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  • Foto van schrijverKristian Esser

Slow Tech

I focus on Digital Collaboration and help companies to understand its advantages and to develop new collaboration processes. In all my projects, there is one aspect that keeps zooming around. Time

Time is essential to our collaboration and impacts us, especially when adding the digital dimension. Therefore, I want to share my thoughts on this aspect.

Humanity has long lived by the rhythms of biological time, with each day, month, and year repeating with a comforting constancy. Our survival has depended on this regularity, and it is an integral part of what it means to be human. We are inextricably linked to nature and the seasons that shape it.

Technology, on the other hand, operates in a very different realm of time. It follows a set of laws that demand it become faster and more efficient each year. This instantly reflects our competitive instincts as we strive to create tools to help us survive and thrive in an ever-changing world. This has been the case since the earliest days of human history when we had to run faster than predators to stay alive.

As technology has evolved, it has developed a new sense of time wholly separate from the biological rhythms that govern our lives. It has become a thinking machine, a constant companion that is becoming increasingly intelligent. We now rely on technology to help us with everything from simple calculations to complex decision-making.

While early technologies like stone tools and arrows were relatively simple and didn't take up much mental space, modern technology has become much more complex. As a result, it can influence our thoughts and decisions in profound ways. We are now closer to technology than ever before; it often feels alive and interacts with us daily.

But as we integrate technology more deeply into our lives, it is crucial to consider how it interacts with our sense of time. Humans need time to reflect and process information to reach the correct conclusions. This is equally valid for artificial intelligence, but our process times differ.

As we continue to evolve alongside our machines, it is becoming increasingly clear that we must establish a symbiotic relationship with them. As a result, we must consider how we design and regulate technology, particularly when it directly impacts our lives. For example, it may be necessary to establish a biological time regulation for technology to ensure it operates at a mutually agreed upon and defined pace.

While this regulation may not be necessary in all cases, such as when AI is processing data to prevent a disaster, it becomes critical when technology takes up mental space and interferes with our ability to reflect and process information. The goal should not be to create more efficient machines but to make us smarter and more effective in our interactions with them.

In fact, chatbots like Eliza, the first created in 1965 by Joseph Weizenbaum at MIT, have evolved into sophisticated, real-time type-thinking machines. But is this the right direction for technology? We must continue to ask ourselves this question as we move forward in this brave new world of technology and artificial intelligence.

What is your thought about slow tech? Does it resonate with you, and if it does, do you have a nice example you want to share with us? You can do so by reacting to the post in Local Minds.


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