The Web Enslaves Us With Convenience

In The Matrix, Neo learns that humanity is enslaved by machines. The populace “lives” in a virtual world, unaware that their body heat is being used as an energy source. I see a sort of low-fi parallel of this in our relationship with Facebook. Every member operates in that “free” forum, largely unaware that they’re powering the thing by relinquishing their user data.

This scenario is in stark contrast to what we once hoped the web to be. We imagined it as a means of liberating people. It’d democratize publishing, knowledge, and access. In fact, for-profit use of the internet was initially prohibited on the web. But, as with most innovations, the desire for control/ownership tends to overpower such openness. While no one goes out planning to relinquish their freedoms, they commonly trade them away for small conveniences. On Facebook, they trade ownership for an instant network. With Gmail, they trade privacy for frictionless email. With fitness apps, they trade their health information for easy statistics.

Convenience is a killer. Convenient food makes us sick. Convenient transportation makes us fat. Convenient information makes us stupid. Convenient packaging poisons our environment. Shortcuts comes with a cost—even if you don’t recognize what that cost is. Conversely, inconvenience/discomfort is often a good for you. Unprocessed foods are typically healthier. Walking benefits your body and mind. Long reads force you to learn. Packing your own reusable bags minimizes your carbon footprint.

So, when I ask what the web would do for me—in a perfect world—I come back to a few ideas: It should lead me to discover new people who think differently than I do. It should force me to grow and rethink my biases. It should lead me to find new (virtual) places, perhaps hidden to me in real life. It should challenge me—and it needn’t necessarily be easy.

Notes:

Folksonomies: web convenience internet new media

Taxonomies:
/technology and computing (0.428237)
/business and industrial (0.402578)
/technology and computing/internet technology/social network (0.400067)

Keywords:
Convenient packaging poisons (0.931365 (:0.000000)), Long reads force (0.822408 (:0.000000)), Convenient food (0.739089 (:0.000000)), Convenient transportation (0.737187 (:0.000000)), Convenient information (0.728958 (:0.000000)), low-fi parallel (0.708650 (:0.000000)), Web Enslaves (0.684708 (:0.000000)), energy source (0.682710 (:0.000000)), frictionless email (0.677303 (:0.000000)), small conveniences (0.677134 (:0.000000)), stark contrast (0.677114 (:0.000000)), virtual world (0.676702 (:0.000000)), body heat (0.676216 (:0.000000)), Unprocessed foods (0.669495 (:0.000000)), user data (0.663591 (:0.000000)), fitness apps (0.654303 (:0.000000)), instant network (0.647770 (:0.000000)), health information (0.639856 (:0.000000)), easy statistics (0.639634 (:0.000000)), carbon footprint (0.637643 (:0.000000)), real life (0.636203 (:0.000000)), reusable bags (0.634480 (:0.000000)), perfect world—I (0.624113 (:0.000000)), new people (0.615124 (:0.000000)), Facebook (0.538318 (:0.000000)), biases (0.468654 (:0.000000)), openness (0.462855 (:0.000000)), populace (0.460834 (:0.000000)), freedoms (0.460049 (:0.000000)), Neo (0.456082 (:0.000000)), Gmail (0.454454 (:0.000000)), sort (0.452562 (:0.000000)), Shortcuts (0.451272 (:0.000000)), scenario (0.449290 (:0.000000)), humanity (0.448874 (:0.000000)), machines (0.448368 (:0.000000)), lives (0.448125 (:0.000000)), relationship (0.447517 (:0.000000)), desire (0.445835 (:0.000000)), publishing (0.445154 (:0.000000)), knowledge (0.445127 (:0.000000)), access (0.445087 (:0.000000)), member (0.444913 (:0.000000)), fact (0.444881 (:0.000000)), forum (0.444820 (:0.000000)), internet (0.444800 (:0.000000)), thing (0.444288 (:0.000000)), control/ownership (0.443469 (:0.000000)), planning (0.443152 (:0.000000))

Entities:
Facebook:Company (0.724390 (:0.000000)), Neo:Company (0.457580 (:0.000000)), Gmail:Company (0.410989 (:0.000000))

Concepts:
Convenience (0.918972): dbpedia_resource
Convenience store (0.858252): dbpedia_resource
Google (0.747491): dbpedia_resource
The Matrix (0.703351): dbpedia_resource
Web 2.0 (0.686309): dbpedia_resource
World Wide Web (0.681315): dbpedia_resource
Consumer behaviour (0.673171): dbpedia_resource
Thing (0.609160): dbpedia_resource

 I Quit Facebook—and You Should, Too
Electronic/World Wide Web>Blog:  Karjal, Eric (October 14, 2017), I Quit Facebook—and You Should, Too, Retrieved on 2017-10-25
  • Source Material [www.erickarjaluoto.com]
  • Folksonomies: social media