According to Justice Mahesh Sonak of the Bombay High Court’s Goa bench, social media and mass media have evolved into tools of mass distraction, but there haven’t been any coordinated measures to combat this problem as of yet.
Speaking to the GR Kare College of Law students in Margao town during a lecture series called “GRK-Law Talks,” Justice Sonak said that he would rather be “uninformed” on a number of subjects by avoiding reading or watching the news, which he believes is “better than being misinformed.”
We now live in a time where intelligent machines like computers and cellphones are idolized and exalted. However, we are exceedingly distrustful or even suspicious of people who make an effort to think, he said.
It would be a sad day and a sad world, added Justice Sonak, “if we were to mortgage our ability to think, our ability to make intelligent and, moreover, sensitive choices, to a machine or an algorithm, however intelligent it may be.”
“We shouldn’t want to atrophy our cognitive abilities for fear that there will be no distinction between a human and a machine. We can’t, or at the very least, shouldn’t, allow humanity to lose its humanity”, he continued.
According to Justice Sonak, having the ability to think rationally, independently, and without fear will help students sort through and reject ideas and beliefs that are constantly propagated by mass media instruments that are becoming more potent by the hour.
“Several decades ago, there was a global conflict involving WMDs, or weapons of mass devastation. There are now no organized measures to combat social media or the mainstream media, which have evolved into weapons of mass distraction”, he opined.
The judge stated that he had been on a “news diet” for almost four years in his own unique way, through experimenting.
“I’ve come to the realization that I don’t watch or read the news, thus I’m uninformed of a number of concerns. But I suppose that this is preferable to being uninformed. So, often, the decision is between being uninformed and being misinformed,” he continued.