Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Stage One

I was walking into the cafeteria when I realised that I was basically living in what could become  a science fiction world. Not the cool science fiction world with Star Gates or humanoid computers, but the scary science fiction worlds that are supposed to make one reflect on humanity and society.

On the tables in the cafeteria was food, books, and laptops. Beautiful glowing screens, each containing worlds of education, entertainment, and general time-wasters. Though people were talking (and quite loudly at that), there were enough people just sitting side-by-side, lost in their screens, for me to notice.

Now, I can't exactly condemn such behaviour. I'm sure my friends and I have done it before. I mean, I even have a level 60 wizard in Diablo. I know a fair amount about how entrancing computers are, and the endless hours of entertainment they can provide. 

All of this got me thinking, though. It's not just the computers that students carry around every day on their backs. It's the smartphones, the television that no one really watches anymore, the endless streams of information. Western society is transitioning into a place where who you are in real life doesn't really matter. What you post on the internet can become your identity, what you play can become your "other-you" and what you read becomes 100% true. I still haven't forgotten all the hype about KONY 2012. Where did that ever go, internet? 

Thomas Hobbes believed that men without government were unable to use reason, and essentially were wild beasts. The internet is becoming a great example of people in their "natural states". There is some good on the internet, once in a while. There are educational sites, free college courses, news articles. However, the internet is also filled with the trash of society- the haters, the bullies, the really really stupid people. 

Society isn't going to keep developing if this internet trend continues. Instead, we are going to become solitary creatures locked in our own little worlds. When will invisible internet friends truly be enough to satisfy our desire for human interaction? When will artificial intelligence be good enough that we won't need people altogether? When will we no longer crave a genuine smile, touch, or kiss of a loved one?

It sounds crazy now, but if we're not careful, this could be in the near future. 

We're in stage one, people. 

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