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Media Appearances

Is the Olympic Ideal over? (No)

Is the Olympic Ideal over? (No)

This week, I interviewed for BBC Newshour Extra on the state of the Olympic movement. We covered everything from the role of arts in the Olympics, the rise of e-sport, the importance of nationalism and, of course, the doping debate. It is a really fun programme, with some pretty serious issues covered. Take a listen here

Is it fair to ban all Russian athletes from #Rio2016? #olympicsummit

Is it fair to ban all Russian athletes from #Rio2016? #olympicsummit

Yesterday, I was interviewed on live Russian tv, following the IOC anti-doping Summit, which took place in Lausanne. The outcome of the summit was as good as it was likely to get for Russia - the Olympic team is ok to compete, but a blanket ban on track and field athletes, with the right for individuals to prove their innocence. The means by which they do this is still a bit unclear, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport will be the key legal vehicle through which to do this. 

My view is really simple, the Russian situation is a symptom of a broken system and there have been and will be others that will fall foul to similar circumstances. I am completely against state sponsored doping as it was previously known, but supportive processes to allow athletes to enhance their performance through supervised and safer means is a better way to protect athletes and a level playing field. It will be a different kind of equality to that which we have now, but it will be more transparent, fairer for all, and ensure we no longer look upon sports performances with suspicion.

Should blood doping be legal in sport

Should blood doping be legal in sport

This week, I featured in an article on doping within the magazine Men's Health. My quotes:

“Athletes are in the business of attempting to transcend human limits,”
“Especially at the elite level, sport is inherently a relationship between technology and nature,” 
“Sports organisations have a moral obligation to ensure that they are investing in the safest forms of performance enhancement for athletes,”
“Managing the health and safety risks associated with performance enhancement – that’s the priority.”

Anti-Doping is set up to fail

Anti-Doping is set up to fail

While in Lausanne last week, I interviewed for SportCal on the doping debate, in a week where more positive tests were revealed, this time from the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games samples. Callum Murray did a good job of pulling together my views on where we are and why anti-doping can't work. Sir Craig Reedie offered a brief reply to the article, noting the years of engagement WADA has had with me on this subject.

Throughout these years, i've always tried to find common ground as a starting point. It's sometimes hard, as my view often is seen as fundamentally contrary to the spirit of sport. I completely reject this. I am passionate about sports, I care about their role in society, and I want the best for athletes. I just don't think anti-doping does that.

Reedie's proposal - outlined in his response - is to bring more money into anti-doping through media sponsorship may change that, but it still feels like a drop in the ocean, when at the heart of the problem is a question about the future of humanity and our biotechnological future.

#VirtualChernobyl on CBBC Newsround

#VirtualChernobyl on CBBC Newsround

This last few days, I have been working with an amazing group of people from Salford in producing the Virtual Chernobyl Experience around the 30th Anniversary of the Disaster.

This video is still the best overview of what we did.

All of these people need credit for their extraordinary efforts in making it happen. They all came through at short notice and put time in well beyond the job description and they are all yet more reasons for why I feel very lucky at Salford to have such talented, versatile people.  

They are:

  • Dr Mike Wood, Lead Scientist - will literally fly through the night to get the job done
  • Simon Campion - VR wizard who worked the Oculus content
  • Mikhail Polshaw - VR go to for 360 rendering at short notice
  • Dr Gary Kerr - sci comm agitator, evaluator, and all round 'can doer'
  • Ross Fawkes - science guy, PhD aspiring
  • Moo - puts radiation detectors on Reindeer
  • Rosie Mawdsley - Producing ninja at MSI Manchester
  • Justin Webb - Press master at MSI
  • Gareth Holllyman - Press 2.0 doer at Salford Uni
  • Nicol Caplin - the fastest sci comm'r in town. all the way up from Bristol
  • Darren Langlands - videographer at Salford Uni
  • ...and a whole bunch of STEM volunteers who went the extra mile

And here's what we did...CBBC Newsround

 

A Paralympian may win an Olympic Medal at #Rio2016

A Paralympian may win an Olympic Medal at #Rio2016

Last week, I was interviewed by the Danish media outlet Zetland, a cool new online portal for all kinds of radical news. This feature was about the possibility of a Danish Paralympian being competitive for a medal at the Olympic Games. While Oscar Pistorius may have been the first prosthetically enhanced athlete to take part in the Olympic Games, Markus Rehm may be a medal contender, providing he is allowed to compete.

