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Connected?

THEY were doing lunch in a five-star hotel and they wore the uniform of managers in their late 20’s to early 30’s, black jacket over white shirt, each touting their most essential accessory, a smartphone. The five of them, three guys and two girls, were fully focused and totally not speaking to one another as they studied the tool they were holding in their hands as if it were a grenade they could not let go of. But it was lunchtime, shouldn’t they be enjoying the noon break?

Apparently not, because they were connected. They were concentrating on being and staying connected – to their work, bosses, clients, friends, colleagues, the competition. Connectedness is the core of today’s work ethic, while the web that holds everybody and everything is made of the sticky glue of social media, all-seeing, all-recording, selling anything from insurance to vacations, telling all, whether you like it or not, believe it or not.

Connectedness aims to be the way, the truth, and the life as the world continues to shrink and contract, even when a little matter called privacy risks falling through the cracks. I never thought that social media could be dangerous until psychologist Dr. Queena Lee aired the warning against being wired and considered weird if you were not so wired. Ironic, how social media have made millions of their users anti-social and, worse, pushed youngsters to the brink of depression. I never would’ve imagined that in a future world, if connectedness went any further, we would see advances like a chip implanted in a baby’s bone so her parents could monitor her every move and prevent her from someday being snatched or courted by the wrong boy.

In the movie “The Circle”, Tom Hanks plays a character moulded upon the personality of Steve Jobs in an America where the richest people are techies. Its theme is the forthcoming (?) battle (?) between privacy and connectedness (hence the camera chip in the baby’s body).

In the not too unimaginable likelihood of a quest for the latest, most powerful, most insidious device to unify the universe, would you rather be on your own, alone with your deep dark secrets, or would you feel isolated, cut off, alienated, without the antennae of your screens and apps? (Jullie Y. Daza)

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