Sigmund Freud, the Austrian neurologist, most famous for loving his mother very much (J), has also identified three revolutions of the mankind:
- The first was the Copernican revolution, when humanity understood, via astronomical observations, that Earth is not the center of the Solar System and we are not the Centre of the Universe.
- The second was the Darwinian revolution, when humanity realized that we are descendants of other animal species, inferior to us, but not very different in many aspects. I should mention too, the Creationist anti-revolution and the alien origin of mankind myth.
- The third was the Freudian revolution, when humanity discovered via Freud and his disciples, the unconscious motivation, and the damning realization that our minds are not transparent to us.
The philosopher Luciano Floridi came up with the concept of a new revolution the information-digital one and he claims that the mankind is at the beginning of this forth revolution. We are emerged more and more into the infosphere (the environment of information and communication surrounding us).
For the young generations, born in the digital era, the speed of information and communication evolution seems normal. And it is not only mobile phone, tablets and Virtual Reality (VR) it is also smart buildings and smart cars and new educational opportunities like MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) and social media platforms and many more.
The older generations, born “non-digital” are amazed and sometimes overwhelmed by this digital revolution, the transition from a non-computer era, no Internet, no mobile phones (to mention just a few) to today’s digital wonders is not an easy one. We, the older generation used to have printed books and we used to read novels and poetry, we used to enjoy theater plays and jazz concerts, we had real friends not virtual ones, we used to communicate directly with other human beings or write a letter, on a piece of paper!
The infosphere surrounding us is growing at an amazing speed and it is becoming more complex every moment and it is impossible to predict the long term effects of the infosphere on mankind, on human social behavior, on our society. Paradoxically, the social media platforms where you have thousands of virtual friends, where you can share information, and memories and photo albums and music, are drifting us away from direct human relationships, these social platforms are becoming more and more anti-social.
Do not get me wrong, I truly believe that mankind is engaged on a great journey toward a fantastic future, where new technologies will make our lives better, easier and we will have more time to enjoy what we like and enjoy our hobbies.
My concern is about the effects of the fourth revolution on the discoveries of the third one, the unconscious mind. Surrounded by a super-complex infosphere, being bombarded every second with torrents of digital information how is our unconscious mind going to react? Doctor Jekyll or mister Hyde, who is going to rule us in the end?
But the scary fact will be when your laptop will tell you: “Cogito ergo sum!” And that will be the next revolution! Welcome to the Machine!
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