I have this feeling of being absolutely engulfed by images, series, films, music, and I think that this feeling is shared by many people. This blue light offers me an unlimited quantity of content, I forget the night time to dive into the infinity that the screens offer. I move from one application to another, never satisfied, and I feel overwhelmed. I never stop wondering: how can having access to everything, which should be wealth and true freedom, give rise to this overwhelming feeling? The surge is constant, the time for choice has become impossible, it’s overwhelm.

We should have felt master of the world, but this access to unlimited production tires us, we no longer know what to choose and we feel tired in relation to this engulfment. Instead of being satisfied, we are tired, discouraged. Having access to everything means no longer being able to choose. We feel overwhelmed and we rely on calculation formulas and algorithms. This infinite profusion of content and the acceleration in their production, which will also increase with artificial intelligence, has two consequences, that of no longer being able to choose and the confusion between reality and fiction.

A 2021 UK study reveals that we spend an average of 100 days of our lives deciding what to watch! It’s still dizzying! The more extensive the offer, the more difficult it is to choose, and we always end up saying something very paradoxical: there is nothing on Netflix or Spotify even though there are nearly 90 million titles ! It’s an absurdity, but in reality, it’s a very strong feeling. How come, when we’ve never had so many options, we have a hard time choosing? This is the paradox of choice, a theory by American psychologist Barry Schwartz who believes that having too many options leaves us paralyzed and dissatisfied. The more options you are given, the harder it is to choose. Because the more choices I’m given, the higher my expectations, if I have one choice out of 100 million, I have to find the perfect thing! Whereas if I have the choice between two or three films, I will be satisfied with few. The problem is, I’m not going to use my reason to choose from 100 million titles. I am going to delegate it to an algorithm, and to delegate part of its choices to a mathematical formula is to delegate to a formula that reduces oneself, and we will be disappointed. Let us not delegate our choices to mathematical formulas which prevent us from making discoveries and having surprises.

We are constantly surrounded by fictions based on false realities, there are also experiences that will multiply, because we are surrounded by artificial intelligence, even avatars who perform concerts! I was at the Abba concert, and what impressed me was not the technological performance of the avatars, which is nevertheless impressive, but it was the reception of the public, of which I was part… after a few minutes, it’s as if the avatars were real! We love this overlap between fiction and reality, but hallucinations can threaten us if we can no longer distinguish one from the other. We see it clearly in the field of information, the border between fiction and reality is blurring and can pose enormous problems. When it’s in a concert, it’s a wealth, but when it’s in the field of information, it’s a danger.

The paradigm shift occurred in 2006 and 2007, when the iPhone was invented, the era of permanent connection began and the screen became omnipresent. You know, we touch our mobile phone more than 600 times a day and I believe that we will not be able to isolate ourselves from the overwhelm, but to navigate it. The best response to all this is education in discerning between what is true and what is false and limiting the influence of algorithms. Regulation is necessary, but a culture of discernment must be developed. The solution will not be technological, it lies in the human being, we must obviously try to limit dependence on screens, delete alerts and notifications, impose moments of disconnection. This is not the first technological acceleration to which we have access. Before the invention of the printing press (in 1450), it took about 1 year of work for a copyist monk to make a Bible, and 50 years after the invention of the printing press there were 15 million books in circulation in Europe. Faced with this unprecedented acceleration in content production, human beings have culturally and socially adapted to this profusion. We have a similar issue currently facing us and we are going to adapt.