There’s a really good quote about technology by Einstein, that states ‘It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.’
I came across this quote on one of those sites that give you inspirational ideas to increase your motivation, and it surprised me a bit.
Most of us consider technology to be a true asset in terms of saving time, and enabling society to achieve things every day which we couldn’t have dreamed of even a few years ago.
How Einstein anticipated the future of technology
The more you think about it, though, the more Einstein had a good point.
Even though he made that statement long before the world wide web and social networking took the place of meeting up with old friends or sitting down for a catch-up telephone call, technological advancement began to shape our choices for communication and business in ways Einstein himself could never have imagined.
The thing is, Albert Einstein died in 1955.
For us tech-savvy online entrepreneurs, it’s difficult to imagine exactly what technology he was referring to when he made his prophetic statement.
If the genius could have imagined what the future had in store for society, he would have perhaps been even more damning about the ways in which it affects our ability to communicate properly together, make decisions about ethics and morality, and socialise.
Making sure we keep the values that define us
I have a friend who spends so much time on her laptop when she’s at home that her two year old daughter has become as tech-savvy as she is herself.
Her daughter can grab an iPhone and turn it on, swipe the main screen and launch one of the applications where a cartoon character talks to her.
My friend is constantly surprised by the skill and dexterity that her daughter shows when it comes to using technology to access the programmes she likes on the smartphone, and worries that her daughter is getting so smart with launching apps and understanding icons, that the usual rites of passage for young people might be being ignored, in favour of less conventional communication and learning.
In many ways, technology can actually support us to learn new skills, become more sociable and interact with people – all things that define us as Human beings and assist us to be more productive, more adept at communication and more effective in our business.
Sites like Facebook have meant that we can keep in touch with people who we may not otherwise ever speak to, and online chat and messenger services let us bounce ideas backwards and forwards on Skype and MSN, for example, when traditionally we may have had to schedule in a conference call or actually drive off and meet someone to get the same results.
Remembering the most important aspects of running an online business
So when it comes to blogging, what can we take from Einstein’s words?
I think the same applies to our online business as it does to every walk of life, now that technology has evolved so much that our approach to communication has changed.
Einstein’s comment is reminding us that no matter how many widgets we may have to make life easier for us, no matter how many apps we use that mean we can click a button and get a computer to work on our behalf, we should never forget the beauty and importance of real, face to face conversation; or meeting a customer and putting a face to the name, being present in person to explain who we are and what we do, and catching up with colleagues in an informal, offline environment.
So, the next time you get a request to meet up with someone to discuss your business, or you discover that a client lives close by and you could catch up with them in a cafe rather than sending them an e-mail and turning back to your screen, consider your options.
The way of Humanity has always been to talk, to touch, to meet up, shake hands and sit down together.
By remembering our very real need to connect physically, we’ll heed Einstein’s warning and make sure that our own humanity never gets eclipsed by our desire for more convenience, more time, and more buttons to press that mean we forget for a while exactly who we are, and how to connect on a real, Human level with our colleagues and clients.
Perhaps Frank Lloyd Wright says it best: ‘If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger‘.
Let’s make sure that our tongues, cheeks and hands never get so reliant upon pushing buttons and clicking links that we forget the most important muscles we have – the ones used for talking, shaking hands and laughing with other people.