Disseminating gas chamber memes and death threats, skewed truths and pseudo event. Facebook pages whose false new spread far and wide than the truthful ones. Plenty of false noise which makes even the most rational people feel on their doubts and feel like they are outnumbered and out voiced.
The US presidential election 2016 opened up plenty of scope for techno pessimists to voice out their guts against technology and media
It is true that trolls haven never had the time of their lives the way they do now up to the extent that it makes the victim reach out for guns for self protection. But to say that technology alone is responsible for the problems we are experiencing in this case in our political system is equally true as saying that technology alone will solve the world’s most pressing problems.
Why did we start talking about technology in terms of absolute dark force or the final cure for the human condition? How did technology manage to grow from utility to something considered to have its own evolution curve independent mindset and progression which is beyond our control?
Much has to do with an entire armada of propagandists comfortably nested in the Silicon Valley whose main task is to produce sound-bite friendly futurist taglines. The Singularity University, the Institute for Futurism in Palo Alto. You name them.
Their task – to make us believe that technology is not a tool but a self effacing living organism developing under its own independent laws of evolution. Defined this way technology should be left to grow and our institutions and norms should start adjusting to the extraordinary things technology brings us, not the other way around.
Inequality driven by technological gap, privacy issues – these are all things which are being discussed only because the society is yet to adopt itself to the arrival of technology. In other words talks about privacy still happen because we haven’t yet re-organized our social norms and laws to the benefits of technology. As soon as that happens these things would be considered irrelevant.
This dramatic agenda so much favored by geeks and technocrats who seem deprived from the complexities of human interactions and human nature itself triggers the rise of an opposite wing who consider technology an evil that needs to be stopped.
We should at the very least learn to ignore both sides equally because they both represent extremes.
Both of them elevate technology to a level of a whopping force developing independently of the human will with one wing kneeling in front of its altar and others with a divine mission to stop it. Both of these are dangerous.
It is true that technology and the Internet has given rise to unprecedented levels of media manipulation for example. But is technology really to be blamed here? Here is what Steve Jobs once declared:
When you’re young, you look at television and think, There’s a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that’s not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That’s a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It’s the truth.”
Technology and media is the way it is because that’s what we demand from it.
If we remember that technology is not something that stems independently and involuntarily from us but it merely is a tool for getting things done, can we really blame it for everything bad or everything good that is happening?
Blaming media for the abundance of information, most of it half conceived and iterative is like blaming the abundance of food for the rise of obesity. The very existence of food does not make us obese.
On the Internet all ideas appear as equal even if they are lies. It is up to us to select research and be open for facing info that contradict our established beliefs. That’s an act of citizenship. We’ve got to be aware that contextual algorithms in the name of personalization are all around us and we’ve got to be cautious when the content you click on Facebook is one that constantly reinforces your confirmed beliefs.
Technology assists and media informs. But technology has no idea what it means to be informed. Technology is not moral, hence it cannot be labeled as dark or light. Morality belongs to humans. Be wary of anyone who attaches such labels to technology no matter which front she comes from.
(Disclaimer: This is a guest post submitted on Techstory by the mentioned authors. All the contents and images in the article have been provided to Techstory by the authors of the article. Techstory is not responsible or liable for any content in this article.)
About The Author:
Anjli Jain is a successful female tech entrepreneur, investor and social activist. Mrs. Jain is the Managing Partner at EVC, a $50 million fund focused exclusively on early stage enterprise software, Internet and mobile companies that target the education market or companies created from intellectual property technology transfer from colleges and universities. Mrs. Jain has 15 years of experience with tech startups, venture capitals and social activism.