Though technology has played an increasingly central role in all our lives in recent decades, 2020 accelerated this exponentially. In many cases, virtual spaces have become the only forum for human interaction, both in our personal and professional lives. This change has highlighted the importance of human connection, made us value our ability to connect using technology, and cherish the time we do have together. It has also highlighted the responsibility we have to ourselves, our colleagues, friends, and family, to learn to make technology work for us, and not the other way around.
One of the keys to this, according to Michael L. Dertouzos, author of The Unfinished Revolution: How to Make Technology Work for Us--Instead of the Other Way Around, is “‘human-centric computing,’ technological devices that ‘talk with us, do things for us, get the information we want, help us work with other people, and adapt to our individual needs... [that] truly serve us, instead of the other way around.’”
Making technology serve us implies making a change in the way we view it and understanding how technological literacy affects how we use and leverage it—or, in contrast, have it dictate our lives. With the adverse situation the world is currently experiencing, we have become more resilient than ever and learned to use technology to facilitate and complement communication and understanding rather than as merely a supplement to in-person interactions. More than ever, we have relied on social media and virtual spaces to meet and learn with colleagues and friends worldwide and build and maintain meaningful connections.
The responsibility of learning how to leverage technology is critical not only for us moving forward but also sets an example for future generations. The habits and skills we develop and demonstrate will be passed on and will determine whether technology is used to foster empathy and genuine connections or as something we hide behind and become a slave to.
Technology has been a disruptive force throughout history, causing significant changes in society. With this opportunity to create a new normal, we have a responsibility to learn how to make these fantastic tools at our disposal (which have allowed many peoples’ lives to continue almost uninterrupted during a global emergency) serve us in an intentional and positive way. By focusing on empathy and being grateful for all our connections, we will build a better society.
As part of this, in 2021, we also hope that this means we will gradually begin to meet in person again. Though it may not ever be as frequently as it was with our “old normal,” it is important not to lose sight of the importance of in-person interaction in maintaining and strengthening relationships. We can rise to this challenge by gaining a holistic perspective of technology’s role in our past, present, and future lives that will allow us to harness and direct its power for ourselves and future generations.
By Patricia Loya | Innovation and Development Manager | American Industries Group®
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