How public opinion changes
I love this, Daisy. Another phrase that often bothers me is “it’s not going away” as a way of justifying the relatively early adoption of something which we might not know enough about yet or know how to effectively deploy. It seems to me that we are often in such a rush, and forget how long it has historically taken for some technologies to be even close to “perfected” that we end up blindly using and naturalising things that need more time and understanding.
Very thought-provoking, thanks. Like most things, there is a balance to be struck between benefits and harms. New technologies arrive at a pace and deliver those potential harms before we have enough data and can be difficult to evaluate, anyway. For instance, I lament the loss of skills and capabilities in a teenage brain that were commonplace when I was at school: basic navigation of the world (spacial, temporal and social); (self-)awareness; improvisation and problem-solving. I worry that carefree youth and a time of developing confidence has been replaced with anxiety and slavery to the (mobile) machine. Is the trade-off worth it? Not to me, but I cannot imagine my life otherwise and have no idea how to measure its quality, objectively.
Interesting article. I like your smoking analogy and it holds true when we look at the vested interests and how embedded and powerful they are. In 1994 the tobacco CEOs testified in congress that tobacco is not addictive. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_ZDQKq2F08 . This seems incredible now does it not. I am not anti-corporate per se, but it is clear investors will seek to protect their investments. The value created by all our data creates powerful organisations that will protect their interests. The Bell Systems telephone provider monopoly was broken up in 1982 after an 8 year battle with the Department of Justice. However, with globalisation, some businesses now seem to have more power than many states. Unlike Bell, the tech giants can move their business base relatively easily. I am not saying things will not change but we have a fight on our hands. It is a fight we need to get into. In the USA suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 10-14 (CDC.gov). The designed in addictiveness of mobile phones and the toxic algorithms that lead to Molly Russell being bombarded with suicide related content are creating a terrible environment to grow up in. I am a passionate advocate for free speech. However this does not have to be linked to the kind of practices that just happen to generate a huge amount of revenue.