Aleks explores how technology can increase self -efficacy and therefore our belief that we can rescue others. Aleks discovers that sharing vulnerabilities online can turn a victim into a rescuer as others who need help will often seek you out giving you the opportunity to help them. Helping others can help detract from your own problems and help empower but as professional therapists know all too well there needs to be boundaries to prevent emotional burnout, but Aleks discovers that setting boundaries online is not easy.
Digital Assistant bots are becoming ever more common - Alexa playing music on your countertop, Siri taking notes on your phone, a little voice bubbling out of your watch to rattle off the things you almost forgot you needed to buy during the big weekend shop. They are useful little servants
But, barking orders at something that talks back, something that seems a little bit human but totally subservient… it can be a little uncomfortable. As with any new invention, domestic robots illuminate issues within human society that we may not have noticed before. Are we projecting old social norms of hierarchy and gender onto this new technology, and if we are, does how we choose to design and treat our subservient machines, impact how we treat our fellow humans?
In world where we are constantly told we are all exceptional and unique, Aleks Krotoski explores the unexpected affordances of being average.
Aleks Krotoski explores the social and psychological impact of a life lived online, where maintaining a perfectly curated life is key and real life flaws are hidden...
Producer: Victoria McArthur
Sarah from Ohio went online to escape bullies at her school but they followed her online and the abuse continued. She hoped someone would step in and help her but her attempt at a cry for help was ignored.
We also hear from Vie Clerc Lusandu who was attacked, with her son on a train travelling from London to Leeds. Vie is still trying to comprehend why on a packed train it took ten minutes for someone to come to her aid.
Dr Lasana Harris an experimental psychologist from University Collage London explains that people do not step forward because they are callous but because of the bystander effect. People may just not recognise when they are faced with a helping situation. If there is a large crowd this is exaggerated as people take their cues from other people. If there had been fewer people in Vie's carriage Lasana says it would have been more likely that someone would've stepped forward because the diffusion of responsibility would have been lower. Lasana acknowledges that because the conditions necessary for the bystander effect are magnified people online are even more unlikely to step in.
Jackie Zammuto from Witness an organisation who teach people around the world how to bare witness to injustices using video explains how it is possible to turn from a bystander into a witness whose presence can then be of some use even if they don't step in. This may not have help Vie feel any less scared or vulnerable but it may have helped to deescalate and disrupt the attack.
However documentary photographer, Lauren Pond's story warns us that we need to be careful we don't use our phones as a protective shield in helping situations where we should really put them away and step in or through observing videos online become bystanders ourselves.
Produced by Kate Bissell
Researched by Jac Phillimore