Today I had a privilege to ask Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, a few questions about the impact of technology on human behaviour and his own digital routine.
You'd think that the person managing the largest global tech company should know a thing or two about balanced use of technology. But does he really?
“We are addicted”, Schmidt says. "We are going through a cycle, having invented a new toy - smartphone". Using it increases our serotonine level and builds addiction. Think what happens to you if you forget your phone for a day! Yet, Schmidt isn't very upset about it. He believes that technology adds more to our lives and takes away from it, "and each phone has a switch off button".
A balanced lifestyle
Switching off is one of two Eric's personal recipes to have a more balanced digital lifestyle.
He switches off his phone for 90 minutes daily when he has dinner. He admits though that sometimes doesn’t manage to do so, and even sometimes when he does, he still feels anxious. He uses both an iphone and an android to compare the two (and of course promotes android as having a bigger screen), and switches off both.
He adds that according to the research, young users who are online all day switch their phones at night.
His second recipe is to call people more. He notices however is that people stopped answering his calls or returning them, and send messages or emails instead (remember, we are talking about the Google’s chairman!). His proposal is simple - when people call you, call them back! If they email you, email them back. This is something he stresses out a lot in his own communication.
What's the future?
According to Schmidt, soon your smartphone will be making suggestions about your lifestyle - for instance, telling you that you should really not go to the Italian restaurant, because the data shows you don’t feel well when you eat there.
People and computers, according to Schmidt, will be splitting more and more, specializing at what they are good at: people are good at being emotional, creative, charismatic, and asking questions. Computers are good at remembering things and answering questions, thus keeping a good balance. Machines, for instance, will never replace teachers in the classrooms, as the latter require charisma, creativity and intuition.
What's your take on that?
Will the future be as bright as described by Schmidt or do you envision any difficulties with it?