Technology that makes us more human?

In this short video Renny Gleeson, Global Director of Interactive Strategies at Weiden + Kennedy (which, by the way, has one of THE coolest websites on the planet), asks his audience to “create technologies that make us more human, not less human“. The images he shows got me to thinking about my own use of technology lately as I have been working hard to learn more about emerging technologies and trying to figure out where they fit into my own professional and personal life. I just got a new phone that allows me to use Twitter and get email and use many of the cool new tech tools I’m learning. I’ve noticed that I’m on the phone (and the computer) more, learning, playing, tweeting, etc. And while this new tool engages me with people and ideas outside my immediate geographical and physical world, it can (if I let it) dis-engage me from the people I am with in the same house or same room.

Ironically, while I was watching Renny Gleeson on this video, my husband was in the other room watching the movie 2010 Space Odyssey where HAL the computer shows his emotions… sort of the antithesis of the Gleeson video. In this movie the technology becomes more human.

So, can we or are we creating technology that makes us more human, helps us connect more to other people ? Or are we creating tools & technology that cause a dis-connect? Is it the technology that makes the connection or not? Or are we really talking about human behaviors and choices? What kind of technology can make us more human?

Recently I read a library blog about handling information overload, and it suggested that we schedule time for email and texting, for using the tech tools we need and not let those tools distract us from what we are doing at the moment. Good advice I think.  What do you think?


  1. Just stumbled upon this and you have some interesting questions. Technology is always a double edged sword, but I think its shaping human interaction and activity in positive ways too. Have you read some of the recent articles about the effects of the internet on the human brain?

  2. Yes, I’ve read several articles recently that talk about how our brains are changing due to our technology use. I think we need to remember that old saying about most things can be good in moderation. It’s all about balancing high tech and high touch activities. We have to be thoughtful about how we use our time and technologies and how we interact with other human beings – after all, isn’t it that ability to think deeply and reason and feel that makes us human?

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