PERSPECTIVE
Digital Disorder; how it is affecting society the world over
- ZUBEIDA MUSTAFA
Digital Disorder; how it is affecting society the world over



EARLIER THIS YEAR, WHO classified video-gaming as a disorder. It is defined in the draft Eleventh Revision of the International Classification of Diseases as a mental health condition. Understandably, controversy has erupted round this move as many experts believe that sufficient data doesn’t exist to support this drastic diagnosis.
 
Besides, the symptoms defined are too broad to be applied to one particular area of engagement. Thus a person may have a strong preference for any activity that he enjoys to the extent that "he does not stop even if there are negative consequences, the compulsion strains his life, health and relationships” — WHO’s definition of the gaming disorder. Definitely more data is needed.

It is, however, a different matter to revisit a variety of social media to see how it is affecting society the world over. We do not necessarily have to study the medical aspect to worry about Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and so on.

It is important to view these entrants in the digital world in the context of communications technology and artificial intelligence (AI) and their impact on human society, politics, the growing economic divide and the lifestyles of people. Social media has dramatically transformed the communication scene for all and sundry.

From oral communication that connected men and women without any help from technology, we have moved over the millennia into the digital age. Even the invention of paper in China and the printing press in Germany did not have the same far-reaching impact on human society as the internet has had.
------
It is worrisome how the internet has taken control of human life.
------
The change driven by digital technology has been rapid and ubiquitous. This has been possible partly because the social media set out to do just this. The Facebook’s website states its mission "is to give people the power to build community and bring the world together. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends … and express what matters to them”. A noble intent no doubt. But as its founder Mark Zuckerberg himself once admitted in an interview, he had not anticipated the course his creation would take.

Within reasonable limits no one would have taken any objection to this activity. The internet has made communication easier and facilitated the work of people looking for information/education. But what I worry about is the way it has taken control of human life. This is by design. Facebook, the oldest of the lot, has nearly 1.45 billion daily active users, WhatsApp has 1bn and Twitter 336 million.

These statistics do not tell us how much time is consumed and exactly what effect this massive interactive exercise daily has on people’s lifestyles, emotional health and physical fitness. Even in terms of bringing the world together, as social media claims to be doing, the results are questionable.

Social media, in its various forms, is a tool of communication, offering advantages that have never been offered in human history. Yet, its utility cannot be taken for granted. Like other similar tools, it carries risks of fraud, breach of privacy and the global consequences of a breakdown or misuse. We have already been witness to Black Monday (1987), when the stock markets crashed, and the 2008 banking crisis. The internet certainly had a role to play on both occasions. With users rapidly becoming its compulsive slaves and the corporate sector increasing its hold over digital space, regulation is becoming more and more difficult.
------
From oral communication that connected men and women without any help from technology, we have moved over the millennia into the digital age.
------
It is too early to assess the long-term impact of the new narcissistic culture, the loss of privacy, the irresponsible dissemination of disinformation and paradoxically the personal disconnect social media encourages between people living in physical proximity.

The most serious aspect of the social media that is difficult to regulate effectively is its misuse to spread rumours among gullible users who have no means of verifying the information that is disseminated. The Cambridge Analytica scandal conclusively proved that digital information on many social media outlets could be stolen to manipulate data with evil intentions.

Our next worry should be AI that has a symbiotic relationship with the internet. It is now creeping into our daily lives. We should not ignore scientist Stephen Hawking’s words of wisdom: "I believe there is no deep difference between what can be achieved by a biological brain and what can be achieved by a computer. It therefore follows that computers can, in theory, emulate human intelligence — and exceed it. That could lead to the eradication of disease and poverty and the conquest of climate change. But it could also bring us all sorts of things we didn’t like — autonomous weapons, economic disruption and machines that developed a will of their own, in conflict with humanity.”

He categorically declared that the outcome was not known. His advice to scientists was to study this phenomenon and find out if AI was going to kill us or not.
 
 

*Zubeida Mustafa is a pioneering and award winning Pakistani journalist who became the first woman to work as assistant editor in Pakistan, she is also the recipient of the Lifetime Award Achievement from the International Women’s Media Foundation. This particular piece appeared in dawn.com and is being reproduced here with the author's due permission. 

 

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

DEATH EMBRACING LOGIC: Drugs in Punjab

PANJAB'S EMERGENCY: FORMAL AND INFORMAL

THE KASHMIR GOVERNOR, THE TRIBUNE TRUST & ETHICS - How Journalism Fails Readers?

"Congress Sikhan Di Dushman Jamaat Hai?” —Akalis need to dump broken record, shift gears

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

SARKAR IN MANALI: From Shahkot to Mohali Court, Sara Alam Bigrra Jaye

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

SIKHS & FEMINISTS – We hailed Harjit Sajjan; they didn’t hail Gina Haspel

AFTER BEING RAPED, I WAS WOUNDED; MY HONOUR WAS NOT

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WE MISSED A REVOLUTION, BUT CAN IT STILL BE A GAME CHANGER?

A POLITICIAN SPEAKS – YOU SHOULD HEAR

ENCOUNTER, JULOOS & SELFIES

SOWING ANGER - NO QUICK FIX - Democracy is an Empty Ritual in Punjab

OUT-OF-BOX SOLUTION TO STOP FARMERS' SUICIDES

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

'THORRI BAHUTI EHNA NU SHARAM AUNI CHAHEEDI HAI'

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON SUICIDE-HIT BATS FOR AARHTIYAS

RANGROOT OFFERS A PEEK INTO PUNJAB'S TRAGEDY

WHAT MAKE NEWS IN INDIA, AND WHAT DOES NOT?

HITLER, MODI & GANDHI: ON THE SAME PAGE?

PUNJAB IS STILL VERY FAR FROM INDIA

APOLOGY – AKALIS BIG LOSER, CONG TOO 

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

SUPER EFFICIENCY ONBOARD CM’S CHOPPER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties: The Coordinated Silence of Amarinder Singh & Badals

PM MODI VINDICATES PUNJAB TODAY REPORTAGE

NEW DELHI V/S OTTAWA — WILL QUEBEC DEFEAT INDIA?        

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA - Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar

JASPAL ATWAL CONTROVERSY: Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this too?   

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

J&K – RAM MADHAV LEAVES SPACE FOR MEHBOOBA’S POLITICS

SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS 

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES - Karze Ne Layee Ikk Hor Kisan Di Jaan...

PNB Scam: Who is Nirav Choksi and what he is doing In the name of God?

Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar 

RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.

MR CLEAN to PAKKE DHEETH: How Punjab’s Congress hurt Brand Rahul Gandhi? 

MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER

PUNJAB FARMERS AND IPL CRICKETERS - Finally, they can stand like equals

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!

SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary  Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?

THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT






Comment

your name*

email address*

comments*
You may use these HTML tags:<p> <u> <i> <b> <strong> <del> <code> <hr> <em> <ul> <li> <ol> <span> <div>

verification code*
 







MOST VISITED
YOU MAY LIKE

TOPIC CLOUD

TAGS CLOUD

ARCHIVE



Copyright © 2016-2017







NEWS LETTER