In the modern world of work and play, technology bombards our interactions and environments. With constant stimulation from the gadgets in our pockets to the navigation in our cars, maintaining a critical eye is crucial to avoiding frivolous usage and disengagement from human-to-human interactions.
If curated appropriately, the use of technology can minimize our time and attention given to tools and foster human connectivity in a purposeful manner.
Transparent technology—seamlessly integrated solutions that fuel smartphones, apps, or search algorithms—are inextricably embedded behind the scenes of our daily routines. These tools simplify processes and assist in the management of complexity at work and at home. We encounter devices and applications that rely on transparent tech to function—from the thermostats in our homes to credit cards in our wallets, and stoplights outside our offices.
At work, transparent technology is the search or data management platform that scours millions of files and performs tedious number-crunching processes. Beyond work, transparent technology is the vast network of algorithms identifying new activities to enjoy or interests to share. Both Google and LinkedIn regularly update their algorithms, allowing us to reap the benefits of personalized ads, news feed enhancements, and relevant network updates.
How can we take a more critical approach to the technology we use to maximize its usefulness and create space for valuable human-to-human connections? Professionally, transparent technology translates to less time spent staring at a computer screen or mobile device and more time connecting with the people around us. A device that can process data or automate research allows employees the freedom to collaborate and expand their sphere of influence—perhaps uncovering new avenues for development or innovation. Socially, transparent technology bridges the gap between people, thus strengthening relationships and encouraging interpersonal growth.
The root value of transparent technology lies in its ability to facilitate and enhance, not replace, human connectivity. Selectivity toward the solutions we utilize is an imperative to ensure the tools we use serve as the means to a meaningful end.