Like a slow brewing revolt against the establishment (a trend we are seeing socially and politically around the world), the exponential advances in technology development are beginning to evoke a contra stance. A push-back.
Not because we want less of them. In fact, our appetite for better, faster, cheaper technology – software and hardware – can only be described as voracious, and insatiable. More is more.
Rather, it’s because these mechanical, arithmetic and increasingly invasive technologies are leaving us feeling cold, controlled and ironically, disconnected. After decades of building technology to make humans more effective or eliminate the need for their involvement in all manner of tasks, from washing the dishes to assembling cars, we reach a point at which efficiency and automation are no longer enough. It’s become de-humanizing.
Then, earlier this year, Taiwanese dancer, choreographer and inventor, Huang Yi, recorded a dance duet with a robot, accompanied by a solo cellist. As I watched in awe of the machine’s subtle, flowing movements and the clearly emotional connection Yi had to it, I wondered whether I was observing an intimate love story or just some freaky techno-art. And why are we striving so hard to enhance this symbiotic relationship between humans and technology?
It seems we want our technology. And we want it to be more human.
Consider these three factors underpinning the drive to humanizing technology: