Alex Gambino | Inspiring and Supportive Technology in 2022 and Beyond

I was born in Brooklyn, New York and I was raised around my family and extended family.  It was a very close, traditional Italian family, with the exception of my mom, who is Polish.  My parents decided that they wanted to head out west to give my brother and me a better environment to grow up in.   The four of us moved to Phoenix, Arizona when I was eight years old, starting from scratch. I watched my parents make something from nothing, once again. I was always surrounded by that energy. 

I was inspired by watching my parent’s entrepreneurial spirit. They always taught me the value of, not only money, but a hard work ethic and the importance of being proud of what you do. It inspired me to explore being an entrepreneur when I was a kid, so I tried all kinds of things from a lemonade stand to going to Costco buying candies in bulk, and selling the single pieces to kids in elementary school. I also created my first eBay store when I was twelve selling my parents, 45 record collection. 

I was an introverted kid. I was growing up when technology was more of a constant norm and I found an outlet through online video games, online forums, and for it being creative. I didn’t realize that spending so much time with my socially-awkward-coping-mechanisms was actually preparing me for my future career.

This introversion phase carried over into my late teens, but I got a job as soon as I was legally able to, and my focus became to save up money. 

In college everything started to click for me, and I began to open up more on all levels. It was then I started to realize and own the fact that you either run towards something or you run away from something. In my early years, I was definitely internally running away from stuff. 

Because I was so in tune with the value of money and hard work, I was able to really turn things around in college. I didn’t want to waste the money paying for school and not getting something out of it, so I became a better student which served me very well by doing so.

I went from the kid who would sit in the back of the class to the teacher’s pet in the front row pretty much overnight. I gravitated towards degrees that supported technology and human behavior. Being the introvert that I was, I sat back and observed how people interacted quite a bit and I found human behavior interesting. 

I like pairing technology and human behavior together in my career and it works very well for how I bridge that gap between the two. 

Because let’s face it, today and future forward, we will always have both.

Alex Gambino

Technology has grown to be so closely intertwined with our day-to-day lives to the point where it’s seemingly impossible to disconnect. While technology seems to be evolving exponentially, our human bodies and brains are essentially unchanged from those of our early ancestors. While our bodies are physiologically programmed to experience a “fight or flight” response when encountering a ferocious predator, most of us won’t experience it during our modern lives unless we accidentally leave our camera on while eating lunch on a Zoom call. 

The disparity between the evolution of technology and our own biological progression raises certain questions. 

Are we, as humans, meant to be connected to screens and touchpads so regularly? 

Should we double down on a tran-shuman future and let technology take our biological vessels to heights we’ve never even imagined? 

The one thing that’s for certain is, regardless of how we feel about it, advances in tech don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. 

The New Normal

COVID-19 has been a catalyst for even more technological innovations that have already changed the world. The global crisis has undoubtedly accelerated the digital transformation and opened our eyes to the potential of technology solutions to improve and support our lives and grow our businesses.

The question now is, “With the dizzying advancement of new technologies, how does one stay centered?” This will probably sound counter-intuitive, but the answer is to unplug as you plug into the flood of emerging technologies.

In these extraordinary times, the old adage “necessity is the mother of invention” has never been truer. Many believe that there is no way back to the “old normal” and that the new normal is here to stay. Organizations have been driven to redefine their “new normal,” and barriers that once stood in the way of technology transformation are quickly being circumvented.

But first, what exactly is our new normal?

Dr. James Canton, who is the CEO and Chairman of the Institute for Global Futures, a San Francisco-based think tank that advises on upcoming technology and business trends, recently told Business Insider, “There’s always a delay between innovation breakthroughs and actual application on the market.” But that interval has been vastly accelerated over the last two years – and it will likely continue to accelerate, perhaps until we reach a technological singularity through advancements in artificial intelligence. 

COVID-19 has been a catalyst for even more technological innovations that have already changed the world. The global crisis has undoubtedly accelerated the digital transformation and opened our eyes to the potential of technology solutions to improve and support our lives and grow our businesses.

A reality that blends data streams and the physical environment

Artificial Intelligence (AI), refers to the field that develops computers and robots that can interpret data in a context to provide the required information, supply analysis, trigger events, or trigger actions based on those findings. Companies around the world are investing in machine learning and neural networks to teach machines to “think” more like humans.

Canton credits today’s AI revival to improvements in computer learning, such as reinforced machine learning and the abundance of data available to machines. He said that 3D-printed organs and other innovations will have a significant impact on healthcare, increasing lifespans.

Canton also predicts that blended reality will be a hot area in the future. This is an amalgamation of augmented reality and virtual reality as well as telepresence. Canton claims that this technology will allow you to see digital information in real life without the need to use glasses or rely on your phone. He said that the technology will be “instantaneous.” “Those cumbersome items will vanish, and you’ll have the ability to limit how much [digital] information you want.”

New and more efficient ways to live and work

Although remote working is a concept that has been around for some time, not all organizations have fully adopted it. This was due to a variety of factors, such as the availability of technology infrastructures and the ability of employees to work remotely.

We have learned from the COVID-19 restrictions that there is a way to work differently. Although there were challenges with the rapid transition caused by societal lockdowns, organizations are successfully managing businesses by using tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Zoom to communicate, collaborate, and manage their business. 

