Avoiding a Dystopian Future
An information dystopian future might look something like a world where people are no longer making decisions for themselves, have anxiety about knowledge, have no privacy, and live in their own individual echo chambers. Of course this is, fortunately, nothing like our world today, but with our reliance on technology constantly increasing, if we blindly follow where new information technology takes, we one day could live in a similar dystopian reality. To prevent technology from steering our future, we simply have to have to become more information literate.
Some people argue that we already are on track to live in a dystopian future based off of our current usage of technology. Sherry Turkle’s book “Alone together,” which we read part of for class, is a perfect example of an argument about the current negative affects of today’s technology. In her book, Turkle talks about how our connections to technology are influencing us to feel the need to be constantly accessible and in touch with everyone. She argues that because of this, we, specifically young people, are losing our independence. Turkle also talks about how our abundant access to technology is creating a more narcissistic and self-conscious society. I do not think that Turkle is wrong in saying that we are very connected to technology, but I think her dystopian view of today’s world is over exaggerated, and can be further combated by an increase in global information literacy.
Don Latham and Jonathan M. Hollister, professors at Florida State University, provide an interesting perspective about information literacy in a dystopian society in their published paper “The Games People Play: Information and Media Literacies in the Hunger Games Trilogy.” In their paper Latham and Hollister analyse “Katniss Everdeen’s” (the protagonist in the Hunger Games trilogy) use of her information literacy to survive and conquer the dystopian world she lives in. At one point in their essay when they say, “Dystopian fiction, it has been argued, is popular among teenagers because it resonates so deeply with the adolescent experience.”I believe that Latham and Hollister are in direct conversation with Sherry Turkle. Turkle talks about this dystopian future that kids are setting themselves up to face, but Latham and Hollister have the solution for her cry. To survive a dystopian future, be like Katniss Everdeen; be information literate.
As I discussed earlier, we do not live in an information dystopia and hopefully never will, but the one sure way to avoid such a horror is to have an information literate society. Avoiding a dystopian future by being information literate in this scenario would mean not being over reliant on decision making technology, knowing how to protect privacy, and having the ability to avoid living in a personalized echo chamber.
The purpose of my final blog post is the same as each of my previous post: to show the importance of information literacy through the use of a variety of credible real life examples. I hope you enjoyed my short blog series!
Turkle, S. (2012). Growing up Tethered. In Alone together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other. (pp. 171–186). New York: Basic Books.
Latham, Don, and Jonathan M. Hollister. “The Games People Play: Information and Media Literacies in the Hunger Games Trilogy.” Children’s Literature in Education 45.1 (2013): 33–46. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.