Losing Our Senses

I heard a fabulous interview with a mini hero of mine this week. James May was on the Richard Bacon Show talking about his new BBC series – Manlab.

Still being based in the US means I haven’t seen Manlab yet – don’t pay the licence fee, so can’t get iPlayer and won’t buy a Slingbox, but James was discussing the premise of the programme being to show the lost skills of what used to mean, being a man.

He discussed hanging wallpaper, cleaning spark plugs and mixing concrete – (all of which I have done I’m proud to say) as being basic skills that are now in danger of being lost due to a computer dependent generation. Why put up a shelf yourself when you can call ‘a man’ to do it for you?

Without passing judgement on the lazy, good for nothing generation Y, I was more taken by a phrase that James used when describing Sat Nav.

One of the tasks he undertakes in Manlab is to navigate the English Channel armed with just charts. He made a very good remark about Sir Francis Drake having a Sat Nav aboard The Golden Hind, before saying this – “you cannot bequeath your whole life and all your senses to the machine”.

So Captian Slow sums up beautifully a feeling that I have tried to express in this blog previously. For all the technical brilliance of smartphones, tablets, apps, widgets, social media monitoring tools, etc. etc. at the end of the day they are just tools! Tools used by people – human beings. Irrational human beings with high expectations of service levels and product quality. Having a Facebook page a Twitter account and a whistles and bells CRM system means nothing if the people responsible for them think that the tools in themselves will solve all of their problems.

Human beings are the key. As Best Buy say to their Twelpforce “Be smart, be respectful, be human!”

So if you think technology alone can get you out of the social media jungle unscathed, then forget it and go home.

Do you agree?

2 thoughts on “Losing Our Senses

  1. I think ironically (and possibly very positively) all this technology is enabling people who aren’t very good communicators when they are face to face because they are shy, tongue tied or just lack social skills to build a sense of community online. It’s almost like the technology brings out a different persona. Shy people become extrovert without feeling exposed. People who never dared put a hand up in class perhaps start to share their knowledge via wiki.

    It’s true of traditional female skills too. Who knows how to sew a button these days? I got laughed at the other day that used a metaphor around preparing a joint of meat and ‘cleaning’ off all the bits you don’t want to cook. What on earth was I doing cleaning joints of meat, was the implication.

    The benefit though is it means that I provide employment for people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to earn a living – sewing the buttons etc.

    I suppose….

  2. Great point. I think that you’re right. And while my daughter can’t sew a button, my son can do it with his eyes closed having taken the ‘sewing’ option at school!

    But businesses have been in danger of becoming anesthetised to humans by seeing technology as a cure all.

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