Online ordering and home delivery have been made possible by travel restrictions. The sudden increase in online use has put enormous strain on organizational and online infrastructure. These services are becoming more mainstream worldwide, which opens up the possibility to improve and increase this infrastructure and allows consumers to enjoy the convenience of eCommerce. 

Disconnect to Reconnect: Unplug for Increased Happiness

“The Net’s interactivity gives us powerful new tools for finding information, expressing ourselves, and conversing with others. It also turns us into lab rats constantly pressing levers to get tiny pellets of social or intellectual nourishment.”

― Nicholas G. Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

Technology and media are everywhere these days. It may seem impossible to find a moment of solace without notifications, social media, or digital distractions. 

While technology does demand our attention at times, it can be a gift that allows us to connect with one another. The invention of the cell phone has enabled us to connect in ways we never imagined. Even twenty years ago, the majority of people couldn’t communicate with one another unless they had a landline phone.

The smartphone’s invention has also allowed us to search for directions, connect with other people via social media, and find information in a flash. 

The list of benefits that we’ve already experienced goes on and on, but as you’re likely well aware, there are many downsides to technology.

Technology’s Negative Side Effects

Stress and anxiety can be increased by constant availability. Because of the constant distractions that can be triggered by the sight of your smartphone on the table, you have less time for relaxation. This can make it harder to concentrate and tune in to what you are really doing.

Multitasking, let’s face it, is a myth. It leads to decreased productivity and errors in professional and personal areas. Multitasking is a way to divert your attention from the task at hand.

Moreover, FOMO (fear of missing out) can be increased by being connected to social media and the internet. Do you really want to miss out on the latest news, family text, or Facebook update? Compulsive checking can lead to addiction and paradoxical feelings of being disconnected from others.

It doesn’t matter how strong you believe you are; it is difficult not to compare yourself with the lives of others online. This can lead to lower self-esteem, higher stress levels, increased depression, and general dissatisfaction.

Finally, your attention span can be greatly affected by being constantly connected. Your brain doesn’t have the time it needs to process all the information that is presented to you. Our brains are so overwhelmed with information that they don’t have the time or energy to be creative or even focus on the task at hand.

Use Technology Time to Be Intentional

Have a rule to not check your email after a specific time. Perhaps at night or until you have completed your morning routine, which might include meditating or exercising, getting dressed, and eating breakfast.

This rule is necessary because you need to take control of your health and well-being every morning when you wake up. Checking email can cause anxiety, stress, or pressure. You can take some time to unplug from notifications and stress so that you can get off to a positive start in the morning, which can oftentimes shape the entire trajectory of your day ahead.

You can also set your phone to take advantage of tech features such as “Do Not Disturb,” which will remove the temptation of checking notifications as they come in.

It might sound counterintuitive, but you can leverage technology to help stay away from it. Educate yourself on the power of automation from available tools and software to help streamline tasks that you would otherwise work on manually. You can also use productivity tools such as the MyMantra app to set reminders for yourself to stay mindful and mentally intentional. 

Spend Time in Nature

“A series of psychological studies over the past twenty years has revealed that after spending time in a quiet rural setting, close to nature, people exhibit greater attentiveness, stronger memory, and generally improved cognition. Their brains become both calmer and sharper.”

― Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

It is imperative for your mental well-being to spend time outdoors.

You can take your dog for a walk through the park, have a cup of coffee in your backyard, or go for an afternoon hike. There are many ways to spend time outdoors, even if you don’t live in a city. Make it a point not to check your phone during these times.

Mindfulness and Awareness

Mindfulness can be practiced in everyday life. Mindfulness can be described as being present in the moment. Studies have shown that people who are more aware of the present moment are happier.

Start by picking one daily activity and putting your phone down. Then, tune in to your senses. Take note of how your body and soul are responding to the world around you. What do you see? What do you hear? How does it make you feel? 

While our rapidly evolving relationship with technology can feel overwhelming, the first step to taking back control is to be aware of it. If you don’t think of your smartphone as much more than an extension of your arm, then you’ve already lost. But if you recognize that all of the functions and features it offers may come at a cost, then you’re on the right track. 

Access Alternatives

Because it’s convenient, easy, and offers entertainment on-demand, you may reach for your smartphone or TV remote more often than you realize. This can lead to problems when you get sucked into your latest binge on Netflix or spend 30 minutes stalking other people on Instagram.

It’s important to be more intentional about your time and take periodic breaks from technology. You can leave magazines and books on your coffee table or nightstand. Instead of reaching for your smartphone, grab a magazine article or a chapter from the book.

This will help you be more focused, learn and retain new information, and be more intentional about your time away. To reconnect with traditional entertainment methods, disconnect.

Establish Boundaries With Yourself and Others

You can also choose how much to connect or disconnect from your friends and loved ones. If you’re conversing online, let them know that you can only be active during certain hours. If you’re socializing in person, create rules for yourself to limit phone time so you can more actively engage instead of getting distracted by notifications. Being an active listener is an essential component of a healthy relationship. It can increase trust, respect, and intimacy while giving you a greater level of satisfaction with the relationship and your social life as a whole.

It can be easy to establish rules for disconnecting. Something as simple as agreeing to “no phones at the dinner table” can make a noticeable difference in your interactions. 

Your New Normal

The world is changing, perhaps at a faster rate than ever before.  While we as individuals may not be able to single-handedly decide humanity’s fate, we can each reflect on our own lives and work toward a healthy and beneficial relationship with technology that fits our individual needs – at least for now. 

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