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International Journal of Psychological Research

Print version ISSN 2011-2084

int.j.psychol.res. vol.12 no.2 Medellín July/Dec. 2019 


Homo digitalis and Contemporary Psychology

Homo digitalis y psicología contemporánea

Jorge Mauricio Cuartas-Arias1  2  s 

1 Facultad de Psicología, Universidad de San Buenaventura, Medellín, Colombia.

2 Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia.

In May of 1940, Jorge Luis Borges published a story of fantasy literature called “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”, a story that suggests the inability of man to distinguish the laws that govern reality. In this memorable story, human intelligence has created a planet named Tlön in response to the siege of chaos that coats the Universe, and has decided to find an order or The Order. The men of Tlön “conceive the universe as a series of mental processes which do not develop in space but successively in time” (p. 22). Then, how not to bend to Tlön, to its detail and filigree, to the delusion of order of human schemes that offers an organized planet? Beyond the fiction that proposes a planet in a universe organized by human intelligence, a world built in an idealistic logic that has no place for concrete experience, this visionary tale highlights the tendency of “Homo digitalis” and the challenge of connection between people, the environment and the culture, in order to save time executing organized and monitored responses to avoid or control human mistake or the adaptive failure in a constantly changing world.

Even if the suggestive Borgesian tale deeps in philosophical idealism, it points out the inescapable and charming search for order and security that the modern human has. This compelling need of adjust those desired limits of description and prediction of behavior implies the use of technology to face the challenge of analyzing a huge volume of data that are produced at great speed, and which are highly heterogeneous.

This prediction of the psychological behavior and vulnerability is without doubts a human craving predesigned in “Homo digitalis” and unlimited virtual spaces. The duality between the real and the digital person poses a challenge to the contemporary psychologist, giving him the urgent necessity to learn or become a part of work teams that promote the use and development of web tools, allowing the gathering of knowledge in data bases and the construction of meaningful statistical methods that would enhance the improvement of inference and adjust the prediction.

The advantages offered by the social connectivity in a digital world are undeniable benefits for the advancement of psychology. Specifically, psychometry has been one of the most favored areas when it comes to technological advancements made in the handling of great quantities of compiled data. Hence, Big Data represents a tool to model and structure strategies of behavioral measurement by using more adequate statistical models. Furthermore, categorization programs, computational, and statistical tools would allow the evolution of algorithms to better classify according to a parsimonious and generalized cognitive marker.

This evolution of the study of behavior collects on the vast amount of data obtained by hundreds of clinical studies that could reorient the etiopathogenesis, the diagnosis, the prognosis, and the intervention of many psychological disorders.

In this manner, the delusion of order of Tlön´s inhabitants is rewired in the Homo digitalis as the delusion for prediction, where one could conceive the universe as a series of mental processes for which the order begins in a successive series over timer to then give rise to prediction.

Finally, beyond the entelechy that could be the Homo digitalis in the modern world and without falling in naïve reductionisms, there is no doubt that the digital world will play a determinant role in the construction of human wellbeing. Nevertheless, human reasoning has a great dose of chance in its response, and the siege of chaos is then shared with the Universe.


Borges, J. (1964). Labyrinths. selected stories and other writings. New York, NY: New Directions Publish- ing Corporation. [ Links ]

Declaration of data availability: All relevant data are within the article, as well as the information support files.

Conflict of interests: The authors have declared that there is no conflict of interest.

sCorresponding author: Email:

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