Jacob Morgan
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Jacob Morgan

The Growing Use and Reliance on Technology and the Impact on Our Well-being

The Future If,” a global community of business leaders, authors and futurists who explore what our future can look like IF certain technologies, ideas, approaches and trends actually happen. The community looks at everything from AI and automation to leadership and management practices to augmented reality and virtual reality, the 4th industrial revolution and everything in between. Visit TheFutureIf.com to learn more.

This week we’re looking at an important topic which was actually proposed by one of the members here! There is so much that we can say here so I’m really looking forward to a lively discussion.

Topic: The growing use and reliance on technology and the impact on our well-being

Good or bad?
Unfortunately, I don’t think we can look at technology from this perspective. It just is. We can’t slow down the reliance on technology we can only control our behaviors and how we use technology. For example in my house we don’t have a tv in the bedroom, we don’t sleep near our phones, & we leave technology alone during mealtimes. It’s not easy since so much of our professional and personal lives are tied to being online. But I’ve also found it’s a matter of perspective. I only check email once a day at 4pm and am trying to do the same thing with social media. I’ve never once had an email, a tweet, or linkedin message that needed to be responded to immediately. The sky doesn’t fall down when we turn off technology. So it’s not a question of good or bad, it’s a question of how we respond to it.

New technologies:
There’s a great book called Ready Player One where the author describes a world where most people live in a virtual environment. The physical world is slowly falling apart whereas the virtual world is this amazing place where you can be anyone and do anything. As these technologies become cheaper and more advanced it will be harder to separate the physical and digital worlds. We’ve seen this depicted in films like Her, The Matrix, etc. I do believe it will take a decade or two for us to see the technologies mature to this level but it will happen.

New jobs:
I see several potential jobs emerging from this new world:
-digital managers who essentially look after our virtual “selves” they act like you in the virtual world but they of course aren’t you. Thus allowing you to be in two places at once.

-digital detox consultants that will help you design spaces or vacations where there is no connectivity. Of course you will also have to pay a premium for this type of a non-connected vacation.

-privacy and security consultant to help us manage which companies have access to which types of information.

I’m gonna stop here because I see this as a whole separate topic for us to explore!

My perspective:
This is something I’m definitely thinking about as I have a 9 month old daughter who already spends a lot of time in front of a computer and phone as I frequently FaceTime with family members around the world. It’s a bit scary to think about how reliant she will be on technology as she grows older. When I was younger, I lived on a street with several other kids and our idea of fun was playing street hockey for hours! We would block off the street and the whole neighborhood would be ok with it. We played tag, hide-and-seek, capture the flag, etc. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t really see much of this going on anymore which is a bit sad. However, technology has also unlocked amazing opportunities for us to build businesses, connect with people, solve new global challenges, etc.

In the end it’s not the technology that I believe will impact our well-being, it’s our response to the technology, as in our behaviors. Curious to hear from all of you! Some questions to think about:

Is it possible we might approach a Wall-E type of work where we are just always connected and never leave our seats?

Do you have any life-hacks you use to help manage technology overload?

Those of you with kids, have you seen major differences between how you used to spend your childhood vs how they choose to spend theirs? Do you just accept it or encourage them to go play outside?

Visit TheFutureIf.com to join this community of 500 business leaders and participate in this discussion.

Jacob Morgan is a best-selling author, speaker, and futurist. His new book, The Employee Experience Advantage (Wiley) analyzes over 250 global organizations to understand how to create a place where people genuinely want to show up to work. Subscribe to his newsletter, visit TheFutureOrganization, or become a member of the new Facebook Community The Future If…and join the discussion.

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