As a stick shift were awkward, but as

As people become
increasingly reliable on technology, they become less capable of performing
skills that go unused. In the theme of the book, The Glass Cage, written by Nicholas Carr, who poses an argument
that human lives and jobs are being ruined by our reliance on automation. Carr
also explores the relationship between technology and life in the twenty-first
century by examining the effects of automation on humans. He explains how certain
aspects of automotive technology can have the potential of separating us from
reality. He provides the reader with a warning that if we are not careful in
the Internet Age we could become slaves to the very technology that was created
to serve us. Although he considers the values of artificial intelligence, Carr
critiques the benefits of intellectual automation by using the Rule to
encourage people like myself to develop strategies to break the chains of
automation.

            Carr begins his examination of technology with an example
of his experience learning to drive a manual transmission car. He explains that
his first attempts of driving a stick shift were awkward, but as he practiced
shifting gears his skills improved quickly. He states, “Soon I was shifting without thinking about it. It
just happened. The car no longer stalled or bucked or lurched. I no longer had
to sweat the hills or the intersections. The transmission and I had become a
team. We meshed.” (Carr, 2014, p. 10) He then shifts his focus to present day
in Silicon Valley where he learns about the future of Google’s driverless car. He
expresses, “Where, for instance, will culpability and liability reside should a
computer-driven automobile cause an accident that kills or injures someone?”
(Carr, 2014, p.15) Although just one serious accident reported, he warns the
audience about the many legal, cultural, and ethical dilemmas that face fully
automated cars in the event of operating system failure.

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            Further
touching on his ideas about automated technology, Carr points out his concerns
about automated flying which relates well to his research about driverless
cars. Although Carr explains that flying is now safer due to reduced human
error, the automation of flying has many consequences that reports pilots are
becoming too dependent on computer systems. He discovered that most of time an
aircraft flies under autopilot. He warns “that the heavy reliance on computer
automation can erode pilots’ expertise, dull their reflexes, and diminish their
attentiveness.” (Carr, 2014, p.67) The autopilot feature could deskill a crew
and decline a pilot’s ability to recover an aircraft in emergency
situations.  Carr provides the examples
of two flights that were guided using autopilot, when extreme conditions put
the controls back in the pilots’ hands. The operators, forced to have to fly
the plane manually, suffered a “total loss of cognitive control over the
situation,” resulting in serious disaster. (Carr, 2014, p. 57) As aviators have
discovered, automation can impair situation awareness and weaken human skills.  As technology makes our lives easier, Carr
recommends that airlines and workers spend less time on autopilot and more time
investigating how technology is changing who we are.

            In order to
understand the human consequence of automation, Carr uses his research to point
out three negative effects of flying with automated systems. The first problem of
automated systems is automation complacency. Presently, pilots are becoming too
trusting of their flying equipment. As the technology maintains control of the
aircraft, the pilot’s workload is much reduced. However, Carr warns that
“Psychomotor skills get rusty, which can hamper the pilot on those rare but
critical occasions when he’s required to take back the controls.” (Carr, 2014,
p.71) He discovered that people are forgetting how to fly as flight technology
is deteriorated basic manual and cognitive skills.

            The second
consequence of automation of flying is automation bias. Today, pilots give too
much respect to their automated systems. Unfortunately, humans place more trust
in automated systems than they do in their own training and skills. Carr
discovered that peoples’ skills have changed, and they are now being used at a
distance behind computer screens. The new flight software can even override the
pilots’ inputs during difficult flying in which the computer gets the final
say. He states, “Today’s pilots don’t wear their planes. They wear their
planes’ compluters—or perhaps the computers wear the pilots.” (Carr, 2014, p.
76) Carr explains that automatous aviation has change the culture of what it
means to be a pilot.

