The Digital Now, Not The Here And Now

Source: nextech.com

Source: nextech.com

The Ted Talks “Your Brain on Video Games” with Daphne Bavelier and “Life in the ‘Digital Now’” with Abha Dawesar explore various controversial topics regarding today’s society in relation to the overwhelming presence of interactive media. From social media, to video games, and other virtual platforms, digital interactivity has increased exponentially as a result of advances in technology. Humans are more connected than ever before- and it is not necessarily a good thing. Multitasking through every tweet, share, like, and online interaction, one must forgo the experience of a moment missed in reality. The opportunity cost of living in the “Digital Now” is suffering from the time-warp which essentially blurs all sense of past, present, and future, as Abha Dawesar passionately explains. Although consuming one’s attention with a digital screen can negatively impact some aspects of life, it can greatly improve many others. As Daphne Bavelier reveals, high-action video gamers in fact held an advantage over non-gamers in a number of categories. For instance, the myth that “extended screen staring” impairs eyesight was debunked as gamers tested higher in sight than non-gamers. The span of attention for gamers at 6-7 objects also trumped that of non-gamers at span of only 3-4 objects. Also, the attention centers of the brain including the parietal and frontal lobes as well as the anterior cingulate all tested more efficient in frequent gamers in comparison to non-gamers. Considering both ends of the spectrum, submersing oneself in interactive media can be both beneficial and harmful depending upon the circumstance.

Source: deviantart.com

Source: deviantart.com

Relating this information to personal experience allows for one to truly evaluate their priorities and determine how wisely they are choosing to spend their time. Bavelier stated that from the initial date of release, the video game Call of Duty has been played for the equivalent of 68,000 years. This is an extraordinary investment of time. One must genuinely take into account whether they are living in the moment or wasting away precious time in the present under the false sense of their lifespan having been elongated by our never-ending supply of technology. The digital world has greatly affected the speed of information and facilitated its effortless flow from opposite ends of the world, allowing for “breaking news” airing on a television program in Australia to reach the United States in just a mere matter of seconds.  In this day and age, human-computer interactions have almost become more frequent and meaningful than human to human interactions. With an increasing market of social games promoted in the media, individuals are satisfied by digital interactions with one another through a sense of augmented reality. In order to bring our society back into the present, we must find a balance between the “Digital Now” and the here and now. Rather than scrolling through our social media news feeds, perhaps we could take the time to appreciate our surroundings and have authentic conversations with those in our presence rather than those on our phone screen.