Tech is Killing Us

If you subscribe to the notion that tech media is still in its infancy, you would be right. The iPhone, the world’s first truly efficient hand-held mobile device that was less about being a phone and more about being a way to connect with others, kicked off the revolution of social media. Facebook, Twitter and Google are the three primary juggernauts who traffic in data and people’s opinions to billions of users every single day.

How are we doing? How is humanity performing now that the Internet has been given the power to unleash the sound of 7 billion thoughts simultaneously?

Not so good.

We now have mob rule, children addicted to social media, fake news, a weird tech censorship campaign going on in full-force (proof that we, as a collective society, are not smart or responsible enough to handle such unbridled freedom); we have porn out of control, which has fueled global human trafficking, terrorists use it, the dark web uses it. China uses it to control its 1.4 billion people (and is exporting social-control tech to other despots as we speak), and from where I sit, I think what we have created is pretty lousy to the point where we might be witnessing a complete disintegration of society.

What was supposed to bring us peace and harmony, inspiration, enlightenment and efficiency, has, instead, created mayhem. What is transpiring is the same effect we would have if suddenly we could all read each others’ minds.

Imagine the chaos this exposure would bring. Imagine today.

All things considered, if I could put my cell phone back in the box and ship it back to 2007, I would.

Sadly, I, and the rest of the world, are now dependent slaves to it, and it only took 13 years to get here.

When Amazon shut down Parler, and Twitter shut down Trump along with 70,000 other conservative voices, I thought about shutting down Amazon and Apple.

Could I live without Amazon or Apple? Can I use a different source or ISP? Can I live without email, social media?

So last night I made a rule that, from 7pm to 7am, I would NOT look at any device; my work is done. I don’t need to check my email, my stocks or my hit-count on my podcast. It can wait until morning.

I started watching TV instead, except that this too is a device which feeds information to me that I don’t need. Everything is so goddamn Woke.

I can’t stand much of it as it is.

I believe driving is a privilege, and voting, which any sloppy ignorant fool who can barely fill out a ballot can do. It is also a privilege that can be misused.

Freedom on the Intenet comes with problems, as we now well know.

Does everyone have a right to spill their guts on social media?

Do people who want to start riots also have a right to use social media?

Depends on which side you are on, depends on who is in power, depends on whether the people are rioters or protestors.

In China if you protest online you will get arrested. The knock will come on your door, and two people will escort you to a place where you will be interrogated and jailed, your family, possibly as well.

Can you see that happening soon here?

As a Trump supporter, I certainly can. I see conservatives as a bulls-eye threat many believe must be contained. I also see 100,000,000 people who are quite capable of bringing about social change themsrlves if this Republic continues to disentegrate.

All I know is that humanity, most of her anyway, seemingly cannot handle this kind of social media freedom the Internet and tech has brought us. We waste most of it on idol chat, violent games, consumption of goods, but rarely for enlightenment, knowledge, insight into history, science, religion, the arts.

In its proper usage, the Internet is a blessing, just as television was when it began.

Even Martin Luther King, as far back as 1961, urged television producers to use their new media for good and not just for entertainment, or to promote immoral behavior. But almost all media today is mostly promoting immoral behavior as a virtue; media promotes self-centered, egregious behavior – and with too many ads designed to reinforce the message that Self is the primary virtue.

Teaching young people Self is the priority can only end in a disastrous future. Man’s only redeeming quality is service to thers, not self-centered, egostic pursuits that turn culture into a narcissistic experience of self-absorption.

Meanwhile, consumet are tagged and marked so that what you say, where you search and what you like is all recorded somewhere.

When someone asks for my phone number at a store I tell them I will have to start charging for my data. Because the truth is once I give my number to that clerk, someone else will be charging someone else for my data and it will travel around the world in a millisecond.

And that is the world we live in today.

In many ways The Matrix was hugely prophetic, except that we are not sitting in embryonic fluid dreaming about computer generated reality while machines drain our bodies of energy. Or are we?

Jim Watkins is an author, media consultant and host of the Speaking Out Podcast.

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