Staying human in the world of automation

A few years ago, automation was ‘cool’, ‘hip’, and ‘the in thing’. Nowadays, not so much.

Ordering your morning coffee through an app, getting dozens of impersonal emails every day, and "I had Lauren, my personal assistant, compile some background information before our meeting"... Isn't it all getting a little overwhelming?

It's convenient not having to remember when to pay your phone bill because your bank account is linked to your bill. It's nice that a brand you like will send you rewards and suggestions for products you might like based on your previous purchases. However, going about your day and getting things done without talking to a single person can feel lonely and a little frightening, at times.

Have you noticed that we now go to cafes to work on our laptops more often than we go there to meet people?

Throughout the course of our day, most of us talk to each other less, prefer online interactions, and choose to browse our online lives more than look up at the environment and people around us. There are numerous publications on millennials that consider an unexpected phone call 'the new dropping by someone's house uninvited' or parents who let their children play on an iPad while they're busy checking their Facebook on public transport.

People often talk about a dystopian, technology dominated, robot-controlled future. While this kind of world is possible, it is highly unlikely, at least in the foreseeable future.

It is highly unlikely because of our ability to choose and control our work and life. We decide what we want to automate and what we do not, when we can afford to let technology help us, and when we need human interaction.

A little while back, TD, a bank in Canada, surprised its clients with a loving and generous ATM. The ATM gave out personalized gifts to customers who were withdrawing money, and when they were delighted and confused as to what happened, a human would come out from behind the ATM and go in for a hug.

This TD Thanks You campaign is a great example of what we need brands and individuals to be doing. In this day and age where technology and automation are so commonplace, it is vital to stay in touch, to stay personable, and to stay human.

Whether you are an online business or a professional working with clients over the web, it is important to find a way to have that personal touch, face-to-face time, or a coffee with your customers.