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How to Best Manage the Effects of Technology on Our Lives

The first two decades of the 21st century has brought upon all of us an array of very perplexed issues and problems which are, by their own nature, very difficult to manage and resolve to any level of satisfaction:

  1. Continuing world financial crises;
  2. New technical and scientific developments;
  3. Starvation of over 1 billion people across several continents;
  4. Increased religious, ideological and technology-based terrorism;
  5. New corporate insider and cyber threats;
  6. Organized crime operations across many countries;
  7. Parallel and informal economies with very few government controls;
  8. Ecological disasters along with deforestation and pollution;
  9. Increasing regional wars and upheavals;
  10. New corporate governance, compliance, accountability and reporting regimes, etc.

As Richard Chandler has said1 ‘Societies are not static. They change over time. The most obvious changes result from economic and social processes that are constantly in flux’. All these impact our lifestyle and mode of operation.

The new lifestyle (modus vivendi, in the sociological vernacular) enforces upon all of us a new set of operational factors and transactional characteristics in our societal and human interactions, a new socio-economic operating mode (modus operandi in the sociological vernacular). This set of social interactions is permeated and driven by several socio-technical factors and functional characteristics, such as:

  1. Globalization of markets,
  2. Liberalization of markets,
  3. Services economy,
  4. Lack of governance controls in international fiscal and financial markets, transactions and activities2,
  5. Very fast developments in the fields of Information Technology, Communications, Biology, Medicine and Management,
  6. Information plurality, diffusion and potential information over-loading, as well as the increased role of knowledge on a global scale3,
  7. Increase of the leverage and focus on the needs of customers, the so-called customer-focus approach in all dealings,
  8. New risks, developments and trends4 on a global scale,
  9. Differentiation of the needs and increase of the expectations of better provision of services to citizens, the so-called citizen-based service approach in all public-sector exchanges and transactions, and
  10. Reduction and de-strengthening of the traditional government model of a large central organization to a model of organization based on a de-centralized approach.

The question is what drives and permeates all these? My answer is technology.

What is now so awful and horrible in our society is that technology has destroyed everything, which people ever considered sacred.

All of us have voluntarily moved to an acceptance of technology as something sacred and trusted, no matter what.

That is really awful. Let’s remember that in the past, the sacred things we all cherished, regardless of out religious or cultural background, always derived from nature.

Currently, nature has been completely desecrated and we consider technology as something sacred.

One of the illusions which most mass media and modern marketing has put across to people all over the world, today, is to get you to believe that technology gives you more freedom.

More freedom to do what for which purpose?

Free to eat nice things. That’s true, if you have money, that is. Free to buy a car so that you can travel. You can go all the way to the other side of the world. So you see: technology brings freedom to you and your family. You can acquire knowledge in the whole world. That’s great and fantastic. So a world of freedom is open to you by technology.

Technology has not found answers to our most fundamental issues in our life.

Where do we come from?

What is the point of living?

The philosophy of freedom brought by technology disregards all these questions.

It has destroyed the social structures and also the whole system of the philosophy of our life, our concepts of modern society, Divinity, and the meaning of our existence in a universe.

Technology is omnipresent and in fact a key determinant of economic and social growth. There is, however, no broad understanding of what in its fullest consequence is meant by the term technology, and by its practical manifestation in the typical business enterprise and our modern society and cultures.

Away from the designing engineer and supporting services, there is no understanding of what the essence of technology is, and how it should be understood from a lifecycle perspective, i.e. from conception to retirement, abandonment and ultimate deconstruction. This shortcoming is known to have led to a manifest lack of technological literacy, from schools, to universities, across societies, and also in boardrooms. It also leads to poor technology decisions, with a major impact upon sustainability.

An immediate outflow of this shortcoming is that Information and Communication Technologies (ICT’s) are typically treated as the full manifestation of technology in the typical private company or public organization.

But, even if ICT is a central component of many technologies thanks to increasing convergence, directors and corporate managers should understand that sustainable technology constitutes a wider reality than recording the carbon footprint or impact of the ubiquitous PC network, web enabled services or large corporate data center.

Technology incorporated in practical solutions does not lead or add to more human wisdom.

 Technology also obliges us to live more and more quickly and to no longer think about the things that matter.

Technology replaces inner reflection by reflex. Reflection means that, after you have undergone an experience, you think about that experience.

In the case of a reflex you know immediately what you must do in a certain situation, without any thinking.

Everything depends on reflexes. The only thing technology requires you to do, is: Don’t think about it. Use your reflexes.

Because of its efficiency technology leads to more power, but also to more dangers.

For efficiency is everything. All else is peripheral.

