As the revolution of technology constantly upgrades our operational lives, what is the long-term cost of digitally replacing some of our most primitive human requirements?
Call any company that you have trusted with your hard earned money, your heating, your health or your entertainment and the chances are when you want to contact them outside of a digital interaction you will have to get past a computer.
Computers are great for filtering departments, but there are some clear times when you just need to speak to someone. I am far from a technophobe, but as someone who understands a fair bit about humans, and has also been a human since 1972, there is a lot that just isn’t working for me.
I want to speak to someone about my money, I want them to acknowledge me first, not screen me first. My life very often can’t be condensed into five numerical choices. Computers are great for helping us with processing and computation, or for making the world smaller and more accessible. My life is greatly improved from a one button click access to information in many different ways, but I have a real concern that we are losing some of our human intelligence in ways that will only cause us huge mental health difficulties further down the line.
Focusing on a screen for lengths of time weakens the brains ability to solve emotional problems. This can cause people to feel stuck and frustrated, a clear highway to stress. With speedy access to trillions of terabytes of information, our capacity for taking action with it is dwindling. Is technology slowly eating away at our self-direction?
Our children’s children will probably never experience the self-esteem that can be established by driving around with only their gut instinct for directions and getting to the right place by the map of self-trust. You can fill your head and time with every online distraction and pleasure imaginable, but it will not fill the gap left by a broken family unit or loneliness. Our pursuit for knowledge is strangulating our wisdom.
There is one function that a computer cannot replace in any way and that is rapport. Rapport is the most important feature of unconscious human interaction. It’s a way of our body, mind and souls saying to one another “I see you and respect you.” In the presence of true rapport, anything is possible. Without it, children’s brains don’t develop properly so that has to also have an impact on us grown up children too.
Our human relationships and our ability to build relationships could become the cost of technology. At what point has the train gone past the station?
This maps over very obviously into business. If you are not acknowledging your customers’ core values, they will leg it at the first sign of a bigger box of trinkets. If you are not building real relationships with your customers, they will jump ship when someone enters the room that really gets the their needs and listens to them. If you are dictating your customer needs, they will run away when they encounter someone that makes them feel significant just as they are.
If you don’t know the story of David vs Goliath here’s a quick snapshot. David is a small, regular, all round good-guy. Goliath is 9-foot, well-trained Philistine soldier. It’s a remarkable story in which the underdog, David, prevails against great odds and wins the battle for freedom with a small stone.
There is an ever-growing graveyard of large companies that, regretfully, underestimated the power of human rapport, in the pursuit for bigger and better. They long forgot the purpose of their existence, and the real value that they offered—to help people.