Even if we aren’t the ones being bullied or doing the bullying, we are all seeing it. Every day. Verbal abuse, violence on video, self-righteous shaming, condescension, belittlement, jealousy, posturing, and comparison.
This ability to temporarily “disappear” not only represents the trigger in our cycle, it is also our reward. Our addiction is less about the mini dopamine hits we get from social validation metrics and more about the escape. The dopamine hit from likes and new posts is just the final icing on the cake, reminding us that escape is always the right choice.
Algorithms feed one of our most primitive psychological needs. We are hardwired to seek out information that confirms our beliefs.
From a business perspective, it makes sense to show us what we like.
Our desire for escape is the trigger that drives our incessant checking of the web.
Soon we will reach a technological inflection point, where we will spend more of our time engaged with the digital world than not. The outsize influence of this alternate universe we are building makes it incumbent upon us to think critically and openly about its impact on society.
Technology is not something that happens to us, it is something we choose to create.