And vs Or: Finding the Need for Technology
Technology has captivated us, and opinions on it vary, but tech is what you make it.
Technology is all around us. From video games to iPhones to AI-powered assistants like Alexa, there’s tech to help make our lives easier and more enjoyable. But many ask: IS it making our lives easier?
It’s often all about perspective. There are those who embrace the mindset of an “and” world -- where the benefits of technology are celebrated, where people and tech go hand in hand -- and those who still look at tech with an “or” mentality wherein the role of technology should be limited because it’s “bad.”
Technology can, in fact, be used as bad. It is not inherently bad, it is simply a tool used by people. Technology can be addictive, it can negatively disrupt businesses and livelihoods, it can in fact achieve computations much faster than humans. But only when programmed to be so by humans.
Technology isn’t designed to replace people; rather, it's designed to impact the things we do. Tech reduces the friction for things like cashing checks, buying new products, organizing our lives and staying connected. Many people find a need for these things, and some don’t.
Digital tools can be understood and deployed on many levels of understanding. Everyone has their own view on the tools they are willing to use and their own reasons for using them. We use technology only in ways in which we understand.
If you fear the “and” view of technology, and use the “or” lens, remember that a computer or a cell phone can’t do much unless someone inputs into it. That's where, as an individual, you have all the power. At the end of the day, technology should be designed to help us when we ask for help.
Don’t let the fear of losing control make you feel like you're trapped, because you are in control of yourself.
We must not forget who the engineers, developers, and creatives are who contribute to technological innovation: it’s us, the people you see on the streets everyday. We’ve designed technology because there was a need, an idea and hunger for connection.
Technology can do amazing things like keeping us connected with loved ones during a time of crisis, let Olympic athletes celebrate medals and accomplishments with families thousands of miles away, broadcast news both big and small. Technology provides moments in our lives where we can laugh or find joyful entertainment, and it can gather 50,000 people for an event all within a digital setting.
Yes, to make our lives easier, technology tools learn our habits, track us via GPS, give us reminders and even recommend items to buy. People want that, others need it, and the rest aren’t interested, and that’s all okay.
Technology isn’t about finding the benefits of living in an “and’ world with it; it's not about deciphering or preventing the negatives to a “or” world where technology controls us; it's about finding the “need” for it in our daily lives as individuals and we need to realize the power we have.
You can control the fear because the fear is within ourselves. Technology will take over only if we let it.
Year after year, the new and innovative replaces the old (things like the address books, typewriter, or checks), but once in a while the new adds upon the old (broadcasting sporting events, telephones with video calls, and cars with advanced engines). We innovate because we need technology to be safer, connect more people, and assist our lives for the better.
If we didn’t need any of that, it would have never been invented. But those who do need it will continue to use and improve upon it.
Let’s end the debate with each other, because our society can’t be in a constant state of debate when it comes to our use of technology. We must realize the need for technology within ourselves.
At the end of the day, technology isn't about getting one more person onto your platform, or trying to run away from the AI monsters we can’t see, it's about shaping a future of technology where we always have another option, a helping hand, and a personal choice of when we need to incorporate it into our lives.