Now that we are all moving at the ‘speed of byte’, there are a lot of questions to be asked about this new Digital Age in which so many (about 5 billion now) of us find ourselves…and some casual observations. As a cyberlibrarian, focusing on digital culture, I cannot help but opine. Bear with me.
WEAPONS OF MASS DISTRACTION:
Screens – tvs, monitors, smart phones, tablets all have virtually and quite literally sucked us in to this world of bits and bytes…
We need to learn how to cope with our own devices — if left to them we are doomed…they really are smarter than us. And, not necessarily friendly…they spy, give away our information and locations to NSA, marketers, and the algorithmic cesspool we currently call “intelligence”. But, hey, that’s just me:)
Apps – these freakin’ things are ruling the datasphere and our lives…how do you get Google off your smart phone?…it just takes over everything, with NO apologies…I don’t want Google Now, I want Google Gone. They stopped playing nice a long time ago.
AI’s – These things are not our friends, they could be, maybe, but right now they are not; they rule and overrule, and you constantly are in battle with them (autopost for example, totally sucks), unless of course, you are a happy sheep, working as a ‘sheeple’ in some corporate box…then, you are just the cannon fodder everyone is looking for…can you say BAAAA!!? Can you say BRAND?? We are becoming the avatars for a monstrous future if we don’t put a stop to all this and turn it around…really, the SERVERS have become the Masters.
CAN WE TRUST THIS STUFF TO ACT ON OUR BEHALF AND WISHES:
We have to defend ourselves, get NETSMART, as my good friend Howard Rheingold writes. We need to become educated about cyberspace, about how these ‘digital lights’ go on when we flip the switch…don’t count on mom or dad, THE STACKS (Google, FB, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, et.al.) to help you…mom and dad are almost ‘out of it’, the Stacks are totally into it – using all our data to cross-market and demographic us to pieces, quite literally – we have become data slices, served up instantaneously to “third parties” – what a phrase that is, I challenge you to unpack it and discover the third, fourth, fifth, ad naseum parties now tracking and merchandising our every move. Its sick!! and not in a good way.
What’s the NET effect of all this social media, and what could it be potentially? Right now it sucks, big time. See above…However, it’s potential for good is overwhelming and that is where we should all be focusing our attention. By now you pretty much have your devices synced…have you notices your life has become synced along with them? How much time are you spending in the screen? Can you leave home alone? No phone, no tablet, no crappy MP3 music in your ears? Can you even remember what it was like to bop along your neighborhood and town, meeting and greeting other humans, looking them in the eyes, rather than all of you sitting or standing together looking at your screens? Take a fuc**ng break…we call them Digital Sabatticals…get off the freakin’ screens, away from your devices….”left to our own devices” has a whole new meaning now….get back to basics; that’s me as well as you…
If you do, if you only spend an hour in screens and then breakaway, you will discover something truly important….you have a life, in real time and space, here on the planet – which by the way is going to Hell at breakneck speeds…it needs your help, we need each other’s help, and what’s the solution:
Here’s the ironic part – DIGITAL….now go back to your devices, get (g)local — NETWORK, hook up with all the good people you have on your social media sites and whatever other groups you are in –gamers, tubers, tinderers and grindrs, snapchatters, redditors, 4chans, hackers and slackers, bloggers and froggers – there’s no end to all the digital sub-cultures out there now — hook up, and shake it up…work for and demand a future that makes sense, that puts the planet and people first, that has these AIs and Stacks as servants for a better world.
Start with Howard’s The Virtual Community, and maybe something like the Digital Divide, I’m not here to tell you what to think, or be some digital guru, or to make a dime! I’m just here to tell you the future is already here, it’s going by us at a rapid pace, and we need to get onboard this digital train and start telling the conductors where we want to go…right now we are all just along for the ride.