Our Tower of Babel

And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens…”

And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”

So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.

Excerpts Genesis 11: 3-7

And here we go again...

We have created the internet. We have created an omnipresent (Google’s Balloon Project and Facebook's Drone Project will finish the job), omniscient (the collection of human knowledge at your fingertips), sentient (AI) entity that we use to explain the unexplainable (just Google it).

An omnipresent, omniscient, sentient entity that explains the unexplainable; sound familiar?

While the powers of the internet above are, of course, slightly exaggerated, they are the building blocks, the foundation of a new Tower of Babel. With the advent of the interconnection of our technology we have tried to create a nirvana. In our hubris, we imagined a world of perfect information, or limitless connections, the crowning achievement of scientific understanding. We have tried to touch the face of god.

And as it was before, so it will be again.

But while we have created untold benefit, we have not achieved enlightenment. Instead, we have seen echo-chambers where like minded people magnify their opinions. We have seen an inability for people to communicate rationally with each other. We seen the next generation begin to lose the ability to communicate IRL.

We have seen Babel.

Maybe we were not ready for this power. For, hate and fear can spread as rapidly as information and hope. The echo chamber of the Internet hardens hearts and minds. Algorithms optimize additional content that engages us further...with thoughts similar to our own.

Facebook is not encouraging me to interact with those friends that have a different point of view; it lets me hide them. Twitter and Instagram don't encourage me to follow those different from those I currently follow; only those that are similar. We swipe right on those who have common friends and interests, not meeting people from totally different walks of life.

Thus, in public discourse facts and experts become just another voice, while those offering quick answers and have huge followings in social media, lead us.

We may not have been ready for such openness and expression. We may not have been ready for such anonymity. Maybe, something stopped our advance. Maybe something made us begin to lose our ability to communicate with each other? Maybe this is the second time our attempts to grow to fast, too quickly have been derailed?

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