Digital world mimics real world

Maybe no one explained how the two worlds complement each other. Perhaps the lines were more lucid 10 years ago but now they are blurred. “Shaken, not stirred,” just like Ian Fleming’s British spy agent likes his martini.

Every morning your cerebral cortex signals the idiom “clear as mud” when you try to understand the two worlds but said signal is not accompanied by a sense of urgency. You face another day without grasping the consequences that your actions in the digital world invites in the real world.

While waiting for your afternoon cuppa joe, you learn about the 141st data security breach of 2018, this time affecting 1 million customers; you quickly swipe to the next news story. As common as your customized morning commute traffic reports you get through the “Waze” app on your smartphone, you came to learn that initial numbers in most data security breach news are under-reported. You cynically blame that as crisis management M.O. (modus operandi)!

As you take a sip of your afternoon caffeine boost you wonder “what’s next?” Is the fictional character Morpheus, played by Laurence Fishburne in the 1999 cyberpunk film “The Matrix,” going to appear and ask you to choose between the red or blue pill?

Luckily for us, there is no need to take a pill to understand the duality of the worlds we live in.

Simply put, the digital world mimics the real world. That said, what’s mimicked in the digital world achieves intended and unintended results faster and more efficiently than in the real world. We’ll get back to those “unintended” results as the punchline later.

Take Facebook and other social networking platforms as an example of this mirroring effect on steroids. You can add 100 friends in the click of a button, while in the real world it requires some kind of one-to-one interaction like meeting for coffee to curate relationships.

By the same token you wouldn’t just meet someone for coffee in the real world unless there is a compelling reason (blind date, looking for a financial planner, etc.) yet it is very easy to be Facebook friends with someone you have never met because the person was a friend of a friend of your BFF (Best Friends Forever). Really? What made you accept that friendship in Facebook?

I’ll let the media paint the picture regarding how a British company – Cambridge Analytica – used Facebook data through a survey app that lived in Facebook. Punchline: If a survey comes through the postal mail, other than the Census Bureau survey that you are by law obligated to answer, would you participate? I don’t think so.

Just like you wouldn’t put out a big yard sign announcing that your home will be vacant while on a cruise vacation, you will follow common sense to minimize being victimized.

As technology permeates into every nook and cranny of our lives, remember that “street smarts” in the real world can be applied as “internet street smarts” in the digital world!

Tak Sato

Strategist and technologist with over 25 years of experience. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.

As Founder for the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors with digital literacy, Tak connects the dots to help people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives.

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Volume 10, Issue 8, Posted 9:46 AM, 04.17.2018