The Marubo tribe and the internet

A remote Amazon tribe connected to high-speed internet via Starlink (article summarizing the coverage – the original from The NYT is paywalled). While the internet undoubtedly helped the Marubo tribe in a collection of cases – access to emergency medical care, the ability to stay in better touch, and access to education and job job opportunities, the challenges are all too familiar.

The tribe have been dealing with teenagers glued to their phones, minors hooked to pornography, group chats full of gossip and explicit content, violent video games, and a widespread unwillingness to do work given access to constant entertainment.

Their solution was to restrict usage. Now, the internet is only on for two hours in the morning, five hours in the evening and on Sundays.

It is a reminder of two things:

(1) Great technology has an equal and opposite dark side. As a result, its impact is what we make of it.

(2) Until we’ve built enough character to regulate internet/phone use, it needs to be regulated. This is why we’re increasingly seeing a push to ban phones from schools – more on that another day.

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