What value does science fiction have for thinking critically about our contemporary world?

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In the final assignment, you are required to write a 1,500 word essay responding to one of the five questions below.
This essay should have a clear argument and solid theoretical framework, which means that it should demonstrate your in-depth understanding of key concepts and thinkers and your ability to analyse cultural texts (e.g. games, films, readings). Your essay should also demonstrate academic research beyond the set readings, and we encourage you to draw on your own experiences and expertise as a digital media user.
While the essay questions map to a lecture topic, it is expected that your essay draw on content from other weeks as well (but not necessarily every week). You are expected to select a question and bring a draft of your argument to the tutorial in Week 12 for preliminary feedback.

Select one the following five essay questions :
1. What value does science fiction have for thinking critically about our contemporary world?
In answering this question, you must explain your reasons and provide evidence to support your argument. You must also refer to one or more of the following writers and concepts in your essay and identify how these are relevant to your response.
Key writers: William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Kim Stanley Robinson, Ernest Cline, Greg Egan
Key concepts: cyberspace, cyberpunk, ecopunk, imaginaries, dystopia / utopia, artificial life
2. When is more data collection not necessarily better?
In answering this question, your response should focus on a specific example or case of a technology that involves data collection or uses data. You should justify your answer to the essay question through argument, examples, and evidence. You must refer to one or more of the following thinkers and concepts in your essay, and clearly link their work to your response.

Key thinkers : Rob Kitchin, Kate Crawford, David Beer, Os Keyes, Ivana Bartoletti, Lisa Gitelman, Virginia Jackson & Nick Couldry.
Key concepts: Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Metric Power, Algorithms, Bias
3. Should robots be designed to perform roles that humans carry out?
In answering this question, explain the social or practical roles that robots currently play and the critical debates around robots doing work that humans perform. Your response needs to be argued through use of examples and evidence and you must refer to one or more of the references in the week 11 Module on Canvas.
Key Thinkers: Martin Ford, Sherry Turkle, Marianne Van Den Boomen, Chris Chesher, Frank Pasquale, Stuart Russell
Key Concepts: robotics, automation, humanoid robotics, android, anthropomorphism , social robots, domestic robots, workplace robots, machine perception
4. What does it mean to say that warfare is mediated?

Explain how the mediation of war has changed in the twentieth and twenty-first century with reference to one or more of the following thinkers and concepts in your essay, and clearly link their work to your response.
Key historical figures/thinkers: Marshall McLuhan, Paul Virilio, Jean Baudrillard
Key thinkers: Henry Jenkins, danah boyd, Nick Couldry, Andrew Hoskins, Stefania Milan.
Key concepts: participatory cultures, digital war, techniques of the observer, destructive creation, simulacra, mediatisation, cloud protesting

5. What are some of the key social and environmental issues that emerge with the rise of smart cities?
Your response needs to be argued through use of examples and evidence and you must refer to one or more of the following thinkers and concepts in your essay, and clearly link their work to your response.
Key thinkers: Le Corbusier, Vincent Mosco, Shannon Mattern, Ben Green, Jennifer Gabyrs
Key concepts: smart cities, smart homes, smart city imaginaries, urban datafication, internet of things, urban inequality, surveillance, electronic waste

Assessment length weighting:
The length of this assignment is 1500 words (10% leeway without penalty). Any references are included in the word count. The total mark for this assignment is 100. The essay is worth 30% of your overall mark for this unit.
Critical essay format
Use APA 7th edition referencing style (in-text references, page numbers for direct quotations and a reference list (as a guide it should include 3-6 sources). The reference list is included in the overall word count. Your reference list should appear at the end of the document and list all the texts you referred to in your text.
Submission: Submit your responses in a Word document to the Critical essay (Dropbox) and submit using the ‘Upload Submission’ button on Monday, 31 October by 11:59pm.

Submissions must be titled using the following format: SID_CRITICALESSAY.docx
Do not record your name anywhere in the submission or in the title of the submission. All submissions will be marked anonymously.
SCANA to provide essay writing help
As part of their SCANA support program, the Learning Hub will offer a workshop on ‘Structuring, editing and proofreading a critical essay’, which has been specifically designed to support you with your ARIN1001 final assignment. The workshop will take place via Zoom this Thursday, 20 October from 5:00 to 6:30 pm. If you’d like to attend, you can enrol here. You will receive a reminder the day before and the Zoom link 10 minutes prior to the workshop.
In SEM 1 2022, students who attended SCANA support workshops obtained on average 12 points more than students who did not attend. They were also five times less likely to fail their UoS. This is a great opportunity to improve your marks and your academic writing.

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