We all love technology; it makes our lives easier. It enables us to do business easily and communicate quickly with people in the office, the UK and around the world via email, instant messaging apps and video conferencing.
But whilst its speed and efficiencies cannot be doubted, the recent rise in artificial intelligence (AI) has made me wonder if the over development of technology is harmful. And whilst we may think it’s being helpful and saving time, might it not actually be eroding our personalities and removing basic skills like our ability to make phone calls, write and talk to someone who is standing right in front of us.
Are postcard still a thing?
When was the last time you picked up the phone and had a conversation with someone rather than Whatsapping them. Or wrote a letter instead of an email? And although Zoom and Teams were very helpful during the Pandemic, meetings in person have been sacrificed along the way. I was recently in Italy and Ireland and I did think about sending a postcard, I didn’t, but it did make me wonder if people still do that anymore?
Of course, we’ve had AI for years. Virtual assistants such as Alexa, Cortana or Siri have been playing our favourite songs, films, or telling us the weather forecast for ages, but for many Chat GPT seems to be a step too far. Will we all be speaking and sounding the same? Will our answers to questions be similar? Will our rich language change and will we all become incredibly lazy? So, what is AI forcing us to do, that we really should be protesting about?
Talking to someone face-to-face can strengthen relationships and social ties, whether that’s our neighbours, friends, work colleagues and a whole host of other people who we encounter during our day. Because face-to-face conversations are multisensory, you can see, hear and watch someone. You can tense tone and see their reactions, it’s 3D at it’s finest. Compare that with a text or email where you can be offended for no apparent reason just by the way you are feeling when you read the words. And talking is also more satisfying than adding a like, comment or even just a grinning yellow emoji to a post.
Face-to-face conversations acknowledge people’s existence, their humanness and their personality, it’s a rich experience where we draw on memories, make connections, store mental images, associations and choose a response. It’s a two-way process, an information gathering exercise where we all win as it allows us to develop feelings and emotions that help to build our personalities.
Conversation not communication
And even picking up the phone and chatting to someone enables us to engage some more of our senses than technology allows. Plus I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy hearing someone else’s voice. Another email however is more perfunctory and less personal, as is a message or text.
I’m fortunate because a friend of mine still writes letters, I love seeing her handwriting on the envelope, it makes me smile and just a little bit excited and proud to know she has taken the time to do this. And yes, I really do know someone who regularly received postcards from her Mum whilst she’s away. It makes her day and perhaps even that of the postman too?!
Modern communications don’t really require us to be present, focused, engaged and living mindfully. Thanks to autocorrect, cut and paste and a whole host of technological tools, we can just switch off and go through the motions. Plus, the average number of emails we receive a day is over 90, which let’s face it often cause information overload, lack of productivity, distractions in the workplace, and potentially misunderstandings among co-workers. Think how that could all be avoided by just talking?
Use it or lose it!
What I am saying is that the phrase use it or lose it comes to mind. We need to grab opportunities to meet up in person, have conversations with someone the phone, write a letter/postcard and embrace the feelings of being in control and doing things on our own terms, with our own voice, using unique words/phrases and engaging feelings and senses that make us who we are. For help and support when it comes to having good conversations and maintaining great communications please get in touch 07780 692784 or firstname.lastname@example.org