By N.K.A. Ballal, Retd. Sr. Vice-President, ITDC
An interesting story on my WhatsApp:
I had spent an hour in the bank with my dad, as he had to transfer some money. I could not resist myself and asked dad, why don’t we activate your internet banking?
Why would I do that ? he asked me.
Well, then you won’t have to spend an hour here for things like transfer. You can even do your shopping online. Everything will be so easy.
I was excited trying to initiate him to the world of net banking.
Yes, yes, do you know dad, nowadays even grocery and vegetables could also be delivered at your doorstep.
His answer left me speechless. He said, “Since I entered the bank today, I have met four of my friends. I chatted a while with the staff who know me well enough by now.” You very well know I am alone. This is the company I need. I like to get ready and come to the bank. I have enough time, it is the physical touch I need.
Two years back, I got sick. The store owner with whom I buy fruits, came to see me and sat by my side and brought some fruits too. When your mom fell down few days back on her morning walks, our local grocer saw her and immediately got his car to rush her home as he knows where we live.
Would I have that human touch if I buy everything online? Why would I want everything delivered to me and force me to interact with just my computer? I like to know the person I am dealing with and not just the seller; it creates bond and relationships. My son, technology is not life, do spend some time with people and less with devices.
The above story is a problem faced by many seniors. My daughter, who is a banker, has asked me the same question many times. It is a fact that I also go to the bank just to talk with some old staff there. Technology is slowly but steadily taking over all the basic functions in our lives. So much so our brains just stop working and we become dependent on these machines.
Once I had gone to a grocer and was appalled when he used his calculator to multiply 10×5 !
Being a hotelier, I have seen the evolution from a huge epabx to the current smart phones. From the black and white tv to the current led. For years “Hum Log” and “Chitrahaar” was the standard fare.
Contrary to what Narayana Murthy thinks, artificial intelligence is slowly but steadily increasing its foothold all over. Robots are slowly replacing humans in many a factory assembly lines. Taxi firms are talking about having a driver-less taxi in place shortly. What would be the net result? Huge unemployment. We used to watch movies wherein machines rule this planet and used to laugh over it but some decades from now this may become a reality.
In the US schools, they use laptops for doing home work and exams after 6th standard. What is the net result? Atrocious hand writing. Every kid wants a smart phone and they are always busy playing some game or other in their phones or laptops. It has come to such a stage husband and wives converse on WhatsApp sitting in the same home but different rooms. You just have to travel in a busy Metro in Singapore. Pin drop silence. Everybody, from 5 to 60, busy with their own devices.
Conversations between people have died down and in a decade or two will be dead. People have forgotten to laugh aloud. It is also considered bad manners! So next time you want to laugh aloud, go and join a laughing club. Technology is fine and should be used but not at the cost of taking over our lives 3g, 4g and now 5g. You buy an electronic equipment, it becomes obsolete in just 6 months!
A quote from David Wolfe: “15 years ago, the internet was an escape from the real world. Now, the real world is an escape from internet.” Internet has now taken over our lives. Can one visualise a life without a smart phone? A distinctive balance is necessary. Is technology everything in life?