The demise of human intimacy

We can wake up one day and realize technology now handles all our affairs

Turki Aldakhil

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Few days ago, my friend Nabil al-Moajil commented on the machines which people use to buy food from across the world. He voiced his hatred of this method because he wants to deal with humans and not with a still machine.

It is clear that discussions related to machines replacing humans have become dominant among technology experts and professionals who look into humans’ fate and their relationship with technology. Technology is almost leading to the disenchantment of the world.

However, it plays a significant role in managing affairs related to our daily lives. This also deserves attention as it influences education, security, healthcare and even affects fields related to thinking. Perhaps technology will one day replace humans.

In his article “The brave new world of robots and lost jobs” published in August of last year, David Ignatius wrote: “The ‘automation bomb’ could destroy 45 percent of the work activities currently performed in the United States, representing about $2 trillion in annual wages, according to a study last year by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

“We’ve seen only the beginning of this change, they warned. Currently, only 5 percent of occupations can be entirely automated, but 60 percent of occupations could soon see machines doing 30 percent or more of the work. In manufacturing, 59 percent of activities could be automated, and that includes ‘90 percent of what welders, cutters, solderers and brazers do.’ In food service and accommodations, 73 percent of the work could be performed by machines.”

Americanization is what transformed technology to its current form. Therefore, the device used by a physicist in the US has become available for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Turki Aldakhil

Metaphysics of the era

We can wake up one day and realize technology now handles all our affairs. A century ago, German Philosopher Martin Heidegger who was preoccupied with the developing technology, said technology may be the metaphysics of the era adding it will become people’s lives and their daily occupation and that their lives will revolve around it.

And now with the exceptional and drastic development in technology, the latter competes with people. Institutions and investment capitalists may not need humans to be servants of technology and a burden on it. Smart phones now influence people and control them. Sometimes they even manage one’s tasks through relevant apps. There are also apps that are programmed to monitor health or to warn of a certain threat.

Technology resulted in the “disenchantment of the world” as Max Weber puts it. Man replaced man with technology and the latter even became one’s friend and entertainer. Virtual communication became stronger than telephone exchange.

Out of control?

Things developed and reached an extent where it’s difficult for man to control the situation. Heidegger said technology is a path of challenge and competition and it may one day defeat man and backfire. He then gave an example on how weapons and the nuclear bomb were developed.

The European product imposes on you the condition of self-change in the manner which was manifest in schools and concepts but one is not granted the product without conditions. Americanization is what transformed technology to its current form. Therefore, the device used by a physicist in the US has become available for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Whatever the concept and the condemnation are, the expansion of technology and its magic have begun to change the tools of living. We will not be able to confront technology which may emerge victorious over humans and result in getting rid of man’s creative works.

A report which was circulated few days ago spoke about developing a robot that can correct language and edit. This indicates that even creative jobs which are related to the mind and not to physical activity are also threatened. This is technology with its never-ending struggles.

This article was first published in Al-Bayan on Dec. 14, 2016.
Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.