There’s a famous quote that has been accredited to Albert Einstein that says, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” Whether or not that quote was actually said by Einstein I’m not quite sure, but I can definitely appreciate the depth of the statement itself. Oddly enough I remember being a child and looking forward to the future because of all of the predicted technological advances. Whether you were born in the 70’s, 80’s or even 90’s I’m sure you once envisioned a future full of flying cars and robots. To be quite honest, I’m not too sure we’re very far off from seeing those visions realized in the next twenty to thirty years. Although now that we’re witnessing an entire generation raised predominantly by technology it seems the vision in my head has shifted quite a bit.
If you’ve ever read a book or seen a film in which robots are centralized characters in the plot I’m sure you’ve noticed a recurring theme whereas a conflict ensues between human beings and their robotic counterparts. There have been theories written over the years about a grim future where technology reigns supreme to the point human beings not only lose much of their humanity but we end up becoming seen as the cause for the destruction of life on planet earth as we know it. Of course, if you spend some time studying our history in regards to industrialization I’m sure you can see how that isn’t a far cry from the truth already. I may be dramatizing things a tad bit but then again I tend to see things on a much deeper level than the average person who doesn’t spend many hours of their day trying to overanalyze the cause and effect of events like some mystical puzzle that is etched in the cosmos and the far reaches of our own consciousness. These are just some of the things I think about every single day.
What I can say is in the time I have been alive I have noticed a shift in behavior amongst human beings. Maybe its natural for us to adapt to sociological changes and technological breakthroughs. Maybe this is all supposed to be happening as is, and we’re simply on our journey to a completely different way of life altogether. Personally, I, like many people, spend more time on social media than I should and cross examine that with my day to day research to grasp the bigger picture in order to see what tomorrow really brings. It doesn’t take long to see that this shift in technological advancement has consumed all of us and we’re embarking on un-chartered waters as a species, which scares me to some degree as I’m not quite sure if we’re even ready for it.
Its interesting to see how much has changed in the past ten years. I remember when interactions via social media were still limited to desktop and laptop usage. It was a much needed inconvenience because our interactions and usage were limited, therefore we spent more time appreciating what was in front of our faces instead of what was being held in our hands. We also spent less time obsessed with the lives of others outside our closely knit social circles and still understood the meaning of bonds forged through face to face interaction. There was no need to spend time fantasizing about interacting with complete strangers we stumbled across online because many of us understood the meaning of boundaries and respected privacy. Merely ten years ago it was still considered an invasion of privacy and inappropriate behavior to bother someone over the internet whom you’ve never met before. Unless you had someone’s permission or consent it was considered rude and inappropriate to contact them for no reason whatsoever. Today, it seems those lines have been blurred somehow.
It seems amidst all the smart phone technology, social media applications, digital media consumption and instant connection we’ve become lost in this digital world of delusion and fantasy expecting to be as real physically as it is online or in our own heads. When the truth of the matter is, we’ve simply lost touch with reality on multiple levels. We’ve transformed relationships into brief exchanges of smart device selfies and text messages. We’ve used vast connections with thousands of strangers as a means to air our personal grievances with our partners, present and past. We’ve turned it into a means of bashing, humiliating, and publicizing everything about ourselves and one another. Worst of all, we’ve stopped caring or showing empathy for our fellow man. I see and feel so many emotions being shared online that sometimes its overwhelming how much pain and heartache we’re all capable of causing without having much remorse at all. Of course one would think it would be simple to just disconnect and remove yourself from the world of online insanity in order to avoid its drawbacks. Yet for so many people that’s easier said than done.
We spend so much of our time worried about the lives of complete strangers and concerning ourselves with what everyone else is doing we have little time to ourselves to do what we want to do in order to reach some kind of understanding for who we are. And that question is becoming harder to answer for many people. After a while one has to think to themselves, without these likes, comments and favorites, who am I? Who really cares about my life or the day to day occurrences that make me happy, sad, anxious, agitated, concerned? Without everyone else’s input and opinion, do you know who you really are deep down? I’m not sure many people acknowledge how reliant they are on others to form their own idea of value or self-worth. I’m growing more concerned that the deeper we get into this digital lifestyle, we’re losing the ability to think for ourselves in general.
Truth is we fail to realize how much of an impact this has had on us as a whole as well as on an individual level. Our obsession with the latest craze in technology has created somewhat of a hysteria and we’ve all contributed to it. We’re seeing generations whose lives have revolved around being so closely connected and intertwined with one another. They see the world in a completely different light and I’m not sure its a healthy one; or even a real one for that matter. Their influences on another is stronger than its ever been and their absorption of falsified, over-dramatized information is as widespread as our current fast food/GMO epidemic. To be honest we’ve become so connected with one another we’ve become disconnected from ourselves. So the real question becomes, what does this mean for our future? How will we adapt to the ensuing worldwide conflicts when we can’t even seem to handle day to day tasks without the burden of our smart devices wearing us down? I think if we just took a step back from time to time to see where this current path is leading us, maybe we could divert it to something less dismal.
Its not all as morose as it seems. There has been plenty of good that has come from us being so connected. We’re seeing a rise in the creative class unlike ever before. More people are using their resources to give them an advantage in other areas of life such as following entrepreneurial endeavors and pursuing their dreams. We use words and pictures to inspire one another and if we truly take the time to reach out to our online connections we can get to know someone on a deeper level even before we meet in person. I believe its important to just keep in mind, these are people you’re connecting with on the other end of that 5 inch device in your hand. They have lives, friends, family, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers. They’ve experienced pain and heartache just like you. They have feelings that are just as fragile and vulnerable as your own so think about that next time you choose to interact with someone using this technology we’ve been blessed with. We are more than our comments, likes, fav’s, RT’s, and Snapchat stories. To abuse that power that we’ve all been given is merely taking advantage of something we should feel lucky to have the privilege to have. It should help us be more aware of our own empathy and humanity, not the other way around.