How to be human

August 8, 2017


(Image from Pixabay)


Technology is everywhere around us: It's in your pocket when you walk around, on your nightstand for reading, in your office, you use it to drive to work and in your hand when cutting the vegetables for your dinner.
Thanks to technology you are enabled to go everywhere, stay connected to your friends and family (or "stalk" people you haven't seen in a long time), extend your fine motor skills when using tweezers or your muscle strength when using a shovel.
Nevertheless, smartphones, probably one of the most helpful tools in the last 50 years, have risen to an awkward position lately.

Many people think of smartphones as being a dehumanizing technology because of the dependency a lot express towards the device.
But is that really a valid concern?
From this way of reason we can infer that usig tools for our daily needs is not human, aka the most human person is the one at least dependant on anything.

But aren't we all dependent more than we realize and isn't that the very essence of being human?
Even if your initial position to this question is no, give it some thought:

When going to work in the morning, you are dependent on society providing the road you drive on or the metro you take.
You are dependent on the security society provides by law and law enforcement.
Let's face it, most of us wouldn't be able to climb down a mountain, swim through a stream and then walk 10km to get to our workplace and in the evening barehandedly fighting an intruder and a bear to sleep safe.
This is just fact. 

(Image from Pixabay)


Now some readers would say: "But wait, these are not the technologies that alter our behaviour..." Or do they?

The spear altered our way to hunt in a very profund way, as has the fire arm.
The invention of the car altered us even more.
Humans are predistined for creating tools and therefore changing the way we think and operate.
Every invention builds on the last, making an abstract concept of it and enabling us to think of (and precieve) even more abstract ideas.
(See Ray Kurzweils' 'Law of accelerating returns'.)

In computer sciences this process is called bootstrapping. We bootstrap our live experiance. Without doing this we would still be in the stone age or even before that.

Getting back at the discussion at hand:
Smartphones, computers & co. are an important part of our lives now. They are an extension to our brain for all knowledge of mankind is just a few clicks away; for hearing your families' voices when you are thousands of miles apart.

The way I am using my smartphone for getting my thoughts out into the world, reaching everybody of you is conclusive proof that it transcends my limited human capabilities of shouting my thoughts into the world.
I also use it to learn new programming languages, facts and other stuff on the go.

Many of you use smartphones as a device for browsing social media or just news and maybe not for accessing the huge knowledge databases.
But I argue that this is no bad thing.

Social media have made the arabic spring come true and started humanitarian/political revolutions worldwide.
Being connected to one another is a basic human need, if not the very fact why we got this far.

Of course every technology can be exploited, but as with the invention of the wheel I argue that the benefits exceed these exploits.

To fear these technologies is to fear who you are as a human. As Karel Capek put it:
"Nothing is stranger to man than his own image." 

So stand tall transcending human capabilities as that is the most human thing to do.

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© by Schneider Fabian, 2016 Vienna; For image-sources contact me...