Technology and social media are feeding addictive behaviors and mental illness in society

Image: Technology and social media are feeding addictive behaviors and mental illness in society

Smart phones and tablets have become a cancerous growth in our lives – never leaving us, feeding off our essence, and sucking away our attention, life, and energy. Social media is like an aggressive form of brain cancer, attaching to our mind, addicting us to cheap dopamine rushes, replacing human interaction with a digital façade of living. Stealing away our time, technology has become a disease that infiltrates our mental and social health, leaving us depressed, anxious, worried, envious, arrogant, and socially isolated.

What we type and text to others causes over-thinking, rumination, and misunderstanding. The way we respond with type and text can be misinterpreted, leading to social strain in relationships. Digital communication lacks the natural flow of body language, eye contact, touch, voice inflection, tone, and real-life rapport. Accustomed to digital communication, people lose their ability to have adult conversations. This hurts everyone’s ability to work together, discuss ideas, solve problems, and overcome multi-faceted challenges.

Popular social media platforms prey on human weaknesses

On Facebook, the pursuit of likes and comments can become an addicting sensation. When the attention fails to come in, the Facebook user may feel unheard or undesirable. When the user sees their friends getting more likes, they may perceive other people having a better life than they do, leading to depressed feelings. (Related: Former Facebook exec: “Social media is ripping society apart.“)

On Twitter, communication is limited to short bursts. These bursts encourage people to engage in divisive language that is used in inflammatory ways and is easily misunderstood. Twitter is used to build a “following” which becomes a high-school-esque popularity contest that easily inflates egos and gives a platform to the most annoying ones in the bunch.

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Instagram and Snapchat have become more popular as well, making users anxious to show off their lives online 24-7. This infatuation with documenting every moment is an anxious, self-absorbed way to live and it does the person no good, because these technology gimmicks interrupt the actual moment and disturb the flow of real life. Do we really think that everyone cares about every picture, every meal, and everything that we do? As the digital world continues to bloat up with information, pictures, and voices, all of it loses its value and sacredness. Over time, no one genuinely cares. The louder a person gets on social media, the more annoying they are perceived.

Technology addiction destroys sleep, leads teenagers to other addictive substances

As parents pacify their children with screens, the children are exposed to constant light stimulation which excites brain chemicals. The colorful games and videos over-stimulate the child’s mind, making them addicted to the sensation. Consequentially the child becomes more restless and behavioral distress increases over the long term.

Technology has made our lives more selfish, isolated, and interrupted. Social media has preyed on our weaknesses, trapping us in its mesmerizing facade of happiness. According to SurvivoPedia, teenagers who spend more than five hours a day on their devices are at a 72 percent higher risk for suicide risk factors. In order to alleviate the mental health issues associated with social media, teenagers may turn to other addictive substances to take the edge off.

Additionally, these devices interfere with healthy sleep patterns — which are essential for proper brain development. The onslaught of blue light and electromagnetic frequency interferes with healthy melatonin levels in the brain. The things that we post online can keep us up at night as well. The addiction to check the phone for responses and likes can keep a person up, too. All this brain excitement and depression throws off the body’s circadian rhythm, leading to poor sleep and mental fatigue during the daytime.

Check out more on mental health at Mind.News.

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IBM just beat Google to a brand new type of computing

IBM Jerry Chow quantum computer scientist
IBM quantum computer scientist Jerry Chow.

On Wednesday, IBM scientists will make a quantum computer available to the public as a cloud service for the first time.Although the cloud service is geared mostly toward scientists and students, anyone interested in this strange new computer will be able to give it a try, Jerry Chow, one of the scientists leading the project, tells Business Insider.

A completely different kind of computer

A quantum computer is different than today’s digital computer.

A digital computer thinks in two states: zero and one (or off and on). A quantum computer uses “combinations of zeroes and ones” to creates multiple states. It can be a zero, a one, both at the same time, something in between them, or it can be a mysterious zero/one state that you can’t really determine, Chow explains.

These messy states are called “entanglement” and there are some well known algorithms (mathematical formulas) that use them, Chow tells us.

Because quantum computers think differently, they can quickly solve tasks that regular computers can’t do, such as working with billions of variables at the same time, like the interaction between molecules in chemistry.

They are also great for machine-learning tasks. These computers are expected to help find new drugs, new forms of computer security, and become smart computers that can think and reason.

Likewise, programming a quantum computer is completely different.

So the IBM team has created a tutorial to help people learn how to do it. You need high-school algebra skills and a background in programming. (It also helps to read a book on the subject before trying your first “Hello world” app, Chow advises.)

As cold as outer space

Quantum computers are also built differently. This one uses a silicon base, like regular computers, but relies on superconducting metals like niobium and aluminum that must be kept unbelievably cold. The low temperature brings out their special quantum mechanical properties.

IBM programmer lab


This is the microwave hardware that generates pulses sent to the quantum processor.

So it’s kept in a special fridge that keeps the computer at “.015 above absolute zero, which is colder than absolute space,” Chow says. (See picture, below.)

The computer behind this cloud service is a five “quantum bits” (qubits) computer, which is powerful (other quantum computers have been 2 qubits), but not so much smarter than a regular supercomputer.

However, the industry is working its way up to a 50 qubits computer which would be so vastly more powerful than any of today’s supercomputers.

No one knows what kinds of problems a computer that fast and smart could solve.

But there’s a race between IBM and Google to find out.

The race with Google is on

IBM’s work is based on research done at Yale through Professor Robert Schoelkopf (the IBM team is mostly his PhD and post-grad students).

The other prominent US school working on this is UC Santa Barbara under Professor John Martinis Group, which was backed and absorbed by Google in 2014.

“Google is working toward very similar goals,” Chow says, and describes the situation as a bit of a turf war.

So score one for IBM for releasing the first cloud service.

Here are some photos of the computer.