Op-Ed: Technology makes communication easier, but strips us of humanity

Paul Jonas, Editor-in-Chief

George Bernard Shaw miraculously must have predicted the future when he said the following quote.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

The man won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925, so I think it’s safe to assume he was a pretty smart guy.

Technology is amazing. It is truly remarkable what we have the power to do with a few clicks of a mouse, or a few swipes on our smartphones.

Simply put, technology has both improved our quality of life and made so many things easier, faster and more efficient.

As with all advancements, however, the negative effects can provide for a means of regression in society. One step forward, and another two steps back, if you will.

To be able to talk with a friend halfway across the country with just one tap of a finger is absolutely insane if you really think about it. To be able to send text messages and pictures with all your friends in a group chat instantaneously is mind-boggling. But when it comes to real communication, that’s the issue. Everything has become instantaneous.

Communication is an art, like anything else that is considered an art. It is considered so significant that many colleges offer it as a major.

Yet why are we still bad at it? And more importantly, does it seem like we are getting worse?

It’s so much easier to just send a text to someone rather than talk to that person. It’s so much simpler to post a passive-aggressive statement on social media than to confront that. But it is not the “right” way to communicate.

Communication is at the core of what makes us special. It is what makes us human. The ability for us to feel emotions, to be empathetic, to use our “gut feeling” in a given situation is what makes us so unique. It takes practice, patience, and it forces us to think, all things that are, admittedly a struggle for us in the present day.

The craziest thing is no matter what job, school, or situation you may find yourself in, the ability to clearly translate your feelings and thoughts in a professional and expressive manner is an essential skill. Even so, it’s not really taught in our schools or by our parents.

I’ve encountered such hardships with communication. One of the hardest things I had to do was tell a coach who recruited me for soccer that I wasn’t going to attend college there. I had to explain that I loved the school, and I could even have seen myself pursuing my future there. They had done nothing wrong, and I loved my visits there, but it was just simply not the best fit. I could have just emailed him, or sent him a text. But I owed him that call. It was the least I could do, because I would have wanted the same.

And like with every big issue, there is not a definitive reason, nor a definitive solution. The fact is that communication, true communication, is dying.

Technology is not communication. It is an illusion.

Yes we can “communicate” using it. But in the end, if we lose the ability to talk, to converse, to feel one another, we will end up losing a part of what makes us human.