We live in a booming technology age with the likes of Elon Musk or companies like UiPath who are pioneering robotics and automation. AI is becoming a mainstream topic that most talk about it or at least read about. In a broader sense, technology is deeply rooting itself into society and our daily life with the many people having smartphones. While technology has advanced society and our capabilities, there is one thing — we cannot lose the human touch to society and what we do.
Technology’s influence in society
I would argue that we have accepted the role that technology plays and the influence it has on us. Geographical location doesn’t matter anymore — most people have smartphones so we can check email or social media anywhere in the world provided there is an internet connection. Historically, the developed world like OECD countries were the only ones having this capability often dubbed a luxury. However, the developing world has quickly become part of the club of countries that have internet and technology. For example, take a look at Africa where there will be over 500 million users by 2020. Imagine that?
That’s only one example. Another is the rate at which different processes are automated across various industries. Take a look at libraries — more and more libraries are employing RFID technology to make the process completely self-service and eliminate the need for staff to check-in/-out books or ensure security of the building. If you don’t believe me, take a look at any tender website for the UK&I and you can stumble on a few tenders in this area. Another, more well known one, is Amazon’s use of robots in its warehouses. Amazon benefits greatly. By further extension, the benefits extend for the transportation & logistics industry with much higher margins, faster service, and efficiency.
Our technology induced laziness
Sure, we enjoy the benefits of technology. At the same time, we have become lazy. Like it or not, but we’d rather talk to someone on social media than having a face to face conversation with them. The obvious reason is that we don’t have the make effort to go and meet with them. It’s much easier to click a few times and the message is sent regardless of the application.
This preference to send a message leads us to live in a cyber reality. Now, that may be rather dramatic. I don’t want to generalise that everyone is click happy with their smartphone or computer. But, let me ask you this: when’s the last time that you went and met someone or talk to someone regularly on the phone rather than messaging them?
An imaginative look at robotics in the future
Could we really have a society that you may see in some SciFi films? In other words, a society where the robots are ruling the world or they are commanding humans what to do? I am not sure if it would ever reach that level, but we need to be prepared for the bigger, more powerful influence that robots will bring to us. On the other hand, I could imagine a very sophisticated robot performing an entire surgery without the need of having a surgeon on duty. Now, that may not happen. On the hand, it may happen, or at least get extremely close to that level.
It’s this thought that raises the following: where does the human come into play in such a technologically driven future society? We need to figure out how to fit into it and leverage the technology that we have at hand. Once again, we need to leverage the technology, but that technology should not replace humans.
Preserving the human touch
In whatever state we find ourselves in terms of robotics, automation, or any other technological disruption, humans should remember to bring that human touch to it. That could mean various things to different people, but the underlying, central message should be: humans should make the final decision. What do I mean you may ask?
Simply put, I will illustrate with an example. Recruiters or hiring managers may rely on automation screening tools to filter out CVs that don’t match the hiring criteria. Using the tools should save time, but the recruiter or hiring manager should still audit the output and review whether it makes sense. In addition, they should also review a few of the excluded CVs to make sure that someone who could fit the criteria has a fair chance. In the end, the recruiter or HR manager should be ethical and provide everyone with a fair chance.
Humans should be the ethical decision makers regardless of what technological inputs they receive. Ethics will become more important as robotics continues to advance and hence their continued presence in main stream society. The extent to which robots will run or integrate into society remains to be seen.
We are on notice that as technology advances, so will the need for us as a society to continue to evolve together regardless of geographical location. Technology can help propel us forward to enable us to do amazing things. We should focus on the good rather than destruction to make the world a desirable place to be. The more we evolve, the more globally, interdependent we become. That means each of us has some say and ownership in one way or another to hold true to some degree of human values and not forget our existence.
Finally, how can you contribute to keeping the human touch part of the technological evolution we currently see?
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About me: I am a copywriter and storyteller who also manages various projects. I enjoy writing and always looking to improve and collaborate. I am an avid freelancer and looking to become a full time entrepreneur. You can follow me here on Medium or connect with me on LinkedIn.