The Robots Have Enslaved Humanity
Big identical houses with no yards are a sad but accurate commentary on modern society and its current values.
Before phones became omnipresent. Before video games became overly immersive and addictive cash cow slot machines. Before the news scared parents into keeping their kids in the house, there was a different world. A world where people would go outside and soak up the vitamin D from the sun. People would run around and play and be happy. We rode bikes to each other’s houses so we could play games of basketball. We met up on snow days for football games with no pads and no injuries. We enjoyed life. Times were simpler before the rise of social media and smart phones.
And through the rise of social media, I have enjoyed the ability to connect with the international dark web. Yet I still fear what we are losing. While I type this out on my smartphone at 5am as I begin to wake up, I appreciate the amazing tool a smartphone can be, I also recognize it is a dangerous rabbit hole which many of us get lost in at the expense of the present moment. It is becoming glaringly obvious that society has changed and I don’t know if it will ever change back, and that is why I reluctantly have rejoined social media. Social life has migrated into the web and maybe that’s not all bad. I grew up with a very driven group of friends and now we are scattered across the country. We do group trips on occasion or wind up in each other’s cities from time to time, but it’s few and far between. Now we can Snapchat each other stupid little things we see throughout the day. We can share pics and accomplishments on Facebook so we are constantly connected and up to date on our friends lives. We all have a love hate relationship with our group text that has been going on for about eight years now. Looking back, I don’t even remember how it started; it feels like it has always been there.
But I see a trend where people have begun to spend more time inside now where we used to be spending much of our free time outside, in our natural habitat. Maybe people fear the outside because of those Africanized killer bees or the holes in the ozone that will microwave us with cancer beams. The dinosaur media always has some new boogeyman out to get us and the children. Won’t somebody please think of the children?! And as if retreating inside wasn’t enough, now I am seeing a trend emerging where we will retreat into virtual reality and the online world. So many of us fear or dislike their real lives so much that they run to a softer and more forgiving virtual space where accomplishments are more attainable. I was recently at a sports bar where I saw drone racing on one of the screens, which was thoroughly entertaining, I must add. As I watch “pilots?” in VR sunglasses, blind to their surroundings, I notice a trailer for Ready Player One on the next screen. If I had seen these two images in a movie, I might have thought it was from some dystopian nightmare movie about a future where reality is so dreadful that most find escapism in virtual life. Yet apparently that more or less has become a reality today. Screens have invaded our lives and become ever so invasive. While they can be used for good, I will never get used to walking into a room full of people with their necks cranked down at their phone while they avoid fellow human interaction. Even worse is when you see children staring at their screens all day long. It just feels like humanity is stuck in the Matrix and the machines are feeding off our attention like Morpheus warned Neo about.
As I see more people favor virtual worlds and augmented reality, I wonder if we will begin to lose our natural humanity? These virtual worlds are a lot like a drug and social media is no different. The constant flow of dopamine from each enemy kill, or retweet. Each mission accomplished, or new follower. Our brains are being hijacked. Video games provide a false sense of accomplishment that hold back many young people from going out in the real world to find success. Social media provides cheap and easy social interactions that placate our need for connection. Online dating has taken the fun out of pursuing a love interest through common interests or serendipity. No one wants to watch a romantic comedy where someone just decides that their time has come and creates a match.com profile. I don’t even know if that is still a thing; online dating never interested me.
As time goes on and the population of our planet booms while resources dwindle, I see humanity retreating from its own problems in favor for the glitzy and dopamine filled virtual space. The original safe space. Our living spaces are increasingly favoring bigger homes and smaller yards. Big identical houses with no yards are a sad but accurate commentary on modern society and its current values.
Ultimately it all comes down to balance and many of us lean too far to one direction. We have strayed so far from our natural habitat of living in the wild. At the end of the day, we all need shelter, so there is nothing wrong with have a nice house to call home, but what are we giving up with bigger and bigger homes? Do we find happiness looking out a window and seeing another giant house right on top of our own? Those who live out in nature have the right idea. Seeing green around me brings me peace and serenity. Now I know that many people enjoy their cosmopolitan comforts and there is nothing wrong with a little civilization, but when you trade your natural habitat of green trees for a concrete jungle, you give up a bit of your humanity.