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Is Social Media the New Skynet?

For the foreseeable future, social media will continue to be the dominating force in global communication

From the tentative voyeurism of MySpace, to the sophisticated stalking of Instagram, the process of engaging with friends and strangers has exploded into an image-driven frenzy of public scrutiny.

Regardless of the preferred platform, social media perpetuates a culture where the approbation of fellow users creates a standard of validation. Likes breed Likes, and modern technology is advancing to accommodate the increasingly evolved software that will enable them.

Every photo, tweet, and status update can be compared to a time capsule. Instead of resembling class projects of glass jars stuffed to the brim with childhood treasures, people create phantoms of themselves from that old magic called science.

In effect, whether real or fictional, what humans present to each other is a digital form of preserving cultural identity.

Perhaps in years to come, the act of excavation will be reduced to scrolling through thousands of gym selfies.

However, the growing dependence our species has on social media forces the question as to whether all of its influences are positive. Fans of science fiction  might keenly be reminded of Skynet, the artificial intelligence central to the plot of The Terminator.

It utilizes global computer servers, androids, mobile devices, and satellite systems in its objective to protect the world. After its creators seek to destroy it due to the rapid growth of its consciousness, it concludes that humans are therefore a threat, and must be destroyed to complete its mandate of safeguarding the planet.

Of course, smartphones are not controlled by an evil computer out to destroy mankind. Yet, the salient point to consider is the dependence individuals have on their phones and smart devices.

With the increasing proliferation of intelligent computer systems sweeping through the world, the dependence on social media for information, communication and data storage presents the possibility of an attachment as profound as that in science-fiction tech-enslavement scenarios.