will technology really exceed our humanity?

by mariabravo on February 1, 2016 - 3:05pm

Usually when I read the news I do it to get some information about the world in general. My reading is quite quick. I skip some subjects that I find a little boring and spend a little more time on others. It is very rare that I will read something and think about it during my day but after reading and article written by James Kirkup from The Telegraph posted on October 28 2015, I couldn't let it out of my mind. 

The article was about Google and mental health. If you live in a very far place and you have never seen a computer in your life (which is not the case because you are reading this right now) you are very familiar with Google. Doctors will work for Google life and science to study how technology can help prevent and even fix your mental health issues. They want to create apps or tools to track different aspects of your life and identify signs of mental illness that are meant to be better than a consultation with a doctor. 

At first I thought this had to be a poor article with no solid research simply because technology has always had negative comments in different areas related to mental health. I made sure I was reading something reliable, even if the Telegraph is already a source that people trust. I read about the author of the article, James Kirkup, and learned that he has worked as a journalist since 2001 and that he is the Telegraph’s executive editor. With a little research, I confirmed that the doctor named on the article is really someone who has provided a lot to the health field. Google life and science is a really big online empire which is leading a lot of research all over the world with professionals to build this technology tracking quest. All of this proves that the article is based on facts and trustable information.

I personally couldn’t agree less with this idea. There are some points that can make this interesting , such as the fact that it is very easy to keep on hand, less expensive than a consult and that younger generation will access to this type of help, but still this points are not good enough to make this something positive. We all have heard about the apps to track our daily steps, water and food intake and even give us tips to be healthier, but we are not talking about the same things. Writing down what we eat is much more simple that writing our emotions, worries or feelings. I agree that some apps are good to track health. Tracking someone’s hearth rate, sleep or glucose level to keep track of it so that a doctor can really see if the is a problem seems like a good thing but there is no way of measuring bipolarity, depression and even less schizophrenia . Plus people struggling mentally are usually confused or not motivated enough to reach a phone or really give accurate information about what they are going through. Even if they really use the tools I find it very limited and impersonal. Mental health problems are caused and treated differently for everybody, the treatment and consults are much more personal. One of the biggest problems in mental illnesses is isolation and I find that technology is already affecting face to face interaction enough as it is. 

My biggest worry is that the main reason that brought this idea is that our healthcare systems and failing so technology is the least bad option that comes up. I will never believe nor encourage that a machine will replace the work and capacity of a human. It is sad that technology will exceed our humanity. Like Libby Larsen said “The great myth of our times is that technology is communication”.