Smartphones Break Down Community
An Interview With Ryan Carrier


What Is Your Opinion on the Effect of Smart Phones?

Executive Director and Founder of NPO, ForHumanity

Ryan Carrier


After graduating from the University of Michigan, Carrier worked for the International Finance Corporation’s Emerging Markets Database as well as the business index for Standard & Poor’s. After approximately 25 years working in the finance sector, Carrier became a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) in 2004. Carrier operated a hedge fund that used artificial intelligence algorithms. His awareness of the issues surrounding AI and reasoning led to the launch of his non-profit organization, ForHumanity.

Carrier: I’m not trying to characterize the technology itself as evil or detrimental. I view the technologies themselves as neutral.

However, the downside risks associated with the ubiquitous advancement of technology is detrimental to humanity. For example, one challenge is in the sense of building a community.

A hundred years ago, if I was living in a community, it’s highly likely that I needed other members of that community to survive. There’s a real benefit in learning to interact directly and needing members of the community. It causes you to find ways to work through our challenges, to work together.

Now with all the technology, I can sit here in my chair and never interact with somebody by ordering from Amazon. All of this technology empowers me to believe that I am self-sufficient. In this discourse, we have proven that we will say and do hateful things that we would never do directly to someone’s face.

We simply don’t have a natural human community mechanism that is healthy. Now, people don’t want to ask for help because they think it’s some form of weakness. In fact, I view it as the exact opposite.

Let’s say you and I are friends. If I asked you for something 30, 40 years ago, you were honored that I asked you for that help. That equation, that human relationship, has completely broken down. Now, asking for help is viewed as a weakness, something we shouldn’t do, something we should be ashamed about, When in fact you are often taking joy away from the person looking to help, looking to serve. I do think that technology in the sense of self-sufficiency makes everyone think that they can look out for themselves and be happy.

When we begin to treat technology as some sort of idol, it translates to a genuine worship of knowledge over emotion and servitude. Everyone puts this enormous weight on intelligence because they think they have all this knowledge at their fingertips. There’s a lot more to attain peace and joy.


A Lack of “Soft Skills”
What Happens When People Are Addicted to Social Media?

Carrier: The more the interaction is through technology, the less human interaction that they have, and the less good they are at those human interactions.

A big elements that’s missing from a lot is the ability to pay attention to people’s interests and needs. It’s better with video now, but with a lot of social media platforms, you lose a lot in tone, body language and intent.

There’s a skill [in building relationships], and that doesn’t happen by luck. That usually happens by practice and being in and around people, but also caring about them.


Eliminating Worship of Tech

How Do You Think We Can Restore This Spirituality Between People in the Age of AI?

Carrier: I see technology invading our bodies in the near future.

Transhumanism is the application of machines in or on your body. Any technology that restores people who have disabilities like Alzheimer’s are amazing. Any technology that makes you superhuman is immediately a problem.

If and when you put [a brain implant] in a normal-functioning human, they may be able to learn things better and faster. Now, you have this competition and race to be transhuman. A lot of people will choose the brain implant, not necessarily because they want it, but because of peer pressure. Let’s say, you are about to send your son or daughter off to university in America and you learn that half the class has a brain implement allowing them to download their classes and studies. You are about to pay $300-$400,000 and might have to send your children off to school at a disadvantage. Many will choose the implant, they want their children to be able to compete.

I think that more spiritually-led people will choose not to participate in this transhuman trend. I’m petrified about that world because those faith-based people will become a repressed minority and won’t be able to compete for jobs.

Smartphones Break Down Community
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