The Drawbacks of Technological Breakthroughs for Human Interaction
In 2020, the global social media penetration rate reached 49%. Almost every second human takes advantage of social networks, forums, blogs, chat apps, social gaming, photo-sharing platforms, and technological achievements alike – and the involvement is much higher in traditionally developed Europe and America, 79% and 73% respectively.
Peer-to-peer messaging and video chats along with conventional texting have changed the way we interact with one another – but are these changes for the better? Or should we say that this next logical step in the development of humanity should be accepted without any second thoughts? Let’s try to find it out.
Faster Communication vs. Virtual Distance
Transferring information around is now as cheap as never before. Without let or hindrance, we can
- Communicate with any other person or a group via Skype, Telegram, video conferencing, and more.
- Educate and work remotely as programmers, web designers, software developers, etc.
- Do business online without having a presence in the real world.
And many more. Faster communication facilitates globalization, eliminates the cultural gap, and shapes us as individuals.
However, while eliminating all sorts of gaps, it does create one: virtual distance, when people in the same room watch their smartphones instead of communicating with each other, feeling detached both emotionally and psychologically. This even includes family interactions: it’s not a rarity when a modern child sacrifices communication with his parents in favor of his virtual friends…or even worse, in favor of human-machine communication. Speaking of parents competing for the attention of their child, it’s important to understand that, although the brain of a child is tuned to learn through interacting with parents, it has certain neuroplasticity and therefore can be re-programmed from human-to-human to human-to-machine interaction, which in turn might lead to deviations from the normal development.
But not only children suffer from the excessive use of technology. Couples, teachers-students, and co-workers also tend to allocate less time to in-person communication. Virtual Distance has conquered dating as well: with apps like Tinder, people no longer need social skills to get to know each other – instead, they can just swipe the online catalog, which oftentimes results in fleeting relationships where people are not interested in each other as they cannot meet the expectations of each other and have no bonds to support the relationship. On the bright side, though, every third couple has met online, and the number is expected to grow to 70% by 2040.
Tracking, Bullying, Online Fraud
Anything created for good can also be used for evil deeds:
- Data privacy and tracking. Over 90% of Internet users have different concerns about data privacy, the main of which are data compromise (47%), data sold to third parties (40%), personal data misuse by companies (31%), and physical assaults (24%). The worries are not ungrounded, especially after the world learned about the Five Eyes Alliance, the international secret organization tracking users and sharing their personal data. The Alliance includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
- Bullying. Harassment exists not only in the physical world: cyberbullying has become commonplace among adults, not only children. Every fourth adult has experienced cyberbullying – which may lead to suicide at the extremity – and the problem is unlikely to be solved anytime soon.
- Fraud. Whether you’re playing at your favorite 22Bet casino, buying goods online, or chatting with a stranger, you have to stay cautious as to all offers asking for a payment or your financial details. This is especially true in the post-COVID world with its increased fraud risks.
That said, technological advancements are always good as they lead to progress – especially so if the development of this or that technology goes along with the development of the necessary safety measures to make sure an average person could use the technology exclusively to one’s benefit.