Are you addicted to gadgets?
The hormone dopamine is connected to the addiction to information technology.
If you Google “gadget addiction” you will find scores of articles about the modern addiction to gadgets. This addiction extends to social media, the news and online gaming. In one article a woman dumped her boyfriend because he refused to have a Facebook account. Something has gone terribly wrong since technology rather than be liberating has enslaved human beings. Smart phones are supposed to be tools to help process and communicate information, but they have now become objects that entrap, control and divide the individual from self, people and nature.
Most people are unable to let go of their gadgets, social media and the need for news. People are addicted, the hormone dopamine is behind this addiction. A study of rats implanted with electrodes shows they will press a lever that causes stimulation of their pleasure centre of their brain until they die of exhaustion, they won’t rest, look after their pups or eat. Like the rats the human has become addicted to a lever of gadgets, social media and news thanks to dopamine.
Dopamine in balance motivates people to explore the world to obtain rewards such as food and sex. Although dopamine rewards the self for obtaining food or other goal, it has the second function of motivating goal seeking in order to obtain the reward. Dopamine is behind most addictions like gambling or Facebook because it is motivating the individual to seek out the lever then press it. The narcotic cocaine is a vicious drug in that it will create a cascade of dopamine which can entrap the individual in addiction in one night. On a lesser scale gadgets, social media and the news is feeding into the exact same dopamine pathways with milder consequences as cocaine does.
Every like, friending or update creates a spike of dopamine in the human brain. The human becomes addicted to these dopamine spikes and need more regular stimulation. People are unable to put down their gadgets, they get withdrawal symptoms from being away from social media too long. Society has been turned into a population of dopamine junkies.
Technology is an awesome tool if it is used well where you are the master. Technology should be liberating rather than enslaving; technology should enhance your creativity rather than control you into a rigid thinking state; technology should motivate you to obtain wisdom through experiential doing rather than leave you as a passive spectator of life. If the technology has been unable to build bridges to liberty, creativity and wisdom, but rather creates barriers between the individual and self, others and nature, then it has gone wrong.
When I speak of the potential of artificial intelligence, many people are afraid of being enslaved or harmed by the technology, but the paradox is that most people are already locked in to slavery and self-harm to the machine through the dopamine addictions to information technology. Awareness of what has happened is the first step to becoming the master of information technology rather than its slave.