Time for a Change
In today’s modern society, technology is unavoidable. For anyone on the downhill side of middle age, it’s not hard to remember when electronic communication was one hard-wired telephone in every household. Two if money was not a problem. But even that generation has experienced the adrenaline rush of alarm, upon the realization that their cellphone is not on their person. In “Empathy in the Virtual World” by G. Anthony Gorry, his view is pessimistic that society will avoid being sucked into the numbing black hole of cyberspace.
Professor Gorry, who has a Ph.D. from MIT, is considered “a preeminent authority” on how technology affects the population, he gives a warning on “what… technology may be doing to us” (372). What Gorry fears most is “…we will pay for our entry into the magical garden of cyberspace with a loss of empathy…” (373). Gorry seems to be a glass half empty kind of guy, but if we consider what his world is like, it will be easier to be empathetic with his perspective. Imagine that you are in the upper echelon of academia and have spent years of work “to applying artificial intelligence” and with “sophisticated computer algorithms” (372). If you spent eight hours a day in the “magical garden,” you would be scared too. Is it possible that he acquired his fear after years of submersion in the technology world?
Gorry uses our primate ancestors to explain how we learned to read others emotions. Reading novels, he claims, developed our imagination to have “understanding without having experienced,” as J. K. Rowling put it (374). Gorry writes, “For hundreds of years, novels have engaged our empathetic faculties with the lives of imagined others” (374). A child has the ability to imagine their own play world without having ever read a novel. Research by McDonald and...