The shallowing of interpersonal relations and the reduction of the ability to feel empathy are the most serious negative effects of the influence of information technology on people and society – said Natalia Hatalska, president of Infuture Institute, during her opening speech at the Impact’21 congress in Poznań (27-28 October 2021).
“We can’t escape from technology, but we have to look at it through the lens of values that are important to human beings,” Natalia Hatalska said.
The President of Infuture Institute quoted in this context the results of research showing that values such as safety, respect, common good, tolerance, creativity, sensitivity or courage are common to all people regardless of their views.
According to her, it is these values that should be referred to when creating new legal regulations governing the sphere of communication technologies, as well as when making business decisions or taking social actions.
“We need to change those technologies that take away freedom and privacy, that deepen social inequalities, whose main goal is to generate profits rather than improve the quality of life, and those that deprive empathy and make it impossible to build deep intimate relationships with other people,” Natalia Hatalska appealed.
According to her, the Internet and social media are changing human behavior and the way we communicate, as a result of which people physically and psychologically distance themselves from each other, become lonely, and start treating themselves and others as objects.
“And it was, after all, the joining of people into groups that ensured the survival of the human species,” she reminded.
Natalia Hatalska emphasized that algorithms used in Internet communication deepen polarization and lock people in bubbles of their views and beliefs. If new information arrives from the outside world or a different context of reality is presented to people stuck in these bubbles, their reaction is fear and aggression.
“Social media’s likes and mechanisms were supposed to help us access valuable content, but the effect is that they have made us addicted to dopamine highs, the hormone of happiness and pleasure,” the Infuture Institute president warned.
She pointed out that internet users want more and more likes, so they end up crossing more boundaries by posting more and more controversial or private content.
Impact’21 Congress is a place of exchange of views and substantive discussions at the interface of business, politics, science, and modern technologies in the context of the “fourth industrial revolution”. Participants in the debates and meetings will seek solutions that may prove crucial in building the development potential of the Polish economy.