Final Reflection

So this is the final blogpost, god knows how much I’ve actually enjoyed writing these posts to you guys. My last one is hopefully going to be my best where I reflect on the course, CORE2096 with Professor Maha Bali.

This course has prepared me to meet people from outside my circle, city, country and even culture with ease. Using the Soliya program has made me take time to think about the things that I have in common with people from all over the world, and that could be a conversation starter. Starting a conversation with a stranger in Asia for example, would be the starting point, and then getting into debates about inter-cultural problems, resolutions, just anything that both of us can benefit from. I believe and I actually have seen the potential of learning loads of new information and learn from experiences from people that belong to different parts of the world. During Soliya, we always had long discussions about various topics that would be very popular in one’s country. Sometimes we would all have the same opinion on the topic, and we’re all on the same page, and that feels nice. It’s nice to know that you can actually agree with something and they’ve not only been raised differently, but the life experiences that they have been through is way different than mine. Yet, we would agree on topics and that shows me exactly what we all have in common and which is that we are all humans. The rational, natural instinct of a human plays a vital role in their decision making every day, and that’s what we all have in common. I’m very happy that I had the privilege to actually see that in people.

I’ve also learned how to spot the fake headlines that’ll delude you and change your thoughts about a certain topic whether political or social. In Egypt, these headlines are usually political and can spark major problems in the country. I feel that there should be more awareness in Egypt about this topic, I’m glad that I’ve taken this topic in the CORE2096 class since I can then not only use it for myself, but also share it with my close friends & family who are vulnerable just as much as so many other people to fake news. I’ve shared a video with my class about the technological advancements that fake news have reached. I mean for god’s sake; people can now imitate speeches of world leaders! It is becoming a very dangerous issue in the world and we should be fighting it. I feel that Professor Bali has done a great job emphasizing on the major points of fake news, and how we can avoid them in our daily lives whether when we’re surfing the web or scrolling through our news feed on Facebook or Twitter.

I constructed a game for this course with my classmate, Karim Habashi. We’ve constructed a game about being under the influence. We felt that it was vital that we aware young & old people about the harms of being under the influence at any time, we tried our best to make people refrain from using the substances, but we also had the guidelines on what to do when you’re under the substance. I’ve learned in this class how we’re all a part of a big society, and how we should all contribute to it with anything we can. We didn’t do this game just for the purpose of fun or the course, but mainly to aware people around us. I feel that we should empathize, and try to help each other whenever possible. I’ve learned a lot during the month of the topic of empathy, Lina Mounzer wrote a heart-felt article, that made us all sympathize with her case, or at least what we first thought was her case. She hit the head of the nail when it came to the topic of empathy and playing with our emotions.

Overall, I have learned a lot about becoming more of a human integrated in the world society than anything else. Becoming an actual better version of myself, I feel that attending the classes of CORE2096 were very beneficial to me, it has added a lot to my personality. I’ve enjoyed discussing various topics throughout the semester with my classmates, each and every one of them has contributed to who I am today. To be honest, I wouldn’t change anything in the structure of how the course is. Absolutely amazing that we would have the majority of the class attending classes and always discussing any kind of topic. That fact on its own, even with people knowing or assuming that it’s just a “core” class is an achievement. Professor Maha, this is for you, do not change anything about the course structure, it is perfectly fine. You can change the content if you would feel it is suitable, but please do not change anything about it. I’ve told my friends about this class all throughout the semester, and they’ve observed my assignments, everyone was fascinated by how this course is. I will never forget this course, nor will I forgot Professor Maha, who I know for a fact, contributed to the person I aspire to be.

 

I thank you all, the people who took the time to read my blogposts, play the games, and handle my stupid sarcastic jokes at times. I wish the best for all of you, and I wish the best for Professor Maha. Man, I hate goodbyes even if it’s a course in a semester in a university, specially one like this.

