Not another conspiracy theory.

We live in an increasingly technology-saturated world, and while I don’t completely agree with Black Mirror’s dystopian depictions of the near-future, I do realize how indispensable technology (emphasis: technology that can fit in your palms) has become to our existence.

Forever transformed are the ways in which we interact with society, govern our lives, protect ourselves, and entertain ourselves. Everything is one touch away- it is existence made easy, almost too easy.

While it sounds like a blessing in the day-to-day, could it actually be depriving us of life? To explain with a philosophical paradox, “we have never been so connected, yet so disconnected".

To me, it’s like employing cheat codes in a video game. Yes, you’ll feel empowered and the job will be done anyway, you might even have a lot of fun in the process, but the intended experience becomes redundant. The effort of building that experience in the first place becomes futile. Ease of access becomes more important than the experience of access.

I remember weekly, Sunday trips with mom to the wholesale grocery stores, and skating about hanging off the trolley carts while browsing countless aisles of different breakfast cereals. Off the corner of my eye, I’d randomly spot something new with odd-looking packaging and reflections, and change my trajectory towards it to touch it, feel the design of the raised surface detail perhaps, and imagine what satisfaction it’d evoke in me as I poured milk onto it (yes, the cereal goes in first).

I’d spend a good few minutes of my life rationalizing whether or not to throw it in the cart, and the stress of setting mom back a couple bucks only to hate the taste made it seem like a major life decision. I think we all feel that when we’re at the front of queue in Starbucks, being asked “hi, what can I get you?”.

Now, Amazon declares what I’ll like.

I don’t have to think anymore. It’s convenient, surprisingly accurate, and teenage me’s dream to never have to put my mind to anything, but I now realize it takes away that adventure, even if it is to do with discovering new cereal. Dora can no longer explore.

You may never stumble upon an experience again. Maps will lead you to exactly where you’re supposed to be, the AR in-store app will tell you exactly where you’ll find that jacket you like, and the Motivation- Daily Quotes app will tell you exactly how to feel in the morning.

You will never not be dictated or be allowed to change your preferences. Billions of dollars will be spent on you (don’t flatter yourself just yet) so your opinions are reinforced and your ideas about who you are remain consistent. Elon is right, we might just be living in a simulation because it practically is one. There is this illusion of free choice but really, adept marketers tell you what you want and you somehow trust them.

That is how powerful and potentially dictatorial a marketer is. The consumer is the modern puppet. Nobody needs a whip or a string when you’ve got SEO. Your online presence is quantified into numbers and categories, and it is just that convenient to make you want something.

Remember:

The customer may be king but the marketer is the emperor. 👑

An internet explorer.