Be more human in the digital age

In the digital age there’s never been a greater need to be more human.

be more human

Technology is impacting every aspect of our lives.

It plays a role in how we work, travel, consume information, communicate and even how we find a potential partner.

This is just the beginning. The digital revolution we’re in is still in its infancy. There is much more to come.

New technologies like machine learning and virtual reality (VR) are becoming more mainstream.

Social media algorithms feed us with news and information we want to see.

In the next ten years, self-driving cars may shuttle us from place to place.

We are told by futurist pundits (who in reality know no more than you or I) robots will eradicate most blue collar jobs and possibly white collar ones too.

We are becoming cyborgs.

When was the last time you spent any meaningful time away from your smartphone? It is just as much a part of you as much as your hand is.

Perhaps even more so because, unlike our hand, you can upgrade it to a more powerful and feature-rich model.

Elon Musk pointed this out with his interview with Joe Rogan.

We are man merging with machines but for the most part, technology is good for society.

It allows us to work remotely, become more independent, connect to friends and loved ones around the globe, and live a more informed life.

But there is a downside that needs addressing.

Our connection to technology is making us less human and is blunting our experience of the human condition.

The part of us that thinks, feels, loves, ponders and everything else that is uniquely human.

In the book, The Coddling of the American Mind, Jonathan Haidt says the younger generation, known as Generation Z, don’t go out as much, don’t socialise, use the internet too much and have higher rates of depression.

Haidt says it’s down to technology (social media, smartphones etc) and “vast over protection (trigger warnings etc) that don’t allow kids to take risks”

Social media provides us with the dopamine hit we crave but also leads to isolation and depression.

VR promises to satiate the body’s appetite for adrenaline by allowing us to experience unique artificial situations. Will people ever leave their house at all?

Machine learning will remove our ability to think critically since the personal answers we seek will be provided for us by algorithms based on rationale, data and logic.

Self-driving cars will take away our brain’s ability to navigate and map out unfamiliar surroundings.

We’re losing the connection to what we are.

We’re just a cocktail of molecules, chemicals and electricity.

Our internal software can’t keep up with these new technologies. We need to adapt by being more human.

Unless you go spend the rest of your life in a cave chanting with monks there’s no stopping technological innovation and change.

Maybe you don’t want to. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything about it.

How to be conscious of what technology is doing to you.

Here’s what you can do right now to be more human.

Go into nature and leave the tech at home. Your connection to nature has a greater effect on your health than you think. You are part of it as it is part of you.

Reconnect with your body and stop living inside your head. Develop a healthy gut, lift heavy objects, run, swim and move more.

Connect with strangers. Instead of using dating apps and sitting in a coffee shop looking at your phone, strike up a conversation with someone.

Develop your own definition of success. Don’t use technology to play the comparison game.

Experience as much of life, good and bad, as possible. Travel, get uncomfortable and invest in yourself

I check my phone far too many times each day. I used to post in social ‘for the likes.’

I walk around with earphones in listening to podcasts and partly to block out the noise of real life.

I spent three days sailing around the Caribbean Sea without any access to the internet and I found it hard.

The collective time I’ve spent in front of a computer likely equals a couple of years.

I’m no different. I know I need to be more human.

Written by Ste Davies

Ste ‘Stephen’ Davies is a freelance digital consultant, traveller, writer, podcaster and speaker based in London, UK. You can reach him here or follow him on Twitter below.

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