Digitalisation: Destroyer or advancer of human nature

Digitalisation article
Kara Buffrey Clearly PR
by Kara Buffrey

What a time to be alive! Digital mobility and liberty completely at the fingertips of the average Joe. We are evidently situated in the climax of a digital explosion, but the real question is how much is digitalisation actually aiding us?

Improving Accessibility:

Digital advancement is doing revolutionary things for our transport systems, not only improving accessibility but getting faster, bigger, more ecological. London’s Docklands Light Railway now uses 30% less energy thanks to automotive advancement. And how about virtual mobility? Instant news, skyping friends from opposite corners of the world and communications with loved ones being a click away on Facebook.

Destroying Privacy:

Let’s pause on Facebook and flip the coin. Unless you’ve had your head under a rock last month you will have noticed the greatly publicised summoning of Mark Zuckerburg to represent himself in front of Congress. Facebook has been accused of standing by as a personality quiz, constructed by Cambridge Analytica, harvested over 87 million members data and information without their permission.

In this day and age, with the construction of AI robots who can process emotions like humans, you would think something so simple as protecting online data would be a priority. Yet here we are, on the verge of the implementation of GDPR facing the very problem in its unapologetic face.

Digital Being Versus Human Nature:

Can you only blame digitalisation and computer systems for these breaches of trust? After all, it seems the more the ‘social media generation’ gets used to unveiling their lives and opinions through public channels, the more antsy they get about their property being taken without asking. It really is very simple, caveman-style human nature.

Human nature is an interesting topic as most parts of social media and digitalisation oppose the natural functions we know. Social media provides endorphin thrills, constant updates and allows you to provide a running commentary of your thoughts and opinions; whether noble or downright offensive.

One of the most interesting forms is that of instant gratification. A great example being the numerous fast food portals we now have. Not only is that a convenience in itself, but the method of ‘tracking one’s order’ is now commonplace. I’m sure I’m not the only one who breaks out in a blissful sweat as soon as my order is out to delivery, not only that but I have my finger ready to tweet Dominos to oblivion when I haven’t received my pizza within the seven minutes stated. 

Improving Brand or Consumer Power?

Social media may be improving brand power through influencers, with some 78% of brands implementing influencer marketing campaigns in 2017. However, it can also aid the destruction of businesses and viable PR attempts. The launch of a new campaign or even product can be hounded by criticism. On top of that, any kind of unease around customer service can be brought to the attention of an abundance of online users and business’ through a simple hashtag or tag.

Summary:

Digitalisation is the sum of all intelligence, creativity and innovation and has provided us with life-changing social portals of which we will never be without. On top of this, it has built cities, improved quality of life, educated, aided towards climate protection and allowed us all to have a good old public laugh about wide-scale topics. The internet will give our children a voice and a confidence that the generation before us was not born in to. Industrial digitalisation within the next 10 years could create 175,000 jobs in the UK alone, the list goes on…

But is this enough? Is it enough to put our information up for sale, be moulded and shaped by advertising companies that exercise the power to influence our consumption choices? Is 24-hour news making us hyper-aware, frightened or just a bit cynical?

One thing is for sure – our lives are going to get even more convenient, and choices will inevitably be made for us. On top of that, we will delve arrogantly into Twitter debates we wouldn’t dare speak of in a bar. Human nature is changing, and digitalisation is moulding everything we do and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of it slowing.