Vsauce: Does The Internet Make Us More Alone?


[Music] MICHAEL STEVENS: YouTube gives you immediate
feedback. I don’t have to make something, release it, and then kind of wait for a very
small number of people to write reviews about it. I get a lot of feedback immediately in
realtime. I can even respond to their feedback and then get feedback on my responses to their
feedback. And because I make a new episode every week and it’s not all done all at once
and then slowly released, I can respond to their suggestions by making content that they’ve
asked for or changing the way I do things. Sometimes it’s really logistical. Music is
too loud. So the next video that comes out, I keep the music levels a little bit lower.
Online, we learn together because if I make an episode, it doesn’t just go out into this
empty room where the viewers aren’t talking back to me. And I might talk about everyone
on Earth jumping at the same time to cause an earthquake, is that possible? And then
someone else says, hm, well what if we all yelled at the same time? [Yelling] MICHAEL: And you’re like, that’s a great question
and it also relates to something discussed in the episode that all the humans on Earth,
compared to the mass of the Earth, we’re like nothing. So whether we’re jumping or yelling
or farting, it’s not just about let’s check each others work, it’s also about let’s all
have a conversation. [Music] MICHAEL: Does the Internet make us more separated?
It’s a good question, right? Ironically, because we’re still talking to more people just not
in person. So to that, I would say look at the telephone. When the telephone was introduced,
you could speak to more people in a day than you ever could before except you mainly did
it alone. I think it is definitely—we’re going back and reading all the papers that
have been written about the telephone, the television, the radio and seeing just how
similar they are to the Internet. I also think that although the Internet allows us to discover
new and different viewpoints, it also allows us to find people who think exactly the same
way we do. Back before the Internet, I had to hang out who I lived with. [Depressing sound effect] MICHAEL: And we might not agree on stuff.
But now I can go to websites and forums just for people who think like I do. So we need
to be mindful to keep exposing ourselves to weird ideas that we don’t like. Because otherwise
it’s not fun. One of my favorite places lately is the flat Earth society. They argue that
the Earth is flat and it’s—it’s flat regardless of what NASA’s showing us. Those are all lies.
What’s cool is that they have explanations for every argument. So if I say, well if it
was flat, then how come gravity is the same everywhere? And they say, well, we’re a disc
accelerating at 9.8 meters per second. Einstein said it would feel the same way. MICHAEL: And you read all these things and
you’re like, wait, am I sure the Earth’s not flat? And it’s beautiful because in reading
their forums and arguing with their users, I’ve learned a lot more about relativity and
Lorenz contractions and all this stuff that didn’t have a reason before. It was just information
and now it’s useful and kind of shocking because I’m sitting here trying to prove that the
Earth is round which I shouldn’t be working so hard to do. MICHAEL: Hey, it’s Michael from Vsauce and
you are watching THNKR.

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