It occurred to me
recently that I am part of a special generation, one that grew up without the
Internet. Think of how different the world was in those days.
In fact, I remember older people back then talking about how TV impacts our world in amazing but also challenging ways. It is strange to toggle both worlds, where what defined and developed our core is not necessarily what shapes and influences Generation Z.
Though different inventions have reshaped every generation, the Internet redrafts the blueprint of the very landscape that we see.
Dial-up Internet began in 1992. As we approach its 30th anniversary it is amazing how quickly our life morphed into living online. We are all cybernoids, tethered to our digital instruments the way a six-year-old clutches her favorite stuffed animal or a four-year-old boy is never seen anywhere without his favorite blanky.
Instead of just opening up multiple dimensions to us, we have expedited our abandonment of living in a real world for one that can only be held in our hands. What was supposed to expand our view of the world shrunk it, reducing it to habit and addiction, stunting us.
We have monopolies of the mind:
In a world with choice, we lost our ability to judge and evaluate. Analysis and questioning gave way to defending our tribe. We even push content to ourselves and then spread it, no longer letting curiosity, randomness, or even facts sway us. We merely reinforce and self-brainwash in our echo chambers.
Like all inventions, something can be used for good or bad. Right now, the scales are tipping towards more bad than good when it comes to communications technology — or is it?
Don’t let seeing and reading about something stop you from:
*Being willing to see other viewpoints
*Questioning what you import
*Having direct experience
*Seeing people, touching things, and using all of your senses
We can’t uninvent or go back in time. But this new wave of tech dependence and acceptance is forcing a global reset of culture, humanity, and economy.
There will be a time when the majority of people living will have been born into a world where tech, as we know it now, will have always existed.
Generation X, my generation, may have read 1984 around that year. It remembers the advent and wild growth of cable TV, home computers, video games, and big-screen color TV. It remembers a world before the very things driving life today: smart phones, Internet, Amazon, and iclouds. Kids now grow up with the great babysitter in hand. Living on a device has become normalized, even necessary.
We live with many ironies:
*Facts are bastardized, though more information from more
sources than ever before are easily available to us 24/7.. Truth is losing.
*We seem connected globally but personally lonely.
*We no longer talk on our phones.
*When we see each other in person we are sneaking away to other conversations online.
*The Internet brings scams right to us.
*Cyberbullying extends beyond the reaches of physical bullying.
Before NFTs, there was real art. Before cyber currencies were randomly produced, there was money that a government issued. All of that is changing in ways we can’t yet fathom.
I don’t say all of this to point out my age or to portray my generation as outdated or out of touch. Before we become extinct, listen and learn from us. We know of life pre-tech, and life was not bad.
Today’s world can be:
*Filled with great potential.
*One that saves time and money in one way but one where we spend it wastefully in other ways.
*Up to us to set boundaries on tech usage, checking things out, seeing each other, talking rather than debating by text, and to prioritize how we consume products, services, and information.
The new year will no doubt bring about new inventions, new habits, and a little further distancing from the past as we knew it. For those who experienced and remember the world before the Internet, don’t fully forget or ignore how we used to live.
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