Haaave you met, Bill?
Bill is a great guy.
Bill records a concert he goes to, for his friends. He is always the first one to like a friend’s post on social media. He is always a call/text away. Be it in his deep slumber of sleep, while he is driving, or in the middle of a family outing. He always keeps looking for the next best smartphone or an update on his current one.
Basically, Bill is always on his phone. For everyone’s good, of course.
Bill is SMART.
Be like Bill.
Bill has a great life (at least, in the material sense), he is happier than the rest (or so in perception). Well, there are few spillovers in the quality of life, though; but since they are out of sight, they are out of mind as well!
Let’s look at Bill’s life through another pair of lenses.
Living in the Moment?
Bill was attending the much talked about Roger Waters concert in the city. In the middle of the event, Bill decided to capture the happenings through his phone’s camera. He looked for the perfect place and accurate angle to start shooting the concert. He did share it on his social media handles and got rave reviews. But did he actually live in the moment and make memories singing along his favourite song?
People in our Life?
Bill was having dinner at home, with family. Surrounded by his parents and siblings – Picture perfect! His phone buzzed with a notification of his friends checking in at some place. He was tempted to open it and found that his friends were dining at an exquisite restaurant 2000 miles away. He liked the picture, by the way. In that moment, he was transported to the place and wanted to be there too. The picture perfect took a back seat and Buddha’s teaching of mindfulness went for a toss.
Bill loves to read books before his good night’s sleep. That is the time he reserves entirely for himself and his wandering thoughts. One fine day, he picked up his phone to set an alarm. The messages on his phone caught his fancy and he spent the next hour hopping from the messages to watching videos to scrolling through a virtual feed. His love for books, well, had to wait.
These are only a few instances where Bill HAD TO forgo real-life interactions for the love of virtual conversations. That doesn’t make his life any less fulfilling. But then, for all we know one of them could have been a life-changing moment gotten amiss. Technology is a lovely thing and particularly the one which connects us to the world. In fact, the premise for technological development has been to simplify people’s everyday activities and allow them better experiences. In life. Of life.
What if he didn’t carry, rather didn’t feel the need to carry his smartphone to the concert. What if he didn’t have to tend to not-so-urgent notifications while having a family dinner? What if the device encouraged Bill to complete that book, instead of keeping it aside?
And during all this, still allowed access to the select set of content and services based on Bill’s needs. Sometimes, less is better right?
Human urge for information is insatiable. But the nature, importance and timing of the same reaching us can be filtered. We are entering an era of smart devices. And at the very basic level, they should be able to curate and let the right set of things reach us in a more intuitive manner; instead of making us reach inside a single ~5-inch screen. Only then will we be able to sit and talk to people, think and ponder by ourselves and stay connected to the people both far and near, and still be in the network.
Albert Einstein said, “I Fear the Day That Technology Will Surpass Our Human Interaction.” We say, as a generation, we are wise enough to pay heed to the genius and not be like Bill. But a better and smarter version of him.