Recently, the London-based e-Kutub published the book “Facebook and its Brothers: What did the means of communication do to us?” by Al Jazeera writer and journalist Othman Kabbashi, trainer of Internet journalism and press editing at Al Jazeera Training Center.
The book – according to the author – is a summary of more than 10 books issued in the past three years, the general theme of which was the impact of the digital age on human lives, and some of them tried to present bright aspects of the digital age and its transformations that affected and affected many aspects of life, but most of them dealt with criticism The most severe negative aspects of the most prominent products of this era, which are social media platforms and the content they provide. Read also Has social media spoiled the poetic taste?The American thinker, A sef Bayat, told Al Jazeera Net: The spring revolutions changed the Western image of Arab societies Exile and literary sects… Arab creators recount the effects of immigration on their writings
He added, “Readers of all ages use knowledge and mental pleasure to kill the time of their boring daily travels… Developed and less advanced alike changed peoples, with humanity entering the age of the Internet and means of communication, starting at the end of the eighties of the 20th century. And in less than a quarter of the 20th century. A century, the scene that I first encountered in Spain has turned into an antithesis of men and women, boys and girls glued to their phone screens and at times continuing to look at it and contemplate it even as they cross one side of a street to the other.
This is one of the manifestations of the digital age, which has become a reality that we live every hour and in all the details of our lives and human relations, in which mobile phones have become a permanent mediator, even within the same family, according to the introduction to the book.
By summarizing more than 10 knowledge sources dealing with the digital age, the author – who is passionate about following everything that is published in English in the world of media and the Internet – presents a book that attempts to help readers “understand the trap that we have fallen into since the sequence of the digital age in our daily lives, causing a tremendous transformation in our feelings and human relationships.” .
digital transformation risks
What does life look like in the digital age? What are the risks of digital transformation on people’s lives? This deep and big question was the title of a comprehensive report issued in February 2019 by the International Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ( OECD ).
The organization’s report, which was issued in 10 languages - not including Arabic – focused on 11 important dimensions in people’s lives: income and wealth, jobs and profits, housing, health status, education and skills, work-life balance, civic participation and governance, social relations, environmental quality Personal security, personal well-being.
The report concluded that digital transformation has about 39 impacts on people’s lives, and that these effects can be positive as digital technologies contribute to expanding the boundaries of information availability and enhancing human productivity, but they may also involve risks to people’s well-being, ranging from cyberbullying to The emergence of misinformation or the occurrence of electronic piracy.
However, before this date, many have questioned the impact of the digital revolution and the transformations it has brought about in all aspects of people’s lives, whether positive or negative.
In the introduction to his book, the author says that no one can deny that the digital revolution has many benefits that have affected many aspects of people’s lives, and in many cases facilitated people’s livelihoods at various levels, whether it is in the political, economic or cultural fields.
On the other hand, digital transformation had many harmful aspects that affected people’s lives and ways of living, and the negative impact of the means of communication on people’s lives has been the subject of many studies, and many books have been published in recent years that dealt with this.
“Invasion of idiots”
Professor Vidyanathan is the author of “How does Facebook break ties between people and undermine democracy?” He sees nothing but evil in this platform. “If you want to build a machine that will spread propaganda to millions of people, distract them from important issues, fuel hatred and intolerance, erode social trust, undermine respectable journalism, and encourage suspicion of sciences, and organized into a comprehensive observation of humans, you will inevitably make something quite similar to Facebook.”
Here he lines up with an opinion attributed to the Italian philosopher and novelist Umberto Eco (1932-2016), who blames the Internet for “allowing some people to say what they see”.
Umberto Eco believes that “tools such as Twitter and Facebook gave the right to speak to legions of idiots who used to speak in bars only after drinking 11 glasses of wine, without causing any harm to society, and they were immediately silenced. Now they have the right to speak as well as those who carry The Nobel Prize…it is the conquest of idiots.”
Many differed with the view attributed to Eco, as they believe that the right to expression is a genuine human right, and you cannot prevent it on the pretext that there are those who misuse it.
Infatuation with oneself
Another picture of the negative impact of the digital revolution can be found in the second book, entitled “Selfie: How did the West become infatuated with itself?” The thesis of the aforementioned book is based on the fact that the digital revolution and its products have established a type of human behavior that gives great value to the self, whose owner always wants to appear in the appearance that brings him admiration and praise from those who live and interact with them through virtual worlds.
