What technology has brought about into our lives was unimaginable a few years back, lends incomparable convenience now and lays the groundwork for the future. And this pattern is perennial no matter at which point of time we view it from. So when talking about technology in our day-to-day lives, instead of mourning what was absent in the past or getting excited by the promise of the future, the best of technology is what we have now and how we utilise it for improving our lives.
A smartphone gives us access to all the information in the world-both good and bad. Similarly, a car saves us time yet at the cost of polluting the world around us. This ying-yang side is there for all technologies. And since technology is such a shaper of great magnitude, it is of paramount importance to use it positively. But how do we define “positive use” of technology? Well, it has a multi-dimensional definition. Positive use can refer to any or all of the following:
Leveraging technology for meeting the current needs of the world
The world is facing climate change in an unprecedented degree. In response, a few of the many ways we leverage technology to meet the current needs are:
- Relying on the public transport over private ones for cutting down on pollution. Here, technology, in the first place, gave way to the invention of transport, followed by improving the safety and comfort.
- Shifting to e-paper for communication and other work. While this has been one of the forefront transition made across the world, yet there are scopes of improvement (while acknowledging the fact that paper-based books may be superior for education purpose for many people, for other work like yearly examinations, tickets to any entertainment park etc., a shift to an e-based solution can contribute a lot towards protecting the earth’s climate), no matter how small or large the magnitude can be. Every effort matters in these times.
Using technology on a need-basis over a want-basis
Smartphone is the number one reason that has earned technology a bad name despite all its positive contributions. It has led to decrease in our attention span, ability to think through a subject over a long period of time, has affected our patience level and social skills and, despite the illusion of being more connected, has in fact made us a lonelier generation than our predecessors. The false pretext of connectivity that technology has afforded us has led us to de-priortize the importance of allotting time, effort and resources to going over to someone’s place for connecting face-to-face and make memories one can cherish over a life time. Also more time is allotted to instant gratification through a deluge of posts and tweets and that’s the reality hiding behind the facade of technology connecting people. And this is not the technology’s fault but ours.
- The first step towards a positive use of technology is a shift to an intentional mindset over a compulsive mindset-intention directed towards utilising technology like smartphone and computers as communication tools, avenues for knowledge across the world and so on over wasting time across social media and so on.
- The second step is a controlled approach towards using technology as an entertainment toolbox. This is a tricky one because a small misstep can end up with user inside the black hole of the wonderful world of media and entertainment that technology has to offer for countless hours.
- The third step is the deliberate practice of disconnecting from technology each day. This is required so that our body and mind can focus on all things natural (all things technology are fabrications of human imagination and intelligence after all). We need a digital detox each day to function properly and to prove this point, just observe your thoughts when you are sufficiently disconnected from the endless digital stream vs when you are into it. For most, during the former, they will experience a calmer and more streamlined flows of thoughts with better clarity.
Knowing when to step away from technology
In continuation to the above point of digital detox, it is important to consciously observe when your body and mind needs a break from technology. Also important is to know when to be away from technology. For some people, the most focused work is produced when they are working on it, disconnected and alone, focused. For those work where a digital component like a computer is required to doing some work, to minimise distraction, it is better to work offline. And the same analogy can be extended to an online work (through practice of self-control and website blockers).
These are just a few of the positive uses of technology and there can be many more that you may discover throughout your own journey. Please feel free to share the same in the comments below.
See you tomorrow!!!