Tech: Diminishing Human Interference; Major Reason For “Dumb” Mindby Opinion Express April 18, 2018 0 comments
In today’s world, technology holds a lot of importance and, therefore, a number of people misuse technology without knowing its consequences. Increase in misusing technology leads to reduction in our minds capabilities. It also affects the human interference, reducing it at a rapid scale, from our lives, raising a number of questions that needs to be addressed.
The drive from Gururgram to Delhi, especially in the evenings, can be enormously painful and a grim reminder of how poorly we manage our traffic. I had a similar experience recently when despite our best attempts, we got stuck in the endless snarls and kept crawling for over two hours. What made the experience worse was the pin drop silence inside the car, all this while. Even as the driver negotiated the harsh traffic and relentless honking, the other two young occupants remained engrossed with their smartphones. One watched an Amazon video, while the other enjoyed MP3 music. Technology has pervaded human interface.
My ordeal continued as I reached a dinner party after the gruelling drive and was confronted with a rather unique ‘human-like object’ which had almost all the 30 odd guests, children and elderly alike, in awe of it. They all scrambled for the attention of Alexa, the virtual assistant from Amazon, almost endlessly during the three-hour get together and this naturally meant all of them compromising a great deal with the good old human connect. Welcome to the new age of rapidly diminishing human interface.
We live in exciting times and perturbing too! Suddenly we find human minds getting increasingly subservient to artificial concoctions. Ask a child a time during the day, or which date was last Wednesday and her first instinct would be to reach out to a handset nearby. Ask a youngster about the first President of India, or in which year the Emergency was declared or what had happened on 9/11 and where and her first instinct would be to Google it, even though she may knows it. This tendency to allow technology to intervene and mediate, and in the process reduce our minds natural capacities, is also becoming prevalent among not so young as well. Ask a 35-year-old professional if he had time for a meeting the next day at 1 pm, and his first reaction would be to reach out to his handset to check his calendar.
Look at this screaming headline in the UK’s leading daily The Telegraph and one begins to wonder what have we done to ourselves: The human brain can store 4.7 billion books — 10 times more than originally thought. The article elaborated, “The human brain has a capacity of one petabyte…One petabyte is the same as 20 million four-drawer filing cabinets filled with text, 13.3 years of HD-TV recordings, 4.7 billion books or 670 million web pages.” The pattern of behaviour of modern men and women stands in stark contrast to this fact. The over-dependence on technology and our temptations of allowing gadgets to mediate our existence are beginning to threaten not only the capacities of human brains but also the social and cultural milieu in which we live.
Little wonder, suddenly the debate over data privacy and the way these new age superpowers in Facebook and Google are invading individuals’ private space is turning curious, and compellingly relevant. What could be the possible reasons for these apparent vulnerabilities of human existence? One certain reason could be the terrible technology tilt. It is indeed true that technology has made things far easier than we could imagine. So, my young colleague can watch many episodes of Stranger Things on Netflix without any anxiety of reaching home and make herself cozy in front of the television set. She can communicate seamlessly with family and friends on WhatsApp groups, or share pictures of her Manali trips with them in a few clicks. She can put alarms on her phone, listen to her favourite music or tell Google to remind her of a meeting next Wednesday. But in the process, she may have, and possibly inadvertently, allowed her brains and natural reflexes to take a back seat. Her human interface is getting minimal, and this has implications, not too difficult to comprehend.
Another reason for this growing vulnerability could be called the handheld model of child socialisation — where grandma’s folklores are replaced by jingle bells, antics of siblings by Tom & Jerry cartoons, and sweat on the ground by stress on the screens. The handheld phones have scrupulously displaced cradle model of socialisation and the results are far too glaring to be ignored. Children are hooked on the phones likes honeybees with hives! Human mediation in the lives of modern children are hugely limited and that could potentially be making them far less social than their predecessors. This has definite social implications, including a society far less cohesive than it used to be.
The rapidly diminishing human interface from our lives is staring at us with many questions that we must take up earnestly.
(The writer is a strategic communications professional)
Writer: Navneet Anand
Courtesy: The Pioneer