Here is the full article, in Danish. Google translate doesn't do a bad job.

It includes this neat little video of Markus jumping

 

eSport

eSport

A really early start today on BBC Radio 5 Live with Nicky Campbell and Rachel Burden talking to them about the recent signing of eSport player Dave ByTheWay to Wolfsburg football team. Here's a story about what happened.

The Beautiful Gamers

The Beautiful Gamers

Tonight, I appeared on BBC 5 Live, a feature 90min show about the development of digital gaming in football. It was hosted at the National Football Museum and brought together a great cast of expertise in the room, including the England's Captain of the Women's team, Steph Houghton. Here's the show.

Generation eSport

Generation eSport

In December, I interviewed for journalist Fabien Mulot on a feature article for L'Equipe on eSport. It is perhaps the most comprehensive news article on the subject and is a beautiful example of how long form journalism can work well online. Take a peek!

DIY Steroid Labs

DIY Steroid Labs

A big story broke this week on Sky News, which has been investigating the rise of DIY steroid labs around the UK. It tells a story of how body building and performance/image enhancement is not just a matter for the world of elite sport to address.

My arguments focused on the cultural shift towards enhancement and the need to re-appraise the morality and law surrounding such practices. If so many people are doing it, it's hard to still claim them as morally bankrupt.

If we can just address the health risks more effectively, then we need not worry. This means a harm reduction model and supervised doping.

Doping in Sport

Doping in Sport

Appearance on Sky News talking about the doping debate, in the wake of findings that prevalence  is much higher than was previously thought.

 


The future of universities

The future of universities

TIME.jpg

Article published in Zocalo, picked up by TIME:  

Students will be in the driver’s seat — Andy Miah

Technology will force universities to re-define their role within 21stcentury life, and this has a lot to do with the DIY generation, who figure out what they need to know via Google and Wikipedia. These platforms are the equivalent of the single-celled organisms that gave birth to humanity’s evolution.

In a world where learning experiences are ubiquitous and we rely less and less on institutions to deliver them, technology forces universities to re-think what they offer in the 21st century. Universities are no longer the gatekeepers of new knowledge, even less so with the rise of citizen science experiments, where non-experts can gather important data, and alternative qualification options, such as Mozilla Open Badges.

Students of tomorrow will want flexible, mobile-enabled learning experiences that are as compelling as film or theatre. The success of TED talks is indicative of the changing demands on teachers today and the changing attention economy of the new generation. Universities need to think carefully about how to curate learning experiences, making each lecture truly memorable and life-changing. The classroom now has to empower students to set the agenda and drive their own learning.

As we move into an era of sentient computing, universities need also to see technology not just as a vehicle for communicating ideas or enriching learning, but as a co-collaborator. Computers will become entities onto which students will project learning expectations. The machines will teach us, they will also learn, and they will spend more time with students than a lecturer ever can. If we want humans to remain at the heart of that interaction, we then need to really reconsider what we offer that they can’t.

Andy Miah is a professor and chair in science communication and future media at the University of Salford in Manchester, England. Follow him on Twitter @Andymiah.

Are mirrors becoming obsolete?

Are mirrors becoming obsolete?

On Valentines Day, I was quoted in The Times for an article about the replacement of mirrors by screens. Here's a link to the article, but here's the full quotes I gave to Kaya Burgess, the article's author:

"As screens rapidly replace mirrors to occupy the reflective space in our lives, we find ourselves in a novel moment in history where we could, if we choose, actually see ourselves as others see us, rather than see the flipped version that mirrors generate. Yet, so far, we are sticking with the familarity of the reflected image. If selfie culture is realy about vanity and narcissism, then we might be smarter to use the screens to present us with what others see when they gaze in our direction and, if we do, the whole idea of reflection may become redundant. In 50 years, we might look upon our reflected selves with a degree of trepidation and anxiety.

"With the growing attention of the internet of things, the idea of smart mirrors is becoming ever more appealing. You could wake up in the morning and look into your smart mirror, which would quickly analyse your health and tell you if you are coming down with an illness, or whether you need to do a bit more exercise or get more sleep. Of course, these mirrors will not be mirrors at all, they will be ultra high definition screens, capable of providing all kinds of augmented reality content that will, hopefully, enrich our lives rather htan scare us all to death."

 

Drones for Good?

Drones for Good?

Today, I published a piece on #drones for @conversationUK, which explores some of the new applications that are emerging and which were showcased at the Drones for Good international prize in the UAE last weekend. Here's the piece in full.