I’m beginning what will grow into a series of posts and other content around a new theme I’ve been thinking about for a long while. I call it:
VfR – Vision for Reality
I’m a media person – both a content creator and a strategist. I’m asking myself how to think best about social media and other new media technologies. A term to encompass these is “New Media.” The discussion of new media commonly includes things like: artificial intelligence, virtual reality, social media, big data aggregation, internet-of-things, questions of privacy, tech mediated relationships, (can you add to this list?)
The core idea, or theme of these posts will be to encourage and equip the Church to embrace its prophetic role in culture related to technologies that are radically reshaping our cultures and us as individuals.
Being prophetic is not about telling the future. Being prophetic is telling it like it is, revealing the truth, and exposing lies. The Church is always meant to be a community that calls out and invites in. But it is always, to some degree or another, outside of all other things, whether it be culture, politics, movements, and other worldviews.
For instance, we can read a lot about research that implicates our addiction to smartphones and social media in various crises. Youth depression and suicide seem to be negatively affected by these innovations. If social media is proving to be a negative force in our societies then how should the Church respond? What answers and alternatives can we and should we provide?
But you might argue, we always run into this with something new. We can’t be Luddites or we’ll be irrelevant. And, where should we have stopped our development? Horse and buggy, steam engine? Or before that?
My feeling is that this tech and innovation is different from what we’ve encountered before. It’s a new level that impacts everything from automobiles and washing machines. You might be able to posit both negative and positive fallout from even those long-ago developments.
I want to think about what may be significantly different about the developments that are presented to us now: artificial intelligence, virtual relationships, virtual worlds, internet of things, pervasive data collection and tracking?
It’s not all insidious on the surface, but if we consider it all together, I think it should raise some questions in our minds.
What part do we play?
What part can we play?
What part should we play?
Is this all bad? Is this all good? Is this a mix?
How do we feel about that?
If we (followers of Jesus, in His Church) fully embrace these technologies,
- What do we gain?
- What do we lose?
- Why does it matter?
- What can we, or should we, do?