Archive for April, 2011

The Future of HealthCare. (Week 13)

The Internet in a nutshell.
The Internet is essentially defined as a network of networks. Which makes it still the same now as it has been in the past, and will probably be in the future. First and foremost, it is imperative to recognize that the major advancements and changes that are observed are actually how we have utilized that phenomenal medium. In a nutshell, we have taken the concept of inter-connections, the fundamental aspect of the Internet, and expanded it to a massive, global scale. It is has been used to progressively connect various aspects of our lives in ways that some of us could not have even imagined. This phenomenon not only positively improves our lives, but also brings us closer to one another.


How has it help us before, now and will in the future.

As previously mentioned, the trend that we noticed is that the Internet basically helps us to be connected to one another by integrating various types of technology together. In turn, we have predicted that more and more aspects of our lives, such as transport, our community and business organizations, will be seamlessly integrated and made more ubiquitous. One such aspect that I would like to focus on is Healthcare.


e-Consultation.

Besides Medicine, Treatment and Surgery, a large portion of Healthcare as based on consultation. Having been a Health Science student during my years in the Polytechnic, I had access to basic ailment treatment knowledge. As I proceeded on to the enlist for National Service and even now as an Undergrad, my peers who knew about my Health Science background often asked me questions regarding simple medical advice. This is a small representation on what consultation actually is; people who know more advising other people on what to do.

The Internet at present can already help people diagnose common ailments and provide suggestions of various treatments to remedy them. However, there is an obvious limit to this. The signs and symptoms have to be easily interpreted by the average person for the ailments to be diagnosed accurately. If the ailment requires a more professional opinion or advanced equipment to diagnose then the sick person would have to spend money and time and head to the neighborhood clinic or even to a Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department if it is during an inconvenient hour.

The Future of Healthcare.

My vision for the future of healthcare is that there will be an online hub staffed by medical professionals from various fields and anyone with a connection to the Internet can have a diagnosis without even stepping out from their homes. How would this work? In the future, online communication will definitely be much more advanced. Doctors and other physicians can use high definition webcams and microphones to observe their “patients” and give instant diagnoses. Outpatients who require regular check ups can also save time by using this service.

Not everything.

However, an online medical hub is not meant to replace hospitals or clinics. There is no way a visual consultation can match up to an actual physical examination. Blood tests, hands-on clinical examinations and exclusive medical equipment can never be replicated at home. But this can prevent minor ailments that do not require immediate medical attention that often chokes up the Accident and Emergency Department in Hospitals. Additionally, it saves time, encourages people to be more active regarding their own health, and facilitates a better healthcare system.

Conclusion.

Healthcare is one of the most important aspects of our lives and the Internet has graced it with its widespread reach and interconnectivity. The online medical hub is a perfect example of how the Internet as a vast and interconnected network can help us regarding the field of Healthcare in the future. It is also important to note that however, not all attributes of Healthcare can ever be changed by the Internet. There is nothing that can substitute a qualified person with proper equipment to diagnose and treat ailments face to face. Or can there be? We shall have to just wait and see what is in store for us in the future.

No cure for the Viral Video. (Week 12)


Funny and interesting things are always happening around us.
And sometimes we happen to catch them at the right time. It could be accidental like someone falling down in a funny way, or natural like an animal making a weird sound, or even purposeful like a friend who has a unique talent.
Sharing stuff

In the old days, when we see something like that and probably tell our friends and peers over coffee. Some might not believe us, but others might find it interesting as well and in turn, tell their friends and peers.


Later on, camcorders were invented and we might get lucky and catch that interesting bit on film.
Then, we can actually show these entertaining instances to our friends and family with the aid of a VCR and Television.

Going Viral

Presently, with the ubiquitous presence of hi-tech filming equipment and recording devices on smartphones paired with the vast networking capabilities of the Internet, sharing such amusing clips has never been easier. Now, it is so easy to share videos that your audience would not just be limited to your friends and family now; there is a potential audience of more than a billion users on the Internet. If your video is exceptionally intriguing or entertaining enough, it could be shared and viewed all over the world garnering millions of views. We call this going viral.

