As we continue down this digital hellhole, we continue to run away from our own humanity.
Holing up in our homes and staying away from each other in fear of coronavirus is serving to accelerate our move toward the digitization of our humanity.
Before we all started burying our faces in our phones and clicking refresh on our browsers every 10 seconds, we used to go outside. We’d go to the supermarket, talk to our neighbors while we were doing yardwork, meet people for meals at restaurant and talk to the people around us, and talk to the people we ran into at local stores and events.
These interactions exposed us to people from all walks of life with different perspectives, attitudes, and opinions informed by their different life experiences.
As we started to turn to the internet and social media and started getting studied by every Artificial Intelligence apparatus monitoring these sites, we started having our content recommended or served to us based on things we’d seen, written, or watched.
So began the digital echo chamber in which we now all find ourselves. Instead of being served different opinions and ideas from unforeseen sources, these recommendation engines only serve us more of the same. We just get more and more detail and versions of our original thought.
Our reservoirs of ideas are now an inch wide and a mile deep. Combine that with the anonymity of the internet, and we get like-minded people with no tolerance for dissent and the strongly-worded, vulgarity-laced feedback from those who disagree.
With all this goes our tolerance or open-mindedness for anyone who may approach a subject from a different perspective.
And before you know it, I give you America 2020. In a year full of unusual and memorable events, our self-inflicted stay-at-home exile is only serving to make this condition worse.
Where once some parents, like myself, spent days trying to keep my kids off their screens, we now mandate that they jump on Zoom to take classes and interact with friends. We’ve only accelerated the seemingly inevitable digitization of ourselves as we continue to run from our own humanity.
Where once this country celebrated our freedom of thought, we now race toward a future of freedom from thought.
Perhaps this is what we should be #resisting.