A long, long time ago, way back in the 90s, I attended a seminar on the evolution of technology in our modern, high tech world. The phrase used to explain how human beings respond to our ever expanding technical world at the time was “high tech/high touch” and not, coincidentally, the name of the seminar. Supposedly, the more high tech we become, the more necessary it is that we experience high touch. The presenter, who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent, posited the idea that the more email we send (high tech), the more desirous we become to write long letters using pen and paper (high touch). The more dependent on technology we become to assist in our work, the more touch-y we would become in our personal lives.
There was life before smart stuff.
Even before the advent of smart phones, the IPad, and various other tablet conveniences, I scoffed at the idea that we (meaning I) would revert to the long-handed version of communicating via snail mail rather than the almost instantaneous gratification of email. Yes, there is something to be said for flowery, perfumed stationary, but if push comes to shove, I’m afraid I would have to say that email is pretty much here to stay. (Notice the rather long-winded and round-about way I said that? I believe that is the high tech version of high touch.) In other words, the more remote we become through technology, the more necessary it will be to connect with our fellow humans, to reach out and touch someone–and not just over the phone.
Cable was already a part of our lives in the 90s. We’d already become inured to the idea that we could stay at home to watch a movie rather than go out; date night could be accomplished with a bowl of popcorn in front of the TV, a small TV, granted, but nonetheless a TV. (I’m not even going to go there with the high tech/high touch in front of the TV. My point is inside, not outside. . . Oh, forget it!)
Now, here we are in 2013, and I believe we are decidedly more high tech than high touch. We can do almost anything remotely–and I do mean anything. It is not only possible to carry on a relationship long distance and virtually, but for some of us, it is preferable. Skype and FaceTime make it very easy to carry on a face-to-face conversation, to interact with our friends and loved ones in a very meaningful way regardless of the miles, or the rooms, that separate us. We can be on Mars (it could happen!) or in the next room and not have to suffer from high touch deprivation. High tech gives us the sense of high touch.
Life is constantly changing right along with technology, because of it and in spite of it. The ease with which we carry on our daily lives enables us to experience more free time. For some of us, that free time might be spent out and about with other humans (high touch?). For others, that free time gives us a chance to do even more fun things on the internet (more high tech? Or is that high touch with the things that bring us joy?). Technology gives me the freedom to exist in a very happy and meaningful way from within my comfy cave. I don’t feel strapped to my desk and my computer, I feel blissfully joined. I have a pretty cool life right at my fingertips. Hey, maybe that’s what she meant after all: fingers to keyboard. High touch/high tech.
Just for fun!
George Lucas and Steven Speilberg are, apparently, predicting the implosion of the movie industry. Here is the link–just in case you missed the short article at Speakeasy.
Today’s Friday! Have a great weekend and if I don’t see you until Monday, have fun seeing Man of Steel! Don’t forget to take today’s poll. And leave me a comment! I’d love to hear from you.