With warm love,

Mahmoud Yehia

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Contribution on Fake News

Whats up folks,

I come to you today with an amazing video that I’m sure, if you haven’t watched it already, will blow you away. We are so vulnerable nowadays to these videos that we watch online on different social platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. A video done by Bloomberg on fake videos and fake audios brilliantly shows how easy it is to make such videos and even how crazy it can get

As someone stated in the video “This is fake news on steroids” it is very true. I laughed a little but this is really the truth. Everyday there are new ways to develop these ways to develop some video, audio, text, etc. to manipulate people and sometimes even cause conspiracies to happen. I believe that as humans, we are all good on the inside, and we all naturally expect clarity. These videos/audios prevents the truth and honesty from shinning out by making problems, spreading fake statistics, anything of this sort. The results of having a group of people believing something that hasn’t happened or wasn’t said would be catastrophic.

There are a couple of cut scenes from past U.S president’s press conferences imitated by another man using AI. It’s absolutely appalling how much these videos look real. There are a couple of programs that have been developed to detect these fake videos and audios, and they’re based on machine learning. People are starting to become more aware of the problem, but obviously not many. I asked 4 of my friends who were with me a while ago, and they had no idea about this problem. We need to aware more people by sharing such videos, for me, it was a very interesting two and a half minutes. I can’t wait for my classmates to check the video out in class on Thursday!

 

Here’s the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLoI9hAX9dw

Soliya Reflection

Hey guys, welcome back to another spectacular blogpost haha.

So, I wanted to tell you guys about Soliya, which is an online cross-cultural educational program that has its own independent platform and everything. It is actually a pretty impressive place, and the group meeting rooms are pretty advanced. We can get into rooms of 2/3/4/5, however the facilitator would like to group us. It’s not like a Skype video conference, you feel the professionalism in the work of the Soliya team. Understanding the website didn’t require a genius and didn’t have a pretty heavy guideline on how to make things work. For me, it’s very comforting when I have instructions that are direct, clear and understandable. This was exactly it.

Going in into my first meeting with the group was pretty amazing. I was astonished by the fact that is this actually real, we’re 6 people, from all over the world accompanied a facilitator and all of us are ready to share every bit of culture they have. We started out talking generally about everything, then we got into separate rooms and had one to one discussions. I enjoyed my talks with Laurina, one of my peers in Soliya who is from Finland, I learned a lot from her and from the cold that she was hiding from at home haha. Oh guys, I forgot to mention I was the only guy in the group (excluding Justin, who’s our facilitator). The rest of our group were from Tunisia, The United States, Italy and Finland. Basically we had people from all over the place.

I learned in this experience that we humans, are all the same. Just minor differences in appearances and life experiences, but we are all the same souls that are sharing every bit of them with the rest of the world. I can go out in the world and interact with everyone, with full confidence. Soliya has given me the opportunity to actually test it with people from around the world but virtually, just to learn and understand how that is. I’ve been all over the world, Europe, Asia, North Africa, etc. But I didnt usually interact with people there that much. Soliya has given me the motive to start interacting with people and just share stories because of just how damn fun it is. I would love to do it more in the real world and converting my digital experiences into real life experiences.

To conclude my experience, again, I’ll have to say that I’ve enjoyed it a lot. I’ve learned a lot and you guys can understand why from the points mentioned above. I’m going to be trying my best to communicate with people from all over the world more often, gaining more knowledge and experiences that things like books do not teach. This is real value that needs to be more of the concern of some people in our society. Mainly people who do not know how to communicate with people with different religions, skin colors, etc. I’ve seen a few of them around my University and I would recommend it to them without a doubt.

Check all about it, on their website.

http://www.soliya.net

 

Do Not Track

Holy moly, this documentary is one of a kind. I have never seen such a user-integrated, informative documentary before about any topic. Relating back to the Fake News blog that I posted a couple of days ago, this documentary is related but its not the same at all in the same time. We’ve talked about this before in class, where whatever we search for, chat about, post about is being used to grab our attention to certain products. I’ll use the example that I’ve used in class.

