Freedom from Digital Entrapment
WSIS forum presentation, March 25 2022.
Ranjit Makkuni, multimedia artist, designer, researcher, song writer and musician will take the panel through some of his multimedia works which show bridges between technology and the humanities, and will look at ways in which we, as designers, can reduce the ‘entrapment’ facing participants of the digital society!
His works campaign for the design of a humanized technology, at the levels of user interfaces and device design, web architecture and media design, with the goal of creating health & wellbeing for technology users.
With the impacts that globalization economics have had on the environment in developing economies, at the larger level, the goal is to allow mankind to become rooted in the commitment to ecological awareness, in order to leave future generations with an abundant Mother Earth, especially as the world today lies at the cusp of irreversible environmental degradation.
Has Globalisation really Delivered?
Despite the promise of a flat, equitable Information access space of equal access, Capital and Creativity rests with the few, and gravitate towards few spiky places.
The only constant today is relentless change!
With innovation as a buzzword in the past decade, and the non stop race of the promise of the 'new', we don't have time to stop and experience the stillness and infinitude of the present moment. Instead of constantly inventing the future, or being taken by the idea that happiness is always in the future, we have the power to focus on the 'now' starting from the breath, and the feelings in the body, and a steering towards the non planning part of our mind which just dissolves in the 'isness' of the present moment.
With rapidly expanding number of devices, users, media and the resulting media inundation, will the Techno-Hyper connected Info Man have any time to appreciate the 4 promises of life as mentioned in the Purushartha: which roughly translates as the pursuit of wealth, passion, moral conduct and the attainment of liberation? If we are in a situation of constantly chasing the 'future' where is the time to collect your thoughts, and savour one's contributions in this life time, before runug out of time.
While many cultures have perceived and realised a richer representation and the experience of body and awareness, i.e., the body doesn't end at the edge of one's ectoplasm. But, computing assumes the vast personality that is 'you' can be reduced into jpgs and pngs on a screen.
Traditional societies, rooted in Nature, had explored these hidden channels of communication which extend from the ectoplasm of physical body cages to embrace nature and beings outside….One could say this was the traditional vison of the Internet…..
Here… Communication doesn't stop at the ectoplasm or at the bounding box of the body…instead haloes envelope and Energy moves beyond the body envelope and embrace all of space outside…
World is not a desk top, and people or not buttons or icons or windows!
Correspondences between technological rate of change and increase in suicides!
We mindlessly trample the earth, without realising hidden power of the earth and sacred geographies..
Look at the contrast!
Traditional notions of connection and Modern displaced connection!
Addicted to updates people compare themselves with the projection of 'happiness' of their peers in the social media.
At a larger scale, the media presents comparison of ideologies, and what was once promised as a medium to unite people, has become a media of division. Research has shown that people become addicted to watching fearful and hateful presentations, and tend to scroll longer on the screens, than switch to topics of peace!
Social media is the thief of joy, as it forces comparisons and comparisons makes a lot of us miserable… and we trace the origins of this to facemash browser in Harvard’s dorms...
And ..as the Social media browsers grew in scale the comparisons --and I might add misery-- too have grown in scale…
from the comparison of form in Harvard's dorms to
to comparison of ideologies now ….. The ideological competition tools ….. we have inflicted on ourselves…
and in doing so, the media has colonised our subconscious with fear and hatred...
Isn't it time that social media paid royalties on the surveillance and attention monetisation back to its users!
Cancel the sugar! cancel the cookies!
Addicted to updates people compare themselves to the projection of 'happiness' of their peers in the social media. This is largely caused by a technology that monetizes comparisons.
And this at a large scale leads to the comparison of ideologies, and without knowing it, people find themselves becoming addicted to presentations on the screens that divide humanity, and not those that promote peace!
Can we expect the incompletely designed, error infested tools of today, to suddenly 'learn' and redesign themselves: We are heading for extinction!
Let me exit 101, Let me exit 280!
So Its time to break free and exit the ‘valley…’
And…take a hard look at what we have built!
We may need to do a Control Z, going backwards to retrace our steps and find where we've gone wrong….….and do a Control Z in a loop back wards, to arrive back to a point in time where we lived in harmony with Nature.. So that we both learn to live on the grid, as well as learn to live by switching off the grid!
