After a profound week of insights at CES (the Consumer Electronics Show), you sit back and wonder how the world could have existed without all this technology and interconnectivity. The irony of it all, however, is the lack of connectivity we have to one another as human beings.
Are we replacing the soft touch, eye-to-eye contact with robotic and AI practicality? Replacing human jobs with digital productivity? Letting machines make decisions for us and dictate our behavior patterns? Making the work place obsolete? Providing no environment for the imagination to flourish?
Or is all of this accelerating our brains capacity to imagine on a scale that we never did before and challenging us to find new ways to think and explore? Can we really be replaced by machines and AI to the extent that we will need to find another way to sustain our economy if we can’t earn money and buy all the goods that are being created by these new robots…and being sold to us? Is progress becoming negative for humanity and are we to slow it down or just plow through it in the name of innovation?
It’s daunting and exciting, romantic and nostalgic while innovative and exploratory.
But for what? To say that we can? To be bigger and better? To create a world that we once envisioned only in the movies and on the Jetsons? Do we stand to benefit from it? In all the futuristic movies, there’s a cold and harsh world with very little human connectivity – you never see the “peace, love and happiness” of the 60’s era that was the quintessential of the human spirit come to life.
Why are we doing this? Our kids have different social norms that have them living their friendships and communication over social media, the adults are scrambling to keep up with the Joneses on technology platforms, we can barely have a conversation with out being pinged, happed, buzzed from some type of gadget and yet this digital world is supposed to be making us more “connected”? Connected to what? I’d rather snuggle up to a warm body than a computer at night yet we’re being bombarded with our “need” to go to sleep, monitor our sleep, wake up to, have our first coffee, brush our teeth, do our grocery shopping, drive around…all without effort and without thinking… why is that so good? Is this really enabling us to use our brains capacity? Will we become an even lazier society, more sedentary, and thus unhealthier than we already are? Is this all just a ploy to rid the world of human beings so some larger more universal play can happen?
These digital devices and apps are touting health, fitness, mindfulness, meditation – ironically – gadgets that support our need to be addicted to them but ironically giving us “solutions” to relax and unplug.