Monday, January 23, 2017

Time for a Technology Time-Out?

Lost amid the inauguration coverage, the anti-Trump demonstrations and the NFL conference finals, was the death of a young tech visionary named Levi Felix.  Just 32, Felix succumbed to complications from a brain tumor. Felix’s name may not ring a bell, but you are probably familiar with Digital Detox, the organization he co-founded to help people of all ages unplug from the grid and reconnect with each other and the real world. 

A self-described geek (“not a Luddite” he’d argue), Felix once lived the tech entrepreneur lifestyle—70 hour workweeks, guzzling Mountain Dew, always-connected, pulling all-nighters at the office and sleeping with a laptop under his pillow. That was until he was hospitalized for an exhaustion-induced esophageal tear and decided to change his life. “I love that technology connects us and is taking our civilization to the next level,” Felix told the New York Times in a 2012 interview, but we have to learn how to use it and not have it use us.”

Again, Felix didn’t turn his back on the tech world after his awakening. He simply felt that regardless of one’s age, we should be taking more time to reflect and experience what we’re doing instead of constantly sharing it, posting it, tweeting or pinning it. He also felt we should spend more time looking at each other’s faces, rather than our screens.
A recent Pew Internet study found that one third of Americans prefer texting to talking, and an international Time Magazine poll found these disturbing signs of tech addiction:

·         84 percent of respondents said that they could not go a single day without their cellphones.
·         50 percent of Americans sleep with their phone next to them like a teddy bear or a spouse.
·         20 percent of respondents check their phone every 10 minutes.

Houston. We have a problem here. As I’ve mentioned several times in this blog, I take a 24-hour “tech fast” every almost weekend from mid-day Saturday to mid-day Sunday. It’s not that hard, and the world hasn’t come to an end once during my weekly tech purges.

As (human) columnist Alexa O’Brien opined last week about artificial intelligence, Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and other on-demand personal digital assistants could be making us dumber as they get smarter. 
Through big data collection and analytics, these AI assistants “will come to know us in ways we can’t even know ourselves,” wrote O’Brien. “The platform offers endless choices, virtual connections and access to a world of information, but what this major-domo of the ‘internet of things’ may deliver is reductive banter, mindless consumerism and a universe of trivia.

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High performing companies consider technology a strategy rather than a department. For high-performing individuals, our contention is that technology should be considered a tool, not a lifestyle. Tell us what you think.

TAGS: Levi Felix, Alexa, Siri, artificial intelligence, Digital Detox, unplugging from technology


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