Responsible use of technology

In the summer of 2018, Stanford University announced that it was planning a new initiative on "Ethics, Society and Technology". Ethics in connection with new technologies will be considered. The reason: The often dramatic consequences of fake news, hate campaigns and manipulations in social networks and the influence on public opinion formation.

Perhaps this insight would have made sense a little earlier. Several protagonists, such as Napster founder and former Facebook consultant Sean Parker, Apple CEO Tim Cook and former Google product philosopher Tristan Harris, have been drawing attention to the problematic development in social networks for some time now.

Harris is now known as the "social conscience" of Silicon Valley and first founded the organization "Time well spent" and later the "Center for Humane Technology", which is intended to promote a rethink in technology development towards a stronger orientation towards human needs.

According to Harris, the constant blinking, vibrating and ringing of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat smartphones is just as dangerous as cigarettes. In my opinion, the dependence of users on their devices and apps is one of the major problems of the present and can lead to a degeneration of the human brain. Ultimately, there is a danger that misuse of the new media will damage interpersonal relationships and, in the context of fake news, democratic processes. Maybe that's why years ago high-ranking tech workers in Silicon Valley started sending their children to Waldorf schools where there are no computers.

Every new technology puts parents in concern for their children - whether it was radio or television. The familiar pattern is currently being repeated - albeit more justifiably than before - in smartphones and tablets. The challenges posed by digital evolution are more diverse than previous developments. The question that therefore arises is: do we, as advocates of enlightened and democratic societies, simply let this happen, or do we take targeted action against it with the help of initiatives and the integration of the topic into the classroom?