Trying to Making Sense Today’s E-Things World

I once read a mind-blowing article about an attempt by Chinese smartphone vendor Huawei of making advanced artificial intelligence that will take machine-human interactions much more intimate than command-pattern like nowadays.

The top executives of the company admit they wish people will talk to machine as if they were with human beings. On top of that, they expect making people having real friends in lives, someone who can understand their moods, have real conversations unlike today’s setup ones.

Later, they confess they get the idea of making the ‘next level of AI’ after they watch the movie “Her” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. I haven’t watched the movie but I once read it is about a lonely man who falls in love with a virtual woman on the internet.

Long, long before the story I come across another interesting, well, shocking in my opinion, wonderfully written by Anita Rani from BBC in 2013. The link is here. If you haven’t had any time reading the article I will sum it up for you. But please find time to read it later on because it conveys a very sad picture, in my humble opinion.

Let us meet with otaku.

The term otaku refers to “a generation of geeks who have grown up through 20 years of economic stagnation and have chosen to tune out and immerse themselves in their own fantasy worlds.”

Anita meets two otaku, one is Nurikan, a married man, and Yuge, a singleton. The two believe they are in relationships with virtual girlfriends, Rinko and Ne-ne. Their girlfriends are actually virtual figures in a Nintendo computer game called Love Plus, which comes as a small tablet. The men take the girlfriends on actual dates to the park and buy them cakes to celebrate their birthdays.

Silly, isn’t it?

I think today’s technology gradually erodes our very fundamental human beings as His creatures who are vulnerable of loneliness, heartbreaking, disappointment, rejection, abandonment.

As day by day I write and cover stories on newest gadgets, smartphones, applications or laptops, I have come to realize all technology that provides easiness in handle day-to-day tasks doesn’t carry that noble mission anymore. A traditionalist as I still am today, I realize some of them test our sanity. What makes it sounds dangerous is that the technology, as more and more technology updates provide, are working putting what humans’ needs into a smartphone, emotional necessities are included.

That means you will love taking it to bed with you. You will grab it at first the moment you wake up in the morning. And as the first paragraph here suggests, you will feel as if you won’t need real human beings at your side because hey, there is a virtual assistant that make you feel like you have a spouse.

As a person growing up when internet is such a luxury back in the 1990s, mingling with youngsters in free-of-charge chatting applications has put me in mixed kind of feelings.

I am struck by how people can read emojis too much into their hearts. Or the other way around, people’s confidence can be harmed by silence in a group after they show up and say some things, which I don’t think because some things are wrong with their statements. Sometimes quarrels happen because of misunderstanding in virtual group chat. Subhanalloh.. It’s hard to believe how virtual dialogue has taken us that serious..

And now I get it when I, again, once read an article saying for some people, social media is their actual world. This trend is captured very well through Beautification artificial intelligence/AI features by today’s smartphones. My friend once jokes you don’t need make up to hide your pimples, wrinkles in your face. With the Beautification AI you can be your ‘best version of yourself’, show ‘the real you’, or whatever that is!

If you really read current gadget trends, you will see how camera department is one of the biggest challenges for any smartphone producers out there because people keep getting looking validation through screens, from people whom they don’t even meet yet. They wish they can look younger, more beautiful, happier, living life to the fullest, yes with the help of machines.

I don’t say I am against advanced technology. Mind you, my current job is writing about technology. Saying I detest this job means I am ungrateful over the money from Alloh swt through this profession.

I write this piece of story to actually remind myself who have been carried away by technology too far. I used to take a public transportation to go to certain places but now I choose online ojek.

I used to drink water the first time I wake up in the morning but now checking Instagram and Facebook is the first activity that I do. And the last thing that I do before going to sleep is opening media social accounts. Subhanalloh.. I have to constantly tell myself doing such things mean taking the busyness of daily life into the most tranquil moment I should enjoy the most; sleeping.

When technicians, IT experts or whatever we call them, create gadgets, especially smartphones and social media, they try the hardest to help us, but don’t be too naïve as competition gets juicier, some firms put another mission on progress, not wholly intend to help us sincerely. Man, of course, at the end of the day they want money and more money.

Dealing with loneliness, rejection and other emotional pains is frightening but very essential to make us realize we live as a creature meant to live with scars that won’t downgrade our value unless we let them to do so.

Take time to cope with this. Don’t immediately take spiritual approach to solve the situations as ustadz Nouman Ali Khan says don’t get confused with emotional and spiritual needs. Spirituality will help recovery but emotional assistance is the first and foremost, and please, avoid escaping from reality through gadgets, drugs, alcohols, shopping or whatever that is.

Keep using technology but with mindfulness, that at the end of the day we decide what will we do with them not what they will do for us.

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