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Devolution of Humans

My first published Article: 23/07/2010: in Rajkot Plus, The Times of India.

We, the humans, frequently brag about our phenomenal evolution from apes to what we are. We often cherish the successful journey that we have accomplished through crossing this massive path of development and growth, becoming the most intelligent species on the planet. Evolution up to humans was good, in fact great. But where are we really going? The answer is easily visible in our lifestyles.

We, the humans, are devolving to ROBOTS.

No complaints against robots or machines as in today’s world machines define life-styles and lay roads to advancement. They have provided new dimensions to our existence and development. All of these inventions have served wonders in our lives. Life without these mechanical wonders has become unimaginable, perhaps impossible.

The problem is not how far the technology advances or how much inseparable they become in our lives; the point is that humans are becoming machines. In the race to superiority, sublime characteristics like altruism, love, mercy, sympathy that define a human-being are being neglected. Efforts are being made to imbue human qualities in robots, but the process seems to be moving the other way round.

We have a hectic schedule which is no less than a robotic program. We just keep performing ‘tasks’ all day, then we get home exhausted and the system ‘shuts down’ to ‘recharge’ the batteries.

Robots ‘function’ on ‘command’. Our bosses ‘command’ and we have to ‘function’, or else some other robots will replace us and our lives will spiral in a misery. If we are lucky (or unlucky), we get a promotion – ‘system upgrade’. We receive more salaries, but we have to be more productive and efficient than the previous ‘configuration’ of ourselves.

Unlike robots we have families, friends, life-partner, children, and despite that we ‘run’ a life which almost assumes they don’t exist.

Robots have to be programmed to display emotions, while we have an inborn capability for not just displaying but truly feeling such emotions. Yet this capability is being subdued intentionally or otherwise. We do not mean what we speak. We often parrot out words mechanically while expressing love, gratitude or asking for forgiveness.

The word “robot” is derived from a Czech word – “robota”, which means “forced labour”. Children are forced to study like maniacs, adolescents are compelled to concentrate on their professional courses, and young adults are pushed to opt for a career they were never interested in. In plenty of the offices also, most of the employees start the work not to accomplish it but to get rid of it.

It was good if becoming robotic meant becoming more accurate, precise, highly memory-powered, quick and efficient. But we have not transformed ourselves in that sense. The above mentioned qualities make a robot an admirable figure. These are the very qualities which we should learn from them, and not the adverse ones.

This devolution has to stop. We have to roll our sleeves up to combat this deterioration. By using our conscience to its best effect, this silent but definite conversion of humans to robots has to be curbed.

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