Technology: a reflection on this machine

A few weeks ago I returned to work within my universities’ largest library, were I work in IT Support. Over the summer they have done a lot of renovations, so much so, the same building looks completely new! But behind the exterior there are a lot of cables and a mass number of coloured screens: technology is used everywhere in the new library.

A human take on technology

I am passionate about technology. I don’t think I spend much time without it, this could be reading the news on my mobile ‘phone, or, catching up on an interesting video clip on-line. But technology doesn’t always get everything (remember the why technology gets it wrong post?), does it?

Technology does not get feelings

I was talking to a Librarian about the new gadgets within the library, as well as the use of technology in other sectors. It was interesting how we both agreed on a few points:

Technology is removing that human touch.
Self-service scanners / checkouts are putting human beings, us! out of jobs.
Electronic stores (such as the example of a bike store below) don’t allow us to have feelings with something.
Photo of an electronic bike store (inhabitat.com)

Photo of an electronic bike store (inhabitat.com)

Do you ever pick a fresh fruit over another fruit, even if it’s the same fruit, in the same container/basket?
We like to make connections with what we do. Now I am not saying we all have relationships with fruit (or another piece of food), for example, but I am trying to illustrate that as humans, this connection is important. This human touch allows us to think that we have just purchased a really good apple, for example.
We cannot form a relationship with a store
Electronic equipment is cutting the number of human beings within stores. But what about that little conversation we used to have with the cashier? We cannot form relationships with technology: technology is removing human beings from the ‘real’ world.
Technology does not cloud emotions
If a store’s closing up, the chances are that you will still get the item you are looking for are high. A shop owner is likely to let you quickly grab and buy an item, even if s/he is closing-up. With computers, they are either yes or no. As soon as it’s 18:00:00, for example, all transactions stop. Emotions are not taken into account.

Caring technology

Technology does not care, as such. It may be used within caring environments, such as a hospital, for example. But technology does not do feelings, nor is it likely to do so in the future. At least in the world in which we operate today!

Some blurs of emotions and technology do exist today, but they are not really used in everyday, real life. For example, smile detection on cameras enables the camera to take a photograph whenever a person smiles, but the same camera does not know how to associate this with feelings: camera’s do not know that smiling means happiness. It just knows to take a picture whenever we smile.

Do you care about technology, even if it doesn’t care about you?

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13 thoughts on “Technology: a reflection on this machine

  1. First day without my gadgets suck but after that it feels great, whenever I go hiking I leave all behind at least during the hike, otherwise I keep checking the iPhone, it’s not healthy at all.
    But I love my gadgets.

    • Thanks for writing this personal message, doggysstyle!
      I think you show that you have a lot of determination to leave behind your digital life, even for a few hours!
      Getting the balance is key :)
      See you around

  2. Same as Doggy’s Style. I feel quiet great without my technology, even if it’s hard in the begining but after that, it’s all good. I already said something about how technology can reduce our capacity to learn or to interact with people and your post here is like an echo to my previous comment ;)

  3. The loss of human connection and bonding is one of the saddest part of the technology advances… Take facebook for instance. People that know each other in the “real world” get connected on facebook and all of a sudden that real world friendship dies off as they settle for status updates and picture “likes”… Where are we headed when we allow technology to do this to us so easily and unchallenged?

    Don’t even get me started on massly forwarded e-mails replacing well thought out, hand written, letters in the mail.

    I don’t hate technology. It does serve a good purpose and can be quite helpful at times. For instance, as my EDS worsens and I have found myself unable to write letters out by hand without dislocating, having a computer to type them up on is priceless in helping me stay connected with friends and loved ones who live too far away for me to visit. I just think we allow it to take over way to much. We, as humans, tend to embrace it too much and too quickly. I long for a simpler life and more human interaction.

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