We live in incredible times. It would be difficult to explain to someone even fifty years ago the ways in which technology would come to completely restructure almost every aspect of our society. While the uses and applications of technology are generally positive, there are ways in which we can ensure that the power of technology is used to increase our quality of life rather than detract from it.
We can use technology to connect rather than disconnect from those around us. We’ve all seen that table of friends in a restaurant completely silent, each engrossed in a world on their smartphone. Going out to eat with friends used to be a social activity, now it has become punctuated by vibrations and pings, taking us away from the people sitting in front of us. Technology doesn’t have to do this—it can create bonds between us and our distant loved ones. Try using messaging apps to connect with those who live far away. When you go out for a meal with friends at a restaurant, create a game stacking all of your phones together. The first one who reaches for theirs has to pick up the tab. Technology strengthens bonds between us, and by taking a rest from it to be present in the moment with loved ones, we’re able to appreciate it even more when we aren’t.
Technology also allows us to learn about other cultures. In times past it was impossible to learn about the exciting and different ways other cultures live without going there and experiencing them directly. Now, we are able to watch videos, read stories and even listen to radio programs from all over the world. Learning about other cultures allows us to tap into the shared humanity, which we are all a part of. For other ways to learn about other cultures, try taking a class like Capoeira, available in Austin, and experience for yourself the Brazilian-style form of movement.
Using technology to improve our lives can also take the form learning new perspectives on issues we care about. The more informed we are about differing views than our own, the more we can understand our own opinions and their motivations. The more we understand ourselves, the higher quality of life we will enjoy.