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.
It’s all quite absurd but we seem to not be able to live without them. This addiction is more severe than we realize, and capitalism and curiosity are driving it.
There does feel like there’s a backlash happening, but it will never be grand enough to slow down progress or halt productivity and growth of the future.
All we can do is be mindful of it, ask the questions, resist the urge to engage because it’s there and being sold to us, know what makes us feel good, warm and fuzzy, teach our children to love what we know was a beautiful time of staring out a window for hours on a car ride and let our imaginations run free, walk down a street or around a school campus and look at our fellow humans, make eye contact, smile, be engaged, be present and “just be.”
We don’t have to be always “doing” in order to feel fulfilled.
Take a pen to paper and write a letter to your 8-year old self. What would you say about your life today and what it was when you were that age. How would you protect yourself from getting pulled into the vortex without the checks and balances for yourself?
Be aware and alert, be accountable to yourself and your desires and passions, dare to unplug and explore your world. Check in with yourself and don’t just go along for the ride and get swept up in the pace of future innovation. Be conscious of what you’re doing, even if you’re doing it. Take the time to be present and dig a little deeper with yourself and those around you.
Resist the urge when you can…challenge yourself…be mindful.
Check out the new mindfulness and meditation centers, classes and programs popping up if you’re eager to keep that balance…
Or just unplug, take a walk, smell the roses, feel the sun, breathe….
What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts?
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