As we adjust to a life dominated by screens, human interaction is rapidly dwindling. It baffles me when I see people in restaurants scrolling through social media on their phones instead of talking to each other. However, this isn’t the worst of it.
Automated processes have spiraled out of control. Some of the changes have been immensely helpful; gone are the days when if you called a taxi, you would have to wait and wonder when they’d finally arrive. That aspect of life has become more streamlined. I question, though, is everything we have automated getting better? At #Strella, we stress the human element for better success, so why are so many people trying to remove it?
Convenience Over Care
About a decade ago, it looked like Uber and maybe Giant’s Peapod would be the end-all-be-all of automation technology.
Man, look at us now!
EVERYTHING can be done without the human element. We can shop for groceries, attend doctor's appointments, and apply for a new job without ever leaving the house.
It is all super convenient, right? What are we losing, though?
Sure, you can talk to your doctor by staring into your phone or computer, but who is checking your blood pressure, taking your temperature, or measuring your mood? I get it. Doctors’ offices with EMR (electronic medical records) are not much better, but at least someone is talking to you and there if you need them. Having not gone to medical school, I do not trust myself to manage my own care, so I think that application of automation is dangerous, at best.
What Else Are We Losing
Recently, during a harrowing job search, I learned many companies have automated the resume review process, allowing a machine to ping a resume based on certain word combinations or simply by their look. Think about what we are losing with that development! A computer spits out people out based on an algorithm. Rather than considering all potential candidates, companies may be missing someone perfect for their business. That’s terrifying to think about.
Seriously, let’s really dig into the impact.
- Computers are influencing hiring decisions based on pre-determined criteria they’re programmed to detect.
- When we use grocery shopping apps, we are entrusting strangers to pick our produce for us.
- Doctors are assessing patients’ health without spending time with them in person.
What the hell are we doing? What are we thinking?
How We Can Change Things
Before it is too late and every single human process becomes automated, we need to do what we can to combat it.
My saying this may surprise you because I admit I do not enjoy the presence of a lot of people. But I fear for us as computers do more and more of our work and our thinking for us.
Here is my suggestion: Deal with people whenever you can.
Make sure you sit in front of a doctor once a year; physically go to the store 50 percent of the time; and if you are running a company, look at some candidates’ resumes yourself.
We may be surprised by what happens when we stop letting computers and machines handle everything for us, so let’s strive to make face-to-face human connections whenever possible.
(And, for the love of humanity, get off your damn phone when someone is sitting right in front of you!)
Your turn! What do you believe we’ve lost because of automation?