The internet is dead, long live the internet!

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Will Young

The internet is a marvelous invention, and I could write a long series of dense books on why it’s marvelous, and what exactly makes it marvelous.

Perhaps I shall. However, this format of media (being on the internet, of course) doesn’t exactly lend itself to long unengaging texts… Although hey, I’m sure that there’s an app for that.

The commodification of attention has had numerous impacts, not only on the way that advanced consumer technologies such as computers and smartphones are engineered, but on the entire human experience. From our environment to our systems of government, our religions, our bodies, hell, even our roadways.

Nowadays you will struggle to find a single thing that has remained pure, pure from a polluted sea full of engagement-driven, anti-attention-span techno-utopian transhuman “forward thinkers”, who seem to gain immense pleasure from perfecting technologies that generate immense profit for a select few investors and shareholders, while simultaneously disparaging the common folk that use them. Let me put it this way – Bill Gates probably wouldn’t let his children own and have frequent access to a smartphone.

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Think about how life has changed in the last 20 years. You used to be a freak if you perused the personals, but nowadays, almost everybody dates through the internet. It’s not just dating, either. Nowadays, everything is done through the internet. Including a ton of things that don’t need to be done through the internet at all.

It’s a dark, dark joke how the way we use our phones has changed. We used to, you know, make calls on them. Now, we get conditions called “texting thumb” from repetitive tapping motions. That’s right – we get texting tendonitis.

I implore all readers to honestly ask themselves – How often do you:

stay online longer than you intended?
hear other people in your life complain about how much time you spend online?
say or think, “Just a few more minutes, then I’ll…” when online?
try and fail to cut down on how much time you spend online?
hide how long you’ve been online?

Are you happy with the answers? Does it feel to you like you’ve been sold a pipe dream of the way technology will positively impact the world, while it’s robbed us of countless good things?

If you find yourself thinking that this is all by design, well, you’re right. Apps are engineered to exploit neurochemistry, specifically reward pathways. These are addictive, and I for one find them more addictive than anything else.

There are a few truly dark sides, to our recent explosion in advanced technology. Most people don’t even see them, let alone talk about them. Why do you think that is? Leave a comment below!

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