The Technojungle is hungry and gets us to feed it, but what exactly is it eating? How does it get its food?
I often make bread and used to make pizzas every week when I was less busy. The first step is to prepare the yeast. I keep it in a jar in the fridge and as I’m reaching for it I hear myself think, “Get the wee beasties.” Yeast is dry and granular looking. I warm some water, add a bit of sugar to feed the yeast, add the yeast, and wait. Soon there is a large amount of foam as the yeast beasties come to life—yes, they are alive. It has then become a foamy jungle of life. After kneading in flour, the resulting dough will expand, called rise, as the yeast creates air bubbles. It is then ready to bake.
This chapter is a short mini safari into our human imagination through metaphors. Metaphors will be more common throughout the rest of the book, so allow your mind and imagination to wander through the Technojungle. Try other metaphors. This is a very humanizing activity and can help us see things from different perspectives and even discover new characteristics.
I have watched how so much of what we humans do on the Internet causes the Internet and the entire Technojungle to grow. Do you feel urged, not just by corporations, but also so many people in your life—even friends—to use the Internet more for just about everything possible? To contribute more information to the insatiable jungle of information. All this information we contribute to the Technojungle tells a lot about us and who we are as human beings.
It seems as if the Technojungle is ravenously hungry and is finding ever more ways to extract human information and to learn more about us thereby satisfying some inner need. I know this sounds like I am painting a picture of a voracious technobeast.
Perhaps it might be interesting to think of the Technojungle as having lurking beasts of some sort and imagine that they are hunting. Are corporations technobeasts? Are we providing the foliage for technobeasts to feed on? Maybe the foliage is all the devices and we somehow water the leaves and the ground with data and information that eventually causes more foliage to grow and feed the technobeasts.
There are often several ways to look at a metaphor. Can you think of other metaphors and ways of looking at them? Each way can give us a new perspective. This can help us in recognizing and unpacking the unexpected baggage that the future we are now living in has brought us. Even more, we may uncover ideas that could help us in directing the emerging future and making it more human friendly.
In whatever ways we imagine the metaphors, humans do appear to be feeding the Technojungle. We do this through our devices and it does seem to me that we are encouraged to create and contribute more data and information daily, often without our knowledge, consent or permission. I am convinced that we can’t possibly fathom how much data and information is being collected about each one of us. It is probably astounding! We can wonder, where is all the data and information the technobeasts devour going and how is it being used? Who is using it and what might the future hold for us as this massive digital and analog accumulation of human activity grows?
Suppose we imagine, as part of this metaphoric safari exploration, that our data, information, even our deepest human knowledge and wisdom, is some form of nourishment that is being harvested from us? What does that lead you to think? Are we a garden or farm getting some sort of attention and even care to ensure we continue to produce until the season ends? After a time, replanting occurs. If we are farm animals, …well perhaps I won’t go there in this discussion. Sometimes interpreting a metaphor can be, well dangerous. But then so might the Technojungle.
The bottom line is that we are supplying something that the Technojungle wants and needs. If we view this as feeding the Technojungle, then what is happening can take on some new connotations and dimensions. Are we feeding and parenting something that is growing as if it is living?
What do you believe will be the future of us humans in the Technojungle? If it is not already, will it become your best friend? Will it always have our best human interests as its primary goal? Will it simply grow to be able to care for and continue to help us more as we safari into the future?
We also seem to be caring for the Technojungle as if the metaphoric scenario might be in reverse. Can you see some ways the Technojungle seems to be feeding us? It is interesting that we humans and the Technojungle, mutually feed each other. Well, that is what farming is all about, isn’t it? A farmer, or gardener, feeds and cares for the crops and then reaps the harvest!
I think we could easily get carried away with the notions of feeding, or being fed by the jungle. Nevertheless, I believe it is important we be creative in our exploration and safari of the Technojungle. We should consider as many possibilities as we can. Metaphors are a good way to engage our human mind in the creative process. They can help us to reframe our perspective and see situations in different ways.
As we continue on this safari, let us be open to looking carefully all around us. We can open our eyes, mind and imaginations to see what is happening; to allow our curiosity to rise up to the surface, and ask questions to spark deeper thinking. Look for what makes sense to you and seek a deeper understanding.
If we are being fed by the Technojungle, what is it that we are being fed and how is this food or nourishment being used in our lives? Or is it more for the benefit of other people, groups, governments, or corporations?
When I use the Internet, I try to be conscious of what I am saying about myself. If I do a search for some information, I am feeding the Technojungle the fact that I am interested in certain information. It feeds back to me what it thinks I want to know. I guess it is a sort of mutual feeding. If do something where I say more about myself, perhaps through social media, I am providing more food.
The food I am feeding the Internet is what things I like, my interests, and what my world view is. I guess my beliefs and values are hidden in there somewhere. In turn, the Internet Technojungle feeds back more of what I like and that reinforces my world view, and my beliefs and values. The Technojungle shows you what it believes you want to see. However, can inconsistencies be introduced by people, corporations, groups, and even bots? The intentions would be to manipulate your world view, what you believe and what you do, and to possibly feed you propaganda. I don’t want you to get carried away too far with that last idea.
What we can consider is that information coming to us is always being filtered. But how does information get filtered and how does this affect you? Is it is usually done just to reduce the amount of information you need to deal with in a particular situation? Can changing information even slightly add a bias that can sway what you believe? This may be unintentional, but could it sometimes be intentionally controlled? Keep asking questions, particularly to yourself.
So the Technojungle learns what you like and your world view and then feeds it back to you. When you use a search engine, you don’t a complete list of what is available because it could be a huge list. Algorithms calculate, from possibly hundreds of bits of information about you, to determine what might fit who you are and what you might want to know. Social media services do the same to figure out what to show you. Shopping and music services use algorithms to run recommenders which guide what you see and can choose from. Look for recommenders as you safari in the online Technojungle.
If we are feeding the jungle, shouldn’t we endeavour to discover ways to feed our humanity even more? It is important for us in our trek to being human beings and living in a world of technology—the Technojungle.
Whether you want to go as far as this metaphoric chapter suggests, it is true that we are feeding the Internet Technojungle. It has become the largest human creation with each of us finding our own areas to wander in. What is turf and what does it mean in the Technojungle? Is it real?