While talking about Technology, the keywords are deceptively varied. We think about the AI (Artificial Intelligence). We think about automation, digitisation. We think about the numerous movies showing dystopias of technological revolutions gone overboard. We think about bots, Siri, Cortana, that voice on Google Maps.
We think about the ease, accessibility. We marvel at the rapid evolution. And we think about the inconveniences faced by the older “non-technological” generation. One cannot engage enough in debates about the jobs humans lose to AI.
Why is this deceptively varied?
The thought processes, when it comes to Technology, fall in two extremes: it’s either the saviour, making everything super-easy or it’s the monster we created which is on the path to overthrowing us.
But we need to look beyond these two polarised narratives.
Technology, AI included, are here. And they are here to stay.
And it is up to us now to not antagonise it but use it to bring out the best in people.
Forget about fancy and somewhat intimidating words like Big Data, Virtual Reality (VR), automation, etc. Let us leave those to the experts.
Let us look at Technology in its contextualised, old dictionary meaning: application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes.
Using Technology to complement your work is the thing to do now. It is all about how you balance out what all is personal with the digital.
Imagine you have a presentation for an important meeting.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you used PowerPoint, with slides that showcase the data and your statistical research neatly contained in graphs and pie-charts?
The same PowerPoint could bore everyone if you started to simply read out what the slides contain.
It is up to us how we learn and how we make use of Technology.
Learning to use Excel sheets (or similar software) for statistical analysis could help in reduce the accounting errors that might happen on a human level owing to overwork or fatigue. Or they could simply be used to tally and double check.
Let us take another example.
Imagine you are on a road-trip with your family, and now it’s your turn to take the wheel.
Highway driving needs a higher degree of awareness, and the occasional rule-breaks we all resort to while steering our way through busy streets of the city should not be the case here.
But the phone is not going to stop ringing, is it?
What if an important client feels neglected, we fear.
What could be done here is adjust your phone settings in such a way that it “automatically” sends a text message to the person whose call you just missed. There are numerous options available, right from a straightforward: “I am driving, call you later”, to “Sorry, will get back to you ASAP” to custom-made responses.
Automation, when used well could save important business, and lives too.
Technology has made it easier to connect, network, communicate, research, authenticate, set criteria and filter. Spreading information and awareness to a large number of people at the same time is not a dream anymore.
Although, one should not deny the possibilities of its overuse and thus loss of human jobs, but then again, it depends on how we figure out a way, when to use, when not to use.
Technology is all about a yes or no, if and then, 0 or 1, patterns and figuring out more patterns. Humans have the liberty to explore the spaces in-between these binaries, and create new patterns.