Mind: Remote Controlled?
By Aarthy Iyengar
What makes humans different from all other species is their complex way of thinking. Humans cannot be trained and treated like animals in a circus, for they don’t just respond but think, plan and act. However, in recent times, social media has somewhat challenged this. Humans lately behave exactly the way the Artificial Intelligence wants them to. Though AI can never replace human emotions, it certainly is gaining more ground because of its increasing control over human psychology.
Say notifications, so irresistible. They create anxiety and curiosity, thoughts like "who might have texted me at this time?". Phones go along everywhere a person goes, one is staring at a screen all day except for sleeping hours, for work lies on the phone, so does the entertainment. It is scary that the media knows exactly what one is thinking. Say you are thinking something to yourself or are saying something to another person and after a while, you open social media, there is an advertisement about the exact thing. This is too random to be a coincidence. The truth is, the internet knows everything. It's like the material being sold is no longer the product, it is the user who is the product being sold by the social media in terms of views to the big advertising companies. It seems the personal freedom and privacy of a person in the whole free world is a myth.
Similarly, when it comes to opinions, media appeases the user by showing only the content related to their belief system. The individual feels validated and thinks that the world functions their way and hence an opinion transforms into a radical attitude. They turn a blind eye to the existence of a different viewpoint. This is a huge power in the hands of the internet, for the highest bidder can manipulate the entire thought process of the population in their favour. This way the whole system of democracy is challenged. While at the societal level such hazards are unimaginable, the social media also affects the individual by being a major factor behind stress.
Social media creates pressure by showing and promoting ideal ways of living. An individual portrays a fake self and superficially feels good on receiving false validation in the form of "likes" while feeling hollow inside. This is a vicious cycle for another person looking at this person's fake side is caught up with feelings of envy. This person thinks that their life is not as "awesome", and in competition puts up a fake self on the social media and the cycle goes on. It is when people start interacting with others in real life, they shall realise that at the core they are all the same. This constant lingering of sad feelings shall end when people consciously take back the control of their life from social media and the internet. One could start this with a simple act of choosing the next video to watch rather than selecting one from the autoplay or suggestions.