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The X Factor

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Foto: Ap

Our lives seem to be run by technology. 

We are entertained, informed, united, divided, motivated, depressed, employed, and unemployed by technology. Technology allows us to communicate worldwide at little or no cost, exchanging ideas, views, opinions, and visions – some good, some bad.

We relate to others through technological platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and others, and, in many ways, define ourselves and others by our on-line personas. We join with people around the world who share our vision of life and legitimize and reinforce their beliefs as well as our own. 

I believe that technology has played a role in creating a world that is apparently increasingly divided by hatred, suspicion, resentment, and discrimination. Conspiracy theories abound, and they motivate many to follow falsehoods and believe in them. The perceived increased polarization may also have been accelerated by the exponential growth in technology, and its presence in every facet of our lives creates fear for the future in many.

This may all be true.

But technology is much more than the sum of all this!

Here is an example from a relatively old technology – network television, and how today’s technology has made it go from local to global. Programs can remain in cyberspace forever and can be enjoyed on demand rather than on an inflexible schedule. They can be watched from anywhere in the world rather than from a static place and time. And artists have a ready-made and perpetual marketing tool that they can use to enhance their careers and turn their talent into livelihood. 

America’s Got Talent, Britain’s Got Talent, and others have been around for over twenty years, and underscore how television enhanced by other technologies can be used for excellent results that impact on us all. Over the years these programs have been franchised to many countries and have developed a global following amplified by other media technologies such as YouTube and Facebook. Streaming ensures that past episodes remain on-line and that the global public can go back and revisit their favorite artists.

What do these platforms offer?

They provide an outlet for the thousands of talented people whose artistry would otherwise never reach an audience. They present excellence in entertainment, be it in music, acrobatics, dance, or comedy. Many have gone on to sign contracts for recordings, television, or live performances, activities that would not have been possible absent these programs.

As well, they connect audiences in a common enjoyment of the beauty of human creativity and magnificent artistry. 

In today’s environment, there is much political, economic, and social negativity and volatility. Hope often appears elusive, and this results in angst and fear for the present and the future. In many places, people have little or no hope that something positive is possible and that the future can have beauty as well as challenges.

The ability to view such programs globally and go back in time to see past episodes that would otherwise be lost provides viewers with a degree of happiness that would otherwise not exist. Happiness is a key component of hope, much needed in today’s complex and often times depressing world. As well, watching talent from other parts of the world can reduce the extreme nationalisms that breed hatred and division, and result in xenophobia and racism.

Some blame technology for the negativity that populates our environment.   

But technology is morally neutral.

It is neither good nor bad.

Its morality is determined by the use people make of it. In this case, communication technology adds beauty and grace to a difficult world, and the hope that it generates is worth every effort on the part of artists, producers, and viewers.

[email protected]

 

Keep reading: Tanks A Lot

 

Edición: Laura Espejo


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