Digital Revolution

Chapter 2

Being pessimistic in a society like ours can only lead to suicide.

Global vison and causes

For once a common vision is shared by European countries and the Great Britain regarding Europe’s future. Generally speaking, everyone agrees with this striking mood of pessimism: we are the first generation thinking that life is going to be worst for our children and grand-children than what it is currently for us. What led us to this pessimism? What are the consequences of this opinion on the population's way of life? Are there more tendencies to suicide nowadays?

On one hand our personal way of life is continually changing, more than ever. These changes are mainly due to the evolution of technologies that led to new habits. Internet is one of the best examples that describe how people's lives have been affected by new technologies. Most of the people have now access to instantaneous information and communication. It had tremendously changed the way we interact with each other, the way we learn or the way we treat information. Regarding pessimism, humans are more and more aware of the cruel part of living on earth (death, corruption, pollution, misery …) and it led us to a kind of fatalism. More, people are connected with an increasing number of other citizen’s personal life, lowering their feeling of “uniqueness” and self-esteem. Everyone talk about their “high-time” (travelling, graduation, party …) and it gave us the feeling that everyone one else life are more exiting, more meaningful. Few are talking about the daily life and its boredom. As a consequence, people become envious, self-centered in order to have this “dreamed life”. And the more technology user’s gets selfish, the less people care about helping each other and the more the climate gets bad.

Internet vicious circle

On the other hand, in our professional life, studies tend to prove that there is a correlation between the increasing presence of new technologies in the workplace and the European rate of suicide. Among others, this is because technologies tend to increase the capacity of work. While some people would argue that technology also helps to better organize work and be more efficient, the increase of the work capacity and the change in the boundaries between work and personal life totally modified people’s reactions. In a (tragic) way, this new way of living perturbed general equilibrium of people and tend to increase suicide figures.

Few figures...

"Each year in France, nearly 10,500 people die by suicide, which is almost three times more than deaths from traffic accidents. Between 176,000 and 200,000 suicide attempts are supported each year by hospital emergencies. Source:

  • Three-quarters of suicides are commited by males, wheareas almost every suicide attempts (65%) are made by females, with a prevalence of drug poisoning.
  • "Active" age work group are the most affected : 17% of suicides are made by 35-44 years old, 22% by 44-54 years old.
  • Suicides at workplace is the first death cause for the 25-34 years old, and the second one for the 15-24 years old (right after traffic accidents).
  • On average, the suicide rate is 16.2 on 100 000 french inhabitants. This suicide mortality rate increases with age.
  • West and North regions are more affected by this phenomenon.
  • France is one of the most affected country, right after Finland, Belgium and East-european countries.

The grim example of France Télécom, 2008

France Télécom, a French telecommunication company has suffered from a cluster of suicides from 2008, just after a restructuring plan. When the state became a minority, 22,000 jobs were deleted and 10,000 other modified. Between 2008 and 2009, 35 workers of the company died by committing a suicide. Most of workers accused the company and the deep unease they felt at workplace, and one of the suicide said in his last letter “I am committing suicide because of my work at France Télécom. This is the only reason. Permanent emergency, work overload, disorganization of the company. Management by terror!”. Today, the former boss (Didier Lombard) has been charge of indictment and accused of psychological harassment.

As long as work pressures keep rising (workers are required to deliver maximum productivity and efficiency due to technologies improvements), employees' pessimism in the company could definitely lead to suicides.


To begin this chapter the choice of Schopenhauer quote has imposed : " The life of a man is only a struggle for existence with the certainty of defeat ." In a changing society , it seems advisable to make a reflection on our ability to adapt to this world, that little is known..

Firstly it seems obvious to clarify the concept of "suicide". Deliberate act aimed to end his own life, is not just physical , it can also be a psychological suicide.

From the invention of fire to Internet , via rail or computer, the evolution of humanity is always linked to disruptive inventions : those that change the face of the world. In an era where everything is accelerating, why this concept of "suicide"is also present ?

Imagine a world where household accessories and appliances would be smart enough to anticipate your every need. Such custom world may seem futuristic, but many elements are already part of reality. Indeed, information technology and communications greatly improve our lives for many years. Most people find it hard to imagine the world without the Internet and the many others advanced in the field of computer and digital era. But these technologies have not only positive effects , dependent on these technologies , our society becomes a digital world that we no longer are masters .

Pessimists, seen as the black sheep, why would they be the main victims of our troubled society? But who are they really?

In politics or in business, everything must be expressed positively. Optimism may make you forget about the key risks.

Detect the flaws of this "digital" society , sharpen its discernment , only pessimists predict who will survive this tormented society and to anticipate there is no room for blissful optimism .

Does optimism not a form of disguised suicide?

