Having reviewed the topics we’ve been through, I tried to conclude the whole idea in the word ‘separation’. Though the mass media tell us about ‘Earth Village’ or how Internet and other computing technologies bring us together, we actually experience an opposite feeling. It’s not only about how interpersonal relationship has been reduced, but also about how the integrity of an individual’s mind and body is broken down, with the involvement of ubiquitous media.
Think of the surveillance technologies. The report about how citizens monitor each other still shocks me. It sounds like a plot in 1984, by George Orwell, but the truth is even harsher, with pervasive CCTV around the city and all the data collected from every citizen, and the check mechanism of online information. People then have to try their best to protect their privacy, cause everything could be collected and some day turns them in, and that’s how surveillance separate us.
Cloud, the Enclosure 3.0, is also an evidence of separation of interpersonal relationship. It’s kind of like monarchal social stratum. People are more involved in a relationship with official platforms with gigantic database, but less with other people.
Apart from the foregoing separation of interpersonal relationship, with increasing digital technologies in our life, smart phones, wearable devices, we may foresee a possibly separation of mind and body. Think of the concept of brain in a vat proposed by Hilary Putman. We are actually facing with the similar situation. In a near future, we may stop writing or typing anything because computers will generate our ideas. We don’t walk, we don’t go to work, and we don’t have parties. And then those pragmatists may claim that our physical bodies are no longer useful, but a waste of resources. We surely could run the intelligent function well without legs and hands. Is human intimate relationship necessary? We can fall in love with computer programs anyway.
To make a conclusion, separation is the most important reason I think ubiquitous media challenging, and perhaps the most profound influence it’s going to have on our social behaviors.