Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The 5 Ways Tech is Shaping Humans in the Digital Age

In a presentation titled Constantly Connected - The Role of Humans in the Digital Revolution, Digital Anthropologist Rahaf Harfoush shared with attendees at the 2018 #GovTechLive Forum five ways technology is shaping humans in the digital age. Rahaf pointed out that we shouldn't be afraid by what we hear, but rather we should use the knowledge as power so that we control our technology rather than become slaves to it. 

Here are five ways we should be aware that technology is shaping humans:

1) Data Abundance

We have moved from a time of data scarcity to data abundance. We are surrounded by information 24/7. This can leave some feeling overloaded and overwhelmed. We can't read everything on the internet and that's okay. However, in many cases the policies and philosophies of organizations are old fashioned and come from a period of data scarcity. They are still using tools like email, voicemail, and f2f meetings, all invented by people who were born last century, even though we are in a radically different world with newer and smarter tools. Slack, Workplace, and Teams. By updating practice with tools like Slack, Workplace, Teams, collaborative documents, etc., companies can improve performance, strengthen relationships, increase productivity prevent mistakes and more. 

Consider this: How is are place of work updating practice in a time of data abundance?

2) Digital Relativism 

The way we currently consume media is in relation to us. The internet gets to know us and feeds us what we want to hear and agree with. This results in echo chambers and amplification of ideas we believe. As a result we are mistaking opinions for beliefs. 

Consider this: What strategies can employ to combat this? For example, use incognito mode when doing searches so that the results are not personalized to you. Explore a digital diet that includes a variety of views, especially those that differ from yours. 

3) Digital DNA

The lines between our real identities and online identities are blurring which will affect what’s in store for our future. People are embedding their belief systems into technological code. 

Consider this: Be aware of the belief systems our tools have. For example, think of Facebook and its creator Marc Zuckerberg. How does he feel about privacy and how does that affect Facebook as a tool?

4) Boundary Dissolution

Technology continues to dissolve the boundaries between our online and offline worlds with tools like AR and VR. We are merging them together to create new experiences and perspectives.This is also giving rise to a more connected global population. 

Consider this: How can technology help us find new spaces and places for staff and/or students to engage?

5) Evolutionary Ecosystems

Ecosystems are the broadest base of digital platforms.  They can have high or low intimacy with long or short term engagement. These digital ecosystems are changing society in ways in which many of us are unaware.

Consider this:  Are we holding ourselves accountable for the impact of our technology?

Rahaf ended with a quote from moral and social philosopher Eric Hoffer:

Your Turn

What do you think? How has tech shaped you? Your colleagues? Your students?  What are you doing to address this? How are you helping your students? What is your employer doing? 

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