Nadim Khoury: A Blessing or a Curse?
The most important question presenting itself to us, as this evolution continues to transform the world at an unprecedented pace, is not about what technology can do for us, rather what we can do to make it worth our while.
When was the last time you used pen and paper to write an essay? Or a notebook to manage your appointments? Do you even remember the last time you sent a postcard?
These questions might sound funny, rhetorical, painful or alarming depending on which generation you belong to, what part of the world you live in, or what your perception of technology is, but let’s face it, right this very moment you are probably reading these words on a digital screen and scrolling rather than flipping. Most probably you haven’t visited a library or had a friend tap you on the shoulder, hand you a newspaper and say “Hey, here’s some food for thought, check it out”. You are here because you clicked on a link or decided to check out a specific blog or social media feed.
There’s no denying that digital communication and information technology have not only transformed the way we experience reality, but how we do everything under the sun. Technology has made many things one click, finger-touch or button press away. Feeling hungry but too lazy to cook? Fire up your favourite food delivery app on your smartphone. Missed the latest episode of your favourite series? No worries, your interactive television service has recorded the whole show, cut out commercial breaks, and is waiting for you to press play.
You’re probably so used to technology now that you can’t remember how you used to handle your professional life and business communication the old fashioned way. If you’re a millennial, you may have no idea what the old fashioned way was. It is not an exaggeration to say that today, many businessmen and entrepreneurs run their companies entirely from the comfort of their pockets. By that I mean their smartphone. You know, smartphones. Those palmsized devices that have managed to replace your TV, radio, VCR, PC, laptop, telephone, fax, flashlight, compass, calculator and notebook. From booking a flight, arranging a ride and handling appointments, to investing in stocks, transferring funds and closing deals. All it takes is your fingertip magic.
The two-word summary? Technology is changing culture.
But there’s another edge to the sword. Another face to the coin. Technology has made it too easy and too instantaneous to communicate digitally. Many of us spend months talking to friends, acquaintances and associates without parting our lips. When we do part our lips, we usually don’t see the person on the other end of the call, and when we do we see them it’s via Skype. We can’t shake their hands or share a warm cup of coffee.
What we need to be consciously aware of at this moment in time is that this is only the beginning. The internet is 25 years young and smartphones are far younger still. Yet today, technologies that ushered in this digital revolution can design, print – yes print – a pair of sneakers, a supercar, an entire house or a lethal machine gun. Thanks to 3D printing, factories as we know them today could soon be a thing of the past.
Micro-outsourcing – only made possible in a digitally-connected world – is changing the concept of jobs and has the power to transform economies. The list of possibilities is endless. So too are the pros and cons of technology.
But the most important question presenting itself to us, as this evolution continues to transform the world at an unprecedented pace, is not about what technology can do for us, rather what we can do to make it worth our while.
How can we ensure that technology is used for the greater good? How can we ensure that technology makes advertising smarter, more engaging, and more creative? How too do we rise to the challenge of bridging the gap between creativity and technology? Because, after all, technology must be creative in order to engage better with consumers, whilst creativity needs to be innovative in order to resonate with its audience.