All the lonely people made by iPhone

All the lonely people made by iPhone

We need to talk about the iPhone – or Android – in your pocket. Do you still think of it as just a phone, or is it something infinitely more now?

When Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world in 2006, knowing it would revolutionize how we communicate with each other globally, he recognized it was a huge leap forward.

Famously optimistic, Apple and Jobs saw her arrival as cause for non-silent celebration, but I wonder what he would have thought in 2022?

A year before the first iPhone came out, the mobile phone itself was still just a heavy mobile tool for communicating with your friends, family, and business partners on the go and not much more.

But in 2022, your iPhone is helping you navigate the world from booking airline tickets to confirming your identity, to boarding the gate. It has become your digital footprint, your bank account, your health monitor, and your constant online throbbing companion.

Your phone helps you interact with the wider world now and brings the world back to you directly. He has become indispensable to many, but is he a true friend? Do real friends spy on your every move like your phone does?

You have reason to wonder because from morning to night your little friend in your pocket sends sensitive information about your whereabouts, your background, your tastes, your orientation, your purchases, your social class, religion, political affiliations, education, gender, race, and interests to a host of obscure but increasingly powerful global companies that then turn all that information into A unique profile as your fingerprint – then turn that fingerprint into a profit.

They say knowledge is power, so shouldn’t we pay more attention to who was handing all that knowledge and power?

But we don’t. We’ve all gotten very busy. We look at the five-page list of terms and conditions attached to each of our digital step and just click accept before we read a line from it now. We even give them thumbprints and across our fingers.

These ever-lengthening lists of terms and conditions are legally binding in any court but we agree to Hail Mary’s pass and hope we don’t end up there. But it may be too late to hope for that.

All the information you inadvertently share across your apps and interactions has already been harvested multiple times over the course of many years, and your profile has already been created and shared.

Well, what would you say? I have nothing to hide. Who cares if Skynet Corporation has the goods on me? I doubt anyone would consider my Facebook posts controversial.

But the thing is, now that your opinions, interests, expectations, and policies have been successfully identified and harvested, that’s all your phone and these apps are getting back to you.

Big tech is invisibly shaping and reshaping your entire living reality with content you know can’t fail to illuminate you and that’s dangerous.

It turns out that having your opinions and interests, including your worst biases and doubts, sent directly to you every day (through an algorithm that nurtures them and shares them with you before you even know it’s happening) is deeply alienating and isolating. A recent experience we haven’t even begun to address.

Take the subway now and you’ll see a hundred people looking gloomyly at their phones instead of each other or the world going by. One reason for this is that their phones no longer allow them to trust, on any real level, other people or in this wider world.

This nation is as dangerous and divided as I’ve always suspected, your phone constantly reassuring you. No wonder you don’t want to look up and meet anyone’s gaze.

So something is lost at the same time as something is gained. What we lose is any sense of the shared community experience. Now we all live in seclusion in the worlds of information created by our hands, where the only surprise left to us is when someone disagrees with us.

When you’re shielded, or surrounded by algorithms from opposing viewpoints, encountering some of them in the real world can become increasingly unsettling. The epic meltdowns we see daily on the internet now – recorded on other people’s iPhones as they happen – are examples of digitally isolated people who have finally lost the ability to negotiate, because negotiation is no longer part of their everyday world.

Nobody meant our phones to make us aloof and intolerant, but nobody knows how to reverse that horse now that it’s out of the gate. That’s why we really need to talk about the brave new world we’re making by mistake, instead of continuing to stumble blindly toward it as we are right now.

#lonely #people #iPhone

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