Many people believe that technology is making people more distant. Whether it’s in classrooms, meetings or sporting events, people are ignoring those around them in favor of looking at their phones or computers. Often, it’s not surprising to find large groups of people communicating with everyone except for the people immediately around them.
Many people miss out on key life experiences because they’re too busy texting or checking their email. Indeed, people have even been known to text during important events such as memorial services and wedding ceremonies.
There’s no denying people have experienced cognitive dissonance because of technology. People feel the need to always be on and be readily accessible to their friends and family. Many scientists have been examining the psychological impact of communication devices and how they impact human behavior and culture.
MIT social science and technology professor Sherry Turkle says that communication devices are changing who we are, and the impact isn’t necessarily positive. Many people are using their phones not only to keep in touch with others, but also as a method of keeping actual human relationships and the physical world away from us.
By living in these self-created “vacuums”, we are lessening our capacity to experience empathy and intuition. We are also becoming less creative and more unimaginative. In essence, we are losing what makes us human, becoming more robotic.
Turkle doesn’t suggest abandoning communication devices altogether, but she believes that time could be spent on more valuable purposes. The time spent using communication devices should be meaningful, and it shouldn’t take away from other meaningful moments.
People need to reprioritize and start focusing on what is important, such as in-person conversations, active listening and the proper engagement of others. It’s important that we do this soon, as it won’t be long before we’re no better than automated machines.