We’re at the dawn of a completely new age for humanity. Aside from epoch-defining ecological change, technology has also completely altered our culture and how we interact with one another. This has in many ways been the case since the industrial revolution, but the breakneck pace of recent change is having a much more rapid effect, both for better and for worse.
While the internet has been in use for close to three decades now, it is only within the last decade that this technology has irrevocably changed how we as humans behave. Here’s how.
For much of human history, our identities have been formed by deep-set environmental factors relating to geography, social class, and background. This is still true, but it’s being slowly displaced by the rise of so-called “digital tribes”. People now strongly identify with how they present themselves online and then interact with others accordingly. The fact that you can reliably determine a person’s politics from their Twitter feed, or that Instagram is now a hugely important way of finding a romantic partner, shows how much has changed.
The 24/7 Human
The unfiltered access to information is often cited as one of the greatest liberations that the internet has given us. The instant and unlimited nature of the internet has created a world where everything is available at all times, giving rise to the 24/7 human. Time is no longer a restriction, and this changes our behavior. Take the world of customer service; popular online casino gaming platforms like Mr Green offer customer service that is available 24 hours a day at the click of a button. Only 10 years ago, this would have seemed overly ambitious for even the biggest companies, but now customers expect it from everyone.
The Elimination of Distance
The entire concept of distance and how human beings perceive geography has been completely upended by the internet. Obviously, there’s the fact that you can enjoy face-to-face communication with anyone in the world via Skype or FaceTime, but there’s more to it than that. The internet brings people together who would previously have been completely separated by national borders, meaning that distance has never felt so irrelevant. Add in the fact that you can book a budget flight to anywhere in the world in just a few seconds online, and the world really does start to feel small.
A Whole New Language
The internet has probably done the most to break down communication barriers since the spread of English as the planet’s lingua franca. Aside from platforms like Google Translate making any conversation accessible to any person in an instant, the internet has also spawned a kind of global language of its own. Words such as “hashtag”, “tweet”, “email”, “lol”, and “brb”, to name just a few, are recognizable to any person of any language, despite their English origins. No other technological breakthrough has had such a dramatic effect on our language.
Whether these changes are universally good is hotly debated, but there’s no arguing that they’ve brought us closer together as a species, which can’t be a bad thing.
Karen and her husband live on a plot of land in British Columbia. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. They are also currently planning a move to a small cabin they hand built. Karen’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Thus sprung Anna’s interest in backyard gardening, chicken and goat keeping, recycling and self-sufficiency.