I know, I know, but I can't let it go, at least not just yet. Another New York Times article has captured my attention because it addresses my fears about the loss of humanity at the hands (make that chips) of the computer. In "The Computer Made Me Do It" by William Saletan, the author's opening statement reads, "Humanity is migrating to cyberspace." He goes on to provide this sobering statistic: "By age 21, the average young American has spent at least three times as many hours playing virtual games as reading."
Like me, a Silicon Valley psychiatrist, Elias Aboujaoude, believes this trend does not bode well for us. He argues that the Internet enables us to be at our worst, and he backs up his arguments with first-hand knowledge. Aboujaoude treats patients with online compulsions. He has written a book, Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality. I'm going to check it out.
Meanwhile, for all of you cyber-junkies out there, there is a counter argument. Jane McGonigal's book, Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, suggests that because games are more motivating than real life (?) games made to be "good/moral" allow players to transfer those attributes into the physical world. Frankly, I think this idea is rather far fetched, and hints at commercialism perhaps expounded by the computer gaming industry.
Is the Internet just another world, like the one you create in your mind when you read a good science fiction novel? Both have the power to engage and interact with humanity, but I still feel threatened by the former, as opposed to enlightened by the latter.