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  • Writer's pictureShannen Dorothee Tioniwar

Further Research - Forming a Target Market

Privacy on Loneliness and Paranoia

Putting the privacy invasion aside, a BBC research shows that there are a lot of digital connections and social bots that offer a solution to the loneliness crisis in the UK today (refer to blog 1). This illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship takes away the unique to human-human relationships. As mentioned in the research, “the age group 16 to 24 are considered to be the most digitally inclusive and have experienced loneliness at a higher level of intensity (Denyer-Bewick, 2018).” So, we could hypothesise that for the majority who experience loneliness, being digitally connected does not prevent loneliness. Spike Jonze’s film Her (2013) could be used to exemplify this situation clearly. The movie depicts the escalation of Samantha’s (a bot) influence on Theodore’s work, to invading his privacy through replacing his broken relationship. Thinking it might solve his loneliness, the movie ends with Theodore feeling depressed as Samantha’s system was going to be shut down. Overall, this scene showcases how AI driven products cause more harm than solution. Hence, it is safe to say that “digital inclusion is not the answer to loneliness since isolation is a multifaceted issue (Denyer-Bewick, 2018).”

Random sampling: Taking inspiration from this research I aimed to testify for the correlation of data privacy and loneliness, I decided to collect first-hand information by doing a random sampling around edinburgh to the question: Do you think you feel alone? Why do you think so? What do you think causes loneliness? (refer to Appendix 2 for full results) I sampled from 30 people on Princes st, Waverly Station and the Royal Mile. Combining these findings with further secondary research from websites, a mapping is shown on Fig 1.3. Upon mapping out the complex issue of isolation, the direct correlation of loneliness and cyber paranoia was found. Defined as “fears concerning threats via information technologies whereby individuals perceive themselves to be open to be ‘attacked,’ persecuted or victimised (Mason, Stevenson and Freedman, 2014),” cyber paranoia indeed is a result of digital inclusion. From here, the correlation between data privacy and loneliness could be confirmed for the age group of 16-24.

an experiment done by psychology researchers from Germany (Lamster, 2017) to 60 healthy individuals and it was proven through this research that paranoia is directly proportional to the state of loneliness (see Fig 1.4). While AI-based products can maximise the advantages of connectivity, the surveillance economy generates more worries than a solution. Hence, it is essential to question this occurrence in order to look at our potential future relationships with AI. Hence, A target market is formed.

Target Market: people 16-24 years old who are digitally inclusive

In the present day, our society is facing challenges contributed by the development of advanced information technology such as presumed threats to loss of privacy, increased loneliness. Hence, based on the findings of this market research, what can we do to prevent this? One way to approach this in my opinion is to first understand how technology could influence our cognitive behavior such as loneliness and cyber paranoia. To find out about this, I will be conducting a probe. Please check the next blog for results.

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