I have problems sleeping sometimes and the other day when I was looking at meditation and relaxation apps to help, I found an app called “White noises”. It is a kind of sound generating and mixing app; it has different sounds like the sounds of the wind blowing, the rain, the river flowing, the fireplace, and other ambient sounds.

I was listening to it and suddenly a thought crossed my mind that frightened me: Since when have people had to make an app for this? These are all natural sounds, it is free everywhere. Has it become such a luxury and scarcity that there has to be an app for it?

Just a while ago, Facebook launched virtual reality spaces and to be honest, it kinda freaked me out a little. If in the future, traveling means seeing through VR glasses, meeting friends means seeing a bunch of digitized avatars, then I don’t want to go there.

I want to travel and see things with my own eyes. I want to feel the wind on my skin and listen to real birds chirping in the wild, feel the warmth from the fireplace and not experience it all from an app.

And if I want to see and hang out with my friends and loved ones, I want to see their real faces, look into their eyes, and hug them, feel their heartbeat.

Since when have people been so lazy and glued to the screen or VR glasses that they can’t even bother looking around, going into nature or having real conversations and human interactions with real people?

Don’t get me wrong. I love technology and I know the potential of it is limitless. But there is a thin line between using technology and being enslaved by it.

If anything, I feel like in our modern world, people have become more and more disconnected from each other and from themselves because of technology.

I remember the movie Wall-E, where humans have forgotten what it’s like to work, to touch the skin of another human being, what it’s like to dance, to sing, to have emotions and all the things that differentiate humans from machines.

Smartphones, social networks etc., it all somehow creates burdens on our shoulders to portrait ourselves better on the Internet, to shy away from our problems in real life. With constant connections to email, social media… anxiety, depression, online bullying, public shaming have been on the rise.

And virtual, augmented reality and AI have opened a lot more doors and possibilities for the future, but also posed a lot more threats to the future of humanity.

The quickest way to lose track of our reality is to get lost in an alternative, virtual reality. And that future to me is frightening.

Picture: A beach in Hoi An, Vietnam, credited to me

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Posted by:Hanh Lam

I am a young Vietnamese woman with a passion for development work and social change, a desire to explore the world and a love for storytelling.

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