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                                              Are Social Media Algorithms Becoming too Advanced?

                                              The words social media algorithms can summon scary and parasitic images in a person’s head, despite not knowing entirely what those words entail. As humans, we are designed to fear what we don’t understand. So, in this article, I intend to explain what algorithms used by social media sites are so that we no longer need to fear them.

                                              What is a social media algorithm?

                                              Instead of a person’s social media feed being sorted by the chronological time in which a post is published, companies can use algorithms to organize the posts that appear on a person’s social media feed by what the algorithm deems to be relevant to their interests. For example, an algorithm may cause a person’s close friends and family to appear more frequently on their timeline which an algorithm can gauge judging by how much time a user spends interacting with another user on that site. Another way an algorithm can be used is if a person has been searching particular subjects in the tags available on the social media site. So if someone has recently and frequently searched for makeup on the site then an algorithm will recognize this and as a result, posts that have been tagged with or are about makeup will then take the president on a person’s social media feed.

                                              An Example using Instagram

                                              Just think about Instagram statistics. The popular social media site has around one billion monthly users which are even more than other social media giants such as Twitter which only has 69 million users per month. That is far too many posts and users for an individual person to sort through and check on to make sure that person is receiving content relevant to their interests. This is why in some cases social media algorithms can be useful as they sort out low-quality or irrelevant posts on a person’s feed so that they don’t need to see them. It helps to make the site more enjoyable and tailored to the user making them want to use it more. Instagram themselves stated on their Twitter that as a result of their algorithm “your feed is personalized to you and evolves over time based on how you use Instagram”.

                                              Are They Becoming Too Advanced?

                                              Users of these social media sites, which at this point in time is most of us, have a right to be worried about why and how their profiles are used by these algorithms. It can be scary to think that data can be used to create such an accurate analysis of us that it is able to determine and predict what sort of content we would like to interact with. Some scientists did a study to see if constantly seeing positive posts and videos which in turn recommended more positive posts would then make us create more positive posts. Or more worryingly to see if having constant exposure to negative posts would make users in turn create even more negative posts ad well as what effect this would have on a person’s overall psyche. Whilst their evidence did seem to support this theory, their experiment however did have a very small sample size causing many to call their findings unreliable.

                                              They Are Not Perfect

                                              Whilst algorithms used by social media outlets are designed to give the user content based on what is deemed relevant to them, there are of course faults in this. Just think back to whenever you have come across a video in your YouTube recommended section and wondered why on Earth it had been recommended to you. Because at the end of the day no algorithm is going to be perfect which is something that we can all relate to, so there is no need to fear their use. At the end of the day, even if a post or video is recommended to you, it is still your choice if you decide to interact with it nor not. And some sites like Facebook and Twitter will allow the user of choice whether they want the content that is shown on their feed to appear in the chronological or recommended order. So, if even if after this article they still unnerve you then you have the option to opt-out of their use.

                                              Why Brisbane is at the Forefront of the Computing World

                                              Brisbane has proven itself to be advanced in technological development. One of the biggest draws for international students interested in studying in Australia is the quality of scientific research. Australia is among the top 10 spenders in the world for research and development. 2% of all scientific papers in the world come from Australia, putting the country at the forefront of new technology and innovations. More and more companies are moving to Brisbane each year because if your company needs IT support in Brisbane or needs access to advance tech systems, you are going to be spoilt for choice. These impressive accomplishments can prove to be beneficial for international students who choose to study in Brisbane.


                                              Technological advancements

                                              Australia is known for adopting new technologies at a faster rate than most other countries. It entered the new millennium with one of the highest rates of internet access in the world. Scientists and researchers from Australia have been responsible for many major breakthroughs and technological developments around the world. In fact, Australia boasts sixteen Nobel Prize recipients—not bad for a country with a population of about 24.6 million. The growth of technology in Australia has had several important results. It has increased opportunities for innovation and design, helped various industries make improvements in their already existing establishments, and helped to improve the quality of their goods.

                                              The technology growth has also helped to improve Australia’s economy, as it is now one of the leading countries in the world for importing and exporting goods. Australia has a tradition of world-class research and development, which has benefitted millions around the world, such as the discovery of acquired immunological tolerance in 1960, as well as observations that led to the discovery of the accelerating Universe in 2011. Australia prides itself on its commitment to scientific discovery and its ability to become so technologically advanced. Australia is in the midst of a major economic, social, and political transition, driven by global competition and technological transformation. Over the next 10 years, the pace of technological change will be highly disruptive to the workplace and this report examines the impact it will have on workers and the skills they need to thrive in the Australian economy.


                                              The future of technology

                                              Australia has a long and illustrious computing history. Trevor Pearcey’s Mark 1, also known as CSIRAC, was one of the first computers in the world. They have not stopped there. From the invention of Wi-Fi to quantum computing, they have continued to show their remarkable talent for innovation.  When you think of computers today, we may normally think of electronic digital devices. But the word ‘computer’ derives from ‘compute’, a word that entered the English language in the 17th century from the Latin computare – to come together or to settle an account. Before modern electronic machines, computers were people – mostly young women – hired to perform repetitive mathematical tasks by hand or with the aid of a mechanical calculator. When these functions started to be performed automatically by what we know as computer technology, the new field appropriated this term and human ‘computers’ became a thing of the past.


