Internet has become the new environment for another type of life form. More and more people are “addicted” to social networks and other internet activities like multiplayer games. These are claiming increasingly higher percentage of lives of still increasing percentage of humans. This double increasing mechanism can be compared to the positive feedback of “reproduction” cycle.
Some genetic algorithms started to run on the internet to create sustaining patterns to reproduce. These patterns have their own lifecycle, consisting of birth, growth, reproduction and death. What is interesting for me is that with the communication technology and growing penetration of internet, these “living patterns” have what we can call their own way of “thinking” and “behavior”.
This is not the psychology individuals forming the pattern, what is determining the behavior of these patterns is the psychology of each of these. Although individuals in the group can be very calm, moderate and average in many ways, these patterns can be aggressive and invasive or individuals can be radical and emotional but the pattern can be less dominant than others (which is usually the case)
Human psychology and human needs are not enough to explain the phenomenon described here. The science of sociology can be used to some extent, but not in enough depth, since almost all the terms and methods of this science is based on assumptions of human interactions of another type, what we call “pre-internet”
Human being on this world has lived for at least a couple of hundred thousands of years, keeping most of his psychological and physiological form as it is. There is no significant human evolution. However there’s a highly versatile set of built in defense mechanisms of humans which enabled them to sustain their lives more or less the same way for so much time. These defense mechanisms of humans, both physical and psychological are very similar to our ancestors. The only addition to this initial pattern is the science which evolved to protect human life form from the other life forms and mostly from one group of humans from others.
On 21st century, new life form on the internet is the next big threat on the “human” life style and form. Of course the social sciences will evolve to grow extensions more and more into the world of internet, to understand and describe the self creation of patterns on the internet. This is one type of human defense against this invasive life form. We (as humans) notice and decide to understand the chain of events.
However this is exactly the dangerous part of this new threat. The internet addiction is not fighting back the scientific human approach in the classical way. On the contrary it is “rewarding” this approach. Different from the TV addiction phenomenon of 20th century, internet is giving false feeling of satisfaction and reward to the curious mind. People were “bored” of TV after some time depending on the educational level and sophistication. There was no or very limited interaction, therefore it didn’t contain enough satisfaction for human mind, but internet is attracting them to a jungle where they can continue having small rewards of social interaction which creates packets of psychological satisfaction.
The importance of this phenomenon comes from the fact that possible outcome of this new interaction forms a wide spectrum. On one end of this spectrum is total destruction of human life cycle turning our world into a “Brave New World” on the other end, it may create a utopia of infinitely connected heavenly society. Probably it will result in something similar to symbiosis of “TV networks” and “human masses” which continued nearly all 20th century, but a more resistant one which may require some human adaptation. Let’s hope for the human psychological defense mechanisms such as “boredom of false rewards” and need for “true intellectual and philosophical satisfaction” stand against this new wave of invasive life form fed with the “curiosity” and “reward seeking” nature of our minds.