Who would argue that technological advances have not profoundly changed our lives in a significant way?
Information that was previously unavailable to us, or at least inconvenient to access, is now a mere keystroke away. We are more knowledgeable, and have become a global information society, with immediate and virtually unlimited access to information. In many ways, the wireless technology has drawn people, previously thousands of miles apart, closer together.
Consider how technological advances have altered how we interact with each other.
In the late 70s, AT&T used the slogan “Reach out and touch someone” as part of their Long Distance Telephone marketing campaign. The inferred message was that using (their) long distance service would facilitate a human and personal connection between two people who are miles apart. The ads attempted to humanize an impersonal and unfeeling technology.
In today’s world of mass media and fast food, I wonder if what we consider technological advances, are really for the better?
Given our means of communicating more, we seem to be connecting less. In the US, a staggering 2.5 billion text messages are sent every day. Our ability to adapt to the sensory preferences (visual, auditory, kinisthetic) of others is becoming neglected.The teenagers and young adults today are bright, engaging, and tech-savvy.
However, I wonder if the convenience of tools such as text messaging, has compromised the art of human connection? Is this the Achilles heel of technology?
It seems somewhat paradoxical that as the technology narrows the distance between us, in some ways, we are being drawn farther apart. Perhaps the problem is that volume and availability of information are insufficient to create a human connection; believability is a function of how the information is exchanged.
The impersonal nature of much of our new technology has negated the emotional risk and reward that exists in personal connection, and in so doing, has removed that which makes the human communication meaningful.
How has technology caused more distance with your personal relationships? Has the increasing ability to communicate electronically stalled meaning face-to-face-communications with anyone you know? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories!
------------------------------------------------------------- Paul Short is an independent OD and Change Consultant. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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