Your variables dashboard
You are the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time! As the saying goes, ‘show me your friends, and I will show you your future.’ We are all a product of the openmindedness of our family, educations systems and the immediate environment in which we grew up. Even though it sounds challenging, we can break the family curse of wrongful indoctrination from our dear ones, we can change the school, and we can exclude ourselves from the environment that doesn’t have the desired impact on us, such as bad friends. We are in control of the initial three variables, but what about the fourth! The fourth variable that I neglected, maybe the most important one, is the information and knowledge we consume that we partially control.
Information accessibility does not mean knowledge accessibility
The information and knowledge we consume, nowadays fed by technological advancement, created a perfect comfortable bubble. Sadly enough, we are the creators of that bubble, and there is little we are doing about it.
You are objectively subjective lost in the multiverse of self-inflicted personal indoctrination!
What do you mean?
We live in a world of connectivity with many applications designed to make your life ‘comfortable. With every visit, every click, you are leaving your digital fingerprints behind. Instead of paying with hard currency for these digital services, we deliver our data in exchange for the functionalities. Your digital fingerprints are worth a lot to these companies; thus, the product is free. These companies use your data and preferences to develop a profile of You! The more you leave behind yourself, the better they can profile you, your behaviour and use it to seize your attention at any given moment you are using the device of mass communication.
The developed platforms utilised cognitive domain expertise from professionals such as psychologists and neuroscientists, enabling mass manipulation.
In the past decade, we have witnessed massive lawsuits against Facebook followed by documentaries such as The Great Hack, The Social Dilemma and Coded Bias and many more.
Whether you want it or not, you have left a digital trace behind, used to form your bubble based on your data and preferences. If you search for a particular topic in Google, depending on your geographical location and your data history, you will get completely different results than I would. Your data is used to customise offerings for various companies and provide you with targeted advertisements that you will find convenient while saying, ooh, this is just what I needed. Online tech is manipulating your buyer behaviour, but it also has a more profound impact on everything you do in real life. Your online actions also ensure you only get pieces of information you comply with, influencing your bias, preferences and behaviour. Meaning that you are responsible for your shortsightedness even though you are not aware of it.
Cathy O’Neil challenged the world of Big Tech in her book ‘The Weapons of Math Destructions‘. In which she elaborates how big data is increasing inequality and is threatening democracy. If this is all new to you, I suggest you read this book; it will give you a detailed view of the online world.
How can you solve this challenge?
We are not in control of the media corporations, but we control the information we consume. Even though Apple made a great move regarding privacy on your iPhone, making unsharing data possible with a swipe, we still have a long way to go. The General Data Protection Law within the EU is making a stand against corporations and misuse of data, but they can not prohibit sharing your data if you comply with the legal terms. So, be careful using any free platforms and do some research on what data you are giving away with your consent. Break the pattern of information consumption, read stories about a subject from a different perspective, listen to music you would never listen to, challenge everything you think you know!
Or take rigorous measures and disconnect, the choice is yours, and you are in control!