem solving for humans needs to be broken down into smaller steps. Human augmentation, natural or otherwise, would begin at least with one of those levels of human capabilities. Should any improvement in technology improve one those capabilities, an explosion in “human intelligence” as a whole will increase in bounds. Each improvement creating a domino-effect that would lead to the next until it once again reaches stagnation.

Englebart uses the example of the brick-pencil that if the artifact was poor or unwieldy in this case, it would dissuade its use and lead to stagnation of thought and language and thus would create weaker methodologies in problem solving as a result.

Going with the pencil example, it was through the invention of paper that spearheaded further technological advances as it allowed a collection of ideas that could be stored or shared. Writing, recording, and copying books was a long process. One that needed to be shortened in order for technological advances to continue. At the present, has the technology of a “pencil” reached it’s limit? Can we further develop an even more efficient pencil? I’m honestly surprised to pushed beyond a wood pencil and into mechanical pencils. Our current tool, being computers and electronics has not even nearly reached it’s limit.Evolution-des-wissens

It has been drilled into me that: evolution occurs at the population level. An individual does not evolve, he adapts. The above image would show the progression of man. Is what we are currently, the final form of human evolution? If we are at our limits, it would be our tools or artifacts that would continue our progression. The development of electronics has continued to improve our capabilities and our understanding of the world.

It would be just a matter of time before technologies like the 3D-imaging, voice recognition, scanners, prosthetics, etc. become reality. A cyborg or superhuman that appears in science fiction could very well become the next step in human progression.

 

Solidifying choices

Man, I hate choices. It’s the unknown that gets me. How can I possibly know what is the best choice?

Our group inventory this week truly revealed the extent of possible topics available in regards to digital media. It ranged from social issues to trends to horror movies and possibly everything in between. I’m not adverse to the idea of collaborative brainstorming, but if I were to relate this back to my first blog. There was simply too many choices it became an information overload. What started as earnest inquiry became hurried skimming as I browsed through the list.

From what I’ve written about prior, I hold a high interest in AI technology and video games. I’m also interested in justice, big or small, technicality or not. I can’t quite think of a topic that encompasses everything, but we can’t have it all. There are many topics that interest me, I could continue to write about AI technology or maybe even go into hacking and social issues. Justin appears to be interested in topics concerning social media and social justice, a very relevant topic as we become more linked through the inter-web. As I am not an avid social media user, I wouldn’t be a very good person to talk about a topic like that. Yet, I could talk about lurking….The choices continue on.

League of Legends Season 3 Worlds Tournament

In the end, I’d like to write about esports. It’s an emerging topic as newer technologies and interest in the culture of professional gaming arises. It’s also easily the community I commit to the most. There are some controversies regarding whether or not this should actually be considered a sport as well as disdain for the gaming culture as a whole.

Esports is garnering enough interest that it could easily rival other sporting events. It’s just a matter of time before it becomes accepted.

 

Concept Experience #2: Got lost

The hardest part of anything is the start….and the end. So finding a starting point was suitably difficult. How could I possibly choose something out of the vast array of interesting topics? I hate choices. Nonetheless, I started with a suitably interesting topic: Anonymous, the hacker group.

This experience followed like any other experience I’ve had on other wikis. I promptly began looking for interesting topics that follow.

2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacktivism

Certainly an interesting topic to look into. The original negative connotation of hacker paired with a less negative connotation of activist in the hope of creating a somewhat more positive image. I’ve always been interested in the concept of justice, it’s such a broad spectrum and at times, good and right don’t necessarily mix. Yet, as I continue along, an interesting link appears.

3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult_of_the_Dead_Cow

The name was certainly unique and caught my attention. How could I not be interested in something with such a ridiculous name? It appears their goal is to spread universal human rights among other rights to the Internet. Grossly simplified and simply not to be trusted regardless anyways. I’m sure a hacker group wouldn’t just release their hidden motives. This of course led me to:

4) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_con#Hacker_conferences

I was extremely surprised that such a thing as hacker con existed. In my head, “how could this possibly be a thing and not get shut down?” This convention is of course for security forces and to share counter hacking techniques and the like. I don’t stay here for long and immediately leave for the next interesting link.

5) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phreak

Once again, it seems I was attracted to both the unknown nature of this topic as well as the unusual name. A Phreak is simply a someone who explore telecommunications systems, phone + freak. That appears to be the limit of my interest in this topic, so I move on to the next interesting topic.

6) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_box

7) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_box_%28phreaking%29

8) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_box_%28phreaking%29

It was a trap. It wasn’t interesting at all, I was tricked by the name. I was almost pinned by the lack of links. Blue box -> Black box -> Red box.

These are all terms relating to gimmicks telephone phreaks have devised to avoid paying for phone calls. These links almost pinned me into a dead end.

9) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pay_phone

Unfortunately, I was still pinned inside of telephones. Luckily, I was somehow led to salvation.

10) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deregulation

A topic that could be interesting, but I was more  glad to be away from telephones. There’s always been issues with figuring out how much the government should regulate and not regulate. This was definitely more interesting  than telephones. I’m not quite sure if I could relate this to my starting topic.

 

This experience showed that the computer is certainly limited. It required my guiding hand to sift through the many options, the links, to find topics of personal interest. It was not able to provide me any feedback but simply options. Topics diverged but since this exercise didn’t particularly have an “end” in mind, I had no need to backtrack so getting lost wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I maintained the control of the path, while the choices were provided by the computer.

 

 

 

 

Nugget #2: Artificial intelligence

The limitations of humans stems not from our intellectual capabilities but instead time. There simply isn’t enough time to do everything. Katie shares a valid concern that incorporation of would instead hinder thought if we allow an over dependence on technology.

 
Throughout the period I examined, in short, my “thinking” time was devoted mainly to activities that were essentially clerical or mechanical: searching, calculating, plotting, transforming, determining the logical or dynamic consequences of a set of assumptions or hypotheses, preparing the way for a decision or an insight. Moreover, my choices of what to attempt and what not to attempt were determined to an embarrassingly great extent by considerations of clerical feasibility, not intellectual capability. -Licklinder

Licklinder seems to be a pragmatic kind of guy. He simply sees the problem that most technical work entails and proposes a method to address this.   He compares the need for incorporating better, intelligent machines into the work to symbiosis, a system that occurs in nature. Although Justin makes a good point on the efficiency and largely different though capabilities of our brain that may hinder such symbiosis. That would just be a matter of technological gap and would just need to be overcome like any other hurdle.  So when we have the technology, why not use it?

We Have Technology

Not necessarily like the above, but why not allow machines to handle the tedious documentation and administrative tasks? I’m not quite sure if he’s envisioned cyborg or electronic augmentation. Licklinder’s description of what the intelligent machine sounds remarkably similar to what we call today, artificial intelligence.

There have been worries about advanced AI overturning human rule, taking a life of their own, or compromising our electronic systems. Morgan seems to be of the more pessimistic type who would be more inclined to believe in the below. There is a fine line between good and bad and it is ultimately in our own hands that determines it. Was nuclear energy not under similar circumstances?

matrix pods
Pods used to hold humans while bio-electrical energy was extracted pictured in the movie Matrix.

On the other hand, instances of advanced AI seem to be better accepted in the form of say Iron Man.

Would it really be so bad to have a system like J.A.R.V.I.S? Garell agrees. The capabilities that J.A.R.V.I.S. would open up is outrageous. It would handle the calculations, data recording, and inform us of pertinent reading and results while we then make an informed decision. J.A.R.V.I.S. even takes away some physical limitations through utilization of holograms.

The many hurdles Licklinder mentions seem to for the most part have been overcome. Siri would be an example of a public released form of AI that is somewhat capable of responding to us. While I don’t know the particulars to Siri’s specs, improvements are still being made and languages being added to Siri’s databases. As AI technology improves and becomes adapted for use in the scientific world, it would certainly provide a boon in freeing time for scientists and researchers in the pursuit of knowledge. Artificial intelligence seems to be the next step towards advancing technically.

Symone maintains an apprehensive stance towards development of such technology. That would be a correct stance to hold. We comprehend the nature of man and we take slow steps forward to utilize such terrifyingly good and bad technology. We’ve seen both the potential for good and bad, albeit via movies, it’s just a matter of putting that use for good.

Inquiry Project Post 1

lurker

 I am a lurker. There’s no easy way to put it. I lurk, I consume, and I leave. I lurk the sub-reddit of my interests, League of Legends and Path of Exile. Both are videogames I am interested in and play. So I lurk them, I extract relevant information I may need for my own gameplay. I extract funny stuff that may appear on the reddit. When I have had my fill, I fade away without a trace. I don’t even have a reddit account.

In my early years, paranoia was rampant and I feared leaking my real name on the internet. I had once thought it would provide enough information for someone to target me. Of course I realize now that it was pretty unlikely and I no longer share such fears, although I still take care on what I let out towards the internet.

