Brian Solis, futurist and principal analyst of Altimeter Group spoke to TechRepublic’s Tonya Hall and explains, “We study emerging technology … and then we explore its impact on business. We’re a research-tank and think-tank, and … we share our research around the world and help organizations know how to compete for the future.”
This is a time to talk about our relationship with technology. This has nothing to do with my work. I finished a year-long research project for a global beauty-brand that’s pretty much a household name, and they wanted to understand how social media and smartphones were affecting self-esteem, their personal definitions of beauty, and how they saw themselves in the world. After finishing that research, I walked away a changed person.
I interviewed people from 13-years-old to 61-years-old, and there’s a direct correlation between all of this stuff, and how we live life. Not just our self-esteem, but it turns out that the deeper I got, it was almost like this investigative report. The deeper I got, the more I learned about how technology was designed to be addictive and manipulative, and really the more I learned, the more I wanted to learn more.
And I walked away feeling like, “Why isn’t this being talked about? Why isn’t this research out there? Why aren’t there massive studies that are helping parents and teachers and employers and colleagues and peers and role models?” And I realized, wow, this is a time where no wonder why politics are what they are on Facebook and in social media and why there are Russian bots. It’s because it’s just all happening so fast that no one taught us to be ready. No one taught us how to use these things and how to stay true and strong throughout it, and this is a real important time that I think we have to take a step back in order to move forward.
We’re really at a crossroads between digital and humanity. I wanted to share all of the insights that I got from that research and also, more so, to just talk to real people in the audience to say, “Gosh, we’re here. We’ve all got our phones. We’re all sharing every moment of what’s happening here and before and after. Maybe it’s time that we take tech back; that we take control over tech instead of letting tech control us.”