I was midway typing a reply on Facebook about dangerous delusions incontinent neocortex can cause, and I got a really interesting Facebook warning.
Zuckerberg’s algorithms advised me “It looks like you’re using this feature in a way it wasn’t meant to be used. Please slow down or you could be blocked from using it.” As the only feature I was using, albeit a bit too fast was my brain, this amusing warning reminded me of a danger far greater than neocortical excesses, i.e. the way internet is playing with us all.
Internaut as is a really appropriate word to describe new-age humans. Just like astro-nauts, internet exploring internauts are venturing into a space human brain had never ever encountered, and is, thus unprepared for.
So, to all my young (as I live in an imaginary world where youngsters read newspaper articles) intrepid internauts, a small insight into how there are mermaids at work to lure and enslave them.
Zucks and Pages that rule the net claim that their main job is to help internet customizes itself around you; and based on that pretext, likes of Facebook and Google are watching our every step and profiling all of us. They use this profiling to ensure that your typing out K-A-R would lead you to Karma theory or Kareena Kapoor, depending on your interests. The way this is moving forward, it is clear that these internet giants now know us better than our parents and spouses, as they also have access to our private lives.
This loss of privacy is scary, but there is something lot worse, and that is their manipulation of information we get. Under the guise of personalization, they feed you what you like and agree with and hide what you don’t like. Hence the news or information coming your way on internet is matching exclusively with your worldview.
This selective feeding is not only building a false reality around you, it is also putting these giants in a position where they can manipulate your opinion. So, while it is made to appear that internet is molding itself to your profile, it is more likely that internet is slowly molding you to its agenda by controlling the information that reaches you.
If you think that I am being paranoid, do take a careful look at the world around you. The most noticeable social change of recent times is hardening of opinions and the divides it is creating. Self-righteousness is far more common than it ever was and thus conflicts are brewing around us all the time. And this is because internet feedback is constantly confirming and validating our personal biases, creating an illusion that what we think and know is universal truth.
Another dangerous development is the false sense of anonymity internet is providing, because of which people feel no need to confirm to peer pressure and are forming and expressing opinions without consideration for social appropriateness of the same. It sounds like a liberating development; but, in reality, it is highly unlikely that a matching social structure can be found to accommodate this new freedom of expression.
We are at a point in human history where we are most connected and yet can be instantly divided by click of a mouse. We are slowly becoming puppets for those who control information via internet.
Need of the hour is to become aware of the threat of manipulation and be more careful in forming opinions. Internet is not a real world. Real world is made of humans capable of loving and caring, and that is the world worth living in.