A digital utopia you say? Well lets break this down. When I think of digital, I think of the year I spent doing computer science and recall all those one’s and zero’s in different arrangements, a language of the digital or virtual realm. Utopia of course sounds like paradise or somewhere pleasant. Combine those two words and you will get a digital space that is perfect. This is both a phenomenon of today’s world and the dreams of some who believe it is inevitable or the solution to many worldwide problems such as fighting for democracy and equality for all. However as long as a gap between the rich and the poor exists, digital equality will not exist (Crimethinc)
Crimethinc defined the digital utopia as:
It would integrate all human activity into a single unified terrain, accessible only via additional corporate products, in which sweatshop and marketplace merged. It would accomplish all this under the banner of autonomy and decentralization, perhaps even of “direct democracy.”
There is a big divide on this idea of a Digital Utopia. Groups like Chrimethinc are the opposition of such an idea while other believe it will bring prosperity and unity to world that is divided on so many different issues. The following video should help put this idea in perspective for you courtesy of Tedx Talks.
What do I really think?
You see personally the idea of a completely connected world reminds me of some sort of Sci-Fi movie, like the Matrix. It seems odd that everything in my life would be connected. I like the idea of having an ‘offline’ life so to speak which a lot of people take for granted. People seem a lot less sociable than they once were since smartphones, tablets and so on dominated their lives. I think everyone has a few friends who will go to the pub with you, order a drink and sit amongst the group but instead of engaging in the group conversation, they are busy on Facebook in another group conversation with people who are not even in the same physical space. Therefore, I think people are too attached to the virtual world seeing themselves as brands and wanting to market themselves to the world either consciously or unconsciously. There will always be a divide in the idea of its existence. One side I can imagine the people thinking that a digital utopia would bring peace and would benefit all while on the other side I can see those who want to detach from the virtual world and be ‘free’.
Are these cities just the beginning of a digital utopia? Maybe we should consider for a moment that a digital utopia may not just be a virtual realm. Perhaps it coexists online and offline, that is, it will be integrated into our physical homes, transport, infrastructure as well as our social communities online. These smart cities are becoming more prevalent with the surge of technology enhancements. Just think that you could control all household appliances, entertainment, security and so on from a tablet on a wall in your house. It would make life extremely easy. But wait, these already exist. Countries like South Korea have adopted smart home technology. This is just the beginning of a digital utopia.
After considering this phenomenon, I thought what if social networking became more personal. People already share aspects of their lives through various social media platforms. Imagine this was integrated in real-time and space of our lives, that is, live footage of your day and what you were doing. Imagine your life was like The Truman Show. Scary isn’t it? Breech of privacy has sparked the idea of a digital dystopia.