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.

Sources include:

SurvivoPedia.com

NaturalNews.com

NaturalNews.com

Digital amnesia: Mobile phones deprive users of memory skills


Reuters / Zoran Milich

While mobile phones and other devices are increasingly essential in our lives and often the main place we store all our information and manage our daily schedules, Kaspesky lab has published a study attempting to uncover how modern technologies affect human memory skills.

Kaspersky lab surveyed 6,000 users aged 16 and older in eight European countries. The results showed that 49 percent of UK respondents do not remember their parents’ telephone numbers, 57 percent haven’t memorized the number for their place of work, 71 percent of parents can’t dial their children off the top of their head, and 87 percent don’t know the number of their children’s schools by heart. On the other hand, 47 percent can recite the phone numbers they had when they were between age 10 and 15, likely before devices had such large memories.

The study also reveals that some groups become more distressed than others when information on their devices is lost, with 44 percent of women and 40 percent of users between the ages of 16 and 24 becoming“overwhelmed by sadness.” Moreover, 25 percent of females and 38 percent of younger users would become totally frantic in such an event, given that their phones or tablets are the only place their images and contacts are saved.

Researchers from Kaspresky Lab called that phenomenon “digital amnesia.”

Forgetting information is not always a bad thing. Like the storage capacity of a digital device, human memory is not limitless. If we do not use particular information, it will gradually fade until we forget it. The human brain can also overwrite outdated bits of data with more topical ones.

“We are beautifully adaptive creatures and we don’t remember everything because it is not to our advantage to do so. Forgetting becomes unhelpful when it involves losing information that we need to remember,” said Dr. Kathryn Mills, UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, London, PR Newswire informs.

The problem is, however, that people do not pay enough attention to the security of their devices, which increases the risk of losing information, the study says. Only 27 percent of respondents install extra security on their smartphones and 23 percent on their tablets, while 22 percent people do not use additional security for any of their devices.

“Connected devices enrich our lives but they have also given rise to Digital Amnesia. We need to understand the long term implications of this for how we remember and how we protect those memories,” concluded David Emm, Principal Security Researcher, Kaspersky Lab.

Uploading human brain for eternal life is possible .


Reuters/Michaela Rehle

“People could probably live inside a machine. Potentially, I think it is definitely a possibility,” Dr Hannah Critchlow of the Cambridge Neuroscience said at the popular Hay Festival in Wales, as quoted by The Telegraph.

Although the human brain is enormously complex, scientists are beginning to better understand its separate parts’ functions, Critchlow said, describing the brain as a complex circuit board. The scientist claimed it “would be possible” to recreate it as a computer program: “If you had a computer that could make those 100 trillion circuit connections – then that circuit is what makes us us.”

“We are about 100 billion nerve cells and the most complicated circuit board you could image,” the neuroscientist, who produces and presents brainy interactive experiences for the public and has been named among the UK’s Top 100 scientists by the Science Council, told the audience.

She also debunked a common myth that humans only use some 10 percent of their brain, explaining the whole thing is constantly running in idle mode to save energy and certain areas are only powered up when needed. She noted that despite only weighing about 1.5 kilos and taking up just two percent of the body’s mass, the brain “takes about 20 percent of all energy consumption.”

The neuroscientist confirmed that the brain’s right and left hemispheres are different, and that there is some evidence to support the belief that left-handed people are more creative.

It is known that the right hemisphere of the brain, which is more active in left-handed people, is linked to creativity. Recent studies have shown that creative thought can be externally improved by special devices stimulating that part of the brain. It is now possible to buy hats containing electrodes to stimulate the area for around $80, the scientist said.

‘Optical fibre’ made out of thin air .


Scientists say they have turned thin air into an ‘optical fibre’ that can transmit and amplify light signals without the need for any cables.

In a proof-of-principle experiment they created an “air waveguide” that could one day be used as an instantaneous optical fibre to any point on earth, or even into space.

The findings, reported in the journal Optica, have applications in long range laser communications, high-resolution topographic mapping, air pollution and climate change research, and could also be used by the military to make laser weapons.

“People have been thinking about making air waveguides for a while, but this is the first time it’s been realised,” says Professor Howard Milchberg of the University of Maryland, who led the research, which was funded by the US military and National Science Foundation.

Lasers lose intensity and focus with increasing distance as photons naturally spread apart and interact with atoms and molecules in the air.

Fibre optics solves this problem by beaming the light through glass cores with a high refractive index, which is good for transmitting light.

The core is surrounded by material with a lower refractive index that reflects light back in to the core, preventing the beam from losing focus or intensity.

