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The Perils of the Information Age January 22, 2006 – 7:51 p.m. – Permalink

You should never trust in Hollywood.


Upon surveying a typical downtown street, often you see people with iPod earphones stuck in their ear and businessmen carrying laptops across the street. You can see people carrying portable DVD players around or taking photographs of their friends with digital cameras or cell phones.

The problem with this explosion of mobile devices is the probability of its impact on society and human nature. I envision a world ten years from now with iPods stuck in everyone’s ears, laptops sporting every businessman’s arm, and every teenager text messaging their friends.

I heavily support the fact of these devices. But listening to music and browsing the Internet does not constitute the entire nature of our society. Much of our human nature is going out and meeting other people and interacting with them.

Most of this interaction now takes place on the Internet, where it is quickly dwindling down to instant messaging and blogging communities. Another concern that we might have over the next ten years is whether people will actually leave their homes or their computers, for that matter. When this much capability is introduced to a population, it can have worse effects than anticipated.

For example, consider AIM and the other major instant messaging applications out there (including Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, and Google Talk). In the “real world,” per se (excuse the Matrix cliché), one would need to actually physically leave their house — gasp! — and meet that person to determine whether he/she is suitable enough to be their friend.

On AIM, one simply must click on the little person with the plus sign and boom, he/she is automatically their friend.

Interaction is an exceedingly important aspect of the world. Granted, the Internet has firstly made it a bunch simpler and has secondly reduced the desire to interact with people in a neighborhood or school.

I hope I didn’t bore you too much with this. And what are you doing still reading this? Get off the computer! Read a book! Meet new friends! It will do you good. A lot of good.

In memory of the whale in the River Thames.