One of the discussions that worries us the most is the one that goes around digitalization in which we are immersed and the consequences that artificial intelligence brings us. We wonder what are the limits to which it can reach, where is the ethical border of the use and abuse of tools that on the one hand make our lives easier and on the other frighten us. Of course, there are several arguments against chatbots based on language models such as ChatGPT, on the omnipresence of screens and their effects. There comes a time when so much technology more than helping us can overwhelm us.

What if we stopped thinking about it so much? The arguments against and for the technology are not new. Already at the beginning of the twentieth century, Henry Ford said that: "True progress is that which makes technology available to all." Ford stressed the importance of making progress and technological advancement available to everyone, not just a privileged few. He saw progress as an integrating factor and not as an isolating effect.

Since those times, the concern was focused on avoiding leaving people behind as technology advances. Ford believed in the need to make technology accessible to all so that improving the lives of all people and not just some, a kind of democratization of progress. Concerns about inequality and accessibility remain an important consideration as technology continues to advance and transform our lives.

Today digitalization is part of our lives. Practically, everyone has access to a smartphone. The figures are stark: In 2021, the number of smartphone users in Mexico was estimated at approximately 84.4 million. The number of people using these mobile devices is projected to exceed 95 million by 2025. That's a great achievement.

However, we also realize the oversaturation of digital media. It is enough to raise the eyes – which are surely busy watching a screen – to realize that our fellow human beings are more attentive to what happens on their devices than to their environment, even when it endangers their safety. We see pedestrians crossing the street without looking both ways because they are staring at their phones, motorists driving and chatting, and office workers who are distracted by a video game instead of focusing on their work. We have all fallen into these temptations. Not in vain, back and cervical contractures have become so common. Today, human beings go with a humpback posture of so much watching our screens.

For this reason, it seems that, just as digitalization has made our lives easier, it also complicates them. It gives the impression that more than increasing our productivity, what increases is a distraction and subtracts from our mental health. In the book Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport, the author addresses these concerns and sets our sights on the consequences of being over-digitized. The proposal seems to go against the current, although it stands out given the implications we have when saturated with so many applications.

Without being alarmist, Cal Newton argues that the technology addiction and information overload we experience in the digital age are contributing to anxiety, stress, and inattention. Instead, it proposes a minimalist approach to technology, in which we are more selective in our choice of digital tools and applications, and in which we set clear limits on the time we spend online.

In the book Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World we can find a series of tips that integrate a practical guide to reduce the time we spend online and on digital devices to improve our productivity and mental health. It's not as difficult as we assume. Newport offers a three-step strategy for adopting a minimalist digital lifestyle:

  1. Explore and rediscover non-digital activities and hobbies that are meaningful to us.
  2. Identify the digital services and applications that really add value to our lives, and eliminate those that don't.
  3. Set clear limits on the time we spend online and on digital devices, through practices such as "digital abstinence" and "digital debugging."

It is also necessary to address the ethical point of view and the responsibility of technology companies in the creation of digital products that are less addictive and more beneficial for users. Reduce our dependence on technology with the clear objective of improving our quality of life in an increasingly digitally connected world.

We seek to avoid becoming beings who lack empathy and emotional understanding. We don't want to be people who can understand natural language and provide accurate answers, but fail to understand the tone, emotions, or context of the conversation, which can lead to inappropriate or insensitive responses because we're distracted.

Nor do we want our lack of empathy to lead us to have biases and prejudices that can be perpetuated and transmitted, which brings risky consequences in our personal and professional environment. Biases are limitations in understanding context. The risk we run when we are over-digitized is that we give accurate answers to direct questions that do not work or that have difficulty adapting to more complex situations.

Lack of creativity and critical thinking: Among the main arguments we must defend is the relevance of creating authentic and relevant content. Of course, we need to make the most of the digital tools and technologies available. Of course, it is necessary to stay updated and adapt to changes in the digital environment without losing the ability to provide creative or unusual solutions: surprising.

The challenge is to say goodbye to what alienates us and prevents us from thinking critically or questioning arguments. Use technology to our advantage to integrate ourselves into progress, instead of serving as an insulator of community life. It is worth analyzing and asking ourselves if our tools help us or condemn us to loneliness.