Take a while to look around you, it feels like the world is going crazy, or we all have fallen under some kind of spell. You have to ask yourself, “Is this normal?”
Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, Google, LinkedIn all are familiar to these platforms. They are giving us so much fun and memories. They have reunited lost family members and friends; they have found organ donors, employment, and a variety of education. You felt addicted to these things and so much fascinated by the world they show you. Because of these platforms, there are meaningful systematic changes that are happening around the world. And of course, this is positive!
“Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse” (Sophocles).
But we are naive about the flip side of the coin. They forcefully entered into your life and take away you, and you dance on their fingertips. Isn’t that sounding weird? These things are pretty different than your expectation. None of us deliberately pays effort to know these consequences.
Even after facing the mountain of criticism Big Tech names are getting bigger and bigger day by day. The entire industries are under a new level of check but they don’t bother it. A new study sheds light and reveals information about the strong connection between social media use and mental health issues. Digital media firm Alphapro in Pakistan share a press release in 2018, the total number of active social media users were 35.00 million, hopelessly addicted to their electronic devices. This is a worse fact that you can isolate yourself in a bubble, thanks to technology. “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. (Arthur C. Clarke)
Their business model is to keep people engage on the screen. Because of the tech industries overall we all have lost our way. Their motive is how to get as much of a person’s attention as they possibly can. How much time a person can spend on these platforms? How much a person can give us his life?
When we will start thinking about how these companies work, it starts to make sense. All the services on the internet we think of as free are not free; they are paid for by the advertisers. The question is why do advertisers pay those companies? Because they pay in exchange for showing their ads to us. We are the product for them; our attention is the product being sold to the advertisers.
Jaron Lanier author of “Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Right Now” says, “It’s the gradual, slight, imperceptible change in your behavior and perception that is the product.”
This is the new marketplace where they trade exclusively human future at scale. And these marketplaces produced trillions of dollars that made the internet companies the richest companies in the history of humanity. For example, you open your Facebook account and got so many notifications from those groups and pages even you did not remember when you liked or joined them. Did you ever think of where these notifications come from? Who send you? Surprisingly you get the videos and pictures about what you were thinking in your mind and suddenly you asked yourself how they know my searching, my plans, and thoughts. People should realize that everything they are doing online is being watched, is being tracked. Every single action is carefully monitored and recorded. They have a lot of Data seriously!
Whenever you created an account on any website they ask many questions and show their policy. You didn’t bother their laws and ignore all terms & conditions. And the funny thing is you will only see the “agree” or “I accept” option not “disagree” otherwise you can’t able to access their website. You by yourself gave them the right too much access to your data. And you can never take any legal action against them because you allow them by your hands.
They know when people are lonely; they know people are depressed, they know what you are doing late at night and the entire thing. What type of personality you have. They have more information about us. You can never imagine. In simple words all of the data that we are just pouring out all the day and night is being fed to the system almost have no human supervision that is specially designed to monitor you and me all the time, making better and better predictions about what we are going to do and who we are. The technology that connects us also controls us.
The whole world is looking for that moment when technology would overwhelm human strength and intelligence. It will replace our jobs and smarter than humans. This is overpowering human nature and checkmate on humanity.
Fake news is becoming more advanced and threatening the whole world. We have gone from the information age to the disinformation age. We believe in all the stupid things that they show us. There is a lie everywhere. They keep the power and control everything. They control our minds. They know our secrets. Imagine a world where no one believes anything true. Everything is a conspiracy theory.
Social media is just not a tool waiting to be used but it has its own goals. It has its means of pursuing them by using your psychology against you. It is demanding things from you. It’s manipulating you. We have moved away from a tool-based technology environment to addiction and manipulating based technology environment. That is the biggest change. Social media is like a drug addiction that someone or an unknown person is continuously injecting you slowly and you are helpless.
The game is beyond this like Oh my god, the technology ruining the world and kids. It is just confusing because it’s a simultaneous utopia and dystopia. For example, you hit a button on your mobile phone and the map shows you where you are and in 10 minutes you reach the place where exactly you need to go.
This is magic I mean it’s amazing.
I believe that people can change what social media look like and means. The way the technology is working is not a law of physics and is not set in stone. These are simple choices that human beings like I am making for myself. Accept or not but we should admit that bad outcomes of technology are coming directly. And human beings can change this technology and reform it. This technology is man-made. We built that weird and wacky place and it’s our responsibility to change it. We can demand that these products be designed humanely. We can demand not to be treated as an extractable resource. A miracle can happen to get out of it and that miracle is of course a collective will. We have to figure it out. It will take a long time because nobody recognizing the real problem.
Today the biggest failure of these technology industries is leadership. Like people having an open and clear conversation about things, voicing their opinion on these things that are not perfect. So between us, someone can come and built up something new, try to reform not to destroy. End of the day these machines will not turn around until there is massive public pressure. For now, turn off notifications. It’s just wasting your time. Never accept video recommended by YouTube. Make a habit not to check your mobile phone after every one minute. Take a self-assessment if you don’t log in or use your mobile phone for one day what are your feelings?
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Dunya News’ editorial stance.