Humanizing technology
ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - August 15, 2020 - 12:00am

In the next few weeks and beyond our children will face their smartphones, desktops, laptops, and tablets because of online distance education. And since they cannot go out, they are more likely to have more time to engage with their electronic devices more than ever before.

We talk about how we can protect our children from harm, from any sort of violence while still learning at home. Technology has done good things particularly for our children in their quest for knowledge and understanding. It helps them gain additional information in their educational journey. It makes it easy for them to know in just a few clicks, and we should continue it this way. But contrary to it is also a reality. Our children become too dependent on these devices.

They would no longer ask for any tangible assistance from their family members, and would take their desired quality time to communicate with others. They spend more time facing their gadgets, making their tiny eyes less guarded. Some of them wouldn't even dare to rest and bond with their parents. They consider it as a major disruption to what they are doing.

The unfortunate thing is that technology progresses faster than it is designed to meet human needs. Ironically enough, we want nothing out of that. On the contrary, human appetite is voracious and insatiable, craving for better, quicker, cheaper software and hardware.

Yet these electronic, digital, and increasingly invasive technologies leave us feeling cold, controlled, confused, and eventually disconnected from what was supposed to keep us connected. For decades, we have been creating technology to make us more effective, reducing the need for our participation in tasks from birthday remembrance to washing the dishes.

By "inventing" technology, we have come to think of ourselves as these superheroes who, using AI, chat bots, machine learning, blockchain, cloud, and anything else that comes with it, can render something automated and technologically advanced. We've been so heavily engulfed in technology that we don't even know how much it affects our daily lives, and how much it makes our brains worse by overtaking many of its functions.

Technology's availability makes us more anxious and we seek comfort beyond our typical needs. If we connect on digital platforms, ingest knowledge online, search online for goods to purchase, or try new technology, we require it to be more natural or quicker, otherwise we are moving on.

As human beings, we have adapted to the technology we created to help us. For instance, we have learned how to type --the keyboard and mouse are the most visible ways of how human beings interact with technology. At the same time, the interaction between man and machine has reached a certain maturity, where humans now have to learn to communicate prompted by nature. Natural user interfaces are an example of how technology supports the human way of interaction nowadays. Technology has evolved enormously, but it seems to have lost the human aspect.

Technology was and would still be geared towards reducing the sophistication of our everyday lives. To help us simplify, analyze, and process, evolving technology needs to become more human-oriented.

This is not, after all, about learning the latest technologies to make us relevant. Let's just forget about technology, think about humans and consider human needs, feelings, and behaviors. Technology is merely a tool to allow human needs to be met. Technologies will come and go. Human needs are and will be a constant subject.

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