I suppose some of that mentality has leaked to the me of today and it’s made me a lurker. I’ve never truly committed myself to any particular social media or even digital media. I’ve been a lurker for just about every source. I make rare posts on Facebook, zero posts on reddit, and zero posts on forums. In fact, I essentially only use Facebook as a messaging system to organize events due to the fact I know others check Facebook regularly; I utilized that knowledge to my own advantage. A fellow blogger, Blurpity makes a good point about how social media can warp relationships. I agree, social media should supplement human interaction not replace it. It really is astonishing how many people just chill around with their phones on Facebook as a means of escapism from social settings. So maybe, just maybe, I’m avoiding social media…..for the greater good.

I’m sure there are other reasons I don’t commit to these sources. One big reason is that there are stories you can find online to read, fictionpress.com being one of them as well as other forums. When an author “dies” they disappear without a trace and they leave their many readers waiting.  Just waiting expectantly for an update that may never come. For example a fellow blogger, Morgan, has several blogs and a good sized waitingfollowing on her personal literature works. I commend her on such an accomplishment but realize I couldn’t do it. I can’t stand the feeling  of disappointment that would ensue if I ever up and left and I don’t think I could ever subject that to anyone who followed me.  I don’t make posts so others won’t miss me when I disappear. Because in the end, I inevitably will for one reason or another.

And so I lurk…..

Associative trails

history screenshot

My thought process started serious, but then took a sharp turn towards a distraction before reeling back on path. My nugget post started with the first thought that came to mind regarding the topic and I rolled with it. Took a bit of research to start off, but as  one thing led to another it then arrived at what I’m interested in: video games.

“What’s the best way to tie in video games?”

Thinking back to some relevant games, I arrived at a more serious but related topic that fit my interests, artificial intelligence. I’m pretty single-minded when it comes to my tasks. Although I say that I’m single-minded, I’m sure if the assignment were longer or if I weren’t time constrained at the time of the assignment, there would’ve been significantly more distractions running around.

Nugget 1: Information overload

The Pinnacle ListAs knowledge and technology progress, there becomes an information overload. There is simply too much information for the common man to retain. This is even present in our everyday lives as companies advertise their wares and logos. We selectively screen and delete extraneous information in order to suit our needs.

“There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things.”

-Vannevar Bush

Technology advances much in the same way. They simplify our lives. They allow us to focus on more important things. Because there is so much complex operations to be computed, mechanical application or artificial calculation is utilized to increase efficiency.

Information overload is not a problem easily solvable and occurs at both the micro and macro levels. It occurs in our everyday lives but will also occur as we delve into the sciences. Perhaps the advent of technology and artificial intelligences will help solve this problem. There are reservations about artificial intelligence and possible risks and dangers, but I believe it is truly necessary for progression of knowledge. We are simply too limited to encompass all relevant knowledge even within just one field.

Terra Adjutant from Starcraft 2
Terran Adjutant from Starcraft 2

“Mere compression, of course, is not enough; one needs not only to make and store a record but also be able to consult it, and this aspect of the matter comes later. Even the modern great library is not generally consulted; it is nibbled at by a few.”

-Vannevar Bush

Advanced artificial intelligence would fit perfectly as a solution to this problem. Compression, comprehension, and consultation all wrapped up in one of many convenient programs. This can be seen by example of the Terran Adjutant from the Starcraft video game series. While not playing any particular role during game play, her role in the story is to assist commanders through navigation, administration, decryption, presenting history, acting as advisers, and storing data. This being just one sci-fi example of the possibility that AIs would open up.

 

Average thoughts

Thoughts are many things. They are present and then not; it is inconsistent. As much as I like to think that I am productive, there are multiple moments  where my mind is blank. I’ve been told that I am a hard person to read. Well for starters most of the time, there’s nothing to read so you’re not missing much.

My thoughts are like plans. They are made and abandoned almost immediately.  There’s a saying that “no plan survives the enemy.” If my everyday life is the enemy, my plans and by extension my thoughts, are never constant.  Of course, that’s during the periods where there are actual thoughts running through my mind.

I also have a habit of deleting innocuous information from my mind. For example, at my house in the kitchen area there are four light switches. Despite living there for several years, I still do not remember what each switch turns on. A pretty simple piece of knowledge that repeatedly gets deleted from my mind.

So what does all this say about my way of day-to-day thinking? If my mind were a computer, it’d be consistently running a disk cleaner and going into standby when not in any particular use, yet at the same time, sharp when needed.