3 Tips on How to Use Tech to Do Great Things
We live in truly remarkable times when it comes to the technology that we have available to us. Only recently in living memory, portable devices that could be used to make video calls across vast distances were exclusively limited to the realm of science fiction, and Saturday morning children’s cartoons set in the distant future.
How to Use Tech to Do Great Things?
Today, mobile phones and wearable tech are ubiquitous, and there are apps and subscription-based services available to cater to any fancy or need you might have.
This new technological age we live in brings with it a vast array of opportunities, and many people are wasting no time in seizing upon those opportunities.
Just take the case of the myriad young entrepreneurs today who have set themselves up as “digital nomads”, and who spend their time travelling the world while working remotely from their computers.
But with all the different types of technology out there, and all the different ways in which those technologies can be leveraged, how can you ultimately use tech to do great things with your life?
Well, here are some ideas.
Pursue education and specialisation in how to utilise and shape the future of new technologies.
If you truly want to change the world, as well as your own life, via your interactions with technology, then why not set out on a course to become the next Elon Musk?
These days, various courses exist specifically to educate enterprising, tech-minded people in the best ways to utilise and shape the future of new technologies, with plenty of emphasis placed on choosing between the different paths for specification available in different domains.
The MS Computer Engineering program from Kettering University, for example, boasts that it is “shaping the future of automotive engineering and advanced mobility.”
There is no doubt that the tech industry is something like the “Wild West” today, at least in the sense that the rapid pace of change, along with the thriving and well-funded nature of the field, opens plenty of doors for enterprising and creative people who know what they’re doing, to change the name of the game.
The first way you can use technology to help you do something great with your life, therefore, is to join the tech revolution yourself.
Audit the tech that you allow into your life – does it offer more benefit than drawback?
The author and academic, Cal Newport, recently published a book entitled “Digital Minimalism,” in which he argued that many people have a fundamentally dysfunctional relationship to technology.
According to Newport – himself, a professor of computer science – too many people are too easily seduced by the psychologically manipulative allure of assorted technologies, and are tricked into jumping on board the bandwagon whenever a technology boasts of having “some benefit.”
The key, however, should not be to adopt any technology that has any conceivable benefit, but rather to carefully weigh the benefits against the downsides (and Newport is certain that just about every technology has its downsides), in order to utilise and depend only on those technologies that serve a real and an overwhelming benefit.
So, for example, it may be that you run a graphic design business, in which case having a particular brand of digital camera, and the latest suite of Adobe tools is a make or break factor in your ability to perform.
But, do you really need to have five active social media accounts? Newport regularly makes the case that he has none, and never has had any, and additionally is more or less inaccessible by email, and yet has managed to be very successful across multiple dimensions of his professional life.
In fact, he argues that the extra focus, clarity of mind, and attention afforded to him by his willingness to forego some of these distractions, has deepened his ability to do productive and meaningful work.
In any case, the technologies that have a real capacity to transform your professional and personal lives for the better will depend on your particular individual circumstances.
The important thing is that you perform an audit of the tools and technologies you allow into your own life, and ensure that those tools end up serving you, and not the other way around.
Use technology as a “force multiplier” to enhance your positive habits and traits, and as a tool for breaking down your negative ones
One of the key ways in which technology impacts all of our lives, is in its role as a “force multiplier.”
Originally a military term, the concept of a “force multiplier” is that it is a factor which magnifies the ability of the group in question to achieve their objectives, by means of leveraging and enhancing their pre-existing strengths.
Almost by definition, technology tends to fill the role of being a “force multiplier,” which is exactly what it has been in its earliest incarnations in human history.
A throwing spear, for example, enhances the natural human ability to throw projectiles as weapons.
The wheel magnifies our ability to transport heavy objects over large distances. Shoes enable us to move around more effectively, over treacherous terrain, without becoming injured or impaired.
Modern digital technologies are frequently “force multipliers” and sometimes present novel functionality that does not have much to do with our existing strengths and weaknesses.
Insofar as a technology can be a “force multiplier” for good – that is, insofar as a technology can help to increase your positive traits, and reinforce your positive habits – it can be invaluable.
However, technology can also be a “force multiplier” in a negative sense, strengthening and reinforcing your negative habits, and unproductive tendencies, instead.
This is often the case, for example, with those tools and services that make procrastination and effortless pursuit.
To achieve great things with technology, one of the fundamental skills that you should work on developing is identifying which forms of technology can effectively be used as “force multipliers” for good, rather than for bad, and to then use them in that capacity.