Is your digital doppleganger the real you?
Is your digital doppelgänger the real you?
Think about this, you spend at least 8 hours at work and at least 6 hours sleeping. That leaves 10 hours for the rest of life. To get ready, see friends, eat, exercise and probably 2 hours of that is spent in transit. Most of the time, when you're doing these activities a.k.a 'mundane activities', you're also on your screen. Be it tweeting, instagramming or watching stuff online. Now if you think about it, it's very possible that most people spend more time being themselves in the virtual world compared to quote real world. Some people might spend time in the virtual world saying exactly how they feel and "living out" who they consider to be the real them. Have you ever thought of your iPhone, iPad etc as an extension of yourself which allows you to be more versatile? Through these tools you have access to an infinite set of ideas which allow you to navigate through time and space.
The debate is to what extent this aids your navigation through life vs to what extent this reality steals from experiences around you. Instead of enjoying a good performance you might whip out your phone, take a video and experience this through the screen. Instead of looking at the sunrise and enjoying it, you take a pic, apply a filter thereby filtering the entire experience. Instead of driving to see your friend you open up your PC and Skype them. I have no trouble with these modes of experiencing life. What I do have trouble with is that many of us are unaware of how screens are changing us and affecting us. If you do something and you know and understand the consequences and you're deliberate about it, that's fine. If you're just mindlessly consuming and following....well, that's kind of scary.
What's the point of this post; well basically to warn you that the world has gone to the dogs and soon we'll all be controlled by robots. Just kidding. The point of this post is to remind you to appreciate that you have a second self i.e. your digital self. Unfortunately this second self requires as much (sometimes even more) maintenance as your first self.
Anthropologist have coined a term 'ambient intimacy'. Basically this is the concept of "being able to keep in touch with people with a level of regularity and intimacy that you wouldn't usually have access to, because time and space conspire to make it impossible." You can Skype your friend in New York whilst having dinner with you friends in South Africa right after emailing colleagues in Dubai.
Anthropologist find that the psychological effects can be very worrying; no slowing down, competing for attention, no time for mental reflection and therefore no time for the creation of your legitimate self. This could potentially mean that 10, 20, 50 years from now we'll have a bunch of insecure, recognition thirsty adults who have no construct of who they are or what they care about. All this because they never really had the time to truly be alone, reflect and figure things out without any outside influences. A lot to chew on, am I right?
On a different but related note; how do you guys feel about devices which can sense your emotions and react accordingly? Stay tuned as I'll be exploring the research on machine learning in a future post.