This is how Google and social networks erode our ability to think
The Internet has turned the human being into a superficial animal, far from the depth that is presupposed to his reasoning.
Twitter is just a place to express personal minutiae. It offers a refuge for insignificance because that is what opinions without facts are: insignificant.
We have lost our innocence with respect to the digital realm. We have become disillusioned.
Social networks are infested with people with depression, anxiety, loneliness, and clearly, others with emotional and sadistic trauma.
We blindly enroll in their services and now we are used to them. We depend on them.
We wove them into the fabric of society, but we use networks as a relief from the rigors of communication and thought. As a way to evade our mind.
A good question that all users of social networks should ask is if we feel really satisfied, intellectually or socially, when we use them.
Most people feel anxiety and emptiness.
It is important to remember that social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, were designed for informal conversations, such as friendly talks, flirting or quickly exchanging messages.
They have nothing to do with seriousness or subtle conversations. And yet, thanks to a combination of personal laziness and business manipulation, we have come to use them more and more for public speaking and political debate.
Networks have engendered superficiality and polarization. They have also fostered propaganda and the rise of fake news.
But perhaps the biggest tragedy is that niches have been created by “experts” who know nothing, but who are the first to express their opinion about everything in order to attack all those who think differently and with zero use of reason or evidence.
People use the internet and specially social networks for completely inadequate forms of communication. While some come close to selling their souls, others troll their ideological “opponents”.
The latest case of Facebook violations of data sharing has been a clear sign that both this company and Google are not what they seem: benign tools for social harmony; and that they never were.
But people are asleep. They should wake up, turn off their phone and read a book.
Facebook is a business based on spying and manipulating us. This is so obvious that I think even Mark Zuckerberg would admit it. In private, of course.
Technology is created and used by humans, so in the end, we are responsible for it. It’s not something that appears magically from the sky.
In the past, it was thought that technology was neutral and that humans molded it, but it is not like that. It has a bias, it pushes us to behave and to think in a certain way.
When we adopt a new tool, we also adopt its biases. For example, the Internet is biased towards the distribution of high-speed information in different formats, such as audio, text or images.
This means that it is a mean of great distraction, which undermines deep thought.
So, when we connect, we lose depth to gain amplitude, we lose contemplation to gain stimulation.
Those who created these technologies knew that the human brain is addicted to stimuli and that it can be controlled by constantly stimulating it.
For example, Google’s vision of the human mind is industrial. It is about the efficiency with which our brain processes information. For this reason, Google and other companies place so much emphasis on the speed and volume of information consumption.
What they lack is an appreciation of how the brain transforms fragments of information into quality knowledge.
By bombing our brains, they undermine our ability to think deeply, critically and conceptually, which is why many people, especially children whose brains are not yet well-formed, become addicted to social networks because they were born within them.
Thinking critically, for example, requires attention and reflection. There is scientific evidence that shows that digital media push us towards a superficial thought and far from rigor. And everything is much worse since we carry a smartphone all the time.
Something that networks have made clear is that the views of many people are misinformed, banal or simply wrong.
In this way, getting someone to express themselves is a mixed blessing. We would all be better if we spent more time thinking critically about our points of view and less about expressing them to everyone.
I believe that a sense of privacy is essential to develop a rich intellectual life, so the way in which social networks have robbed us of the shelter of privacy worsens all these problems.
Social networks are inadequate for any political discourse, because they foster superficiality instead of depth. They promote emotion over reason and group thinking over critical thinking.
Its design encourages propaganda and misinformation to spread rapidly.
Politicians have adopted social networks because it gives them an easy way to draw attention and excite their bases.
It is difficult to see positive effects in the movement of political discourse and public debate because such a debate is no longer about real ideas, but about catchy slogans that most people adopt, share and like mindlessly and automatically.
And so, there goes our ability to think, critically.
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Luis R. Miranda is an award-winning journalist and the founder & editor of The Real Agenda News. His career spans over 23 years in every form of news media. He writes about environmentalism, education, technology, science, health, immigration and other current affairs. Luis has worked as on-air talent, news reporter, television producer, and news writer.