The Psychology of Technology Embedment in Humans: Opportunities, Threats and Preventative Measures

The Psychology of Technology Embedment in Humans: Opportunities, Threats and Preventative Measures

In recent years, there has been a revolution in the presence of technologies inside or closely associated with human beings and their immediate environment. This is sometimes labeled “Intimate technology” – though this phrase can be misleading. I would prefer to label this major shift in the human-technology interface as “technology embedment.” We might even want to dust off an old word—“propinquity”—and invest this word with the special (and diverse) relationships that now exist and will increasingly exist between humans and technology. Most importantly, there are many profound implications associated with this propinquity – which, in turn, point to the need for not only greater understanding of these implications but also the educating and training of people to more fully understand and work with this technological propinquity.

The Varieties of Embedded Technologies

What are we talking about here. These technologies range from health monitoring devices (that can sample, for instances, heart rate on a device taped to the body for a one-month period of time or the sleep monitoring devices that can now be monitored with a device that is taken home) to devices that continuously supply information to us visually while we are perceiving and navigating through the world. Human-embedded technologies range from the now universal hand-held devices that provide us with any information we need and GPS systems that guide us through the city streets to the now envisioned (but soon accessible) devices that will meet many of our emotional as well as cognitive needs (by tracking all of our decisions and preferences) (as capture in the movie: “Her”). Human embedded technologies can translate our spoken word into written word and soon might even be able to translate our thoughts into words. Our thoughts are suddenly available to our technologies and we can be assisted by an internal secretary and transcriber These technologies are serving even more importantly as life-savers (such as digitally-monitored heart values).


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About the Author

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William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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