It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity – Albert Einstein

Is it just me, or are we starting to hide behind technology rather than put in the hard work required to build relationships?

We’ve all noticed that more and more we use technology for tasks we used to handle in person! But it’s not just in manufacturing, such as using robots.

Take customer service as an example. I realize, that in the interests of efficiency, productivity and lowering costs by reducing labor payments, that an automated voice-prompted customer service system makes sense. (Does that now become a AVPCSS?).

I am sure the finance guys get all the data and can demonstrate how many customers are processed and how many person hours are saved.

Can they also analyze and get data on how many customers were frustrated, hacked off, chased away, or lost to a competitor? I don’t care how clever you guys think your automated system is, it does NOT cover every possibility of what someone wants to say or do and it’s as frustrating as hell to navigate !

Another example of our use (or abuse) of technology is how no one answers their phones anymore. We have got so automated that such a mundane thing as answering the phone is not worth bothering about.

We claim efficiency when, in fact, it’s a ploy to filter and control our day. What? How many live calls do you have now?

How many times do we use e-mail to make introductions, apologies or suggest meetings rather than make a call?

We don’t go on a date anymore, let alone blind dates. How risky would that be. Instead, we selectively choose a potential date based on their looks, background, career and aspirations all available on-line.

Whatever happened to discovery? The romance of the woman or man seen across the room, imagining who and what they are.

We don’t make the time and we want to reduce the risk by internet or speed dating!

Here’s my point with all of this. At the risk  of being labeled an old fart,  how do you REALLY understand issues, hear and provide genuine empathy, be forced to deal with the situation and get real feedback if you hide behind technology?

Pretty soon we won’t talk to anyone until we get home from the office in the evening. Even then dialogue is becoming challenging. When I get home, my daughter’s world revolves around her iPhone and my son is on his iPad. They don’t even know I AM home.

Sure, using technology is easier for all of us, but total reliance and overuse can be the road to total self-absorption, selfishness and reduced opportunities of building REAL relationships. Do yourself a favor. Pick up the phone, go and talk to someone, take some risks. Who knows, you may discover fun again!