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  • Writer's pictureKaty Craig

Dystechia and Unintended Consequences

If you're scratching your head over the title of this article, I apologize. The word dystechia is not in any dictionary that I checked, and maybe it's because I may have made it up. I'm using it to describe the unintended, negative consequence of technology on humans. "Dystechia," a portmanteau of dystopian and technologia, refers to the effects of technology on people, and whether or not humans benefit from the tech over time. I mean, just because we can do something does not mean that we should. Opportunities and not just threats present risks. And in our rush to adopt the new tech early, we often overlook the unintended consequences, the third-order effects, and the harm that could come to humans as a result of using it. The Internet age really only started in 2007 when the world got smartphones so there's no way we have the longitudinal studies completed yet on the impacts of ubiquitous access on humans and groups.

I mean, there's no word for unintended negative effects of tech on humans yet, that I can tell. So, not surprisingly, there are also no definitions that I could find. As a result, I'm finding examples of this in popular culture. In this way, I'll be able to see use-cases in action, in non-didactic forms, that are more enjoyable to consume because they're so brilliantly crafted. I'll start with ten episodes from Charlie Brooker's anthology series streaming on Netflix called Black Mirror.

Black Mirror

The anthology series Black Mirror explores the dark side of modern society and technology, often depicting the unintended consequences of new innovations. Each episode is a standalone story that examines the potential negative impact of technology on our lives, with themes including surveillance, artificial intelligence, and social media. The series is known for its dark, satirical tone and its exploration of the potential consequences of our reliance on technology.

The title of the series itself is a metaphor for blank device screens. The black mirror (the sleeping home screen) reflects what's in front of it. Though not all episodes in this series deal with the dystechia arising from the socials, many of them do allude to YouTube, Facebook, and the like. The others cover topics like implants, robotics, drones, and what it means to be human. As in any criticism of creative content, my musings are just opinions. I have not had the pleasure of interviewing any of the creators, so please treat these interpretations for what they are: an observation from your everyday fangirl who happens to be a cyber geek worried about ethics, technology, and the future of our species and planet.

Episodes covered in this blog series:

Have you seen the series? How did you find it? Hit me up in the comments if you think I should cover any additional episodes from the five seasons of Black Mirror.

Cheers | k80cb


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