August 19th, 2021 by

“It’s hard to be a moral person. Technology is making it harder.” Sigal Samuel / (my highlights)

“I half-choked on my tea and stared at my laptop. I recognized the post as a plea for support. I felt fear for him, and then … I did nothing about it, because I saw in another tab that I’d just gotten a new email and went to check that instead. (…) I began to notice that digital technology often seems to make it harder for us to respond in the right way when someone is suffering and needs our help.”

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“What if it’s also making us less empathetic, less prone to ethical action? What if it’s degrading our capacity for moral attention — the capacity to notice the morally salient features of a given situation so that we can respond appropriately? (…) Many a bystander has witnessed a car accident or a fist-fight and taken out their phone to film the drama rather than rushing over to see if the victim needs help.”

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Plain old attention — the kind you use when reading novels, say, or birdwatching — is a precondition for moral attention, which is a precondition for empathy, which is a precondition for ethical action. (…) Decreating the self — that’s the opposite of social media,” she says, adding that Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms are all about identity construction. Users build up an aspirational version of themselves, forever adding more words, images, and videos, thickening the self into a “brand.”  Read more via

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