Have you ever been in public, sitting and looking at those around you when you realize everyone around you is all looking at their phones? IPhones, Android maybe a black berry or a windows phone now and then, and now Google Glass? What is it that draws us in? The latest tweet? Instant communication with our friends or access to virtually all of mankind’s collective knowledge at your fingertips? In many ways, it is abstracting us from each other, where we are losing touch with reality or with the world around us. Many times people are so lost in the digital world around them that they don’t see what ‘is’ around them.
And it is only getting worse…
Don’t get excited thinking I’m a Luddite as I am not. I’m a Transhumanist through and through but that being said I think there is a risk to us, our children and our society in that we are not learning the lesson of moderation and in some ways this is hurting especially the new generation. While the current generation is getting better at multi-tasking and being ‘augmented’ by the technology around them, they are also loosing themselves not just in the digital world but they are losing the deep thinking skills that built the technological foundation that they are enjoying and building on.
100 years from now very few will have the ‘wear with all’ to be research scientists if they can’t do the deep thinking and hyper concentration of the Einstein’s of the old generation.
Honestly, it is hard to say which way it will go but there is evidence to support the loss of the hyper focus skill and the increased lack of the ability to focus on a given task for long periods of time.
Considering other factor’s this goes to the scenario where we see an increasingly divided between the luddites and the next generation. If they, the next generation, lose that deep thought we end up with an even smaller minority of what may become technocrats which are the ones that can do those deep thinking skills AND use the technology truly being ‘transhuman’ but in this small minority will be vested a lot of the power. A double edge sword and setting the stage for a new feudalism.
In the coming age of this new feudalism is it possible that we are creating digital crack to keep the masses down? Augmented reality for them and immortality for the elite. Mainlining that digital connection… how do we protect our children? That is the part I don’t know, certainly a degree of moderation might be required. Certainly we don’t want to stop the advancement either but we do want to stop that intellectual atrophy we are seeing in this younger generation and as of late the only thing I know is for the parents to limit the technology access until their children are of age and in a society that is so advanced maybe we shouldn’t limit ourselves not to 18 being adults but more like 24 and with a basic education defined as to include a master’s degree? I regret that is not a likely scenario but I can do that in my own home with my own children and I can do my part to encourage those parents I know. Do your part lets raise the next generation right so they themselves can better transcend their biology some day with those key intellectual skills intact.
* image source: http://www.addiction-resource.com/drug-addiction/crack-addiction/ 6/16/2014
* image source: http://bayoubeat.blogspot.com/2011/08/cell-phones-for-poor-and-homeless.html