City Sunday

Prepare for future shock

Today, we are driven by a strange phenomenon called ”Fear of Missing Out”. We walk around like zombies glued to the hyperactive feed on our smartphones, sometimes even waking up during the night to check the messages being forwarded from one group to the other in a constant running loop. Technology is accelerating the process by creating a dangerous overload of unfiltered data where it’s easy to pass off unverified messages as facts. Every time we see a message repeated in our feed it starts gaining credibility. Our intellects that were once the natural filters and gatekeepers of the reasoning voice are being dumbed down. If this seems uncomfortable, get prepared for future shock. This could be just the beginning of a dangerous cycle.

We seem to be rapidly heading into a future where all thinking humans could be controlled, either directly or remotely from a centralised command post. As we stop using our intellect, intelligence levels will plateau and peak at a suboptimal level. Messages beamed to the neural centres in our brains will be easily received by most people without question. We will see more intellectuals speaking the same uniform language, repeating top-line messages without dissecting, analysing and questioning facts. There will be some exceptions and outliers but fewer and fewer. Either these outliers will control technology, or technology will then begin to overtake us. We have read of this in sci-fi but imagine if this could already be happening. The world is rapidly progressing towards an AI-augmented automated society. While on the one hand, it presents a fascinating picture of a stress-free world, it is also a frightening thought. It opens up the possibility of humans being controlled by these pre-programmed algorithms that will dictate what we can do or say.

Some people might rubbish the thought but it is starting to become a scary reality. The only difference is that machines have not taken over yet. The messaging is still being controlled by humans who are able to manipulate the neural centres in the human brain intelligently and skillfully. It is a communication strategy at its best. Once the objective is defined, messages are curated and pushed into a network that accepts the information without questioning and propagates it in the conversation around us. This is visible in strange ways.

Friends are increasingly getting narrow-minded in their responses, especially on social media. They tend to be threatening, aggressive and unreasonable when the discussion starts to scratch the surface. Their comments are derisive of posts that they do not agree with and openly scorn others who ask uncomfortable questions. The personal experiences shared by different people are often exactly the same – word to word, including the punctuation. It is almost as if there are controllers spreading the curated content so swiftly that it appears as a natural and spontaneous response to a situation. There is clearly a method to the madness in the communication that we are witnessing around us every day. We do not engage anymore. We only propagate. We are facing a threat of slavery to communicated ideology, instead of intellectual communications because we have stopped using our intellect. Society is at risk.

Today, when the economy is going through an economic downturn we should be witnessing the fiercest debates amongst economists about what needs to be done to scaffold the economy and what should be the economic strategy going forward. Yet, we see little of that. Perhaps we have become escapists and are content. Perhaps we rely on faith and do not believe in reasoning any more. Somewhere along the way many of us, including several independent thinkers and sharp minds, have resigned ourselves. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).

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