Monday, November 12, 2012

Belonging versers Technology

My friend Mike is still struggling with developing his concept around the "Chat Caf".  It is a very powerful idea he has, and he is dedicated to making sure we can all connect with our innate humanity.  My idea is a little different, but related.  I believe we have suborned our human instincts to the great "GoD" Technology.  Instead of doing things together, we now tell - via SMS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email - everyone what we are doing, in an effort to "connect".
One of Mike's great revelations is that he "doesn't want to change my mind about religion, he just wants to talk with me".
My point is simple - we have allowed the nerds and the techheads to take over the world, by default.  We have allowed a few very smart people to become gizillionaires at our expense, and we have not only paid handsomely for the privilege of making them rich, we have actively given them our IP in the process.
And now our average attention span is less than 3 seconds, and our gratification requirements are everything, all the time, and instantaneously.
SMS is an absolute boon for personality types that don't enjoy personal contact.  But is it a good way to communicate?  eMail has replaced letter writing, but is the process better than one that used to encourage consideration, take some time to resolve, and involved thinking processes on both sides of the conversation?
One of the concepts Mike wrestles with is the loss of "the Real".  So do I, but from a different perspective.  Research tells us that the Mind does not differentiate between imagined, virtual, and real images.  In fact, there is now a very large body of work suggesting that virtual learning is potentially more powerful and economically viable that real-time practical experience.  You can see this in the transportation industry with all the simulation they now do as a standard part of their training.
Believe it or not, an average pilot can be taught to fly the worlds biggest aircraft without every getting of the ground, or sitting in a real aircraft!
"Real" today is sitting in front of a big screen, watching or playing something, while texting with someone, and listing to music.  You cannot survive with out being "connected".  You sit in a movie theatre and all you can see are the phone screens lighting up from time to time, as if the very Life of the User was at constant risk.
And perhaps in a way it is - the Mind of the User certainly is, take the phone away for a day and see what happens.
I am becoming very aware of the need to belong somewhere - to be able to relate to real people in the real world.  And I am finding that this is a very difficult thing to do in today's technological age.
Everyone is busy.  Very, very busy.  I don't get it.  Technology was supposed to free us all to spend time at the beach, play golf, go sailing, or walking in the park.  The bouquet of roses goes in there somewhere, but I'll leave that to your imaginations.
Instead of more freedom, I find everyone obsessed with checking their phones or pads at every little squeak or whistle.  The world has become one gigantic mobile phone booth, the concept of privacy now relegated to a scrum on the train or bus, where people compete for talking space.
Sadly, the tail is well and truly wagging the dog, and it will only get worse.  I can hear the crowds baying for my head already, as I move inexorable towards a tech-dictated future - "he's a change resistor, throw him in the ocean!"
Yes please, and all my electronic gadgets as well (except for my Airbook, I need it for Skype, and mail, and reading things online.................)

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