“Computers are incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid; humans are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant; together they are powerful beyond imagination.
Connection. An ancient word. The meaning is “a relationship in which a person or thing is linked or associated with something or someone else.”
We use it in every walk of life. When we were kids, we formed relationship bonds with our parents,siblings and friends. We learned about the physical and emotional worlds by forming connections using our minds. The connection between cause and effect. Falling off a wall was connected to a resulting injury. Hugging a person caused an increase in happiness and connection with that person. Back then, we were the masters of what connections happened. They were with people and the world around us, so were bound to our psychology.
We are now in a period of seismic shift in one of the chief currencies of our everyday world – connection. In the big data world, there are three parameters used to describe data – variety, volume and velocity (the 3 V’s). We can also apply these to how connected we are. With the internet of screens that has happened in the last decade, a proliferation of apps means we are becoming more connected through technology. But are we? The first wave has seen us build digital connections and a mechanism to stay informed of other peoples lives and offer people more options, convenience and to an extent comfort. But what cost is associated with this accelerated connectivity, and do we understand it?
Thus far, the proliferation of connected devices and apps has very much evolved in ways that would replicate what would be considered left brain operations (logical, analytical, sequential). The number of connections we have, scrolling endlessly on “walls” for updates. We are just entering into a wave of innovation that will require these devices to replicate right brain operations such as intuition, emotion and empathy. We use the left side of our brain to perform the control aspects of our lives, whilst the right side is used to connect or join the dots between disparate societal occurrences.
Understanding why it Matters
There is an important evolution in our mindset that needs to occur. We have blindly accepted technology based on trend without truly understanding why it is required. An appreciation for why we should develop more human like relationships with these connected devices – such relationship characteristics as trust and emotion being in high priority. There is huge excitement for how humans and technology will work together in the future. It can be said this excitement is born from realizing that as we evolve our understanding of what it means to be human outweighs anything that technology alone can deliver. People have always been at the core of innovation, and this has led to an evolution in how improved our lives are. However now the evolution of our minds is now not only dependent on genetics and learnings in the natural and emotional world, we now have accelerating inputs from the technology age. Children are seeing technology enter their world at much younger age than previous generation, what effect is this having on how they evolve and pass the genetic baton to future generations?
Now, as we move from the Internet of Screens to the Internet of Things era, it is important that we work on developing our understanding of, and psychology to this technology. Not only will there be devices in our possession, we will wear them directly and they will be added to our very genetic makeup (Read more here from Elon Musk on Neuralink). It will not stop there. Our ecosystems will become more digitized, with smart sensors in everything from household appliances to objects we encounter and use in our daily lives.
Its Experience not Connected
As the volume of these devices hits the trillions, it is much more important we evolve our Experience of Things rather than simply build a huge mesh of connected devices in our everyday world. We are seeing this accelerate. Empathy is starting to play a larger role – such as Alexa speaking to us creating a more human like interaction, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies being utilized to teach computers how to learn themselves (a basic of human evolution) instead of us teaching them. Other technologies are evolving such as augmented reality, in the classical visual sense that we see a lot of these days in the upcoming curve of technology adoption. But we will soon see other forms of augmentation – touch, hearing, taste – to lead to a reduction in dependence on screens, and increase the experience of using the technology. Once the technology begins to inhibit more human like emotions, then it becomes a study into how they are position in society (check this article from Bill Gates on robots and taxes)
As a race, we need to understand what we expect from technology and what we also expect from each other. These expectations will be critical in ensuring that the evolution of technology and humans together can indeed be optimized.