Cyberutopia; Are we living it?

Modern technology has seen our world function as a global nervous system, connecting us through “nerves of iron wire” . Under this system, our social life is being organised and structured in real-time, on a global-local scale.
The best part about this? We have the freedom to organise and structure it ourselves.

In cyberspace, global borders no longer decide how/when we can communicate with others. The government supposedly has no sovereignty in cyberspace, as there is no electable government to ensure conformity and enforce rules and regulations. Thus the material constrains of everyday life have no power or presence in Cyberspace; the free, distributed flow of information across borders is infinite and we are all united.

But with so much freedom to create and interact online, how much of a utopia can we really be living in?

In 2013, Russia saw the rise of a game called ‘Blue Whale‘ invented by Philipp Budeikin.
Administrators assigned players tasks to complete over a 50 day period. As the days progressed, the tasks became increasingly violent and culminated to the final challenge where the player was required to commit suicide.
It is estimated that the game has claimed around 130 victims from Europe, Russia and recently, India.
India’s Union Minister, Maneka Gandhi, has directed that all links to the game be removed from social media.
To additionally combat this phenomenon, an article has been released with the intent of educating parents about how to make sure their child is not playing this game and what to do if they are.

However, this is not preventing teenagers from seeking involvement in the game themselves:

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Could anyone have comprehended that something like this would happen from the internet, from the control and power of users to create content in a distributed network? In such a scenario, Government and media intervention is crucial to ending such dangerous and unprecedented activity.

Have we completely misunderstood the true power and potential of the internet? Could it be that we have no idea how to use this powerful tool?
If networks, the underlying structure of our lives (p.224), are not reliable and safe, than how will we build a functioning, modern society upon an unstable foundation?

The late Phil Salin believed that by the year 2000 an array of diverse cyberspaces will have emerged but “not all will be open to the general public.” He believed that most virtual locations would exist as “distinct places of private property.”

We have not only entered the knowledge age, but the age of ignorance (and I can say that freely because this is cyberspace).

In a time and space where the liberty of free speech allows pro self-harming and hate groups to flourish, lets hope that these echo-chambers of thought will remain open to be challenged.

TBH it just kind of makes me feel like this:

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Cyberutopia; Are we living it?

  1. Hey Alex great post! Interesting example with the unfortunate trend of the ‘Blue Whale’. In cases like these I’m all for some sort of administering of our networks to prevent these situations from occurring, but if administering and regulation of our online information begins to occur will that have a snowball effect into more negative consequences? What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment Sarah! I think a snowball effect of content regulation and administration is an example of how too much of something becomes a bad thing. But I don’t think a little bit of it is wrong at all, especially when it is used as a safety and preventative tool for the spread of dangerous content.

      Like

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