            The last
consequence of automation of flying is reliance on automation. There is no
secret that automation decays a pilot psychomotor and cognitive skills. Carr
critiques, “When more advance computers begin to take over planning and
anyalysis functions, the pilot becomes less engaged not only physically but
mentally.” (Carr, 2014, p. 70) He believes that through hard work and mental
effort, actions become seamless. 
However, when technology enter the picture, pilots find themselves
trapped in the glass cockpit of the aircraft monitoring computer systems. Carr
explains, “the glass cockpit can be thought of as a prototype of a world where
there is a computer functionality everywhere.” (Carr, 2014, p. 76) As people
start to remove human interaction in inside glass cockpits, they discover what
Carr already knows: a glass cockpit can symbolize a glass cage.

            Carr argues
that so much of the thinking and white-collar work has become automated now
that people sit in glass cages. The integration of the electronic medical
records was supposed to increase saving and improve the quality of care.
However, Carr states, “Although the intent of computerization is to improve
patient care by making it safer and more efficient, the adverse effects and
unintended consequences of workflow disruption may make the situation far
worse.” (Carr, 2014, p. 115) Carr warns that the electronic medical record
system sets up the patient for overbilling, overprescribing, and unnecessary diagnostic
orders. (Carr, 2014) Automation is shifting the way healthcare is being provided
as doctors follow automated diagnostic templates to create their care plans. As
technology starts to change the way people learn, make decision, and care for patients,
health care workers start to rely on automation in their every day practice.

            Reflecting
on my social media hiatus, I will change many things about my technology
practice. As a registered nurse working in the intensive care unit, I see the positive
and negative effects of technology and the electronic medical record. The adoption
of EMR system has benefited my work by streamlining all the patient’s
information in one place. I have instant access to patient labs, diagnostic
imaging, and medications. The electronic system makes it very easy to collaborate
and communicate with the different members of the health care team. After taking
a hiatus from using my cell phone at work, I noticed that I was more attentive
to my patients and provided more personalized care. When I used my cell phone
at work, I discovered that I was spending too much time looking at the screen
and less time communicating with my patients. I learned that paying attention
to technology and the patient requires multitasking which is a concern when
providing care to critical ill patients. Upon admission to the unit, I now
focus and listen to the patient’s problems instead of following screen driven systems
to gather information. After my hiatus, I developed an automation bias that focuses
less on the screen and more on the patient.

Automative technology is making an impact in
redefining what it means to be human. Carr argues that automation is

turning us into shallow thinkers and deeply
changing the way we act and think as well as the texture and pace of our

lives. He believes that automation often frees
people from that which makes them feel free. Although he describes the

negative effects of being tethered to
technology, Carr shows optimism about using technology to reaffirm our values

and directions. He believes that we have the
greatest chance of success with technology if we recognize our

vulnerabilities. One practical way that he
discussed is changing the approach to designing and programming

automated software and systems. Right now, the
dominant approach is what’s called “technology-centered

automation,” the goal of which is to hand over
as much work and responsibility to computers as possible. A better

approach, I think, is “human-centered automation,”
which views the person and the computer as being partners. The

software is programmed to keep the human deeply
engaged in the work rather than cut off from the work. More

broadly, I think we need to change our attitude
toward labor and workers. If we’re going to have a healthy society, we

need to encourage people to break free from the
chains of automation and follow the Rule of St. Benedict.

            Automotive
technology is redefining what it means to be human. Carr uses many career fields
such as automotive, aviation, and health care to argue that automation is
changing the way we act and think about life. Although he describes the
negative effects of being tethered to technology, Carr shows optimism about using
technology to reassert our value and directions. He believes that people have
the greatest chance of coexisting with technology if they recognize their weaknesses.
I discovered my vulnerabilities when I decided to put my phone down at work and
start focusing on the learning opportunities around me. I will not allow
technology to diminish my nursing skills especially in the event of an emergency.
I want to be able to think clearly when put in stressful situations. One
practical way of changing the future of technology is changing our approach to automated
systems. Right now, people use a technology-center approach that hands over all
the reasonability to computers. I think a better approach would be human-centered
automation that allows people and computers to work together. A system that
would influence a person to stay engage in their work rather than free them
from their duty. More broadly, I think we need to change our attitude about work
and technology. If we’re going to build a healthy society, we need to encourage
people to break free from the chains of automation and follow the Rule of St.
Benedict.