Technology, in a more emphasized form of social media and the internet keeps us connected to the world. It provides a medium for the flow of information and ideas from anywhere to everywhere. It is actually enabling us to expand the horizons of our existence and get a sense of belonging to the world. It keeps us updated and well informed about what is happening around. It helps us attain knowledge, which leads to a sense of well being. But it won’t be wrong to say and question that:
“Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons”- R. Buckminster Fuller
The Valley bubble seems to be enchanted with technology, and “internet of things” has become the buzz word. Everything is getting smarter. Devices talk to each other and people talk to them. Things are continuously evolving to gather information, process it, make informed decisions and just take care of our stuff for us. But the underlying question seems to be daunting and reforming human values. Is technology inherently bad?
We believe that putting a ‘vicious tag’ here, would only be based on unfounded generalizations. Technology in itself is not good or bad but it enables people to leverage goodness or badness. We believe technology is value neutral; but how people use it has become a cause of concern. Our collective cultural embrace of the Internet and social media in particular represents a massive shift in human behavior. Sure Skype has promoted relationship building and maintenance even while standing at opposite ends of the world, but it is time to put a check when even the next door neighbor receives a Skype chat invite instead of a personal greeting.
Since ages, communication has been a fundamental process of human activity (Castells, Fernández-Ardévol, Qiu, & Sey, 2006, p. 15) and is very essential in order to survive in a society among other human beings. The word stems from a Latin word “communis” meaning “to share” however, in this technology-endowed world the word has been limited to refer to electronic means of communication only. Texting, E-mailing, Calling and more recently the outbreak of Instant Messaging (IM), have replaced social gatherings and the interpersonal closure. While communication began as an interpersonal and more of a face-to-face exchange, the rapid growth of social media in the past has enabled us to communicate in many other ways that do not demand spatial proximity- mostly referred to as telecommunication. And the gulf between communication and telecommunication has narrowed so much that we often consider one to be another. What’s even more daunting is that we don’t realize this peril we face every day.
“We shape our buildings, and afterwards, our buildings shape us.” – Winston Churchill
All of these technological mediums are responsible for significantly shaping the way we communicate today. The accumulation of such far-fetched communication creates a self who constantly reacts and adjusts according to the judgments of others. The most important virtue which sets us apart from machines and tools are “feelings” and somehow in this mechanized world we are in danger of parting away with them. The danger of losing our humanly thoughtful illumination and imagination is very evidently taking over us. The way we mourn, the way we express our affection, the way we grieve has all been reshaped by the ever expanding cyberspace and this false sense of cyber-reality is just making us more isolated. We are progressively moving towards a time frame where not just the computers will begin to think like men but even men will think like computers.