Mediated electronic interactions also create forms of what could be called acquired social autism. Any experienced high-school guidance counselor can attest that most of their students do not have the social skills necessary to, for example, speak to college-admissions personnel one on one. There is also growing empirical evidence of social-media fatigue. Our gadgets create exhaustion, isolation, loneliness, and depression, which track with the rise of suicide rates in younger age cohorts. In a few extreme cases, when isolation sharply diminishes the influence of peer standards of acceptable conduct, it can lead to violent anti-social behavior.
In science fiction, the typical worry is that machines will become human-like; the more pressing problem now is that, through the thinning out of our interactions, humans are becoming machine-like. That raises the possibility that the more time we spend with machines and the more dependent on them we become, the dumber we tend to get since machines cannot determine their own purposes — at least until the lines cross between ever smarter AI-infused machines and ever less cognitively adept humans. More troubling are the moral issues that could potentially arise: mainly ceding to machines programmed by others the right to make moral choices that ought to be ours.
Writer - Critic - Poet - Editor