When the last global soccer season ended, back in April of this year, something incredibly crazy had taken place. Something which no one could have accounted for; something for which statistics had no justification; something which any data in the world could not explain. Leicester City, a soccer team barely anyone within global soccer circles had even heard of, had clinched the English Premier League, defeating the mighty and globally recognised teams of Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool. When its coach was asked the biggest reason of their success, he attributed it to their ‘firm belief’. This whole example teaches us one thing, that even though the world has undergone a data revolution, there are some things which can never be undermined.
Last Tuesday, Professor Hanlon discussed about how data affects every aspect of our lives, while also reminding of its potential risk. Data sees everything in black and white, and leaves no room for abstract qualities. Data is nothing but just binary cods strung codes, looking to transform inout into quantifiable output. Therefore, it is essential that we remain aware of how to utilise data. let us not forget; data is one of those things which distinguishes humans from animals. It makes our lives extremely convenient. However, if we fail to keep control over data and instead our governed by it, then we run the risk of overlooking many other things in life.
Since the data revolution, the whole world has come a long way. And by no means have we reached the end. Therefore, it is safe to say that the revolution in data is not yet over. There are yet more discoveries to be made and groundbreaking research to be conducted. Our knowledge into the realms of data is only meant to expand. However, it also requires that human element.
No matter how much I’m doing, I never feel like I’m doing enough. I always think about everything that I could be doing instead of focusing on how full my plate already is. It’s easy to lose motivation when you don’t see the results of your work, this happens to me often. However, Khalid Albaih’s talk inspired to me to just do it; to continue whatever I’m already doing and to involve myself in other movements no matter how small my contribution may be.
As an artist whose political cartoons have gone viral, Albaih once also felt as if he wasn’t doing enough for his community during times of crisis. With most of his work online, he wasn’t directly involved in protests or policy change, but his art had a much larger impact than intended. Much to his surprise, his artwork started popping up in random places all over Egypt, both as a sign of resistance and recognition. This shows that even the smallest of contributions to a movement can carry immense power. Albaih’s work being posted throughout the cities of Egypt is almost a parallel to the use of the Mockingjay symbol in the Hunger Games. People can unite through his art, building community, and can also use his works to represent their reality: both physical and emotional. It goes to show that you don’t have to be on the front lines to galvanize people to revolutionize, you can sit behind a computer screen and have a profound effect.
After realizing this, I started to think, what can I or we, as a Colby community, do to create change even it seems small? The most obvious to to use our privilege for good and not evil, to speak up for the voiceless, and to protect the liberties of others. This privilege I speak is not solely related to finances or social class, but also on nationality and location. Albaih said that in Egypt, “they break you without giving anything back. No healthcare. Nothing.” As Americans, we have many liberties that we often take for granted, which needs to come to a stop. We need to start thinking “how can I use this service to make a difference?” Also, Albaih mentioned that the rhetoric “you could be president one day,” is unheard of in Egypt, due to political corruption which leads to presidents who stay in office much longer than they should. Showing that even small children musing over this potential careers are more free than others, which many would never think of.
In Egypt there are people literally lighting themselves on fire because of how distraught they are with the current state of affairs and the constant presence of injustice in their community. In America, we have people who won’t even light a fire under their own asses to help others. Do you see the disconnect? There is so much more that we need to do and that we can do. No matter how large or small the task, just do it. It’ll make all the difference.
When asked whether the Arab Spring revolutions were a success or not, Khalid Albaih replied that “revolutions take time.” A few months, or even a few years, is not long enough to gauge the success of a movement. Albaih also discussed his experience with going viral, something that is much more fleeting. Virality is an important part of a modern revolution for spreading images and ideas in the era of social media. Viral images help fuel revolutions, but they are soon forgotten. How fleeting is virality if the themes and ideas expressed in viral social media posts live on in the revolutionary process? The idea of a continuing revolution encompasses the ongoing themes that are explained in temporary, instantly forgotten people and images. Virality and revolution go hand in hand because each large-scale event is made up of smaller scale happenings. Continue reading