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Is Technology the Only Race that Matters?

Technology is the rabbit on the track that is making the greyhounds run faster and faster. It doesn’t take long for an operating system to be replaced by something better or an app to updated. Learning how to keep up, at least to a degree, with the technology needed to run my business has been interesting although not without frustration.

I just finished reading The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly which forecasts the twelve technological forces that will shape the next thirty years. I have no doubt, after reading the book, that the author is correct: The world will evolve rapidly in the next few decades and tech will blow our minds if it hasn’t already.

If that is the case though, where does that leave us as humans? Will it matter if we have developed self-awareness as long as we know how to navigate technology? I started to think about this during a recent interaction with 2 different phone companies. My satisfaction was directly related to how long it took for me to reach a real person who could solve my problem.

How many times have you called customer service only to have the automated menu not capture your particular problem? Or you try to navigate the system and it says, “Sorry, I don’t understand.” or “It seems like you are having difficulty…” Machine empathy. What’s not to like?

The world will continue to evolve technologically. That’s exciting and I can’t wait to see what it will look like in the coming years. At the same time, I don’t see a time in the foreseeable future where technology will makes people skills, honed by self-awareness, obsolete.

At the end of the day though, when it’s time to “put our heads together” and solve a problem, change the tone in the office, communicate with a coworker, or just listen, technology won’t solve those issues. I generally subscribe to the theory of evolutionary psychology meaning that cognitive mechanisms that guide current human behavior have been selected as solutions to the recurrent challenges of the caveman. Humans were not meant to rely only on the latest technological advances, no matter what the era, even as we put an increasing amount of effort into trying to keep up with them!

Automated menus are simple AI and it’s bound to improve. Yet it is worth remembering that when you step outside of technology and talk to real humans, it’s going to matter how they show up. Likewise it will matter how you and your co-workers handle yourselves when the technology isn’t getting it done. The need for self-awareness will never be dead. In fact, it might be exactly what you need to set yourself apart from the pack.

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