WeeklyTech #39

Why doomsurfing won’t satisfy our longing for peace

If we are honest with ourselves, the last few weeks (and likely many more to come) have been extremely difficult. Some of us have become sick or known loved ones who contracted COVID-19. Others have lost their jobs and livelihoods due to stay-at-home orders put in place to slow the spread of the virus. While many others have seen little day-to-day impact of the virus spread in their communities, they are still lost in the news and updates from the frontlines. Regardless of where you find yourself, we all know how easy it has become to get lost in a sea of overwhelming and depressing news online.

If you are like me, you chuckle when you see your screen time report come up on Sunday morning, chronicling your time spent the past week on your smartphone. Our entire life is being lived out online in many respects with video conferencing, social media grazing, online education, and so much more. Before we know it, we’re stuck in an endless vortex of news, updates, and some really funny memes.

A couple of weeks ago, an email newsletter from The New York Times about this very thing caught my attention. Kevin Roose, a writer-at-large at the Times, wrote an article where he described the concept of “doomsurfing”—spending endless amounts of time online, often drowning in coronavirus content and unsettling ourselves to the point of physical discomfort. This concept struck me because it so clearly explains what many of us find ourselves doing: searching for answers and some semblance of hope in the midst of the havoc we’re experiencing. But while Roose recommends coping strategies and even self-care, Christians have a greater hope amid the doom, even as we still continue to search for answers as to why this is happening and what can be done.

The Rundown

Washington State OKs Facial Recognition Law Seen as National ModelThe Wall Street Journal

Washington state adopted a Microsoft Corp.-backed law enshrining the most detailed regulations of facial recognition in the U.S., potentially serving as a model for other states as use of the technology grows.

The Zoom Privacy Backlash Is Only Getting StartedWired

The popular video conferencing application Zoom has been having a Moment during the  Covid-19 pandemic. But it’s not all positive.

Can artificial intelligence fight elderly loneliness?BBC

Voice technologies using AI are being used to help combat loneliness in countries including Sweden and the UK. Should they be used more widely as coronavirus spreads?

YouTube Plans ‘Shorts’ to Rival TikTokThe Information

YouTube is planning to release a rival to TikTok, the hugely popular video-sharing app, by the end of the year, according to two people familiar with the matter.