For example, I’ve lost my Reymond Weil watch a few months ago, and it’s a pretty expensive watch. I was thinking of what I could do in order for my dad not to find out, and I thought about getting a more luxurious looking watch and then say that I just traded my watch and paid some extra money for the watch that I have right now. Right after I start talking about this and the topic becomes pretty common to think about, I see ad’s on Facebook about this new watchmaker that is blowing off the industry with its cheap luxurious watches and is being highly considered when it comes to watch market. It really did grab my attention, I browsed through their collection, prices and delivery dates, they succeeded in tracking my interests and grabbing my attention.

This is just one small example of what is happening to us when sharing our information online. I would say that the platform that you choose to share your interests/information in doesn’t really matter, because the specialized people, will still grab your attention with different products since they have all the information they need about you. Heck, Facebook ad’s know that I’ve started playing rugby and that I’m looking for gear to buy for the game and it recommended me a few websites that I should visit to buy rugby gear.

I’ve talked a lot about myself and what we discussed in class but I didn’t talk about the documentary that much yet and so, I will do it in this paragraph. As I mentioned above, this documentary is one-of-a-kind documentary since it integrates you with questions and direct answers to your answers which is a first for me. The documentary showed me where I was accessing the video from by showing how the weather is like (20 degrees in Alexandria, cloudy) and that I was accessing the website from a laptop. They deduced these 2 points just by me visiting the site and watching some content. Can you believe this? Throughout the documentary, many tracking situations like this happen to show you easy it is to track a person online and gather information about him/her. What’s very impressive about this documentary is that bit by bit, it gets more personalized for you with the questions that you answer, and new information that you discover. It is just done so amazingly, the infrastructure of the website is just flawless. Industries make a lot of money just by gathering information about us and selling it to the desired companies, its like they filter us, based on our interests, wants, needs, etc. It’s spooky, and I know a couple of people (40+ years of age) that quit using the Internet, and don’t have a smartphone. They have a normal Nokia phone that’s definitely not traceable. The email’s are the only thing probably being tracked for people like this, but they know how to deal with it by having a strictly-business email that is on a corporate server for example, or a university server and that will most likely ensure safety of information.

My tip to all of you is to first, start watching and learning from the http://www.donottrack-doc.com documentary, then start following the tips & tricks provided and always be careful when it comes to sharing/posting information about yourself on the internet. This month of November has came to an end, but I definitely enjoyed discussing all these internet privacy / information legitimacy discussions that we had in our CORE class. I hope you all can follow this documentary and understand how vital this issue is and how present it is in the whole world.

Fake News!

Hey everyone,

This month, November, we started a new topic in our Core class and to be honest is one that we can all learn from. We’ve talked about Fake News, a topic that is greatly ignored and a problem that most of us fall into. How many of us clicked on that interesting pop-up link with attention-grabbing line as recent as “Projected images of the Saudi flag on the Egyptian pyramids”. That photo grabs your attention doesn’t it? It did to the majority of the Saudi’s who believed it, until Egyptian sources say that never happened. Funny isnt it?

Nowadays, we’re all very exposed to it and we must take some precautions to make sure that we aren’t victims of Fake News.

You guys can check some interesting information as well in this link https://www.dailyinfographic.com/avoid-fake-news

which is also where I got my infographics from.

Fake-news-infographic.jpg
I hope you all can take a minute or two to read this for your own safety of being exposed to these deceiving statements. We did a few activities in class that were actually helpful for us, and we’ve discussed lots of the above mentioned real/fake statements.

To be honest, I enjoyed discussing it with my class and Professor Maha that guided us through it. I’m actually sharing it with my friends, and I show them how I find out about these fake news that are always trending on Facebook. For our group of friends, Facebook is very interesting for us because we find interesting stories, meme’s, videos, and just about anything that’ll grab your attention. I usually tackle a few that the guys find real and authentic haha!

