The Future Looks NOT SO Bright

Smart Phones, Dumb People

Smart Phones, Dumb PeopleWe’ve all seen the photos by now: people sitting around a table (mostly teens) with their head buried into their phone instead of having a conversation; a photo of a sidewalk menu that says “No WiFi – Talk to each other;” and you might have seen this well done video anecdote “Look Up” about social media and the future digital generation.

All of this reinforces the idea that we are ‘dumbing’ ourselves down. Sure, technology always has a way to make our lives easier, but the underlying problem is: while having a cell phone with the internet gives you instant access to any topic, or your entire medical history, we still need to understand the implications of all this technology.  In other words, “Without smart citizens you can’t have smart cities. Without smart patients you can’t have smart healthcare.” In essence this is nothing new. A well educated society that embraces technology correlates to a more productive, higher quality of life than one that does not.

So how ‘dumb’ are we? I can’t help but think about the silly futuristic comedy “Idiocracy” starring Luke Wilson. Clearly the film is quite an exaggeration, but we seem to be heading in that direction. Check out the article on “Idiocracy” predictions that actually are true today. One of the predictions of the film was the complete degradation of human language. Well not only is social media making us actually ‘less social’, but texting with limited characters is having a negative effect on how we interact and communicate.

Social Media Rears (and loses) Its Ugly Head

Here’s where the danger of an uneducated,  undeveloped society comes into play. Over the last few weeks, something caught my attention: CNN reporting beheading videos posted on social media sites are used as “recruitment tools” for terrorist organizations. And now just the other day, a man in Oklahoma goes on a rampage and beheads a co-worker.  The facts are still being put together, but he appears to have a violent past, mental problems, and a Muslim (convert). Throw in a radical Facebook page, web links, etc. and you are pretty much asking for trouble. I don’t think Andy Warhol ever fathomed beheadings in his famous quote. Moreover, ISIS and the atrocities of Muslim extremist groups have been televised and broadcast across main-stream media ad nauseam. So in no way am I suggesting Social Media is to blame for a beheading in Oklahoma or any of the other violent and ruthless acts. Of course it’s not helping, and it’s impossible to fully regulate or censor.

Imagine (easy if you try) the Nazi Propaganda Machine was around today and could utilize social media to reach and indoctrinate millions.  Similar to what we are seeing with ISIS as individuals from around the world have joined them. Not a massive number, but it’s a ‘no-brainier’ to realize the darker side of social media, also described as “Terror Marketing”. Not to mention we are witnessing not just an increase of Hate Speech, but Hate Crimes.  Hey, I don’t know where we would be without the internet and I’m big fan of social media which I highly recommend my clients utilize in their business. But as I alluded to above, this presents some serious issues. So what happens when the uneducated and misinformed masses are manipulated by massive amounts of harmful, false information? Are we living in the dawn of “Idiocracy?” Perhaps we will find out in the not-so-distant future.

The future’s been bright for so long now, it looks like dark to me

Check out the 80′s classic one-hit wonder by Timbuk 3