Saturday, March 8, 2008's killing us..well, sort of.

We are digital, and Apple knows. On March 7th Apple unveiled their SDK software development kit that finally makes the iPhone compatible with Microsoft Exchange, allowing businesses to bring the hip phone into the corporate world. This merger serves as a prime example of how companies have been appropriating new technologies that truly inhibit the growth of face-to-face communication. Particularly within organizations, the decrease in communication that relies on physical interaction has lead to an increase in employee dissatisfaction, a decrease in job identification and worker productivity. The technological revolution that has taken place over the last twenty-five years has transformed all forms of modern communication, but no one seems to have noticed the enormous shift that has taken place in human interaction and communication as a result of this digital transformation. Technology has replaced human relationships, the foundation for procreation, social stability, and personal development, with the digital screen. In order to combat the negative affects that the technological world has brought on human social interaction, we must understand how technology has changed our ways of behaving and thinking and consciously make an effort to hold on to traditional forms of interpersonal communication.

The average attention span has decreased tremendously because we are always thinking in a three-window world dominated by the television screen, the computer screen, and the mobile phone. The huge number of teens today who are diagnosed with Attention Deficient Disorder and given prescription drugs serves as an indication for just how much technology has truly impacted our behavior. People are no longer able to spend time with one another without their cell phone going off or worrying about scheduling a meeting in their blackberry. With the advent of the mobile phone, a plethora of associated behaviors have been attached to being a cellular phone user. If you call someone and leave a message for that person, that individual is expected to return the phone call within a matter of hours, at most, days. If a person does not return a call within the sociably acceptable time frame they are quickly cast into a category of disproval. Also, the use of cellular technology to communicate eliminates the facial expressions, gestures, and physical innuendos exchanged in traditional forms of communication and may result in confusion and dissatisfaction from all parties involved. Newer technologies, such as the mobile phone, the Internet, and social networking sites, have proven to be addictive forms of communication where users are constantly attached to digital devices exchanging information. Moreover, individuals today feel a sense of withdrawal from units of technology when not completely entrenched in them. So, why does all this matter? To survive…

The reliance on human interaction and relationships throughout the past has provided a framework for education and global stability, the pillars that the future of our existence rests upon. Fewer and fewer people indulge in the act of reading a book because there are merely easier, less effort driven ways to be “entertained.” What is extremely worrisome is the suggestion that today’s children are educated by the Television and Internet and less by their schools and their parents. The lacking of a physical presence in an educational environment tends to remove all emotion involved in learning, an essential component of gaining knowledge and searching for truth. The reduction in the importance of simple behaviors that make a tremendous difference in interpersonal communication, such as eye contact and how to shake someone’s hand, is often the result of technology, as you don’t have to look someone in the eye when you talk to them on the phone. In conjunction with this notion, time and time again leaders throughout the world have claimed to obtain a greater understanding and trust for one another during a physical meeting, visit, or discussion; one can “just tell” a lot about an individual through sharing the same physical space. We must now be consciously aware of technology’s ability to reduce and take away from the power of physical interaction and interpersonal communication and attempt to reiterate this notion to ourselves, and our children, in order to ensure the best possible future for us all.

1 comment:

Nunya. said...

Thanks for commenting on my post. It's funny that we wrote on the same topic because I hadn't even read this post yet. It seems like we do have very similar ideas about technology and its affects on the real world and real people. I guess it's up to people like us to break the cycle.