I am sitting in front of my desk thinking about how I can talk about technology in a way that respects what it has done and where it has brought us, while also highlighting the dangers of it or in layman's terms, the many ways it annoys the hell out of me.
Technology is impossible to ignore, I am literally streaming a school board meeting in one window on a desktop computer, using a wireless keyboard to type this email in another window, randomly popping in and out of another another tab to check the scores of the women's quarterfinal match of the US Open, streaming a TV show using YouTube TV on Samsung's latest device and listening to that same TV show with a Bluetooth headset.
As cool as that sounds, you know, being able to multitask and do so many things at once, I have to believe that doing all of these things and processing all of that information can't be good for my brain.
Yes, years ago technology allowed me to set up a distribution business for goods sourced in Asia and later allowed me to set up a manufacturing business based out of Memphis that allowed me to sell beauty products to customers living in countries as far away as Poland and Estonia. When I sit back and think about how much good tech has brought me, it really is quite amazing, online dating is how I met my wife, social media is where I managed to reconnect with so many forgotten faces and I use everyday apps to do everything from meditating to tracking what I eat. Tech is ingrained into every aspect of my life, it's how I found the condo we'll be purchasing, how I tirelessly researched the differences between sofas made with sinuous springs and those made with 8 way hand tied springs and how my friends and family transfer money back and forth to each other at the snap of a finger.
Technology and innovation are often marketed to us as methods used to simplify our lives and make things more convenient, but I really don't know about all that. Sure technology has saved me countless hours of doing menial tasks, but am I really any better for it. Am I closer to my friends or has the ease of sending a social media message actually created more distance between us and allowed to go longer without hearing each other's voices?
I could go on and on about just how much technology has impacted my life, but the real thing we are not talking about is how tech and innovation are giving us access to a whole host of really cool stuff that we could otherwise live without all while taking away access to things we desperately need, yeah, you know things like jobs. Not too many days go by without me thinking about what happened to our toll workers, order pickers, bank tellers, door fitters, cashiers and a host of other people that had jobs (decent or otherwise), before innovation reared its pretty little head; an answer which varies depending on who you ask.
There is so much about tech that I don't know, but the one thing I do know is that if we don't begin making a concerted effort to use it responsibly, black people, brown people and our elderly population will continue to suffer at the hands of technology and innovation packaged to us as the great white hope.