Technology Doesn’t Have to Make Us Less Human

Recently, I featured the EMINENT (EMN) token — a token that would get us all started on creating kindness in the world — in an article that talks about how technology and compassion could meet. To be honest, what fascinates me about technology is not just how it makes things convenient and efficient for our daily lives, not just how it gives us so much information and immediate access to everything in the blink of an eye, but also how it could improve our humanity.

I know it seems like a paradox. Facing a computer or phone screen all day could surely make you less human, right? My mom likes to say that we are all slowly becoming less human and more robot in this day and age. But I beg to disagree. So for this one, I will list down some of my favorite apps and how their functions actually encourage, promote, and deepen our sense of humanity.

1. Seek

We’ve all probably seen movies or read books that describe a technological dystopia as a world less human, dominated by robots, androids, cyborgs and other metal stuff. No more organic or natural. Everything is machine. But what’s so interesting about Seek, an app developed by iNaturalist.org, is that it shows the very opposite side of technology.

iNaturalist.org is a virtual community of nature lovers where people share information on nature-related projects in their respective cities, post observations of animals and plants around them, and contribute to archives of scientific data. The app Seek offers the same thing, except gamified. It “encourages outdoor exploration and learning by harnessing image recognition technology” where you could earn badges as you capture photos of more species and learn cool trivia about them afterwards.

Now who’s to say technology will take us away from nature?

2. DailyArt

My mom also likes to complain that today’s generation doesn’t know how to appreciate culture the way previous generations did. The pleasure of reading is reduced to clickbait. Our passions all just revolve around video games and social media. Even our music sounds electronic. There might be truth to those statements, but again, I don’t think it’s necessarily the case.

DailyArt is a good testament. By providing a daily dose of art history, it inspires a whole new generation of prospective artists and art critics through technology. It features one classic masterpiece everyday (you can make it part of your morning routine), loads and loads of fascinating stories about painters and their paintings, and even create your own gallery of your favorite ones. Plus, you can also share them to your friends on social media.

Point is, being very invested in online participation doesn’t really have to distance us from human pursuits such as art. Sometimes, we can even improve our skills and interests through virtual means.

3. Calm

Awarded by Apple as 2017’s App of the Year, Calm offers meditation techniques for sleep, relaxation, and stress reduction. It teaches you how to be mindful and release anxiety, reflect your emotions, be in touch with your body and your senses, relax your muscles, and many other methods.

Contrary to popular belief, technology doesn’t always bombard us with excessive activity or push us into being crazy busy; sometimes it also provides us avenues for feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.

4. BeepBeep Nation

Soon to launch, the BeepBeep Nation app will offer people opportunities to get help and give help to others in need. With just one beep, you can request for whatever type of help such as getting a ride home or reading restaurant recommendations. Underneath that function, however, what BeepBeep Nation really aims to do is make the world a better place by encouraging face-to-face social interactions and a strong culture of kindness. By helping others, you get to meet new people and widen your circle of friends, or even just have a healthy, engaging conversation.

Again, who’s to say technology will keep us apart and make us less human? It might just bring us closer together.

Some apps nurture and promote human interests such as love for nature or the arts. Other apps help us towards reflection and introspection, letting us deeper into ourselves. Others can even help us build personal relationships with others, and not only on a virtual level, but face-to-face.

A lot of these apps, though only made possible through technology, surpass our preconceived ideas of a digital future. Rather than decrease our humanity, technology might even have the ability to make us feel even more human.

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Make The Most Of A Productive Morning Routine

For workaholics, sleep often becomes a thing of the past. Still, busybodies can find ways to stay healthy and remain alert, even in the early morning. But for night owls, getting up at any hour before 9 is more or less a daily struggle. Not much of a morning person myself, I find that the hours leading up to a long-awaited lunch break are dragging. Nevertheless, I’ve grown into a routine that make 7, 8, or 9 am wake-up calls a lot more bearable, and even productive.

The number one hurdle to a fulfilling morning is lack of sleep. Work may call for the occasional late night but, if you can help it, get enough sleep. Your eight hours are crucial and if it means rescheduling a much needed Netflix binge, Riverdale can wait. Granted, an extra hour or two of sleep may not ease the struggle of getting up, but you’ll thank yourself for the boost of energy later.

While others may indulge in an early-morning jog, let’s face it — not everyone can bear with the wrath of exercise. Instead, try morning stretches. Do a handful of push-ups or jumping jacks immediately after getting out of bed. It may be lazy, but at least it’ll keep you from wanting to jump right back under the covers. That, and you’ll get your blood running.

When rising early, thoughts of reuniting with one’s beloved mattress often trump daydreaming about breakfast. Regardless, remember to eat right. While the first meal of the day doesn’t have to be a gourmet masterpiece, it should at least be good for you. Go with a dish that is both healthy and easy to prepare. Sound options are eggs, oatmeal, fruits, and nuts. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a cup of coffee — but mind your caffeine intake throughout the day!

Overcoming the first workload hump isn’t the easiest task, so leave enough time to shower and hydrate. Starting your morning fresh will, more often than not, keep you energized. But, aside from your body, your mind has to feel good too. Find ways to quickly exercise your brain. Meditate. It’ll relieve the stress of being awake and keep the nerves at bay. Guided meditation may inspire you, as well as prevent any chances of dozing off.

Before getting into the grind, organize your tasks. Naturally, you’ll want to get the hardest ones out of the way — but not when your brain is booting up. Get your simple assignments over with. Not only will they wake you up, but make you feel a sense of accomplishment. Working on the heavier jobs later on will relieve the pressure of having to think about menial errands.

Not all mornings will be easy. Like with anyone else, there are good days and bad. But getting into a healthy routine will alleviate most of the moaning and groaning, and make trivial chores a lot more bearable. Take it from a self-proclaimed nocturnal being — the sun may be a bit blinding, but at least we’re not really vampires.

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How Slowing Down Can Help You Focus

In an era where most of our desires are fulfilled almost instantaneously, it is often hard for us to take a moment to reflect. We strive to achieve our goals at the bat of an eyelash. What we often forget is that slowing down allows us to be more conscious and mindful of our environment.

In our rapidly changing world, we value speed and efficiency.  However, there is something to be gained by being slow if slow can make you more present, more mindful, and more aware of other people’s perspectives.

Ever heard the phrase good things come to those who wait? Apparently, it’s true.

As a more common example today, a slow Internet connection frustrates most of us.  However, it also makes for more mindful searches and more focus and slower consumption of what they yield.

Today, there are parts of our life that emphasize the benefits of being slow, ranging from a “slow food movement” to “slow parenting” to “slow jogging” to the mindful slowing associated with a meditation.

We are always seeking ways to prevent aging–and yet we demand to accomplish things at the drop of a hat (or in this day and age, a Facebook notification). As the saying goes, think of today as a gift because, after all, it is the present.

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