With every new interactive innovation, with each new communications device, so interconnectedness grows – leaving very little time for face-to-face relationships.
It is estimated that in first-world countries people now spend an average of more than ten hours a day connected to the internet; working, being educated or entertained, or playing games.
No one’s quite sure how we got to this point. Are the digital media really so seductive that mere humans cannot resist? Why do we choose work, play and sex in the virtual world instead of the opportunity to do ‘the real thing’ in the real world?
Is it really just so much easier to score, connect and do in the virtual world?
Well, resistance to the digitalization of life is gaining in intensity. Governments in the US, UK and Scandinavia have now passed laws that do not allow “discrimination against workers who refuse to use digital media.”
In a way, Jaron Lanier’s 2010 book ‘You are not a gadget: A manifesto’ has become the equivalent of Mao’s ‘Little Red Book’ for the 21st century. He went beyond Ray Kurzweil’s idea of a ‘technological singularity’ – the point at which computers become conscious and take over much of the world – to explore the dark implications of a digital world beyond the internet.
“We cannot pretend that we can make people obsolete,” says Lanier. “We are starting to think more like machines and risk losing what makes us human.”
The ‘Movement for Humanity’ is now 50 million strong and, since yesterday’s riots in twenty major cities, increasingly violent.
“We are stubborn. We want our humanity back. We want the personal choice to have real relationships with unintended consequences! We will not be programmed by the state or big business!”
The revolution is distributed and inter-connected world-wide. Clearly it is ironic for a campaign for face-to-face relationships to be conducted in the virtual world. I guess it could not happen any other way.