December 13, 2018

Technology has not really changed human needs

Some definitions of Marketing:

You see a beautiful woman at a party, walk up to her and say, “I am very rich. Will you marry me?”

That is direct marketing.

You are at a party with friends and you see a beautiful woman. One of your friends approaches her and, pointing to you, says, “My friend is very rich. Would you marry him?”

That is advertising.

You are at a party and you see a beautiful woman. You ask for her telephone number. The next day you call her and tell her you are very rich. You ask her to marry you.

That is telemarketing.

You’re at a party, you see a beautiful woman and you walk up to her to buy her a drink,. You then offer to drive her home and tell her you are rich and famous. You ask her to marry you.

That is public relations.

You’re at a private party and you see a beautiful woman. She walks up to you and says, “You are very rich! Can you marry me?”

That is brand recognition.

There is a commonly held view that technology has changed society and the way we think and live. Just read newspapers and magazines, or watch television and the internet, and you will find all kinds of articles which speak about how the violence and crime we are hearing about daily is due to this change in technology.

My friends, the only thing that has changed is the way we communicate with each other. That is all. This is what has crippled our ability to establish and maintain the most important element of our lives, i.e., the ability to establish and maintain meaningful long- term relationships.

I was told recently that because of technology and the need for both parents to work, our youth no longer have their parents around them to guide and advise them. Nonsense. Parents are no longer around their children because they are using technology to babysit them.

Remember during World War II our dads (mine was not drafted because he was in an essential industry) were mostly off to war and our mothers had to work? Many of my generation were left on their own with a babysitter.

What was different was that, unlike now, our grandparents were living near us and we had their wisdom and experiences to guide us. Today, families frequently live far apart do not have that luxury.

Here is a message to all of today’s parents: Come back into your child’s life. Have family dinners, listen to and hear what your children are telling you. Be better aware of what their daily activities are.

Your children have questions about life. They need your guidance and stories of your experiences. They want to know that it is okay for them to make decisions about their lives. And they need to understand why faith and goodness are important as they live in a complex community.

Sitting in front of the television gives them a scary picture of what life is about. You need to not only explain how the hatred they hear about 24 hours a day is not what life is about. And, by becoming actively involved in doing good, you need to demonstrate that each one of us has a responsibility to make this a better word.

When you teach your children that while technology has helped us make many advances, it has not changed one bit the single most important of human needs – and that is the need to look one another in the eyes when we communicate, and not rely on indirect methods of communications.

I watched a dynamic, beautiful, captivating speaker recently as she made a business presentation using props and a large power point screen. When she asked my opinion of her presentation, I said, “Turn off the power point, put away the props and have the audience concentrate on looking at you.”

The next time she did her presentation, she did as I suggested. Later, she told me, with great excitement … “It worked!”

We are not robots and we are not technical things. We are sensitive human beings and need to live our lives accordingly. We survived biblical times and we survived and grew without telephones. Computers may make it seem easier, but they unless we live smarter they will in the long run destroy our character.

Bernard (“Bernie”) Otis is the author of the bestseller, “How To Prepare For Old Age — Without Taking the Fun Out of Life (Amazon & Barnes & Noble)”. If you have a question or comment, or a personal story about life and aging, please send me an email to