Is Technology taking away my humanity?

Sometimes I feel completely bombarded. Everything demands my attention. It’s difficult to carve out time for self-reflection. Right now, I have 20 tabs open in my browser of videos and articles I want to watch. And it seems I can never get to them.

This needs to stop

I feel that I’m developing bad habits when I engage with technology. I can get easily distracted and become passive. I’m more flakey, less inclined to respond on social media (because there’s too many platforms to keep up with). I catch myself liking Facebook posts without taking the time to read the entire message. I used to like writing long emails to friends but now I’ll opt for an emoji to express myself. I find that I’m more likely to get frustrated and impatient at times. I wonder how this translates in the way that I interact in the real world. Is it inhibiting my focus, self-awareness and ability to empathize with others?

In this economy of instant gratification, anything that causes friction is deemed unacceptable. Why can’t we just Uber-ify everything? And honestly, while Uber is great, there are consequences that have come with this service. Have we considered that this company actually encourages more cars on the road and subsequently contributing to carbon emissions?

I’m not here to criticize Uber. More of what the point I’m making is the uberization of everything is not the solution. While it’s important to design something that is easy, simple, user-friendly, we need to be accountable to the behaviours and habits design. And do those behaviours impact our physical and psychological well-being?

As designers, we don’t check ourselves to think about the long-term implications of the things we design. We tend to focus on the immediacy of solving the problem. Many of the tools and methodologies that we use are still rooted in industrialism. Ideas like mass production, commercialization, mass adoption are considered markers of successful products and services. I’m not here to argue those things are bad but perhaps this type of thinking poses limitations in what we make. What we design if we also deemed sustainability, resiliency, and accessibility equally as important as user-friendliness?

I’m not anti-technology either. I just wonder if there are design interventions that can be made to encourage behaviour that is positive and beneficial for our personal well-being. I guess this is worth exploring in my thesis.

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