The digital and the tangible intertwined
This post addresses the following two questions that inquire into one or more of the following: the practical applications of ideas, the value (or lack of value) of different types of solutions to complex problems, cause/effect, nuance, different contexts and views, interrelations, meaning making.
In this text I’ve tried to tackle and reflect on the issues surrounding the digital world and the many tangible effects it has on us and our everyday lives.
TO WHAT EXTENT DO THE PROBLEMS OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY REQUIRE DECISIONS? CHOICES? SOLUTIONS? E.G. ARE THERE ADVANTAGES TO RESISITING APPS LIKE ZOOM, FB?
I think that one of the greatest concerns and issues the society is faced with is precisely the regulation of the digital world. Today, the content found online appeals to our worst instincts. Conspiracy theories and dark, twisted ideas and beliefs once confined to a region or a group of people can now go mainstream. One might argue that all of this is facilitated by a handful of companies which together represent a never before seen propaganda machine. It’s high time we started addressing how we share and regulate information online. This doesn’t mean that freedom of speech has to suffer as we shouldn’t equate it with freedom of reach. Nobody wants to ban content but simply fact check anything before it gets published. Just as the industrial revolution called upon certain changes in order to protect the workers it’s time for legislation and regulation to act as a protective barrier between the people and what is presented to them in this era of technological revolution. Digital technology might also require us to change curriculums around the world. We should introduce subjects related to time management, we should focus more on training our minds through meditation and value creativity and imagination over an easy fix offered by the digital. Addiction has only recently come into focus. Humans, as highly visual creatures, crave and indulge in visual stimulus whenever possible, and one must wonder whether we are using our devices or are they in fact using us. Another interesting point is the importance of being informed but what is the long term effect of too much information? If you don’t follow the news you are uninformed but if you watch far too many networks or read different newspapers you are misinformed. We need to find a way to teach ourselves and our children how to protect ourselves from this bombardment of data. Is it meditation? Or perhaps simple common sense instilled from an early age? I don’t know. I think no one does. I do believe that resisting any form of digital brings us closer to the real world around us, makes us more impervious to depression and forces us to connect with others on a deeper level. However, as with everything in life, a perfect balance must be sought and found through joint efforts of our educators, psychiatrists and the government. We are simply overwhelmed.
WHAT RULES MUST BE FOLLOWED IN DIGITAL CULTURE?
I find this question difficult to answer, if not impossible, as the term digital culture has just as many implications, participants and outlets as the real world. It is a world onto itself. Therefore, if we view it as such we might be able to draw quite a lot of rules from our surroundings and our real life experiences. All the norms of decency could be equally applied online; don’t lie, don’t be rude, don’t make false statements, don’t spread hate and most importantly think about how your actions affect others. When it comes to more technical rules I would say that it is paramount to fact check, find reliable sources and protect our privacy as much as possible. It is also illegal to violate copyright laws or plagiarize using the vast online network. Almost everything else I would add could be taken down to the level of basic human decency as this digital culture is just a digital representation of our real life, everyday culture. However, it is incalculably more difficult to follow certain rules when they only affect us and not others. One might be kind and respectful to others but quite harsh to himself/herself. The rules of self-governance and successful navigation through the digital culture are a matter of a person’s level of self-awareness and ability to never blur the line between the real and unreal i.e. physical and digital culture. Some of these rules might be self-evident but sadly for many they are not. Think of a person unable to restrict the time spent online, a person who compares his or her life and achievements to those of others. Think of a person watching too much porn or playing games for hours. The rules related to self-discipline, restraint and moderation are of immense importance if we wish to walk the thin line between the physical and digital. We tailor make our digital world and we often choose to run from our real lives. This is why the rules which allow us to remain healthy, present and aware of ourselves and our place in the world supersede any technical rules and regulations.