If you do not use power wisely you will end up doing more harm than good.

Because of our technology, we now have a world in which the situation of mankind has totally changed.

So, what do we do about controlling technology to our benefit?

Man is a social animal. He has learnt from very old times to live in communities and groups with other people. His family, however, is the group that provides a safe life full of love and security. Family is very important part of our everyday life. It helps us in improving our personality. It also helps us in shaping our life. It teaches us the value of love, affection, care, truthfulness and self-confidence and provides us tools and suggestions which are necessary to get success in life.

Family is a place where you can be yourself. It is a place where you are accepted for what you are. This is where you are completely tension free and everyone is there to help you. Family encourages you when you are surrounded by problems. It helps you survive through tough times and bring joy and happiness into life.

Decency and dignity are very important in the activities of daily life. They help us make strong relationships and bonds with others and make us come across as a very gentle, intelligent and likable person. We all love to be in a company of such a person. Family helps bring decency and dignity into our life which is necessary to lead a happy and balanced life.

One of the most important aims of our life is to build a successful and highly rewarding career. Our families help us in creating a strong future. It gives us valuable suggestion about different career prospective. It not only guides us in choosing the best but also financially helps us to cover the expenses of education. Thus it helps us in making a good future.

Today, most people, including senior and middle managers and professionals, don’t realize the importance of family. They prefer to spend most of their time with their friends. But when they are surrounded by problems, it was their family that helped them get rid of problems. At the time, when even our best friends refuse to help us, it was our family that came to help us. So it is very important for each and every individual to give importance to their families above anything else and enjoy spending time with family members.

It is very difficult, if not impossible, for anyone, to live happily, survive and prosper without the support and long-term bonds of a family. Also parents are considered to be the most valuable thing for all human beings. For this exact reason we have an obligation to always respect, honor, support and love them.

Finally it is also our divine duty and moral (and legal) responsibility to also support, love, care, educate, train and provide for our children, to the best of our abilities, for the very simple reason that we brought them to this world.

As the ancient Greek thinkers have said thousands of years ago:

  1. ‘Every person must honor his (or her) parents’ (Aeschylus);
  2. ‘Family is the cell of life’ (Aristotle);
  3. ‘The person who does not take care of his (or her) parents is an enemy of both people and Gods’ (Demosthenes);
  4. ‘There are three rules to be followed by anyone who wants to be right: To love his (or her) parents, to love other human beings and to love what is just’ (Euripides);
  5. ‘We should behave towards our parents the same way we would want our children to behave towards us’ (Isocrates);
  6. ‘Correct education is one therapeutic way for our soul’ (Plato);
  7. ‘There are three bases that contribute to a child’s good upbringing: Nature, education and exercise’ (Plutarch); and
  8. ‘Education comprises the festive activities of the soul, as it includes many games, events and activities that support and improve our souls’ (Socrates).

The meaning of this analysis for all people is to counterbalance the sacredness of technology in our society with caring for our family and business associates more while employing the following principles:

  • Principle 1: If you are a business manager, consider the fact that families are most important in the life of your own as well as for your employees and associates.
  • Principle 2: As a manager or parent or spouse, be more considerate when you see that your inordinate demands may, many times, conflict with your family life or the life of your subordinates and associates.
  • Principle 3: Seek a more truthful and harmonious balance between your thoughts (what your mind instructs you to be done in absolute terms) and expectations (what is likely to be done by you or others).

John Kyriazoglou’s publication Auditing and Improving Business Performance is available at Flevy here.

1. See page 3, Chandler, Richard (2012): ‘Galileo Report-The World in 2010’, www.richardchandler.com)
2. See: ‘ACFE 2010 Global Fraud Study’, available at: http://www.acfe.com/rttn.aspx,
3. See: ‘The Diplomacy of Knowledge’ by David Johnston, Governor-General of Canada, Globe and Mail Newspaper, Feb. 17, 2012
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/the-diplomacy-of-knowledge/article2341017/
4. See: ‘Galileo Report-The World in 2030’, Jan. 2012, at: www.richardchandler.com, and ‘Global Risks, 2011-Sixth Edition’, World Economic Forum, January 2011, http://www.weforum.org/)

About John Kyriazoglou

John Kyriazoglou, CICA, B.A(Hon), is an International Business Thinker, IT and Management Consultant with over 35 years global experience and author of several books available at: www.itgovernance.co.uk and Amazon. John is also a Special Volunteer Advisor to the President of Diazoma: Ancient Greek Theaters Cultural Society, Editor-in-Chief for the Internal Controls Magazine, and Member of the Board of Directors of Voices of Hellenism Literary Society. You can find John here on LinkedIn.

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