Losing our Humanity in the Digital Age?

By Zach Cooper FBI, 9 years ago
I guess for many of us videogames serve a purpose of escaping from something in our reality, whether it be boredom, stress, unhappiness or whatever. We all have our reasons and we all look forward excitedly toward the future; to see what more games can offer us. But does this not come at some kind of cost, When will freedom of expression and technology become a danger?

I will now take a moment to stop trying to sound like a fancy, literary, fancy pants and just come out and say it. What happens when we would rather spend time in a digital world rather than the real world, and even worse what happens when we cannot tell the difference? Or, what happens when we start blowing each other up instead of sprites and 3d models?

This could easily become a violence in videogames thing, or a videogame addiction thing, or even an addiction to violence thing... Whatever thing, it really is the whole notion of advancing technology and the hidden dangers it can pose, and has become a popular subject and perhaps even a subconscious fear over the last 30 years. Even an animated film like Wall E (I am not going to look up how to do that little dot thing so don't whine about it) explores the idea of what will happen to humanity as we become complacent through the gifts of our own brilliance.

While the world is neither more or less filled with sex and violence than other periods of our history, never has it been so readily available. At any moment you can enter in a few keystrokes and witness the most horrific and graphic examples of violence or partake in the most sexually deviant spectacles humanity has to offer. Yet there is little to no "mainstream" objection to this growing trend.

So it begs the question where do we draw the line, or should there even be a line? Videogames now offer you the chance to simulate killing most anything you want in most any way you can imagine, and the same can be said from a sexual perspective. We also continue to march toward heightened realism, trying to mimic our world as closely as possible, until one day we reach a place where the imitation looks just as good, and maybe even better than the reality it is copying.

While this sounds all well and good, I can't help but ponder a few things, based on the types of people I encounter on x-box live I don't feel comfortable with such technology being available to the general population. Some guy gets drunk, while playing some virtual reality grand theft auto game, passes out in the game, wakes up still thinking he is in the game and blows some actual people away. Someone makes a family in the sims 10 and falls in love with their virtual counterparts and completely forgoes trying to form relationships with actual humans.

These kind of trends are already being shown in society, with people becoming addicted to games like World of Warcraft, losing their health, finances and relationships simply to be the best in their guild. I also see the way people on the internet treat each other to be further indicators of these trends. Such aggression without lack of reason and a general insensitivity to other people's emotions.

I can't say I have any facts, figures or empirical evidence to support my observations, but the general unease I feel when I deal with members of my generation as well as the pessimism I feel when I consider how the next coming generations with develop is very real.

Oh and just because it was really bothering me WALL•E, HA there you go. Alt+0183 gives you a big sexy interpunct.

Sure not everyone would want to spend the rest of their lives in "the matrix." And I already predict that many of you are arming yourselves with tried and true responses like "LOL only losers play WoW" and "SEX AND VIOLENCE NEVER HURT ANYONE AND IF YOU SAY THEY DO I WILL PUNCH YOU IN THE LYMPH NODES AND STRANGLE YOUR LYMPHOLOGIST!" and if you are gonna try and punch me in the lymph nodes I will have you know I have some truly brilliant lymph so you had better bring your A game, sucka.

But I also know there are those of you who are miserable, tired and cannot see what our reality has to offer, so a virtual one seems like a much better alternative. When you do resign yourself to living inside a computer generated world flying around like superman and fornicating with creatures of your own creation as you destroy planets with intergalactic pelvis thrusts, try and remember, as much as you try to resist, sooner or later reality will come back and smack you in the face (or lymph) 10 times as hard for each time you try to ignore it.