The author takes us on a long journey through his lines, in which he shows us examples of that obsession that often leads his companions to death, even though they took paths that they believed would anchor them in safe harbors, satisfying their hunger and thirst for appreciation and admiration.
The third book in the series criticizing the digital age and its transformations is entitled “Humans Facing Technology: How the Internet Eliminates Democracy?” Its main idea is based on our insight into what the author called the dangers of the digital revolution, in which he presents us with concrete solutions for how to protect our personal privacy, and even protect the democratic process itself from those risks.
According to the author, the digital revolution and its lucky offspring were expected by the Internet to release humans and give them more freedom.
But – the author wonders – have we inadvertently handed over much of what we have to mysterious forces hiding behind the blade wall? Was it all toyed with by a handful of fictional men in Silicon Valley? Advertising guys and venture capitalists.
“Everyone is lying”
And in the fourth book, “Everyone lies… How does the Internet answer the question who are we?” The author addresses what he called the influence of big data on our lives, and discusses the issue of the impact of big data provided by the information revolution on people’s lives.
It stems from the question: Why do people lie in public life? While their behavior on the Internet expresses their real trends and feelings that they do not want you to know, and to be kept secret.
In the pages of the book, the author tells us that everyone is lying.. But when Google has the certainty, he wonders: Have Google and its counterparts from search engines become the modern confession chair to which humans are pleased, obedient to what they hide from real feelings from others?
As for the fifth book, entitled “The Internet Trap… How does the digital economy build monopolies and undermine democracy?” It also goes in the same direction as the previous books, and seeks to explain the astonishing level of control that major social media platforms exercise over political discourse and what this means for the democratization process.
Ma Theo Hindman, in his book published by the American Princeton University, believes that there is a trap of the Internet that many have fallen into, and he is here looking specifically at the phenomenon of digital monopolies raised by major companies such as Google and Facebook, and through which they reap huge profits from the activities that humans practice on the Internet.
The sixth book attempts to consider the situation of the Arab world in the light of the digital age, entitled “Leaks, piracy and scandals: Arab culture in the light of the digital age”, by the Lebanese author Tariq Al-Aris, and it was published in early December 2018 by Princeton University Press.
The book examines the changes brought about by digital media in the fields of literature, politics and culture in the Arab world, focusing on the confrontation between Arab activists and authoritarian regimes in the streets and on the impact of the Internet.
Economics, Power and “Truth Dealers”
As for the seventh book, it deals with the impact of the digital age on the economy through the emergence of what is known as the intangible economy. The intangible economy, by investing more in sectors such as design, software, brands and others, compared to tangible assets such as machinery, buildings and computers.
The eighth book addresses a number of questions such as: Is there a relationship between Donald Trump’s rise to power in the United States of America and the spread of what is known as the phenomenon of nonsense and nonsense? What is the role of social media in the spread of fake news? Why did the truth become the biggest victim? Why did the professional media fail to address all of the above?
These and other questions attempt to post-truth: How nonsense took over the world? Which was issued in Britain in 2017, searching for answers and exploring its depths.
The ninth book, entitled “Fake News: The Battle between Tyrants and the Media,” examines the relationship between the media and power.
The author states that the insults, insults and phrases such as “fake news”, “dishonest journalism”, “racist”, and “mentally unstable” that have been exchanged between most of the American media and US President Donald Trump are not new to today, but there are similar events There are many examples in the history of the relationship between power and the media.
As for the tenth and final book in this selection, entitled “Truth Merchants: The News Industry in the Digital Age and the Battle for Facts,” it focuses on the state of the American press in the digital age, its defeats and victories, and its author, Jill Abramson, is a witness to that condition, and present in several battles. In that regard, it was the target of some of these battles.
She served as the editor-in-chief of the famous “New York Times” newspaper from 2011 to 2014, and was the first woman to hold this position since the newspaper was published 160 years ago.
The book focuses, in its 13 chapters, on the path of 4 American media organizations during the past two decades that witnessed what can be called media turmoil, the era that began with the arrival of the Internet revolution, and witnessed the collapse of traditional world models, as only a few traditional media organizations were able to find ways to survive. Alive, as well as flourishing.