The Digital Zombie Apocalypse
The concept of the Zombie Apocalypse has been a huge trend in our society in the past decade. Zombies are pretty much everywhere these days, from Brad Pitt fighting off the undead hordes in a big blockbuster or a classic story such as Pride and Prejudice being retold with a zombie twist. The End comes about by a new plague, be it a virus or fungus, which infects the host and turns them into a brain-dead monster devoid of all humanity. The epidemic always spreads quickly, and soon the remaining survivors are desperately trying to preserve the last pockets of civilization.
What if this outbreak has already happened, if humanity and human interaction are being threatened right under our very noses? Is society right now being degraded to a brain-dead state of shambling, lethargic creatures? What if I told you that this unseen pandemic was not caused by a new virus, but rather something created by our own hands, technology.
Now before we go any further let me make certain that one element is clear, I love technology. I have grown up with it, and have used it all my life. I am addicted to new gadgets and toys, and try to stay up to date on the latest tech blogs. Lately, however, I have begun to wonder about some of the negative effects it has had on our society. While the paragraph above may sound like the gross hyperbole of an old man railing against the changes of the next generation, I believe there is some truth to it. Let me try to explain what I have seen.
Sometimes I get the feeling that when I’m with my friends, I’m not actually with them. We might be in the same room, but our minds are in the digital world our smartphones and laptop provide to us. It’s almost as if we are losing the ability to talk to people face to face, as we have become so use to an online space. It seems like every day it is harder to actually look someone in the eye and have a meaningful conversation. While we now have speed and quickness of transmission of the message, we are losing vital elements, such as body language, to truly convey our meaning. This means that we are no longer communicating as effectively as before, and leads to confusion and misinterpretation. If we really are the most “connected” generation, then why do I see such separation in our everyday lives?
This wall of separation also creates a level of anonymity in communication that we did not have before. People say things in an online conversation that they would never say to someone in a face-to-face conversation. While this can be advantageous, such as dissidents trying to hide from government persecution, it also allows for hatred and racism to spread rampant throughout the online world. Browse through the comments of any online message board and you will see that there are a lot of people out there who would rather say the first hateful thing that pops into their head than have any sort of meaningful discussion. I know bullying has always been a problem, but I see more and more cyberbully cases. Now a bully can hound the victim 24/7, and can always be there for a mean comment or mocking attitude. This has led to several teenage suicides, and shows the ugly side of our always connected society.
In conclusion, I feel that our generation is missing out on life, our real world lives that is. We are sucked into these technological trends, and waste our time on brain-dead activities and communications, just like the shambling zombies we are so fond of these days. Just to reiterate, I do believe that technology has had some positive impacts on our culture and society, I’m just asking that we stop to consider some of what we have lost in the mad dash to the digital realm.