Gather around the virtual fireplace children, and let me tell you a story…
Once upon a time, many bites ago, in a long-forgotten analog world, humans used to gather around tables or camp fires and have conversations about life, family, school, work and the burdens of the soul. Families had home-cooked meals together, parties were organised through invitations, soirees required pearls, ties and heels, and the grandparents were not dumped in nursing homes.
Lurking in the nearby dark forest of Technology lived the beast called Internet. There was a myriad of magnificent myths and legends that surrounded this monster who boasted about ruling parallel worlds and becoming the dictator of virtual realities, full of empty promises of social fulfilment without the shame of face-to-face awkwardness. People who fell victim to the beast could interact with one another though machines, fool themselves into falling in love, and commit to be virtually ever after – without ever setting foot outside the door. Lies could be sold by the click of button, and perversions that exceeded every imagination would suddenly at everyone’s fingertips.
The older humans were terrified of this mythical beast for many years, imagining all kinds of dark tentacles and traps that would spell the death of humanity and communication as they knew it. They feared, and rightly so, that this was the new devil, one more powerful than the Bibles, Korans and Torahs had ever described for it fed on values such as mindfulness, kindness, generosity, making them vanish forever like the dinosaurs. The empty voids were replaced by blind ambition, selfishness, depression, cyberbullying and made way for loss of civility, courtesy and the basic ability to say please and thank you.
The beast grew stronger in the corporate basements and festered in PC incubators, carefully nurturing new offsprings disguised as kinder, friendlier clones that could be released into the wild weird world. This, the administrators determined, was a good thing and the new creatures would be called Social Media and Google. Their mission was an intricate conspiracy to dehumanise communication, anonymise interaction, prevent children from ever asking questions or talking to their parents, and ultimately, transform libraries a thing of the distant past.
Stage One: lure the teenage humans into feeding the beasts selfies 24-hours a day, entrap them into documenting every move they made, and feed the creature with copious amounts of information about everything they ate or bought and what music they listened to, or which make-up brand was hip and cool.
Stage Two: achieve world domination over childhood. Children were to become glued to their tablets and phones, become utterly incompetent at playing outside with other children and never knowing the joys of building sandcastles or rolling in the mud. Most important of all, they were no longer meant to ask questions to their parents or grandparents, and if they did, the default setting of all adults was “Did you Google it first before you asked me?”
Stage Three: hostile takeover of all forms of businesses and corporate communications. Sexy, seductive and paperless offices with special dedicated social media departments would determine the trends instead of the human interaction that was the foundation of most conglomerates. Even police work, where common sense and intuition ruled the roost for centuries, would be replaced by exotic gluttonous gargoyles called computer animation and algorithms.
Stage Four: eradicate all forms of physical shopping. Humans no longer have to go the the shops and deal with human shopkeepers and cashiers. Everything would be done from the virtual worlds of the laptops and mobile phones, and even money would be virtual. It would start with books, then clothing, and eventually move up to groceries, pharmaceuticals, and in many cases, you wouldn’t even have to leave your room to have a consultation with your doctor – just set up video conferences.
Stage Five: eliminate home cooking. All food is ordered by awakening the evil genie called App and command him to do everything by merely tapping on a device. No humans involved, just pure unadulterated digital intercourse.
The humans ceased to evolve into creatures who believed in happily ever after.