La Voz de Galicia – May 20, 2022 →

Cristina PatoWe had spent seven hours at the airport and knew that this time around we would not be able to depart either because the storm had not subsided at the airport of destination. So we went in search of something to eat. On the restaurant’s table there was a QR code to access the menu, at the bar there was a person, and on the screen there was a menu. And because there were not too many people, I went to place my order at the bar because I supposed that the QR code was something that remained from the pandemic days, when one could not hold a menu in hand. But the person told me that the only way to order food was via the app, and that I had to pay through the app as well. And then I realized that absolutely all the interactions that I’d had throughout the day had been with machines: on the phone to change the flight that had been canceled, at the airport for the check-in of the other flights where we were on the waiting list, at the boarding gate (staring at the screen above a human being) to know if finally we had been accepted on the next flight, at the restaurant…And in all of these cases, when I asked a question of the person next to the machine, the answer was that the machine had the information, and not the person.

And it was then that I remembered a TED talk by Sherry Turkle, a psychologist and researcher of the sociology of science and technology at MIT, who in 2012 talked about the idea that we are «connected but alone,» of her theory that «we expect more from technology that from one another,» and about how that notion «changes what we are.» And I thought about how quickly we adapt to the notion that we can no longer solve anything without technology, even though we have everything around us, and about what that means about our future as a species. Today, even though we don’t want to, the machine is in the middle, and we, impotently, unlearn each day the way to navigate life.

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