Fibre optics, however, are limited in the amount of power they can carry and the need for a physical structure to support them.

Light and air

Milchberg and colleagues’ made the equivalent of an optical fibre out of thin air by generating a laser with its light split into a ring of multiple beams forming a pipe.

They used very short and powerful pulses from the laser to heat the air molecules along the beam extremely quickly.

Such rapid heating produced sound waves that took about a microsecond to converge to the centre of the pipe, creating a high-density area surrounded by a low-density area left behind in the wake of the laser beams.

“A microsecond is a long time compared to how far light propagates, so the light is gone and a microsecond later those sound waves collide in the centre, enhancing the air density there,” says Milchberg.

The lower density region of air surrounding the centre of the air waveguide had a lower refractive index, keeping the light focused.

“Any structure [even air] which has a higher density will have a higher index of refraction and thereby act like an optical fibre,” says Milchberg.

Amplified signal

Once Milchberg and colleagues created their air waveguide, they used a second laser to spark the air at one end of the waveguide turning it into plasma.

An optical signal from the spark was transmitted along the air waveguide, over a distance of a metre to a detector at the other end.

The signal collected by the detector was strong enough to allow Milchberg and colleagues to analyse the chemical composition of the air that produced the spark.

The researchers found the signal was 50 per cent stronger than a signal obtained without an air waveguide.

The findings show the air waveguide can be used as a “remote collection optic,” says Milchberg.

“This is an optical fibre cable that you can reel out at the speed of light and place next to [something] that you want to measure remotely, and have the signal come all the way back to where you are.”

Australian expert Professor Ben Eggleton of the University of Sydney says this is potentially an important advance for the field of optics.

“It’s sort of like you have an optical fibre that you can shine into the sky, connecting your laser to the top of the atmosphere,” says Eggleton.

“You don’t need big lenses and optics, it’s already guided along this channel in the atmosphere.”

 

Facial scanner aims to recognize drivers’ anger in attempt to stop road rage.


to stop road rage

Published time: March 14, 2014 23:07

screenshot from youtube video by user Tracktec
Swiss scientists have announced that they have devised a new dashboard emotion detector that is able to search a driver’s face for signs of emotion, aiming to predict and prevent a road rage incident before it happens.

Researchers at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland said they hope to improve safety on the roads by releasing the system – which purports to identify fear, anger, joy, sadness, disgust, surprise, or suspicion – to the public.

We know that in addition to fatigue, the emotional state of the driver is a risk factor,” they said, as quoted by Sarah Griffiths of the Daily Mail. “Irritation, in particular, can make drivers more aggressive and less attentive.”

One of the most challenging aspects of the project was installing a new piece of equipment in the already-crowded dashboard without presenting an entirely new risk to the driver. They were able to place and infrared camera behind the steering wheel, making it possible for a small computer to analyze how an individual contorts his or her face, and then compare that expression to what the device already “knows” about different emotions.

Test research is being conducted at the EPFL’s Signal Processing 5 Laboratory in France and in collaboration with PSA Peugeot Citroën a multinational auto maker that provided a test car for the study.

Lead researchers Hua Gao and Anil Yüce determined that the system, which is still very much in the embryonic stage, should first learn to recognize anger and disgust, the emotions that trigger reactions most likely to result in road rage.

There is still work to be done on the system. The facial recognition program can be easily confused if the driver expresses himself in a way that does not align with the instructions the computer has previously been given.

The French researchers told reporters they also plan to give the technology the ability to read lips and that the system could hypothetically be programmed to recognize all of the aforementioned emotions.

What would happen next – if the car would slow itself down, stop, or issue a message to the driver, among other possibilities – is not yet clear.

While this idea is perhaps the most extreme, and likely to inspire conversations about exactly how much should rely on machines, automakers have been incorporating devices that promise to make transportation easier for years. Someone planning on driving a new car off the lot should expect that vehicle to have self-braking technology and, in a growing number of cases, self-parking.

Volvo recently announced it is trying to find out if magnets are the secret to self-driving cars. The car company has constructed a 100-meter long track equipped with a series of magnets and unleashed a prototype vehicle, itself equipped with magnets, that successfully made its way around the course.

The magnets create an invisible ‘railway’ that literally paves the way for a positioning inaccuracy of less than one decimeter (roughly 4 inches). We have tested the technology at a variety of speeds and the results so far are promising,” said Jonas Ekmark, a preventative safety leader with Volvo, as quoted by Nick Kurczewski of the New York Daily News.

Our experience so far is that ferrite magnets are an efficient, reliable and relatively cheap solution, both when it comes to the infrastructure and on-board sensor technology. The next step is to conduct tests in real-life traffic.”