The Tesla car wreck (and 5 other ways technology might backfire on us)

Imagine if we lived in a world where we didn’t have plumbing or modern medicine.

Early medicine from the Egyptians and plumbing from the Indus River Valley were technological advancements that improved over time, ultimately making our lives better in how we live today.

In fact, some of the earliest technological advancements – farming and writing –  revolutionized everything about the human species.

Yet, nowadays, we still think of technology as things that make our lives better or easier but involving computers, cell phones, and the internet… not something simple like early writing. 

In many ways, the advancement of technology has been astonishing, but what happens when technology works against you? Today, we will explore several ways how technology might work against you as it relates to work. 

The 6 ways future technology may work against you:

1. Riskier commutes

It is one thing to drive when you’re a little tired, but it is an entirely new ballgame when you are flat out sleeping behind the wheel. Two men recently died in Texas after the Tesla they weren’t driving – it was driving itself – flew off the side of the road, hit a tree, and burst into flames. 

With the introduction of self-driving cars, some commuters are relying on autopilot mode even when it is not 100% guaranteed to work. One Tesla owner was charged with sleeping behind the wheel in Canada, and after the deadly Tesla crash in Texas, policymakers are racing to make sure more lives are not put in danger. 

Distracted driving due to cellphones is a large enough problem you face on the way to work, and autonomous driving isn’t proven to be fully functional. Be aware during your daily commute! 

2. Information leakage

When you apply for a job and get hired, a lot of personal information is required. Your personal information is important, from your social security number to your bank’s routing number and other personal data. 

We have all heard of large data breaches at the hands of hackers, be it the 2013 Yahoo attack or the 500 million who were impacted by the Marriott International breach; however, what happens when your work information is stolen?

Most companies have systems set up to protect your private information, but this doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Storing your information on personal devices you control is one thing, but having your data stolen from your employer is another issue technological advancements might present!

3. Your posture, weight & sedentary lifestyle

As more companies move to work from home options and employees confined to laptops behind a desk, the ability to work from home might be a blessing – but your neck, waistline, and health might think otherwise. 

From “Tech Neck” to a more sedentary lifestyle in which you’re sitting more, technology has its negatives as far as your physical body is concerned. The added pressure to your neck from looking down and crouched over a keyboard is a large growing concern in the medical field. 

Obesity and sedentary lifestyles contribute to countless health issues – look at the link between obesity and Covid. While some of this is within our control, many of these health issues brought about by technology stem from the work environment, which is centered around sitting behind computers.

4. Misinformation 

Your friend posting something on social media clearly not true is one thing, but entire shifts in thinking due to misinformation are another. 

Misinformation spread is one of the biggest issues with social media and technology, and while you might not think it can rear its ugly head at work – you are sadly mistaken. Unfortunately, misinformation can cause: 

  • Issues with coworkers
  • Friction between you and your superiors
  • Unneeded mental stress

Stephanie Fierman, a partner at Futureproof Strategies, said, “I believe technology will meaningfully accelerate social and civic innovation.” However, she goes on to say in a recent interview that, “But as long as very large websites enable false information, such social and civic innovators will be shadowboxing with people, governments, organizations purposely countering truthful content with lies.”

How can this not trickle into work policies, training, and workspace in general?

5. The inability to keep up

The human brain can’t keep up with all the changes. We are hardwired and preprogrammed one way, but technology is moving at light speed with advancements.  Where society is slow to move, tech is lightyears ahead. 

While this might seem more like a societal issue, it can impact the workplace as well. When asked about technology and his job, one Virginia teacher put it this way:

“In 2016 we rolled out a new app system, grading policy, and online class platform. By the time we got everything transferred over and understood how it all worked – our school district went to all new platforms. We spend more time learning new technology than teaching sometimes, and the kids feel the same way too.”

Simply Put – change is good, but the rate of change matters. 

“There is a gap between the rate at which technology develops and the rate at which society develops. We need to take care not to fall into that gap.” – Louisa Heinrich.

6. Your people skills

This one might be overlooked, but people skills matter in the workplace… and life.

With the infusion of technology and apps, the younger generations are entering the workplace with fewer people skills than ever before. 

People skills aren’t just things like being friendly or holding a conversation; necessary traits to succeed at work include skills like:

  • Conflict resolution
  • Determination and follow-through
  • Flexibility 
  • The ability to compromise and work with others
  • Negotiation skills 

The over-reliance on technology to solve problems has led to the skills being listed above harder to come by in the workplace.

What was once a given – the ability to communicate effectively – is taught and trained in the corporate setting!