Humanize technology – Art meets science


Like a slowly brewing revolt against the establishment (a trend we are seeing socially and politically around the world), the exponential strides in technological development are beginning to evoke a contradiction. A repression.

Not because we want less. In fact, our appetite for better, faster, and cheaper technology – software and hardware – can only be described as ravenous and insatiable. More is more.

Rather, it’s because these mechanical, arithmetic, and increasingly invasive technologies leave us cold, in control, and ironically, sayconnected. After decades of construction technology to make humans more efficient or eliminate the need for them to be involved in all kinds of tasks, from washing dishes to assembling cars, we are reaching a point where efficiency and automation just aren’t enough. more. It has become dehumanizing.

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 gazed in awe at the subtle and fluid movements of the machine and the clearly emotional connection Yi had with it, I wondered if I was observing an intimate love story or just techno-art. weird. And why do we strive so hard to improve this symbiotic relationship between humans and technology?

It looks like we want our technology. And we want it to be more human.

Consider these three factors behind the drive to humanize technology:

Restore homeostatic balance.

Living creatures seek a state of balance, or homeostasis – the physiological and psychological motivation to reduce stress and maintain internal stability. When we are cold, we grab a sweater; when we are hungry, our attention turns to food; and when we are faced with ambiguity, we seek certainty. Today’s technology leaves many with the discomfort and dissonance that comes with imbalance – that this relentless focus on technological advancement somehow leaves us behind.

The technological pendulum has shifted – to one side, where the focus has been squarely on the technology itself: the code, the programs, the applications. Science and Engineering. At the other end of the spectrum, where quality of experience reigns supreme and user engagement is the main game. Art and design.

Faced with dichotomous extremes, the tendency is to refocus. Left brain, right brain. Technical skills, general skills. We come to know that there are forces and concentrations at either end of the spectrum and that the real value lies in their combination, not their divergence.

Humanizing technology by design that synthesizes art and science helps restore homeostasis and bring us back to balance.

Appeal to our senses.

We humans experience the world through our five senses. Machines don’t. And that’s why we see the evolution of technology – devices and applications – more and more trying to communicate with us as we know it.

Like the use of conversational interfaces, like chatbots, which integrate advances in speech recognition and natural language processing technologies to make us feel like we’re talking to a real human.

Or visual interfaces, including augmented and virtual reality that harness human visual dominance to create immersive experiences that “trick” our brains into believing what we see.

Or biometric sensors that track and monitor our activity and well-being, and take us on an endless narcissistic journey to actively understand and manage our mind and body.

We will continue to see the development of technologies that are much more sensible than mechanical.

Call on our intelligences

At the far end of the science and engineering spectrum, there is alignment with human IQ: knowledge and skill. Facts, data, logical reasoning and sequential processing. We are gradually abandoning this type of intelligence to the superiority of machines. We step aside and give in to the technology, the jobs and the tasks that demand it.

But having intelligence without having the heart is not enough either. Social intelligence is a mammalian ability and emotional intelligence a distinct human ability, which technology cannot currently claim.

The humanization of technology will require software that has been reverse engineered from the human experience it offers, rather than its technical functionality or sophistication. For example, humans learn more fully and engage much better through story telling and human-to-human interactions than through non-human interfaces.

Humanize technology is the natural progression of our digital journey. Steve Jobs can be credited as one of the inaugural architects of the transformation in the way we think and use technology. Many others followed him.

Our digital future is fraught with social, moral and ethical challenges – some of which we foresee quite clearly and many others that we did not even imagine. Humanizing technology should be more than making technology look, sound and feel human. He must move humanity forward. Move forward.

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