How wonderful — soon we’ll no longer need our own curiosity! We’ll instead be prompted to ask only particular questions that fit within the parameters of our interests based upon the algorithmic personalized frameworks (prisons?) we’ve nurtured by the other questions we’ve been asking for the last decade. In my desperate attempt to be rebellious, I never use Siri (conveniently capitalized just now as if it’s a proper noun by my auto-correct). I suspect this resistance is futile and matters little, as every time I’ve “killed the mystery” or made the decision to not try to use my own memory and typed something into the Gooog, it got registered and saved somewhere. Like it or not, our “online identities” have essentially become databanks of useable, “valuable” (AKA: profitable), manipulatable, likes and beliefs. Maybe it’s just as well, exposing the fragility of the concept of our uniqueness.
I do recognize the irony, that I’m not only making use of the technologies in typing this but in a more involved way, sharing “my thoughts” via social media. Convenience and technological efficiency always have trade-offs. So using this keyboard and internet connection sits within me with about the same degree of satisfaction as the convenience of driving my car a long distance does compared to the trade-offs of walking the journey. I get there faster and with less personal energy, but the convenience of my driving “costs” the world far more energy and I miss out on an incredible array of experiences and opportunities to grow.
By typing this onto Facebook, I reach more folks with whom I may share my thoughts, but never get an in-depth face to face (or I should write in-person, "bodily presence to bodily presence" because we also have this "facetime" thing that I also almost never use) discussion using this route to communicate. Do we even consider how much is missed by sharing only via screens? What of a friend’s body posture, the touch of a hand, the warmth of their voice in response, the exchange we receive through their felt presence? Clearly I'm a bit conflicted about it all.
Yet what about books? Or handwritten notes? Don’t they also dilute the sharing? Writing one's thoughts out in any form is different from and begins to alter the experience of sharing our thoughts through speaking and dialogue. It's a trade-off that humans have accepted since we began mark-making as a way to share concepts eons ago.
Clearly I don't have answers. But I am glad I still can formulate my own questions. And I don't intend to ask Doctor G, or that upstart new intern, AI, for a response to them. I like the type of clouds I can see reflecting the sunshine, hovering against the clear blue this morning, the kind that carry my mind beyond itself, and real water that sometimes gets dumped on me, splatters against the rocks, hushes the noise, cleanses the earth, and nurtures life.
I prefer wandering my own mindscape and landscapes—like the ant in front of me, making his trek up and down the Black-eyed Susans that I cut earlier and placed in water from a cloud somewhere. They seem content enough, as the sunshine touches them, fulfilling their roles within the larger scheme and manifesting their duties, each in their own way, yet indifferent to their individuality. It seems it might serve me better to look to them for guidance, instead of disembodied digital voices or pixels on a screen…