We are warned about the long hours we spend in front of screens, but what if the internet is actually a better way to experience reality?

SeekerPublished: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018
Published: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018

Technology is changing the way our brains work. Cell phones and computers trigger cognitive offloading. For example, it used to be common to memorize phone numbers; many people can still recall their childhood best friend’s number. However, children today will most likely never commit a phone number to memory. This is cognitive offloading — information is put into devices so we do not have to store it in our brains. This is one example, of many, that showcases how technology is possibly negatively impacting our brains. But what are ways internet obsession can be used for good? Hyperreality may hold the answer.

Hyperreality is based on an augmented reality concept. Harnessing the behaviors and technologies that the internet developed can lead to positive changes in the world. The internet encourages addictive behaviors because it works within the reward system. For example, repeatedly checking Facebook for notifications hoping that the next refresh will bring a reward. Classrooms often use a point system to encourage students to attend. Teachers understand the human desire for rewards, and harness it to increase attendance.

In the same manner, hyperreality build a system to encourage people to raise money for a charity, register to vote, learn a mathematical concept, or understand the lifestyle of a different culture. Just like in a classroom, points could be given through the internet to encourage positive behaviors. The behavior psychology already supporting the reward system could be used by app developers. And instead of applying it to increase website views, it could change how humans behave for the better.  

This video, "We are warned about the long hours we spend in front of screens, but what if the internet is actually a better way to experience reality? ", first appeared on seeker.com.

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