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Most people overlook the effect that people have when someone is observing them. There is a difference in the behaviour of people, animals and atoms when they are being observed.
Though it is not a universal effect, observing living things does change them, and in the case of atoms, it can result in unpredictable behaviour.
"“I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers.”"
Apart from people, the observer effect is famously highlighted in the thought experiment of the physician Erwin Schrödinger.
He states that if a cat is placed in a box of radioactive atoms that may or may not kill it in one hour, the cat is in the state of limbo until someone observes it by opening the box. The final outcome does not happen until someone observes it.
In many ways, technology improves and enriches our lives. Yet, there is a sense that we have lost control of our technology in some ways and end up victims of its unintended consequences.
Author Edward Tenner coined the term "revenge effects" to describe how technologies can solve one problem while creating other worse problems, new types of issues, or shifting the harm elsewhere. In other words, technology bites back.
When we introduce a new piece of technology, it is wise to consider if we are interfering with a bigger system. If we do, we should reflect on it's wider consequences.
But, if the factors involved get complex enough, we cannot anticipate them with accuracy. Understanding revenge effects is mostly a reminder of the value of caution and not of specific risks.
During war times, the common man is least prepared for dealing with the drastic change of circumstances, displacement, loss of life of the self and loved ones, along with injury, loss of property and mental trauma.
Social and financial distress, loss of morale, and death of innocents are the byproducts of war, the effects of which are felt on the common man for decades.
During the peak of World War II, where it was expected that the citizens would go through hell, the opposite happened. People turned out to be more resilient, driven and motivated during the war.
The looming threat of being dead at any time turned out to be beneficial for the mental conditions and toughness for the individuals. Suicides lessened, and social unity and community bonding increased manifold.