An endless bombardment of news and gossip and images is rendering us manic information addicts.
Every single minute on the planet, YouTube users upload 400 hours of video and Tinder users swipe profiles over a million times.
Each day, there are literally billions of Facebook “likes.”
Online Social media outlets are now publish exponentially more material than they once did, churning out articles at a rapid-fire pace, adding new details to the news every few minutes.
Blogs, Facebook feeds, Tumblr accounts, tweets, and propaganda outlets repurpose, borrow, and add topspin to the same output.
We are guided to these info-nuggets by myriad little interruptions on social media, all cascading at us with individually tailored relevance and accuracy.
We all distracted by a constant stream of things to annoy, enlighten, or infuriate; a niche in the nerve center of the exploding global conversation; and a way to measure success — in big and beautiful data — that was a constant dopamine bath for the writerly ego.
Do not flatter yourself in thinking that you have much control over which temptations you click on. We are all close to helpless.
Silicon Valley’s technologists and their ever-perfecting algorithms have discovered the form of bait that will have you jumping like a witless minnow. No information technology ever had this depth of knowledge of its consumers — or greater capacity to tweak their synapses to keep them engaged.
The modest mastery of our practical lives is what fulfilled us for tens of thousands of years — until technology and capitalism decided it was entirely dispensable.
By rapidly substituting virtual reality for reality, we are diminishing the scope of interaction even as we multiply the number of people with whom we interact.
We have gone from looking up and around to constantly looking down.
GPS, for example, has led to our not even seeing, let alone remembering, the details of our environment, to our not developing the accumulated memories that give us a sense of place and control over what we once called ordinary life.
New technology has seized control of around one-third young adults’ waking hours.
The result is yet to be seen and we are only beginning to get our minds around the costs, in wars, movement of people, erosion of democracy, surveillance and where to find the truth.
As we are being methodically filled with more stimulus and noise and this new epidemic of distraction is our civilization’s specific weakness.
The amount of time we spend cruising vastly outweighs the time we may ever get to spend with the objects of our desire. Virtual living is creating a mental climate that will be maddeningly hard to manage.
Beyond mere doing, there is also being;
We are becoming each other’s “contacts,” efficient shadows of ourselves.
We hide our vulnerabilities, airbrushing our flaws and quirks; we project our fantasies onto the images before us.
Why is any of this important.
Take the smart phone for example.
When someone next to you answers the phone and starts talking loudly as if you didn’t exist, you realize that, in his or her private zone, you don’t.
They are robbing us of a silence that was previously regarded as integral to the health of the human imagination.
The device went from unknown to indispensable in less than a decade.
Once you disappeared down a rabbit hole, but the smart phone then went and made the rabbit hole portable, inviting us to get lost in it anywhere, at any time, whatever else we might be doing.
Information soon penetrated every waking moment of our lives. All the hazards of real human interaction are being banished.
Truly being with another person means being experientially with them, picking up countless tiny signals from the eyes and voice and body language and context, and reacting, often unconsciously, to every nuance.
These are our deepest social skills, which have been honed through the aeons. They are what make us distinctively human.
The smart phone revolution of the past decade can be seen in some ways simply as the final twist.
We are reducing our human contacts into a world that exists largely free of the sudden eruptions or encumbrances of actual human interaction. A Facebook “friend,” an Instagram photo, a text message — in a controlled and sequestered way that makes integration of cultures impossible. This, evolutionary psychologists will attest, is fatal. An entire universe of intimate responses is flattened to a single, distant swipe.
Walk down the street, and I’m the only person not plugged in. Or lunch where the first to person to use their phone pays the whole bill?
Here to the frazzled digital generation if they believe that $3 billion of Mark Zuckerberg Facebook profits will put an end to Disease.
Who does he think he is fooling. Facebook is a Disease.