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Amanda Slavin

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Robots Can Help You Be More Human

Posted: 08/15/2012 12:15 pm

"Please prove you are not a robot."

How many times have you seen this as you try to squint your eyes and figure out "is that a t or a q?" typing in some random set of letters to prove you are a human to be granted access to sign into your bank account, Gmail account, etc.? Our entire lives are inundated with machines. Just recently, a friend and mentor, Ashley Bekton, who is a one woman show and a huge supporter of mine, commented on my "detox from technology" article. She mentioned to me that it was almost like we were living in the matrix, rushing through meals so we can get back to our computers, sitting across from the people we love, only to be looking at our texts the whole time. We all seem to blame technology for our issues, when maybe we should start recognizing that we are the ones that have lost the control; it's not technology's fault it's our own!

When I was in high school, my friends would jokingly call me "a machine." I have two dimples on my back and they said they could see me literally plugging myself in at night, which is the only way they found it humanly possible that I remembered everyone's names in the hall, their favorite color and who they were crushing on that year. My mom told me I was a walking yearbook, (this was pre-Facebook) back in the "old days." The past few months, I have been doing all that I can to find balance in my life and to become "more human." When I am working, my "machine-like behavior" is full forced. I will be on the phone, typing three emails, have 15 windows open, making sure to keep my blackberry and iPhone close by and always take a break to put on lip-gloss. Is this normal? Probably not, but it is an adrenaline rush to fully engulf yourself in the moment and use technology to support you and your initiatives.

Here is the main difference I made in my life: While I do use these machines to help support me work more efficiently, I cut myself off from them as well to maintain balance within myself. It takes effort to remove yourself from these distractions but we aren't robots and need to have some type of human willpower to make this choice.

I am very lucky to have many genius friends in the tech space who are using tech to enhance our world in every sector and I have learned so much about how tech can play such an enriching part of our lives, if we don't abuse it. I recently met a team of young visionaries in Downtown Vegas who are creating robots. Romotive is one of the startups Tony Hsieh has brought to the downtown Vegas community and as the founder of Romotive showed me new models, taught me how to control the little robot with my iPhone, and then sold me one with the use of a square, I was blown away by this Jetsons-like experience.

Romotive enhanced the way I feel about the power of technology. They have created a user friendly, accessible, reasonably priced robot that can be controlled by an item most of us already own, (an iPhone). While I can see why people would feel uncomfortable with the very sci-fi idea of "robots replacing humans," I think we should start to shift our thinking. These visionaries want a robot in every home and have ideas to use robots to bring people closer together, using technology to support relationships and open new doors of opportunities.

It's easy to blame Facebook for being so addicting or a blackberry for being so consuming, but maybe we should start to point the blame to ourselves. We have the power to work with technology, not let it work for us. When we realize this, we will recognize that by using technology when we need to, we can be more efficient as working individuals and get more done during our days, which will allow for us to have more time to just be human.

 

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