Technology and Our Humanity

Facebook-Emotional-ManipulationAbout a year ago, my wife and I moved to Arvada, which is amazing, but it increased my commute time significantly. And so I’ve been redeeming that drive time by listening to audiobooks (Candice Millard’s historical narratives about presidents Roosevelt and Garfield deserve their own post…) and podcasts, with Radiolab and Invisibilia being my current favorites.

Recently, and independently, episodes of each podcast struck on a similar theme of humanity and technology, and how technology impacts, enhances or detracts from our humanity.

Radiolab ran a story on “The Trust Engineers” about Facebook and their attempts at making sense of human interactions, and the experiments they’ve conducted.

And yes, Facebook is absolutely experimenting on you.

Around the same time, Invisibilia ran a show called “Our Computers, Ourselves” and explored the deep interconnections that develop between technology and humans, with the anchor story being about a guy who has lived as a “cyborg” for 20+ years. Yep. That’s actually happening.

As one who engages with technology almost constantly, and as one who is responsible for Greystone’s online presence, I find these stories riveting. I think about these issues a great deal as I move across the Front Range, interacting with clients and prospective clients about how they’re using technology.

We’re experiencing a sea change in human interactions as technology works its way into the very fabric of our lives, with the current proliferation of wearables (Apple Watch, anyone?), and with implantables only a short ways away

Are we headed for a technological utopia, where our humanity is strengthened and enhanced by technology? Or are we barreling down the road towards an inevitable showdown with technology, a la the Terminator series of films?

Only time will tell.

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