The more you think about the relationship between humans and technology, the more interesting the exploration becomes. There is an interdependence on many levels. Take technology away and life as we know it comes to a complete stop. The same holds true for human contact; despite our individualism, we cannot miss it or replace it – no matter how social the media.
We often forget that technology is requested, researched, adopted, operated and paid for by people, and people need trust to use technology. Humans suffer greatly from fears that are in direct relation with the loss of control. Giving oneself over to technology requires trust in people and companies/brands.
Technology, like food, is the new barrier between the well-to-do and the less-off. The power of being able to process an overload of information can literally save your life. Higher educated people with access to technology have a better chance of being cured from cancer than people with a lower education, because they can inform themselves and take charge of their medical trajectory.
Because it is humans who research and create technology, it often brings very clever copies of how we humans function, like sensors and wireless communication. Some say the copies are not nearly as good as the human originals. Technology certainly lacks the subconscious and intuition that we humans come equipped with. The ‘gut feeling’ protocol has not been copied in our A/D converters sofar – mostly because we don’t know how the original works. In M2M communication you won’t hear “I have a hunch”, even if the system is self-learning. And hopefully, technology will never be too spontaneous.
Technology has advantages over humans, too! Once technology gets the answer right, it can reproduce the result. We humans are less robust in our performance. We are flawed in our mixed signal processing, because of good news, prejudice or envy. Our reference frame is hardly a solid algorithm. Our memory is selective to say the least and our data storage is nothing short of a personal Hollywood movie, with “me” in the leading role. A main advantage is: technology does not have an “off-day” because the kids are fighting over the iPad at breakfast.
Written by Margot Nijkamp