The following is a short commentary I wrote about a place in the recent future; those in charge have a monopoly on “the truth”. The stories that the media publishes are the people's only source of information. The masters in charge have the final say regarding any media created or consumed.
We use to play nice. We use to greet and acknowledge each other. You might not believe it, but we even use to pick up our own trash. I’ll make this brief. I came from an isolated cul-de-sac that consisted of a few houses nested in a circle, naturally forming a community amongst local residents. One time I was being punished and couldn’t leave the house. My neighbor noticed I wasn’t out with my friends; he knocked on the door and asked my parents if I could help paint one of his garages that day. “He’s grounded this weekend Frank.” my Father told him. Frank told him that he’d put me to work for the day and that it would be good for me. I was given a bucket and brush to start painting. As soon as we were out of my parent’s sight, he told me to go and enjoy the summer. In today’s world, good luck borrowing your neighbor’s Wifi password. I learned the hard way, next time when you move to a new place it’s best not to expect a friendly hand shake from your new neighbor, but instead metal fences that separate everything. And dogs.
Not long ago, if you were teased at school, the insults stopped when you came home and started playing video games. Now, kids come home to a negatively charged super highway of insulting noise coming from a never ending network of networks that we call social media. Social media platforms have become a structural entity whose unsupervised protocol is so rusted out and patched to the brim with obsolete idealistic feel good intentions.
Social media is clearly a safe place for students who chose to reward each other’s cold hearted insults, in addition to making it a place to help each other escalate the viciousness of their words for the sake of their own self righteousness and placement amongst the school’s elite.
Communication itself has changed so much ever since technology has invaded our homes. Before this hyper-connectivity existed, communication was different. We have all experienced a complete change in how we interact, how we work, how we play, what we see, what we watch, and what we hear.
People who make technology love it when their products become a part of your life, especially when they become permanent devices in your home. The new, not so subtle, strategy the corporations planned has already started with the talking home assistants. Not a surprise. They are giving us time to get comfortable.
What happens when you alter every aspect of human communication? Our civilization has developed specialized devices that will feed sensory information into your eyes and ears such that the brain can be presented with a reality that doesn’t exist at all. All of the analogue tools Mother Nature gave you to experience the world (like eyes and ears) have already been replicated by electronic screens, VR goggles, head phones. And now for the advertisements on all your screens, ‘the trusted broadcast news stories spun and bent to create their own narrative…’, ‘Breaking news…’, ‘Amber alert…’ ‘0% financing!’… ‘1 dead 3 injured….’, ‘Hurricane warning…’ ‘He allegedly…’. All the sudden that hands free upgrade has a few settings that can’t be turned off. Your mind becomes a commercial that never ends.
What ends up happening is this: true stories, fake stories, rumors, speculation, accusations, advise; they all have to compete for a spot in your memory, and it needs to do it today or it will be forgotten. Now let us look at what society built. They wrapped the world in a blanket of merchandise, a place you can’t escape: advertisements, films, television, commercials, twitter, FaceBook, Snap, CNN, Wall Street, Los Vegas, lap tops, cell phones, tablets, play stations, 50inch screen TVs. The amount of content purposefully being directed at consumers is increasing, and the rate of the increase should be considered hostile.
What about speaking out? That signal is completely jammed too. Everybody is scared. When you have employers firing people who have been with them for 20 years over a small disagreement that appeared on YouTube, you know we are living in a hypersensitive world. I know people who got fired before their shift ended for something that was communicated on Twitter. How is any one suppose to know in this climate what is allowed to be said, laughed at, smiled at, or frowned upon? We literally live in a world that if you call someone a moron and someone is filming it, you might actually lose your job. As a result, there has been this new form of empowerment amongst these anonymous camera men on the internet. Most people are actually riled up to use their mobile cameras to get some attention and are looking to either film someone or something famous, or simply to be the vigilante that gets the right close up.
By Ken Wojcicki
The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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