How to maintain your humanity while immersed in technology

The distinctions between human beings and the technologies around us are becoming increasingly blurred as our devices get smarter.

Our phones are smarter. Our cars are smarter. Even our fridges and washing machines are smarter. Now, the clothes and accessories we wear are getting smarter, too.

While wearable technologies are now a focus of innovation, they’ve been around for over a century – beginning with the humble wristwatch and leading to devices such as hearing aids and caps with battery-operated fans to keep us cool.

Scott Klososky - Founding Partner FPOV

Scott Klososky - Founding Partner FPOV

Plugging in

Yet, for all those years, wearable devices were purely mechanical. They had a power source and parts that worked together to make our lives easier in some way, but they only had single functions.

Technological advancement took a big leap when we started using microchips in our devices and finding ways to program them. It took a bigger leap when we started connecting our devices to the internet.

In his podcast interview on The Mentor List, author and thought leader, Scott Klososky, discussed how technology advancements impact society. He noted that our use of smart, portable technology has progressed from mobile to wearable to implanted devices.

The wearable devices that we are already using include:

  • Augmented reality eyewear that displays data inside your visor – Used for many things from military applications through to virtual reality games.

  • Watches and rings that can be swiped to make payments from your bank account.

  • Devices that gather health data, such as your heart rate, daily steps, or fatigue level.

Merging with technology

We are getting so attached to our smart devices that we are, literally, becoming attached to them. We are embedding them in our bodies. As Klososky said, the seeds of this future technology have already been firmly planted today.

On the surface, there are numerous practical uses for implanted smart devices (or microchips). With a microchip implant in your hand, you only need to wave at a scanner to get through security checkpoints, pay for your coffee, or start your car. Implanted devices can also be used to store other data, such as medical records, or to keep track of people’s movements.

The use and storage of data from implantable devices is already creating privacy and ethical debates, though. Although it may seem innocuous for employees to have microchip implants to help them move freely around buildings or even for their productivity to be monitored, there are growing fears that such implants could also be used to track their movements outside of work or that the data they contain could be hacked.

Also, as we start to integrate devices further into our bodies, to the point where we can control prosthetic limbs or access the internet with our thoughts, how do we ensure we retain the essence of our humanity?

Staying human

“In terms of our identities, we’re getting squeezed in every direction as new technologies provoke us to rethink what it means to be authentically human.”

(From Harvard Business Review interview with MIT’s  Professor Sherry Turkle, Technology and Human Vulnerability.)

The more we integrate with technology, internally and externally, the more important it is for us to remind ourselves that we can do so many things that artificial intelligent technologies will not be able to do for the foreseeable future. We can be creative. We can empathise with others. We have emotions. And, above all, we can love and be loved.

Klososky believes that we all have things that we can do uniquely as human beings, including focusing on the needs of others. He deliberately looks for somebody to be kind to every day as his way of making a difference.

What can you do that is not defined by the technologies around you?

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Throughout his career, Scott Klososky has stood on the nexus between technology and humanity. He has worked to define and help organisations discover the ideal blend of technology and human effort. He is widely recognised for his ability to forecast how technology will impact organisations, industries, and our world. He is the founder and principal at Future Point of View as well as a renowned consultant, speaker, and author. You can hear more of his insights into where technology is taking us in his podcast interview on The Mentor List.

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