After rereading my blog posts, one of the common themes I noticed that I write about is how technology can transform individual behavior and relationships. Technology often has negative unintended repercussions on individuals by exacerbating our pre-existing tendencies and distorting our perception of reality. Specifically, I write about how algorithms and artificial intelligence can reinforce biases, how social media can create feelings of isolation and comparison, and how the vast amount of information online can lead to misinformation and challenges in determining its authenticity.
Another concern that I write about is the power that businesses have over individuals. Not only do businesses have access to an abundance of our data, neglecting any sense of privacy, the way this data is used also often negatively impacts individuals and communities. Companies like Google and Facebook can filter the content we see based on this data without our knowledge. This ability to filter information and control content is dangerous given how easily individuals may be influenced by what they see. The examples of advertisements influencing political outcomes made me conclude that more information is not better for society as it is laborious to sift through information sources.
My writing also tends to focus on how technology affects our thinking, such as how it can increase anxiety and depression. Social media in particular can drastically affect our emotional states by changing how we interact with each other both unintentionally and intentionally. By increasing our access to information, technology provides more methods of comparison, though much of what we see online (especially through social media) is filtered and edited, which alters our perception of reality. Social media sites also deliberately generate positive feedback to keep us on social media, such as by providing notifications when someone “likes” a photo.
I think my posts have become even more critical of technology throughout the semester, though I was fairly critical of some of its consequences to begin with. When I reread my work, I was somewhat surprised that my posts were not as critical as they would be now that we have learned more about the various consequences of technology. It would be interesting to explore more in depth how digital technology is shaping psychology and social interactions, which is a topic I referenced in my blog posts. Other topics I raised that would be interesting to explore more are the ethical responsibilities of actors involved in certain issues and the question of privacy. These are difficult questions to answer, however, which is why I only touched on them in my blog posts.