Communication: technology can’t beat the personal touch

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The irony these days when it is possible to communicate around the clock via small portable devices and slim tablets is that people have never been less aware of what is going on in their towns and villages, while their families have grown up and flown away, knowing that there is always Facetime or Zoom.

The above is because without local stores, schools, doctors, dentists, cafes, churches, playgroups, community centers, or parks, people don’t meet.

People don’t jostle each other, don’t stop to chat.

Keepsakes such as wedding invitations, congratulations, postcards, love letters, birthday cards, thank you notes, good luck cards, etc. You can’t keep them in a shoebox for future generations.

GPs are criticized for not seeing enough people face to face and indeed it seems that a large part of the population finds it impossible to navigate the technology put in place to refer patients to the right professional.

I am in my mid-fifties. We weren’t taught computers at school. Everything I learned was on the job, so to speak.

I can only imagine how confusing and absurd trying to navigate the electronic consultation system must be for people in the late 80s, the very group who probably need urgent help and who are the less likely to fuss.

Life and people are messy, unlike computers. People are unpredictable, individual, take time and take patience.

Computers and checkboxes make life much easier. But for whom and at what cost for humanity?

If you don’t use it, you’re wasting it’s an old, but true maxim.

If we don’t continue to communicate face to face as humans, navigate difficult times, find solutions, have our own toolbox to manage relationships, whether professional, family or friends, without hiding behind keyboards and ticking boxes, then we lose what it’s like to have humanity in a human world.

When algorithms determine what is a priority, then Houston, we have a major attitude problem.

The entire evolution of the human race has been a story of tribes, hamlets, villages and communities.

This is how we operate based on centuries of human history.

It occurs to me that the very innovations that are designed to help us communicate, shop, research, learn, are the very innovations that break the fabric of society and the way we live.

As brilliant as the technology is, it has no heart. It’s binary, it’s yes or no, it’s black or white.

We humans are endless in our variety and don’t fit digital boxes very well.

So let’s not forget to knock on our neighbor’s door and check that he’s okay.

Let’s say hello to people. Let’s embrace technology to see how it can help, but never forget the touch, a smile and a hug mean more than just pressing a keyboard.

Merry Christmas to everyone.


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