Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Up or Downgraded Humans?

Responding to a friend’s appeal on the question of what is wrong with the “world” today, with so many massacres, violence, aggressiveness, I decided to actually spend some time, quiet time, to understand this apparent apathy towards so many impacting news.

The feeling that there’s more harm in the world comes of course from the technology advances in sharing content. In a quicker and easier way, news from all over the world are updated almost instantly, something that ten years ago did not happened. So, violent actions have always occurred, but now there is a camera to witness and share it.

Experience here: Walter Scott shooting

What I find now to be unsettling is not so much the amount of violence, because it has alwayas been there but the growing apathy and desensitization of that screening.

We do share and submit our opinion on those sad and violent acts, but quickly we change screens and go back to our day to day business: email, tweets and some randomness.

Violence and suffering are now like a background endless show that we talk about it without putting too much thought on it. Between one email and another, we might tweet or facebook about our “indignation” towards some really scary or sad story. The same for happy discoveries. We share random happy facts and we alter between what we consider relevant or irrelevant.

A simple analogy to this world wide intricate flow of information and human’s brain development is comparing Internet / Social Media to Food.

We need technology as we need food. Technology helps productivity as well as food gives us energy to produce. But we can choose what sort of food we want to nurture ourselves with. Junk food or a balanced diet? Pins and tweets, or quality news reporting?

So, to fully address what is wrong with the world today, we must look at what we’re actually paying attention to. Are we paying attention to the veracity of the facts presented on the media? Are we paying attention to the person right next to us? Are we making any effort to have a better insight and judgement of our place in this world?

I realize it’s too much too undertake such responsibility. It is an over stretch to say that what happens in this world is a consequence of what’s happening in our thoughts, a result of our decision making ability, but it is undeniably associated.

A hint of what I’m trying to say can be perceived through the really sad event of the GermanWings case. The opaqueness of the mental illness is augmented by the way everything happened in clear sight, but along with a very poor judgment of one person’s mind.

Through Social Media, we have access to more information and we get to know more and more people, but we know less about them and the depth of facts.

We must keep in mind that our brain is wired to adapt, so it’s inevitable to ask: are we loosing our analysis ability? Some studies reveal that we think we are smarter than we actually are when we search online.

Very shortly, our situation towards WWW technology is this:
  • we consume three times more information than in the 60s;
  • an average user juggles through an estimated 30 websites in a day;
  • the presence of screens is not anymore just at work or home, but in your pocket, car and even in the middle of a conversation;
  • more and more pediatric psychologists are concerned about the consequences of this plugged-in parenting, where the concept of “Alone together” tends to build up feelings of hurt, jealousy and competition;
  • Dopamine squirt: that ring on our pockets has been linked to the same addictive behavior as in gaming. Other studies have shown that the enticing surprise of a new email, a new chat, a new post, releases small amounts dopamine in the brain. Like cats like catnip;
  • Social Media changes are mood (for better or worse);
So, what will be posting post in 20 years from now?
If we want to see a better world, we must start at ourselves. Start posting things that matter, start doing things that matter. Hold on tight, very, very tight to a positive and constructive ethic code. Don’t just do it, do it because it matters and brings positive change.

1 comment:

  1. If we posted less mundane "what I ate for dinner", or "I saw this today" kind of posts and actually limited what we posted to be useful or at least insightful, then social media would die a death in the blink of an eye.... One day things might be different, but for now too many people are content with this "level" of content. I fear for the generations to come who will have even more to contend with....