This got me thinking about how much technology is progressing at the moment, and how oblivious we are to being manipulated. Take the recent US election. Trump supporters were inundated with articles on Facebook praising him, supporting him. Those supporters weren’t fed much, if any (accurate) information on the opposing party. And likewise for Hillary supporters. Supporters for both sides, were fed articles that Facebook knew they would like and agree with. Facebook doesn’t care what the consequences are.They deny that the spread of fake news has any effect. Facebook doesn’t care if they’re feeding their users a balanced argument on the most important election in the world at this time. Facebook just wants higher engagement rates. They want to please you. They just want to make sure you stick around, and keep coming back.
This is perhaps one of the reasons why the election result came as a shock to many. Facebook bubbles are becoming claustrophobic nightmares. People don’t even know they’re in one until it’s too late.
If it’s like this now, what’s in store for all of us in five, ten, or even fifty years?
The internet will have completely immersed itself in our lives. Voice assistants, oh, they’ll be listening to your every word. All that data uploaded to the web, once it’s there, it’s out of your hands. Facebook will continue to present you with the stories you want to see, whether they’re true or not. They don’t care about the consequences, remember?
iPhones will look how the Nokia phones look to us now. We won’t even have to carry phones at this point. We’ll use interfaces instead. What’s an interface? It’s a screen, about the size of an iPhone, dotted everywhere around us. At home, at work, but not on the tube because we all know how long it took them just to get wifi. The scanning of your retina will let you access all your data, wherever you are, your Facebook feed, Twitter feed, (if either still exists) your messages to friends. Everything will be right there in front of you. The technology will be so fast that if you look away, the data on the screen will disappear. Move towards another interface, it will all be right there waiting for you when you set eyes on it.
This will be the age of ads. If you didn’t already think they were obtrusive now, think again. At this moment, your data will be so readily accessible that ads will be more personalised than ever before. All those interfaces everywhere, of course they going to have ads. Everywhere you look, there will be ads, following your every move, both on and offline. Advertisers will know you better than you know yourself. Ads will become so commonplace that the line will blur between ads and reality. You can’t adblock the interfaces around you. There’s no escape.
The world will be a very different place. Interfaces will now truly be everywhere. Remember, that once upon a time, you were able to step outside and see reality. You could look up from your phone and see real life, happening right there in front of you. By now, it’s all different. There is no ‘real life’. Everyone will wear contact lenses with computer chips in. They’ll track your every move. You won’t need a device now, you won’t even need to look at an interface. It will all be inside your own head. Ads, everywhere you look. Step outside, take a look around. Ads. All over. Close your eyes, they’re still there. Imagine wanting to ‘Google’ something. By this point in time, it’s a forgotten term. You only have to think something to have the information spring up in front of your field of view. Humans will forget how to use their own brains. They’ll forget how to remember things for themselves. Why do they need to when everything they see is being recorded and saved somewhere. How will they know if they’re even in control of their own thoughts, are we even control of that now?
Perhaps this is a rather grim outlook on what could potentially happen in years to come. But I think things could really be this bad if people don’t start realising what’s going on around them. We all have to be aware of the information we’re choosing to absorb every day. Those who rely purely on Facebook for their news, are they informed that they might not be getting the whole picture? Are they so wrapped up in the Facebook Bubble that they don’t even realise?
We need to be aware.
I was inspired by this video when writing this post. I strongly recommend you give it a watch. It’s pretty cool, but could you imagine being happy living in a world like that?