Friday, September 11, 2015

Perspective on Technology

I have been working with Avaya for more than 5 years now. Avaya as we all know deals in enterprise communications. By using the technology provided by Avaya, enterprises are able to reduce costs that would be normally incurred for telecommunications, especially when executives travel frequently for meetings, conferences, etc. Basically by using products developed by Avaya, companies benefit in the long run.

However, what about the technology that’s involved in our personal lives? How beneficial is it? Do we see any changes in the way we have been communicating in the past decade? I just wanted to share a few of my thoughts on the same.

Mom, can I play outside?
When I grew up, I used to go to school from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. I used to wait for the evening so that I could go outside the house and play with all my friends. We used to play different outdoor games from cricket to football, hockey to ludo, etc. Basically, step outside the house and play literally any game under the sun with friends.

However, today I see that most kids want to play games on their computers, tablets, and mobile phones. The games that kids play are mostly with virtual characters. Kids just don’t know what it is to step outside the house and play in the open.

Before we point a finger at kids, how about our behavior as adults? Are we also in a similar trap? Possibly we are busy with our mobile devices, even when a family member is waiting to communicate.

Going the mobile way
When I was in my early teenage years, I recollect that in the area where I stayed there were about 15-18 families. However, there were just 2-3 families that had landline phones. The remaining families used to go to the public telephone booths to make calls.

Earlier, when a family member stepped out of the house, we had no means of communication until they got back home.

In the mid-90s, the era of mobile phones arrived. In the beginning, hardly one family member had a mobile phone as even incoming calls were chargeable. Gradually with time as the costs reduced, almost everyone in the family started having mobile phones. Hence, very few families have landline phones now.

It’s so easy to communicate now. Dial a number and speak. But, do we really speak?

Am I chatting with you only?
With the advent of IM and Facebook, most people communicate using offline and online messages. It’s easy to chat without worrying about the emotions that are involved when you actually communicate over the phone or in person.

In fact, a person might take a different persona and interact with you. The person you think you are interacting with might actually not be the same person. Technology is easily misused nowadays. The end result unfortunately in some instances is blackmail, deceit, etc.

I for one yearn to hear the voice of the opposite person rather than using the IM medium. Unfortunately, not many of my friends share the same view. The result is that even though I would like to call and speak to my friends at least once in 2 weeks, I for sure will never get a return call. For my friends, it’s like we are anyways chatting on and off using IM, what’s there to speak about now? :)

We have 100s of virtual friends on our Facebook list. It’s so easy to friend and unfriend. However, how many friends do we really have who will stand by us when we really need their support and help?  

Forget friends, do you know who your neighbor is?

Love thy neighbor as yourself
With globalization, family members are present in different parts of the world. IM works cheaper than calling every day. So usually a mix of IM and calls help us to stay in touch with our near and dear ones.

Technology helps us communicate with folks who are away from us at a distance of 1000 miles and more. But, the sad part is, forget about interacting with neighbors, in today’s times, we hardly know who our neighbors are.  We are too preoccupied with our virtual world to even know what our neighbors do for a living.

Closing statement
If you read a few of the above scenarios, you would have realized that a mix of technology and physical interaction definitely helps. Unfortunately, most of us have allowed technology to rule us rather than the other way around.

The end result is broken marriages, unhappy relationships, lack of trust, etc. Don’t get me wrong; these issues can happen in the absence of technology too. However, most research data indicates that instances of these issues occur more in today’s times.

I keep hearing that excess of anything in life is not good. Similarly, I feel that technology is very good if used in moderation.

What do you think?

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