Digital Addiction and Navigating the Age of Smart Systems
By: Lucy Harmon, Account Coordinator
It is a widely accepted fact that living in a digital age has influenced our thoughts, interests, and how we perceive ourselves and others. After reflecting on the social media apps that consume my time, I started thinking about just how little I know about the programming and algorithms of Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc. It is common practice online to use a multitude of apps which collect our data, while knowing nothing about where it goes.
Is it our responsibility to educate ourselves more on the programming and algorithms, social media apps, and artificial intelligences we interact with daily? Or, is it the responsibility of the computer scientists and experts to act as ethically as possible? I believe it is a combination of both.
No matter your familiarity with tech, it has become a necessity of modern life, and thus we must educate ourselves accordingly. The algorithms can collect data and utilize it. However, this ability does not compare to the complexity of the human brain. As members of society, we need to prioritize time for contemplation, mindfulness and critical thinking when interacting with them. This is essential in maintaining the space for human experience as the presence of machines grows and becomes more refined within modern society.
Additionally, it is of the utmost importance for computer scientists to be educated in ethics. With the growing presence of technology in society, the work of computer scientists is becoming increasingly vital to the basic functions of society. They oversee social media content and app development used by millions of people around the world, which comes with great responsibility.
Through an ethics course, these computer scientists would gain a greater awareness of their responsibilities and would begin to acquire the skills needed to help society thrive. In addition to knowledge and the practice of ethics, computer scientists need to actively practice discourse with one another to deepen their understanding of the topics.