Therefore, a Viral Video is essentially just a regular video that has achieved immense popularity in a relatively short amount of time by the process of Internet sharing. These videos are a modern revolution, only made possible by the recent prevalence of high-speed wireless Internet, social networking and media and a desensitized generation. Video sharing sites like YouTube, Veoh and DailyMotion have been created to further fuel the phenomenon of the Viral Video. Additionally, social networking sites and smartphones will bring about a buzz that even the best marketing teams in the world cannot create.

However, besides all the modern breakthroughs that enabled such videos to be seen all over the world, the videos themselves have to be interesting and captivating enough for people to want to spread and share them around. More often than not, these videos are short and have a comical aspect to them while others have other characteristics like a novel theme or sensational amateur work.

Here are some examples of Viral Videos. These videos have millions of views each. I have chosen these few as they were from normal everyday people who became overnight celebrities solely because of their videos.


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Conclusion

The Internet has changed the way we view videos like many other aspects of our lives. The viral video is just one of the many phenomenal creations brought about by the Internet revolution. It also symbolizes how the Internet makes things more convenient and faster to do as well as how much more of a Global Village the world has become. Viral videos have infected the world with laughter, amazement and entertainment, and it seems very likely to be a chronic phenomenon that’s here to stay.

Now everyone’s a Journalist with the Internet. (Week 11)

The Importance of Journalism

Saying that journalism is vital part of society would be an understatement. Without it, how would we know about anything that’s happening around the world? We would be clueless about everything major that is happening even in our own countries. Indicating that there is a lot of responsibility resting on the shoulders of Journalists. Any distortion, biasness, alteration or omission in their reporting may bring about cataclysmic consequences.

Journalism for Everyone!

So what is Journalism essentially? Dictionary.com defines it as, “the occupation of reporting, writing, editing, photographing, or broadcasting news.”
Sounds simple doesn’t it? Simple enough that any half-witted nosey-parker armed with a cheap laptop and a loose grasp of what he or she believes is the English language can do so?
I think not.


The Endangered Journalists

Journalists are one of the most respected professions in the modern world. Not only do they have to be strong in their language, they are also expected to report the news in an objective and unbiased manner. However, a strong sense of skill and ethics is not enough for some journalists. War correspondents and political journalists in countries with corrupted governments put their lives on the line just by doing their job.
 


Citizen Journalism

With that being said, I return to my previous point. How can unqualified commoners even attempt such a paramount task?
Ah, but they do. Under the guise of “Citizen Journalism.”
Ever since the emergence of Web 2.0, there has been more and more user-generated content. It was inevitable that a portion of this content would be news related.
A local website that features many articles from “Citizen Journalists” is STOMP by The Straits Times. They have a section titled, ”Singapore Seen” where netizens can contribute anything they deem newsworthy by submitting an image or even a video clip accompanied with a brief report. Another important feature of this section is that other users can voice their comments on a particular article. Most of these articles are of trivial matters and are mildly entertaining at best. However, there are some articles that just painfully display ignorance and irresponsibility.

Repercussions

Just take the article above as an example. Even though the woman in subject may seem like a public nuisance, she is clearly suffering from a mental illness. It is tragic enough that she is alone and confused while no one around understands or even helps her. On top of that, the writer of this article felt it was necessary to take a photograph of her, call her crazy and post this article on STOMP. He or she is trivializing the poor woman’s plight and at the same time publicly humiliating her in a website that has a few thousand viewers daily.

Benefits

However, I do understand that there is some entertainment value in citizen journalism. Who doesn’t enjoy reading about gossip or trivial issues from time to time? In fact, some articles of citizen journalism are rather insightful and bring an interesting and unique perspective to the table. This is a refreshing break from the mundane and heavily regulated local news.

Conclusion

Initially, I was extremely apprehensive, like the tone of this Blog entry, with the idea that the Average Joe can just call him or herself a journalist and just ramble on while thousands, probably ignorant or misinformed, would just listen and give their worthless opinions. A wise man, Hank Green, once said, “It’s almost as if our society values opinions more than it values knowledge.” One might gain nothing from most of these articles, but can lose valuable resources like time, tolerance and insight. On the other hand, a little gossip and trivia does not really hurt anyone. Moreover, there are actually some good and enriching articles also written by Citizen Journalists that are thrown into that mix. All that is required is that the moderators do more thorough and stringent regulation so as to weed out any undesirable articles like the one in subject. And try not to further sully the profession that is Journalism.