• Sarah Hines

Google Home: 30 days of Humanity


I think we are at a boiling point with the integration of A.I. into our homes and lives, we have a chance to take a pause and notice what could be in the wake of our technology addictions.

Understanding the depth of this is crucial to our growth. If we are going to get "along" and have technology be part of our lives, it needs to be done in a natural and integrated way.

It is an interesting thought:

Humanity vs Technology

or

Humanity andTechnology?

Well, I put it to the test.

To really understand the full effects of technology on our lives, I decided to put a Google Home in our kitchen. Our whole family uses it. Some to help with homework, some to play a game and others to play music on demand.

What I took note of over the past month was more about what the use of Google Home did to us from a human perspective. Was there anything that changed about our personal interactions because of this new relationship with Technology. Here is what I have noticed in the past 30 Days:

We learned together:

It's very rare that as a family unit, we get to learn something new together. Normally, the kids are learning and we are teaching. Or there is one expert in the family that is teaching the rest. Google Home gave us the opportunity to learn something new together. We learned what commands did what, learned how Google interacted with other devices and most importantly, learned how to ask burning questions like "do fish always float when they die?" (RIP Richard)

We listened better:

For some strange reason, Google Home commanded silence better than any parent could hope for. When Google speaks, we listened. And sadly, when Google stopped speaking, everyone started, at the same time. Why did we feel the need to not interrupt Google but insisted on talking over each other? Is it the new voice in the room? Is it because we were intrigued by the way it answers? When I mentioned this to my family, they said it's because "she" is fresh and exciting and not to worry Mom, we are going to probably ignore Google soon too. Needless to say, I'm still working on this one.

We Collaborated:


Perhaps this is a combination of the two points above but I think it's important to pull this specific point out. We would listen and learn, but we would check back in with each other after as a point of validation. We developed this weird team like structure around every Google home interaction. The kids would pair up and ask Google to play their music in place of ours, they would ask Google questions and then validate the answers back with a parent and one of my favourites, they learned how to use Google against us. Helping them spell words for homework, or fact check our responses. Collaboration in a time where we cheer on Independence - it was really nice!

Obviously, it is still early days however, I am really enjoying this learning process. I am starting to roll around with the idea that it's not what the internet can do for us anymore, but our focus should really be on what Humans can focus on now because of the internet.

I also cannot write a post like this without mentioning the fact that ALL of this was done with our eyes on each other, watching expressions, giggling, smirking and sneaking side glances. It was with technology and not despite it.

Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash

More to come!


A MEANINGFUL DEATH

sarah@deathandgrief.com

Toronto, ON

416-720-0717

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