The advent of new and glorious technologies
Written by: Kevin Quimatzoyaro
From: Brazília, Brazil
Edited by: Luana Mayer
We are in a truly golden age of technology concerning innovations and new possibilities for human capacity. In the last 100 years, the astonishing acceleration of technological advancements has provided a significant change to all lives across the globe: ranging from small machines and systems that allow humans to communicate worldwide to the immense machinations that substitute jobs and perform tasks with greater efficiency than humans. But is it not scary the velocity at which we are moving? Will humans reach a point of truly becoming obsolete, or will technological integration with humans expand to heights never thought of before? Are humans getting closer to their trans-humanist ideals; thus, becoming immortals, or are we destroying the only world we currently have for the sake of progress? Those questions, aside from this article, will discuss the current progress of technology (VR and possible metaverse) and its correlation to the improvement of human life as well as potential consequences of technology, both biological and psychological.
Nowadays, we live in a time of few boundaries in communication, language barriers, and other artificially made, as one can communicate with another from across the globe. The aforementioned has many implications, from small ones like allowing random individuals to chat about their ideas to medical professionals to doing surgeries in long distances afar. For sure, the sharing of information brought by the advent of the ethernet is a powerful and positive innovation to our previous lives as now science is boundless. Now innovation is order as more resources can be shared among individuals. Of course, there is the issue of bad content propagating and lies, but there is also the matter of censorship by governments to limit the individual freedoms of people to express themselves. With boundless information, there come borderless threats- as hackers now can have a plethora of data from individuals by invading specific sites. There is also the threat of terrorism as radicalized groups can use social media and other platforms to compel individuals and make their crowds more powerful. A study by ISIS shows that terrorist groups recruit individuals by exploiting their vulnerabilities and kinship connections. ISIS also presents that much of this recruiting is through various websites and social media platforms. Understanding the aforementioned issue, governments exploit society's fear to gain even more power over the public, even though there can be reasoning behind what they do. Interestingly enough, aside from the dangers of connecting bad people with bad or gullible people, the internet has become a vast forum for people to express their ideas no matter how absurd they might be. However, although it may not seem like a new invention, the internet is a relatively new addition to human life that is not even 30 years old; thus, it warrants its unpolishedness.
Understanding the implications of the internet, it is noticeable that now that scientific progress is much more steady and efficient, we must reflect on to what extent that will possibly affect our lives. In the past years, robots have proven time and time again to be more competitive, efficient, and capacitated than humans. Thus, the question arises, when will the machines take over, and which jobs will remain for us mortals? It has become a demonstrable fact, especially in factories and areas of agriculture, that machines substituting workers such as assembly machines and others that do constant tasks provide much higher profits and efficiency than the obsolete humans. Adaptation seems to be key, as machines are only capable of doing as they are programmed for now; thus, complex jobs have higher safety guarantees as machines won't be able to do such tasks. One example is that of a lawyer, artist, or programmer, as these jobs require significant imagination (mutability), a factor that machines are incapable of surpassing humans. On the other hand, jobs that are mechanical in nature are bound to become obsolete with the progress of technology. Medical doctors and any other job that solely relies on labor is likely to not exist in the near future. It is evident this change is still far from reality. Although machines are capable of performing most tasks, what we have now are people operating these machines to do these difficult tasks with precision, such as medical professionals. As long as machines don't have or gain consciousness, they won't surpass humans fully; hence, we’ll never be obsolete until such occurs. Machines are not able to research, however, they are attaining the capacity to learn something truly remarkable and unprecedented. With a machine, learning machines can overcome any task, a calculation that does not involve its physicality but rather requires its intellect” one example of such a machine is Deep Blue that defeated Gary Kasparov considered to be one of the world's greatest chess players. Even in a more complex game Go the machine AlphaGo was able to defeat Ke Jie, also a world-class player. Sadly or gladly a pattern is being shown of machines becoming faster, stronger, and more innovative with their solutions that amazingly outsmart humans in all capacities.
We might be a bit far from complete machine domination in the workspace. Still, the innovation of parasocial relationships with humans is increasing day by day. Apps like Tinder, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, and other platforms are providing great utility to modern human beings. Nowadays, one can share their lives with the world and connect to anyone (i.e. through Facebook), they are able to watch individuals live (i.e. Twitch), they can share their opinions (i.e. Twitter), or even date (i.e. Tinder). Interestingly enough, technology is reaching a point at which it could possibly coexist within humans in a homogenous way. Concepts such as nanobots with self-replicating mechanisms are already being researched, and other mechanical implants are already available such as chips and other augments. It sure is astounding the availability of these augments to our lives, but it does come with a cost to our psyche.
Sadly apps are giving individuals the capacity to interact without ever leaving their homes, causing disturbing psychological effects. Some effects such as increased anxiety, depression, FOMO (Fear of missing out), and other outcomes linked with the use of apps such as Facebook and other social media. As said by MedicalNewsToday: “A 2019 study suggested that teenagers who use social media for more than 3 hours daily are more likely to experience mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, aggression, and antisocial behavior.” These side effects aggravate other possible tendencies, such as suicidal ideation. Not only the aforementioned is a consequence, but as stated by Harvard, “Dopamine is a chemical produced by our brains that plays a starring role in motivating behavior...Although not as intense as a hit of cocaine, positive social stimuli will similarly result in a release of dopamine, reinforcing whatever behavior preceded it. Cognitive neuroscientists have shown that rewarding social stimuli...activate the same dopaminergic reward pathways.” Understandably so, the usage of this new tech must be in equilibrium, for if not, the side effects might be damning.
The technological evolution of mankind is astoundingly beautiful. We’ve managed to come from letters to digital emails and many other facilitation of human interaction. Of course, as this technology is new, humans still do not fully grasp the implications of it in our lives regarding how dependent we are, and its strong integration in our lives. Thankfully, we are now living in the age of change and are able to see how humanity will gloriously evolve.