As information updates in the web, members of the hyper-connected society stay glued to their screens anxiously awaiting updates resulting in an addiction to the “new”. The world outside the ‘glass’ screens has been dematerialized - i.e., participation of people in the analogue world of nature, blue skies, green forests, participation in rituals and mythologies; and people themselves have become disembodied as computers and devices disengage people’s psycho motor skills. People in state of device addiction, browse information oblivious of the physical, analogue world and cultural landscapes around them!
Yet, in a world of constant changes, and in a goal-centric, rationally driven world, reason and efficiency alone won’t provide health, happiness and well-being. With the rapid pace of change of technological innovation, the hyper-connected-info-man is trying to cope with the pain of modern technology induced stress, and subconscious information addiction.
In this context, people’s cultural past offers jewels of wisdom valuable in a world of ubiquitous, globalized commerce and trade, and in a world where technical innovation propels economic growth while simultaneously negatively impacting the environment.
So, …the media of freedom envisioned in the 70s, by freedom loving computer scientists, who saw technology as a spiritual saviour and an enabler of freedom….. has now entrapped us!
When the history of computing will be written it will describe the 2020s as a time when computing got sick… Computing has gotten sick!
Visions of the riginal Dynabook, the prototype for the lap top, invented in 1970s at Xerox PARC, envisioned technology as a saviour liberating kind so that people focused on what they do best: less work and engage in creativity and knowledge pursuit under the trees! in harmony with Nature.
What will we do with our rapidly dwindling time on Planet Earth? Fidget with more devices, or soak in the Green?
Our bodies are designed for movement, and movement creates creating a healthful culture of hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain that helps people to deal with a stress free experience of the world.
Our bodies (the biologies of the body) is not ready for taking on the stress of the rapid changes that envelopes Mankind.
Correspondences between lack of sleep in Modern Hyper connected society, the burgeoning debt caused by decision makers being asleep, and the 'sleeping' over the decision to address climate change and ecological preservation!
Tech Must Honour Nature
Its time to switch off!
Artists and Healers to the Rescue
SUBMISSION OF OUTCOMES – RANJIT MAKKUNI
Did your workshop highlight any issues related to COVID-19? If yes, please explain.
Implicit in the forum’s topic of human entrapment, is also the idea of Nature’s entrapment, that partially result from the ignorance of Techno-Man and the forces of globalization. Rapid urbanization has taken over a great part of SE Asia, as developing nations embrace new digital tools and economies, and in this hurry for economic growth, sprawling cities are over taking villages and Nature, without the corresponding pay back to Nature, for example, making up the loss by proportionate tree re-planting, or soil nourishment, or strategies for the de-pollution of air and water resources. Hence one theory of the genesis of Covid could lie in the displacement of fauna from their Natural habitat resulting from rapid urbanization and the transfer of virus across species.
Key achievements, announcements, launches, agreements, and commitments
Digital technology and commerce, if it remains un-checked, will result in rapid exponential changes affecting Man, and the current state of human biology is not ready to accept and deal with such a rate of change, and in turn the techno induced stress. Hence this could result into a broad decay of health and wellbeing.
Health and wellbeing must be at the forefront of new design of technology, and technologies need to be redesigned with health care and artistic practitioners providing inputs. A new collaboration between globalization, IT designers are needed to ensure Nature is seen as a well spring of abundance, and not as a depleting resource to be further exploited.
“Cut the sugar out of the cookies (internet) or cancel the cookies (in order to redesign a better browser experience)”. Ranjit Makkuni, www.ranjitmakkuni.world
“Reparations by IT companies for stealing people’s attention”. Ranjit Makkuni, www.ranjitmakkuni.world
“When the history of computing will be written, it will state that “the 2020s was an era when Computing got sick!” Ranjit Makkuni, www.ranjitmakkuni.world
Overall outcomes of the session highlighting main conclusions reached during the discussion and the vision for implementation of WSIS Action Lines beyond 2015
Redesign browsing tools with the goal of individual as customer of the technology, ie., for self-learning and freedom, and not for the Advertiser as the main beneficiary of the technology; and to start educating people at classroom levels about the demerits of technology.
Main linkages with the Sustainable Development Goals (please specify the SDGs)
There can be no sustainability with individual liberty and privacy being at stake, and the value of preserving and sustaining Nature needs to be honored.