Are we controlled by software? pic.twitter.com/t8X55Ub7eq
— David Chou (@dchou1107) April 22, 2016
This is a powerful question and an important one for our health. I’ll admit up front that I’m a major lover of technology and the way it has impacted my life for good. I fundamentally believe that technology has the potential and opportunity to improve so many things in our lives. That includes our health and wellness.
However, David Chou asks a very good question about how much software (and more broadly technology) control our lives. The cartoon is interesting as well since it talks about software eating our relationships. To some extent that’s true. I’ve known a lot of kids that have grown so in love with video games that they have a hard time relating to people. That’s a major problem. I know many people who have unsafe technology addictions.
While I think it’s true that technology can control our lives, ruin our relationships, and even cause health issues, I don’t think we should lay the blame at the feet of the technology. We’re all human and are given the opportunity to choose what we allow to control us.
I think right now about my kids currently running around outside in this wash area with the neighbor kids playing some game they made up with wizards and dragons (Don’t ask me!). Each Saturday I take my kids to the park while I play ultimate frisbee. Next to the fields are these massive piles of dirt and my kids can’t wait to go play in these piles of dirt. They build forts, tunnels, tracks for balls, and just goof around on them. They have the time of their lives. This stands in stark contrast to the jokes people post on Facebook that say “When I was a kid, this was our playground” on top of a picture of dirt. I guess that’s still my kids playground despite all the technology that’s available.
Don’t get me wrong. My kids love technology too, but trying to say that software controls our lives or is eating our relationships is a fallacy. If it is, it’s because we’re letting it do it. If we let it do it, then yes our relationships will suffer and that will impact our health.
Of course, the alternate view of all this is that some of the very best and most popular technologies in use today actually are about connecting people. Think about all the various social media. I know and interact with thousands of people I’d have never know if it weren’t for Twitter. Technology can often facilitate the building of relationships. Plus, it can extend and deepen a relationship with someone who would have otherwise fallen off the map.
A principle I’ve learned over and over again is that most technology has a double edged sword. It’s how you implement it and how you use it that determines it’s value. Plus, you have to remember that sometimes the best solutions aren’t technical. Just because you can do something using technology doesn’t mean you should. That said, technology can improve a lot of things if implemented appropriately. You’d think these concepts would be common sense, but you know they often say that common sense isn’t so common.