The Digital Mirage: When Technology Distorts Reality

Navigating the Fine Line Between Innovation and Illusion

Technology is beautiful, but it often distorts reality. In fact, some advancements are gradually pulling us away from reality, increasing our desire for novelties and making us forget what’s truly real and meaningful. For example, consider NFTs, digital fashion, and digital influencers. None of these concepts have a physical presence, yet they’ve spread their influence across our society. 

But, in the era of digital mirage, can we distinguish between innovation and illusion? 

Technology vs reality: NFTs, digital fashion & digital personas

An NFT, or “Non-Fungible Token,” is a digital artwork that can represent a wide range of subjects and sometimes costs millions of dollars. These tokens are bought and sold online, typically using cryptocurrency. Forbes reveals that “Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey sold his first ever tweet as an NFT for more than $2.9 million.” This is $2.9 million for the equivalent of a screenshot of a Twitter page. For a while, there was a great buzz around NFTs, but these investments are now hitting a downfall because of the uncertainty of the cryptocurrency market. Maybe we are realising that we don’t need to invest in such non-essential items. 

Digital Fashion
Brands like Nike and Ralph Lauren are experimenting with digital fashion. For example, Ralph Lauren’s virtual store allows you to take tours of the different retail locations. This use of AI is beneficial for visualisation and brand development. During my fall semester at the University of South Carolina, retail students were asked to review an app where they created avatars and could buy digital fashion from brands like Prada. Then, the review asked further questions like: “How likely are you to buy digital fashion?” I answered no, as I could not understand the concept of purchasing digital fashion. We don’t need three-quarters of the physical items we buy, let alone digital ones.

Lil Miquela: digital personas to drive consumerism
Lil Miquela is a famous AI influencer on Instagram with 2.6 Million followers. She posts frequently and can be seen “traveling” to places like Coachella. Not only does she travel, but she discusses politics and collaborates with brands like BMW and Chanel. However, do not be fooled by these digital personas, as they are simply sophisticated marketing tools designed to get society to buy, buy, buy. 

Come back to earth

Despite technology bringing positive innovations, we are facing a digital mirage that distorts reality. Do not get too lost in technology; most of it is propaganda or more marketing schemes. Remember, the main driving force of the world is profit. Everything is for profit, and brands aim to control your lifestyle, turning consumers into mere robots of consumption. So avoid these superficial distractions and come back to reality. Return to the basics and make mindful purchases that align with your genuine needs.

✍️ Credit: Post written by Joelle Elliott, an American scholar pursuing studies in Fashion at Cattolica University in Milan; currently interning with suite123.

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