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The behavioral impact of technology


Have you ever wonder how we have changed in our daily behavior because of the technology and we haven't even realize it. I have seen in many summits, presentations and conferences a set of pictures and videos that induced me to share them and to recap on how some of our behavior has changed and how technology innovation has been the driver for this. Let's start with the best summary that I have seen in terms of what a desk looked like in 1981 and how 35 years of evolution in technology have changed the entire way we operate. Most millennial will not have a reference of it, since they where being born when the evolution of the video is starting. However, you would probably easily will understand how fast has been in the last years of the video. If we analyze the video the first 20 years, the speed of change is basically slow. However if we see when it speeds up is basically in 2006-2007. Now, what happen then to make this change faster and even exponential? lets take a look at the following picture:


In 2005 the picture was taken when Pope Benedict was being announced. The same picture or a similar angle was taken in 2013 when Pope Francis both were at St. Peter’s Square during Inaugural Address. Now, the interesting comparison from both pictures is basically how the technology took over massively. In 2005 picture you can see one phone taking pictures and was not even a technology that you could share, while in 2013 everyone was taking pictures. Now, in the upper picture people seem to be waiting for the news to know and were interesting to find out who was going to be the next Pope, while in the lower picture people where more interested to share the moment when they announced it rather than enjoy it, people where already living through their screens and it was only a 8 year difference.

What happen to make a change like this?. To me was 2007, the launch of the first iPhone. In fact, Blackberry phones were already around for a while and people were using technology for work that ease up their daily struggle. For example, I remember in London in 2007, waiting for the elevator and two very senior executives that haven't seen each other for while because of traveling, were talking about meeting up, they pull their blackberries and set a meeting in their agendas. Something that a few years back would have implicated at least the involvement of 4 people and much more time to it (i.e. their assistants arranging time first and asking them for approval, getting back to agree on a date). Since the iPhone came into play, apps appear and people started to change their behavior, cameras with very good technology that are getting better now (personalized emojis), easy process to share moments and apps that trigger people to be the first. Today people are more interested in what to share rather than enjoy a moment, share a plate of food rather than the taste of it, see a concert or even help someone in struggle. As a matter of fact I found the following picture that shows very good what I mean by it. Today sharing the moment and sometimes not even enjoying it seems to have more value and that takes me to another point which is why we have that need to share a moment, good or bad to others?. It seems to be about immediate and second tier social acceptance and to be seen as unique. How we can get the 15 min fame or be one of the few that can make a picture or video viral seem to be the new competition we are playing. However, the other side of the story is about productivity, we are in a much more productive and time efficient moment in history. At our hands we have our office now, we can answer mails, send documents, make a presentation, talk, text, pictures, design or any other activity that might involve your profession, as they say there is an app for it. Today, thanks to the sharing of information, more moments are being capture and more people are being saved as an example the earthquake in Mexico where mobile phones played a big role in saving people and making awareness of where help was needed.

I believe that the future will present a lot of opportunities for us to do more things in less time and continue to increase our work productivity and even our personal management of things, from controlling our homes, bills, banks, etc, however, that is the part that we are all talking most of the time, the benefits we are having from technology. However, my objective with this article is to raise awareness on how we need to take into consideration how we are changing our behavior and some of the implications of it. For example, bullying 30 years back was face to face and one to one, people could see the suffering of the other and stop. Today cyber bullying applies many people attacking one person without seeing how they might feel and not even caring about it. Those changes are the ones we need to understand to prepare and accept the technology but without potentially being alone surrounded by people.

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