Technology is important: But you putting a pause to its overconsumption is equally important, writes Janiani.
The most celebrated mind of the 19th century Sir Albert Einstein said almost a century back “Are we getting smarter, or just more dependent? I fear the day when technology overlaps with our humanity. The world will only have a generation of idiots.”
I am positive he said this predicting the recent upcoming future of his times. Wonder what he would say if he was around now? On the other hand, one of the most celebrated minds of today, (Sir-my emphasis) Elon Musk famously says. “Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.”
Isn’t it interesting that you could have 2 celebrated geniuses of their times with a completely different opinion and still gain immense respect for their perspective on lives. But for a person like you or me, this can be confusing and triggering immense uncertainty whether to embrace technology as a human or to put a full stop to it. Should you open an account on that next big social media site to change & adapt with the world or should you delete all your social media accounts? This article aims at presenting the best possible answer to the biggest question of our times:
Is it Technology Vs Humans or It is Technology And Humans?
The Social Dilemma:
I was sitting on the 32nd floor of Four Seasons in Mumbai (India) overlooking and taking in the serenity of the ocean from that beautiful view and the astonishment of presence of luxury next to poverty hand in hand when my client walked in and we entered the meeting room for a big negotiation with a prospect for his upcoming application. It was somewhere in September 2020. Somehow we started talking about the future of the world and my client’s prospect said ‘Mark Zuckerberg will go down in history as Hitler’.
It wasn’t so much so the statement, but the passionate hate behind this that I paid attention to: I thought to myself, ‘This man must really hate him Zuckerberg, but why?’ He (the prospect) himself was ahead of his times; he was 69 years old, and he had created a technology product 7 years back way ahead of his time for which, in fact, we met to negotiate and buy it out. Then my client added, ‘Ashish, have you seen The Social Dilemma documentary on Netflix?’ It was the first time I heard about it. Coincidentally, the same evening, one more and then another person mentioned this documentary.
The next night at about midnight exhausted from work, I wanted to tone down the intensity, so I logged into Netflix to watch something, and there it was in my face (algorithms!), ‘Watch ‘The Social Dilemma.’ Ironically, if it weren’t for algorithms, honestly, I would have never watched this movie; well for that matter, I would have never come across great educational videos on YouTube, and so much more.
After the movie, I said to myself: ‘This is big: This is a family movie that everybody should watch’ not because I want to praise disowning technology; no, in so many ways, it makes our life better. But, because it tells a common person, a family, a company, and a society exactly why there is this disconnect in the world today. That moment of realization ‘Aha! now I get it, and hey I can do something about it’ is what I hoped that everybody awakens to at the end of the movie.
Why is this important?
You may wonder at this time that I am anti-technologist, so let me bring you back as that is not true. There are countless examples of how technology has helped us save lives by predicting weather storms, connecting kids studying overseas with their parents with the beauty of being able to see them and talk to them (pause for a moment and just be ‘awed’ by the beauty of knowing you can call your child for almost free, see them, and talk to them; insane and beautiful!), and so much more that technology has done for us in health care advancements, food deliveries, business communications, and social work.
What is important is to understand how are we using this superpower?
Remember, Tobby Maguire, the original Spiderman: In Spiderman 3 (people say that the movie wasn’t great, but honestly I loved it the most out of all 3 parts because it had so much spiritual angles to it), remember when he gets trapped by a venom, and his dark side comes out. All his power to be able to save the world changes into venom and it gets ugly for a while till the church bell accident helps him get rid of it. The social dilemma documentary is like that huge bell that makes us realize that though we possess all the power, but sometimes the power itself gets better of us and takes its a dark shape.
So What Is The Ultimatum: Technology Vs Humans or Technology and Humans
Look through the history of humanity and ask yourself: Did the phone invent itself or was it a human who believed we can talk through a ‘box’ with some wiring? Was it automatic that we could fly from one place of the continent to the other, or were it humans who made it happen? We were, perhaps, meant to always travel by horses if a human didn’t dare think that one day we could have fancy automobiles with comfort of sipping a coffee, listening to music, and putting on an air conditioner!
Come to today: Will technology overtake us and are we feeding our own killer? Or will technology make us a multi-planetary species with more business opportunities and better health? If you haven’t figured it yet, here is the answer:
Through history and through future (howsoever long it is), we, humans, will always determine our destiny, and how the majority decide to get influenced will what will become the reality!
Instagram is arguably not the best social media platform, but because most humans have been influenced to having an account there, it is considered to be the best. YouTube, probably isn’t the best free video resource hub ever created, but because most humans have adapted to it, it is.
Technology isn’t making us weak; it is our over usage of it which is. Technology will not kill us by itself if we decide for its role in our lives to be that way, and it can become the best resource ever if you would use it wisely: Self-control, certain ‘laws’ if you may and principles on its usage.
This is easier said than done which is why I will leave you with another quote of, as of this writing, the 2nd richest man on this planet whom I mentioned in the beginning:
“When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” Elon Musk
Technology is important: But you putting a pause to its overconsumption is equally important. It may be difficult; the odds may not be in your favor, but as a human, you need to use it to your advantage, and not vice versa. The choice will always be yours!
(Ashish Janiani, is a 26+ country PRISM certified transformational coach, soft skills expert, and sales leader with 14+ years of experience in management training, consulting and business expansions who runs an ISO 9001:2015 certified training institute named MotivationalDiaries.com)