 

Being Under the Influence

Hey guys,

You know that feeling you get when you’re in a party and everyone around you is doing things they shouldn’t be doing, and that are not good for them. Yet, you’re so tempted to try? Then trial becomes a journey, more specifically that would apply to drugs. Unfortunately most of the young generation today have this problem, the peer pressure from the people around them makes people try new things everyday, that they might like or not. Whatever their case is in the future, there is a possibility that an addiction would be the case to that person. We started our game at about 7:00 PM on a night of a party, where you and your friends gather up in the house, plan to pre-drink and spend time together before hitting the floor with some hot moves. If you’d choose a couple of choices in the game, they actually take you to situations where you’ll go to yourself, heck yeah this could happen. Of course for the older folks out there, try to imagine it when you were a couple of years younger. The younger generation can easily imagine such a situation.

It’s not easy to control the drug trafficking thats happening in Egypt, nor the dealing to the kids. What we can do is aware our close ones, and the friends that you see might be doing something suspicious. Trust me, you’d never want to be put in a position to see someone so dear to you become something so destroyed, in pain and maybe even not with us anymore. I’ve seen so many people throughout my life lose everything with one stupid decision that they couldn’t get out of. No matter what I’d say or show, they would never go back to the same person they were before. It’s like their whole mind gets wired to these certain actions and isnt convinced that they’re wrong.

A very important aspect as well of the game, and of being under the influence in general is driving under the influence. If you’re going to drink, or do the drug at least try not to kill yourself in the process of doing so. Okay, I understand we all want to have fun, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be careful in order to live 40 or 50 more years of fun and happiness (sorry, i sounded too optimisitic). I’ve started myself implementing this, one of my friends (my roommate lucky me) is that kinda guy that drinks red-bull’s at parties right, he doesnt drink. He’s always going to be my designated driver and he’s pretty funny too AND he buys me food on the way back. Big shout out to Mr. Orz!

Anyways kids, stay safe if you’re going to be dangerous and try new things. Have a person that’s close to you with you, at all times during the process. Whether it’s a drug or you’re going to be drinking for the first time. Guys trust me on this, I know its fun to be stupid, but really just try your best to be safe. Nothing in the world is worth you getting hurt, nothing I tell you. Live your life to the fullest, but remember to be safe while doing so.

The link to the game is right here:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1b4QR2t-NY7znz8yZIHa9hcn82iSvPJJvMo7mp_FEW_o/edit#slide=id.p

Please give it a try folks. It’s a lovely game made by me and my broski & classmate Karim. We’ve been trying to become better students and people in general and elhamdullah are on the right path, and we’ve taken this opportunity to aware people that are around us of the dangers of being under the influence with decisions that may matter to your life, or the life of people around you.

Oh by the way, if you’ve played the game before, you’ll notice it’s a lot more visual now, contains more professional language, has a couple of added scenario’s that spice things up, and finally feels smoother overall. If you guys like it, and can share it with your friends, maybe we can turn it into a real game, that is professionally done and for the only cause of making people more aware.

Equity

Lets start off by defining what equity is, “Equity is the quality of being fair and reasonable in a way that gives equal treatment to everyone.” Learning this topic in class is one of the reasons I’ve taken this course for, it widens your mind. It makes you take decisions in things and about people in much, much different way. Everyone deserves equal treatment, absolutely no matter what the case is. Racial discrimination is all around us, around the world, it is there and present. Giving the same treatment to everyone would fix lots of problems that we have nowadays. The second studio visit equity unbound has enlightened me with a few pointers that I could use when thinking about equity.

You guys can check out over here: http://unboundeq.creativitycourse.org/announcement/studio-visit-on-equity-wednesday-october-17/

This is also where you can get the definition of equity by Collins Dictionary:

http://unboundeq.creativitycourse.org/announcement/studio-visit-on-equity-wednesday-october-17/

You can learn a lot more also from this following link (trust me, its really interesting):

http://unboundeq.creativitycourse.org/uncategorized/looking-ahead-to-weeks-56-exploring-equity/