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Technology Needs High-Touch Balance

Husband and I have always had our differences.  He listens to the Blues; I choose Smooth Jazz.  He relaxes in front of TV; I unwind while holding a book.  He tops salads with Thousand Island dressing; I like Bleu Cheese.  When our home thermostat is set at 72°F, he’s cold and I’m hot.

            He worked in the business world.  I was an educator.  He was a fish out of water in my elementary school classroom; I never understood what he did every day at his office.  In retirement, he continues to serve on business related community boards; I volunteer for projects for children and their families.

            When our working and volunteer paths have crossed, we’ve worked well together and still do.  Before I submit a writing for publication, he edits it and always catches omitted words and typos.  Recently, he had an opportunity to write a column for a health-care facility publication and asked me to read it for errors and to make suggestions.  

            After reading quickly, my first response was a question: “May I use some of this for my column?”  His writing speaks to all professions and all people, working or retired. Maybe Husband’s and my occupations were more alike than I ever knew, and I wish I’d read the book to which he refers while I was in the classroom.  The following is an excerpt from Husband’s writing.

            We use technology routinely to do our jobs, communicate, shop, to entertain ourselves and more.  With one click, a package is delivered to our doors.  Siri or Alexa stream music or videos.  The world is at our fingertips.

            As I think about the technology we use each day, I am reminded of John Naisbitt’s book Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives.  The book was published in 1982 and was a best seller. In the second chapter of the book, “From Forced Technology to High Tech/ High Touch,” Naisbitt proposes “that whenever new technology is introduced into society, there must be a counterbalancing human response that is, high touch—or the technology is rejected.”

            Megatrends was published before many of you were born, but the book was standard business reading in the 80’s.  I believe Naisbitt’s writings are still valuable as more and more technology is introduced into our lives.  There is a need to offset the no-human-contact high tech with personal interaction, high touch.

            What did you miss most when our country was locked down for COVID?  For me, I missed being with my family and friends, personal interaction.  Yes, we Zoomed and FaceTimed, but that was not the same as actually being in the room with family and friends.  We had a yearning to hug our grandchildren and look into the eyes of our best friends.

            As we depend more and more on technology, it’s important to understand the need for personal interaction.  In Megatrends, Naisbitt wrote, “We must learn to balance the material wonders of technology with the spiritual demands of our human nature.”

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