I’m pretty sure I am living through the zombie apocalypse.
Looking at the water Gulf of Mexico, waves rhythmically crash onto the beach. I notice two people sitting on a concrete bench. Backs turned to the blue horizon, their heads stare down at the tiny screens anchored in their hands. The only hint of life is the twitching of their thumbs, repeatedly asking the screen to keep them entertained.
The couple is somewhere – but certainly not a few yards from Mother Nature’s big show.
I am increasingly worried about the unintended impact of people disengaging from life, addicted – for a lack of a better word – to tiny devices in their hands. Their world is less about where they are or whom they are with at the moment and more about the environment pouring from a tiny screen.
Looking back at the concrete bench, waves dancing behind the couple, they have yet to move or say a word to each other. Mother Nature is doing all she can do short of splashing them with salt water.
You don’t have to look too far to see what I’m talking about. People are so engrossed in the tiny screens in their hands they blindly plod along city streets, dangerously unaware of their surroundings. Restaurants are filled with couples on dates, both pouring their valuable attention into millions of pixels instead of each other. And more and more you see entire families sitting around a table, each with a device in their hands, totally disengaged from each other.
This zombie apocalypse could change the world, as we know it.
Humans are social animals. And the art of conversation is a skill you hone over time, drawing out and listening to others. And as predictable as the algorithm feed is before your eyes, real life is as equally unpredictable. While one is based on feeding you the cotton candy of what you already like, the latter is like a form of Russian roulette – you never knowing exactly what will come your way. And therein lays the fun, the development of skills, the appreciation for others and different points of view.
I can’t help but wonder if our new zombie culture won’t lead to our undoing or at least severely damage our ability to built successful families, friendships, and society.
Today’s zombie culture is fed by a diet of predetermined content and interests and the reinforced by like opinions. The very platform heralded as the opening Pandora’s box of information is instead closely controlled by sophisticated formulas designed to sharpen, narrow, and shallow out our pools of interests. We are, technologically speaking, not too far removed from cattle being led to the slaughterhouse.
We could all end up as tasteless and homogenized hamburger.
I look back at the couple at the water’s edge. I wish they would speak to each other, learn something new about the other, and building a deep well of conversations to one-day build upon.
But then again, zombies don’t feel or speak.