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The alternative media

  • Published at 12:41 am June 27th, 2018
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All in your phone BIGSTOCK

How technology is affecting the nature of media

Technology has accelerated life to such an extent that one may stumble and find him or herself in a fix to reset the pace of life.

Technology, at this point in time, does not merely run, it speeds, at an unimaginable pace, to a destination unknown and unreachable. The power that men wanted to put onto technology exceeded their expectations.

The big question is: Are we beginning to submit to technology?

We need to question whether technology might someday turn bigger than human being themselves, as Stephen Hawking’s apprehension of artificial intelligence governing human intelligence dictated. To try and answer these questions, let’s take a look at the most small-scale yet big-impact form of technology that is restructuring the way human lives work around the world.

I am, of course, talking about the smartphone.

It’s a ubiquitous device, and can be seen cradled by people everywhere these days, be they children or the elderly. The journey of the phone from analogue to digital to its current state of being “smart” has been astonishingly catalyzed.

The agrarian era lasted for 12,000 years, the industrial only 400 years, and the information era hasn’t even yet crossed a century -- the changes to human civilization in these three eras have been so different from the other ones that it is impossible to compare them. In the same manner, the way that the smartphone has catalyzed human interaction is equally immeasurable.

The primary use of cellphones, ie talking to someone remotely, has been surreptitiously altered by exchanging information at a broader scope, with the device now housing a camera, sound recording capabilities, and other useful methods of recording the world around us. The larger world of men has been contracted to the small hand-held technology of cellphones. At home, with family or without, in the workplace with work or without, while driving or jogging -- the cellphone is an essential and full-time companion to everyone. A larger section of cellphone users use it primarily to capture their vanity.

Every single person can be seen hostage to their hand-held devices in an effort to try and frame themselves into it and turn their present into the past.

In my journey into social media, I’ve discovered that there is an uncontrolled and unlimited space for the interests of both individuals to splintered social group to the larger world, without any kind of scrutiny or much in the way of regulation.

There is no limitation of space in terms of visual information in the digital domain, compared to what the print media can provide through mostly text. The visuals information captured by the cellphone now occupies a larger space and serves as an alternative to the written text. Exactly what led to this change?

Is it the speed of technology itself that has hampered our proclivity to read, making us more comfortable with visuals rather than words?

Words these days are failing to create trust, and visuals are filling in that space through social networks such as Facebook, YouTube, etc. The space for established media has been captured by social media for the perception that there is more fake news than facts, and more mistrust than trust.

The world will suffer to feed its people with what they want to know, and fall prey to anarchical information, which can be spread through social media. Every individual will turn into one media to seek attention, and directly connect with the environment around them to challenge the relevance of the established media.

The established media must recapture the space they have lost. Facts must replace fake news, news must overshadow views, text must dominate visuals, and the larger space in the media must be used for community focus rather than the individual.

Brigadier General AF Jaglul Ahmed is Commandant, East Bengal Regimental Centre.