Does technology mean “Dehumanization”?

Dehumanization means “stripping off” others of their human qualities and also reflecting the same behavior oneself. Human qualities of love, care, empathy or sympathy are fast depleting. We have forgotten to be “humane”. For instance, when we hear an unfortunate incident or a mishap, the most common placed reaction is either sending that person a text expressing condolences or writing about the same on various social networking platforms. The human contact is missing.

Most of us resort to various emoticons or ‘emojis’ as they are known as; human emotions like love, anger, hatred, disgust etc. sent virtually are going viral amongst the youth.

Computer, the greatest boon of technology had started as mere means of processing and calculating but soon started creeping into our personal lives and slowly dominating it. Next came the internet which revolutionized the digital world.

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Now how does this ‘dehumanization’ occur? Most of the time, we vent out our pent up frustrations, irritations (may be with an individual or an event) in the form of offensive words meant for another person. This is mainly to tarnish the person’s image in an open forum .This actually denies the recipient of human qualities. We fail to show empathy to others and very often this gets replicated amongst our children or the youth. The GenY find it cool to use abusive language or post some undesirable pictures to get applause from their peers.

Cyber bullying is one of the most horrendous and shameful way of defaming or dehumanizing someone. There have been numerous cases of teen suicide in various countries. Here dehumanization occurs through imagery, mainly obscene content/photographs/comments are posted on someone’s social networking page. Cyber stalking is also the other form of harassing and demeaning individuals.

So to some extent technology does deprive us of our basic human qualities. Computer does tend a robotic tendency in us. We have adapted to a mechanized style of behaving. For instance, when we have to reply to a text, we do not convey our message in a complete sentence; it’s mostly in monosyllables. This is condemned by our elders or previous generation as they feel lacks of human connect in this. Even when we return from work, we hardly talk to our near and dear ones.

Dehumanization need not necessarily mean defaming and humiliating others, it also implies how computerization is making us turn into robots. Our activities have become robotic. We are losing originality and spontaneity. All our actions and reactions seem to be programmed. This in turn is making us give birth to or train our next generation into robots again.

They try to replicate their elders’ behavior when faced with stereotypical/predictable situations. They cannot show any sort of spontaneous behavior. Now it would be wrong to term them as ill-mannered because, this is what they are being trained into. Computerization is making them more active in the digital world than the real.

One more example that should be quoted here is the prevalence of online studies/projects/classes than classroom training. Students and professionals are finding virtual training sessions more useful than classroom ones because they are able to attend these as per their convenience and these are not location specific. However, undeniably, the efficacy of classroom sessions is much greater than virtual ones.

Thus technology is something that one cannot do without. Having said that, it is significant to use it in moderation.

One has to be techno-smart and not techno-addict; we should try and meet people, talk to them, be empathetic and hear them rather than chat online. We should understand that ‘technology is necessary and not a necessity’. When we understand this it would help in re-humanization and not dehumanization.

About the Author

Joyadrita Raghavendran

Joyadrita completed her Masters in English Literature from Calcutta University. After 6 year long stint in the corporate world she chose to become a full time mom to her lovely daughter, Anshika Raghavendran. When she is not writing, she is busy cooking or spending valuable time with her favourites.

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