Home Personal Psychology Cognitive The Psychology of Technology Embedment in Humans: Opportunities, Threats and Preventative Measures

The Psychology of Technology Embedment in Humans: Opportunities, Threats and Preventative Measures

23 min read

One of the dimensions of psychology that relates closely to this blurring of lines concerns the locus of control. We hope to control at least certain aspects of our life (a predisposition toward an internal locus of control) but know that much of the world around us remains out of our control (a recognition of external locus of control). We no longer live in a small village where we know everyone and have some say about what is happening in this village. We might not have had much control over the weather (hence must play nice with the gods), but we could at least influence our neighbors. Now, with little control over many matters in our lives, do we find ourselves pulled toward a world of fantasy that we can control? Are the digital games we (or at least our children) play becoming more relevant than the real world in which we live? Do we build communities in a fantastical world because we can’t build communities in the world we actually inhabit?

What do we do about this pull toward fantasy and about intimate relationships with machines rather than people? How do we deal with a real world that seems to be beyond our control – or even our influence?

The New Consciousness

This fourth challenge is a real dilly! Our fundamental assumptions about not just reality but also human consciousness might be on the chopping block. Most of Western (and Eastern) philosophy has always assumed that there is some way in which we can reflect on our own thoughts and experiences. Human consciousness was assumed to be a unique (or at least highly developed) feature of human capacity – and it was a process that resided within each of us (rather than being shared by the entire community). While there are “intersubjectivity” perspectives in psychology and philosophy that suggest consciousness exists in the space (relationship) between two or more people, it was still a matter of human consciousness – not the consciousness of some machine. This might be changing: we might now be reasoning, deciding and reflecting with the aid of very high-powered machines. We are about to not only leave the driving to the machine (self-driving cars), but also some (or much) of our thinking and reasoning.

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