"In the long run we are all dead. "Keynes.

Pessimism can also prevent people from comitting suicide

Pessimism is a state of mind in which one anticipates undesirable outcomes. (source: Wikipedia)

An optimistic person often becomes pessimistic after a big disappointment. Pessimism is used as a shell by these people to protect themselves from other eventual disappointments. A pessimist always imagines the worst scenario possible without believing it will necessarily happen. It is a protection in order not to be disappointed again. This way, when the event is more positive than what he had expected the pessimist is happier than an optimist. This shows that a pessimist protects himself better from suicide than an optimist who will always hope for the best and can be seriously disappointed.

The technician is not free in the practice of its technique, he does what technique requires

New technologies simplify our daily lives. We marvel at their wonders. Yet they are a threat to individual liberties, we are all aware but we love them too much to distrust them. Cyber monitoring which was recently reinforced by the HADOPI law register our consumption habits and our moves (credit card payments, mobile phones ...), surveillance cameras infringe on our freedoms as never before. Internet keeps for indeterminate time our interventions on discussion forums or social networks (Facebook, Twitter ...), our queries on search sites (Google ...) and even our exchanges emails, in fact, emails that same deleted are stored on the webmail hosting servers based mostly abroad.

We often forget that our personal data is needed when registering or creating accounts online. We can then be tracked, because we need to tick to be able to continue our subscription. We accept the storage of data by the company and the use of it. Google can even have access to our information through the smart watch or glasses it sells. Thus, we are more and more loosing control on the use of our personal data. Those data are also used to make ads on different websites according to our preferences. We aren't free in our decision because it will influence our shopping if we receive coupons for a product we like.

National security’s safeguarding of digital works' creators, among others is supposed to justify these drifts. But individual freedoms deserve at this point to be flouted? New technologies have never had so much control over our lives. The data collection on our behavior and way of living has never been so systematic. In the hands of totalitarian regimes, these technologies allow an efficient spying of everyone’s actions. Without taking extreme examples, we may still be concerned by the use that can be made of the information collected by commercial companies without any control and the relative simplicity with which some manage to hack personal data.

Man is dependent of technique but he remains free concerning its own choices

Technical development first transforms nature, environment and at a global scale everything that surrounds us. This couldn't have been taken for granted that it would have also changed men. But that would assume that what we are able to manufacture, invent and use would not affect our thinking, feeling and being. But can we really divide what we use from what we have?

It is in the nature of man to make tools to meet his needs. This leads to a radical transformation of the environment in which it evolves and makes man more and more artificial. Thanks to the technical development, nature is not hostile anymore. But this has an impact on men also. Indeed, we must recognize that the desire of technique changes our expectations and shapes our values.

Today, technique is been widely used in our society both in our personal and professional life. Indeed, a majority of people have smartphones and computers and have access to Internet. Big companies are dependent on technical tools and on their evolution. The man then enters a consumer spiral.

Technology helps us in our daily life. However, it may be a problem. For example, most kids today don't know how to use a dictionary, they don't think it as a necessary skill because "Google has it all". Look around at how many people are engrossed in their phones walking down the street, or while driving. Most accidents are caused by people using their phones while driving, whether it is used for GPS or to go on Facebook. It's insane for some people to fathom how anyone ever lived without texting, GPS and Google. We need technology but overrelying on technology will make our life out of control. So, how can we know the using of all the technology today is has already been over used? It is difficult to answer this question because our lives depends too much on technology.

Technology is so important for the humanity that man can’t live without her. Technology helped man to improve their daily life, their life expectancy and so on. However, man remains free in the way he uses the technology. He can decide to use it or, to not use it, or better, to use it in a ethical or moral way. One of the best examples Boyan Slat, a young Dutch born in 1994 , who designed the floating barrier which allow to collect the plastic (on the surface of the sea), by using the natural sea currents. It is a easy to clean the sea. With its invention, Boyan wins the prize of the Best Technical Conception of the university of Technology of Delft, and is recognized as one of the twenty more promising young entrepreneurs of the world in 2013.

However, it still exists some tributes in the world who live without technology like the Amazon tribute. They made the choice of rejecting techniques. We can also note that these tributes are isolated from the rest of the world. Does rejecting techniques mean to be isolated from the world?

The human being is perfectly able to refuse technique. He is free to make his own choices but he may be easily influenced.

Given the scale of the danger and the excesses of technical development, we have to be cautious. It is too easy to hold technique responsible for our excesses. We shouldn't forget that ultimately it is man himself who makes the decision to make it or not .

The technique does not set any moral standard. It does not say if what we do is legitimate or not . Only man can judge nature and value his acts. Man changes and evolves because he decides to not only because technical development forced him to.