                                              How technologically advanced are they now

                                              Australia is still one of the highest technologically advanced countries in the world. Finland has taken top place as the most advanced. However, after Finland, other countries that featured at the top of the list were the USA, Sweden, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and the UK. The other European Union countries that were included in the top section, named ‘leaders’, were Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Austria, and France. Aside from their renowned computing technology, Australia is also well known for other innovations. Brisbane-based medical researchers Professor Ian Frazer and Dr. Jian Zhou developed the world’s first anti-cancer vaccine.

                                              Known by the commercial name, Gardasil, the vaccine protects women against four strains of a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV), known to cause three-quarters of all cervical cancers. As cervical cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women, vaccination has huge implications for the prevention of cancer. Since 2008, the vaccine has been approved for use in more than 120 countries. Also an Australian creation, the purpose of the black box flight recorder is to record all the conversations of pilots and staff during crashes. These recordings then later can be used to find the reasons for the plane crash. The box is indestructible and helps investigators to get to the source of the problem. The black box flight recorder was invented by Australian scientist Dr. David Warren who lost his father to the plane crash.

                                              At first, the black box installation was made compulsory for Australian planes but now they are part of every plane. This has helped thousands of investigators discover the causes of many planes crashes that have taken place around the world. Furthermore, perhaps one of the most common inventions used is the ultrasound scanner. The ultrasound scanner uses echo technology of ultrasound waves for imaging of soft tissues of patients in real-time. This non-ionizing technique which can be damaging in some cases has allowed doctors to maneuver into patients ’ inside without side effects. This is one of the reasons why ultrasound is frequently used in prenatal care as it easily scans the progress of the fetus without any harmful radiations. It was developed and commercialized by Ausonius Australian Company. The ultrasound scanners have become one of the vital imaging devices in medicine because it is portable, gives access to real-time imaging and is non-invasive.

                                              How Does VR Gaming Work and Why is it so Expensive

                                              VR gaming dates back much further than most people would think, the first-ever VR headset was created back in 1968 by a computer science teacher, Ivan Sutherland, and one of his students, Bob Sproull. The first virtual reality headsets for consumers were released in the 1990s but really VR became available to the average individual in the 2010’s thanks to a field-wide effort to develop more advanced applications for VR.

                                              The first prototype in the 2010s was called the Oculus rift headset, this is what boosted the interest in VR development, in 2014 Facebook bought Oculus for $2billion and took over the development of the headset, it was following this purchase that Sony, Google, and Samsung all started developing VR technology too. VR became available for the general public to try in 2015, a VR roller coaster was launched, you could watch a VR experience of what it looks like inside the oval office and a VR experience showing what life is like in a Syrian refugee camp. These were breakthroughs in VR technology and in the years following this hundreds of companies started developing VR and the technology advanced rapidly bringing us to all the VR gaming we have today.

                                              VR gaming is extremely popular in 2021, but it’s not yet as popular as normal games such as the first-person shooter game Valorant, this is a popular first-person shooter game known for how difficult it is so you might have to use these cheats to win easily at valorant. Keep reading to find out how VR gaming actually works and why VR gaming is so expensive.


                                              The basics behind VR gaming technology.

                                              How VR works is all dependent on a headset that creates an immersive 3D environment that simulates your vision. The screen on the headset prevents you from seeing anything that is happening in the real world so you’re fully involved with what is on the screen, the screen is usually a mobile phone or connected to a device with an HDMI cable to create the environment. Most VR headsets require a minimum frame rate of 60 frames per second to make it seem realistic and there must also be a high refresh rate to keep up with people’s movements. If these two things aren’t high enough it will damage the user experience as there will be a lag between their movements and the actions on the screen. These two things also have to work in sync as if the frames per second are higher than the refresh rate it causes a distorted image which ruins the image for the user.


                                              Other elements of VR technology.

                                              Whilst image is the most important there are many other elements that have to be considered. The sound effects must be in complete sync with the image the users sees for VR gaming to be good; it’s also vital to have the right sounds to accompany the image the user is seeing as if happy music is playing during a horror game it will ruin the whole user experience. On top of sound, many advanced headsets also track any head and eye movements of the user to improve their experience further. This is done with laser pointers, mobile sensors, and led lights to detect movement. These are used as they have a very high accuracy which all adds to the consumer’s experience.


                                              Why VR gaming is so expensive.

                                              Any gamers will know that VR gaming is considerably more expensive than any gaming that has come before it, whether that’s PC, Xbox or Playstation, etc. VR gaming has always been expensive, before Facebook bought Oculus not many companies were interested in developing VR which meant there wasn’t much spending going into development initiatives. As the article previously explains, as the image is so important the headset needs high definition display and motion sensors, all of which are still expensive now and we’re even more expensive when the first headset was developed.

                                              Prices are starting to fall as more and more companies are developing VR which means the hardware is more frequently used causing a slight reduction in price. Creating the 3D environment is extremely costly, as well as creating tricks to guide the user through the game. On top of this, VR audio is developed in a different way to usually game audios which again is much more expensive. The reason that VR gaming is so expensive is that it is much newer than normal gaming, the more that it is developed and used the cheaper it will become. If you’re hoping to get on the VR gaming trend but can’t afford it just yet then you’ll be glad to know there is expected to be a $9billion expansion in the VR market, this should help to decrease the costs so you can finally get your perfect VR headset.


                                              About Me

                                              My name is Young Varshavski, laboratory geek and amateur scientist for the last decade. My strongest passions is conducting scientific observations.

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