Can Technology Make Us Better People? Hopefully, Yes. 

Before one of our consultants in Indonesia left the team, she sent me a long, heartfelt letter via e-mail that really touched me.

Though we never got to meet face-to-face, only interacting through emails and virtual meetings, here she was, saying that it was amazing to have worked together. I was once again amazed how technology has made this all possible – to connect with someone miles away: just like how I can chat with cousins & friends working outside the Philippines, or update myself with an acquaintance I met during one of my travels abroad.

Of course, it’s not all sunshine and butterflies: technology can also be used in a bad way, like invading people’s privacy
(much like the stuff of Orwell’s nightmares.)  And I think it’s not farfetched to assume we’ll soon create more powerful weapons against other, or develop diseases to wipe out our species. 

I think, as technology becomes closely integrated to our daily lives, the more pressing thought which I feel we need to address is:  how can we use technology to make us better people?

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction,” Einstein once said. And I think one of these opposite directions Einstein was referring to is learning how we are truly part of a larger whole:  instead of insulating ourselves in our small circles – whether those are our immediate families, friends, neighbors, fellow citizens – we could further understand how technology can assist us with connecting to more people (and to other species as well), and valuing the crucial roles each of us play in the world and the universe. 

With scientific breakthroughs blurring the lines between the differences we thought once existed, I’m optimistic that we’ll eventually come to a more benevolent, efficient, and sustainable circle – a circle that transcends our species’ mortal limitations. I’d like to believe that this is the next step to our species’ evolution – a coming to terms with our responsibility to the greater whole.

Step by step, piece by piece: incidents like my interaction with our Indonesian consultant make me believe that with the right intention, we can steer technology towards creating a better world.

(Sorry if I sound like I’m being a tad bit pollyannish, but I think believing will slowly lead us to realizing that dream.)

By Evan Tan

Evan Tan is a writer & communications professional based in Manila, Philippines.

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