New technologies are changing the way we live and work with a speed and scope unlike anything humanity has experienced before.
- Soon you will not be driving to work but being driven as cars will increase being automated, less pollutive as they are electric and traffic jams something of the past.
- Advances in speech technology will have us talk more and more to our digital devices and replace typing commands. Your personal AI will become your best friend, your therapist, your personal secretary and personal shopper and style consultant.
- With the Internet of Things (IoT) that will connect everything and anything, lights will switch on automatically wherever you go and off when you leave. You won’t need an employee ID card anymore to walk into your office, and at every moment of the day your location and activity, that of your partner and kids and anything connected can be monitored in real time.
So in many ways, we’re experiencing an amazing time in human history. A time where emerging technologies will provide us with new means to make life easier and contribute to making the way we work and produce anything more sustainable and cost-effective.
Like the bodies autonomous nervous system – our control system that acts mostly unconsciously and regulates essential bodily functions – technology has the potential, when it continues to become more performant, to be our control system that will help us to adapt (1) with more ease to our environment and over time even anticipate our needs (2).
With adaptability being a key component of evolution we can thus take in consideration that technology might be just part of a natural process. An evolutionary process comparable to when single-celled organisms started to collaborate and evolved into multi-cellular life forms because cells who were working together benefited more from doing so than they did from living alone (3).
On the other hand, while technology is and will continue to contribute to our adaptability and evolution, there are however some adverse effects that need to be taken into account and acted upon. Here are three that are at the forefront of my mind and which will cause additional stress when not addressed during the digital transformation:
The adverse effect on jobs:
When work processes and production of goods are increasingly being optimised and become more efficient, fewer people are needed to perform the same task. So some people will lose their job and require to learn new skills which in itself isn’t without its challenges.
Stressors are the loss of your job, financial insecurity, having to learn new skills, losing colleagues, more responsibility, increase in demands with less resources…
The effect on security:
There are many ethical aspects to be considered regarding what is done with the data that is collected as it can be used for other purposes than for our benefit.
Stressors are the misuse of your data, being manipulated, over-consumption…
The effect on health and well-being:
When more and more parts of our life are automated, we may not forget to keep stimulating the brain. The brain is just like a muscle – use it or lose it – and losing brain mass means it becomes less resilient, it has an effect on memory, creativity, productivity and behavior.
Stressors are increased stress, being more prone for illnesses or accidents, depression, burnout, losing your job because of under-performance or chronic illness…
To be continued…
As host of the Online Stress Summit I like to contribute in the coming weeks some of my thoughts, insights and experiences on this most pertinent question: Does Hi-tech cause Hi-Stress?
I will do this by posting my thoughts in a series of posts under the title “Digital transformation without Stress” where I’ll cover a wide range of ideas from my professional experience as an osteopath and body-centred stress coach but also from my research on the topic and insights from books I’ve read.
I also hope that these journaled articles are an inspiration to you to join the FREE Online Stress Summit and become a better informed human being for it. Informed and therefore wiser to thrive in a fast-changing world.