Thursday, 28 January 2016

My Theme - The Impact of Technology on Modern Society

For as long as I can remember I've felt there's something exciting at the intersection of technology, human behaviour & society. I deeply believe that in the last 10 years part of our society has changed for the worse, caused by human behaviors that are abnormally created from interacting with ill designed software, sites and apps.

Whilst there are real solutions out there that solve human need and wants in a socially responsible way, the sole focus for many product owners is financial success. These (bad) product owners use the human computer interaction element of a user experience to make popular and usable software, sites and apps that appear to solve a need when in reality they are not. Some products were setup responsibly but after their owners gained a massive user base, they could afford to be more monopolistic in the features they subjected their audiences to. Regardless, it just doesn't correlate that a popular feature makes a socially responsible feature.

Never in history has there been a better time to be thoughtful of the impact that technology has on our society, with human to computer experiences often replacing the human to human experiences we've been having since the creation of mankind. Kids are playing consoles instead of playing outside with their friends, teenagers are more interested in the ideal selfie than living in the moment and adults out at dinner are using messenger services instead of talking to the people next to them.

It was once frowned upon for the family to have dinner in front of the TV but the way I see it, at least everyone was interacting in a many-to-one relationship with the TV, allowing for some physical social engagement. These days it's more common for each family member to be engaged in a one-to-one relationship with their own device.

I believe social technologies should be used to enhance our human to human experiences instead of either replacing them with human to computer ones or putting the computer between two humans as a barrier to real life engagement. My interest in studying these modern social changes will hopefully lead to the creation of new technical products that enhance social interaction with people in the physical sense.