Monday, October 27, 2014

Technology & patience

Most of us have a love-hate relationship with technology and all our devices. Labor saving? Sometimes. Helpful? Yes, when they work. But when they don't, we end up spending more time looking for fixes than we generally have to spare. And there are other issues, too.

Last week, however, I heard an interesting twist on all that. A journalist and mother was interviewed on how the iPhone personal assistant Siri was helping her autistic son. Two fathers of sons with Asperger's syndrome also weighed in, agreeing with the mother. Her claim is that because Siri cannot understand questions or commands unless the phone user speaks clearly, her son is learning to be more careful with pronunciation. He's learning to go to Siri to ask questions about topics in which he's interested. All three parents said that it helps their children that Siri isn't judgmental when she continues to ask for clarity. And she is far more patient than these parents feel they are with their children's questions.

This gave me a whole new appreciation for Siri, who often drives me crazy when she reacts to a request with what I consider an off-the-wall response. It also reminded me of the importance of two things in human interactions: patience and non-judgment. I don't know about you, but I continue to work on those two. Because I am a passionate person and get jazzed (or upset) about things, I have to hold back sometimes on what I think about an idea or an outcome. These days, my mantra has been "Non-attachment to outcomes." Sometimes it's important to be invested in an outcome or even in a direction. Many times, it's not. I want to let go and let life flow more easily.

Who knew? Sometimes we can even learn from our devices.

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