Your new iPhone will probably be outdated before you can even crack it with that inevitable life-shattering drop on the pavement. I have nothing against iPhones, in fact, I hope to get one as soon as Verizon will carry it. My angst comes instead with the perpetual push for more, for smaller, for faster and more powerful.
We are eternally trying to realize our George and the Jetsons fantasies of flying cars and robot housekeepers. “This will be the decade!” we project year after year. Meanwhile, there are millions left at the beginning of the curve. There are countless with no Internet access at all—forget about intelligent kitchen countertops and mobile microchips. Are we future-obsessed? I imagine if you’ve never used your phone for anything beyond a phone call, the iPhone might be a little overwhelming. Besides the digital natives, how much of the population can actually adapt and adopt technology as fast as it is developing? Are we moving so quickly that some people will be forever left behind?
The time has come for a realistic and admittedly cynical look at our media future. It is more of a wake up call than a calculated future projection. This is what we have to look forward to if we let a super sonic media obsession rule our world.
Top 10 Terrible Things That Could Happen to our Media Landscape:
- Trends toward customization will generate self-centered blinders that lead to ignorance and apathy. Users will forget that we are all interdependent.
- The 3D mobile media cloud creates hyper-connected, over-stimulated media addicts who cannot appreciate low-tech treasures like genuine friends and family.
- Trends toward transparency will lead to a general lack of privacy in our online and offline worlds. Eventually, we will be bombarded with targeted advertising that knows all of our private information.
- If online becomes the “default,” those without Internet access will fall further and further behind.
- An over preoccupation with prevention will force us to disregard the present. Life will become too fast-paced because we are constantly worried about the future.
- Children growing up online will fail to develop critical cognitive abilities like imagination, attention span and patience due to 24/7 media consumption.
- Blurred boundaries between things and people will force us to devalue genuine face-to-face relationships.
- Intelligent products and processes will lead to a loss of control on the part of human intelligence.
- The easier it is for people to communicate and publish material, the more noise will drown out quality content.
- High demand for low-energy media like viral videos and celebrity news feeds will lead to a scarcity of valuable high-energy media like lengthy literature and in-depth news.
I’m not saying everything on this list is guaranteed to happen. I’m simply saying that these are the risks associated with our media culture today. It is our responsibility to be aware of these dangers and to begin counteracting them as soon as possible.