These days, you have plenty of tech that perform a huge range of tasks to make our lives more convenient, from food delivery apps to AI assistants. However, while technology is created to better our lives, it doesn’t take long before people start using them for all the wrong reasons, and in the process, change our social bonds and psychological states.
The internet is for erotica
From Google to news websites, the internet has provided us with a fountain of knowledge and entertainment. A 2021 study published in Frontiers in Psychology suggests an unprecedented increase in internet use during the pandemic has led to a rapid uptake of dysfunctional behaviours related to internet addiction, including online pornography, internet gaming, online gambling, and excessive use of social media.
A 2006 study on internet addiction concluded that of the many internet-related activities, “erotica” had the greatest potential to be addictive. Watching porn can become just as addictive as using substances, and their processes and impacts are very similar.
As of September 2021, according to Similarweb, 3 porn sites are among the top 20 most visited sites worldwide. According to the SEMrush Traffic Analytics tool, as of May 2021 porn sites received more website traffic in the US than Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, Pinterest, and LinkedIn combined.
Porn addiction’s negative effect on one’s sex life is mostly due to the inability to achieve the same response in real life. This leads to a change in romantic behaviour, including increased aggression, dominance, and emotional disconnection. It may also influence a more permissive attitude towards casual sex, and skew our standards of beauty.
Widespread access to the internet has also made it easier for “revenge porn” to be uploaded. Research by UK-based Refuge has found that one in 7 young women has received such threats, causing victims to be exposed to workplace discrimination, cyber-stalking or physical attack.
Mobile phone bubble
These days, it seems like we can’t live without our mobile phones and we know what a dinner date looks like these days. We see mobile phone zombies eating silently, rather than socialising with someone else across the table. You don’t need a psychologist to tell you that it doesn’t exactly forge bonds with the person you’re eating with.
But mobile phone addiction isn’t just ruining dating life. Simply Google ‘peeping tom’ or ‘upskirt’ and you’ll find lots of cases in Singapore involving men taking illicit photos of women. Culprits have admitted to being addicted to “homemade porn,” and because it’s so easy with a mobile phone, the problem’s only getting worse.
While some use these illicitly-recorded materials for private use, some have taken to illegally sharing them on apps like Telegram. There have been two high-profile cases in Singapore involving illegal Telegram groups that disseminate materials like these. Obviously, this sort of addiction is becoming a serious issue because it’s increasingly widespread. One can easily imagine the stress and fear (of privacy invasion) it’s caused to all the victims.
Artificial intelligence hurdles
Sophia, the humanoid robot, will be mass produced this year. Introduced in 2016, she showed us the capabilities of an artificial intelligence (AI) robot designed for general reasoning and conversation, adept at imitating human facial expressions.
Unsurprisingly, the technology is also used in the newest iterations of “sex robots” that respond to touch and have unique “personalities.” Men with sex robots reportedly have actual relationships with them, which raises all sorts of questions as to their relationships with real women.
AI has also been used on deepfakes. You’ve probably seen late actor Paul Walker resurrected for Fast & Furious 7, but the current iterations of deepfake programmes are now being used to digitally “strip” unsuspecting, ordinary women. This brings to the fore new legal issues concerning privacy and “sextortion,” adding to the stress women have to deal with, as the law has yet to catch up to the technology.
Tech the messenger
From self-inflicted addiction to its widespread repercussions on unsuspecting victims, it’s clear that while tech is supposed to better our lives, it can cause unexpected harm to our psyche and even our social bonds when we give in to our perverted selves.
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